German Bloodline Dogs vs. American Bloodline Dogs
We have built our reputation by breeding quality working dogs and backing them up with a fair guarantee. One of the ways we have maintained the working ability in our bloodline is through German working bloodlines.
The Germans have maintained working ability in their bloodline through the sport of Schutzhund. In Germany you cannot register a litter of pups unless it has a Schutzhund working title. In Europe, a working title is either a Schutzhund title, a Herding title, or a Police Service Dog title. This means that if a dog does not have good enough temperament to obtain a title it cannot be bred. In addition, the German dogs are also required to get their hips x-rayed before breeding.
Here in America, if your neighbor has an AKC registered dog and your other neighbor has an AKC registered dog, they can be bred and their pups can be registered. It does not matter if they are both dysplastic or if they are both fear biters that cower in the corner when a stranger approaches.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is as much to blame as the AKC for the downfall of the working ability in the American breed. While the people that are members of the GSDCA are very nice people, their only interest is in producing a dog that can run in circles and look pretty. They pay lip service to the temperament of the breed and the majority have no concern about the working ability in their breeding program. In my opinion the GSDCA are directly responsible for breeding the working ability out of the American Bloodline German Shepherds. They should rename their breed and call it the American Shepherd.
There is NOT ONE American bloodline that can consistently produce a police service dog. That is a very sad statement, but it is true. You can occasionally find an American bloodline breeder who will brag about having some of his dogs on a police department some place, but the sad truth is that if the dog is working as a patrol dog it does not belong there.
Most police departments don't have a clue in how to selection test a patrol dog. So when a local breeder offers to donate a dog (or sell a dog cheap) they jump on the opportunity. These dogs are taken through some form of training and then labeled "a police dog." The fact is that these dogs will not protect their handler if their lives depended on it. What's really bad is that many times these uneducated officers don't even know that if the going gets tough - their dog is not going to be there when they really need him.
Unfortunately the Germans seem to be moving in the same direction. The Germans have 2 separate sets of bloodlines in their country. They have their show lines and working lines. The 2 hardly ever cross. With 120, 000 members of the German Shepherd Dog Club in Germany (the SV), there is a Schutzhund club in every small village.
These people are excellent trainers. They work their conformation dogs in prey drive from the time they are small puppies. This results in the show dog being titled in Schutzhund, but the titles are all done in prey drive. These dogs lack "fight drive." Basically, this means that the dogs look at Schutzhund as a game and the helper as a buddy to play tug of war with. The German show dogs lack "fight drive." They have had the fight drive bred out of them. They do not look at the helper as a fighting partner; they look at him as a buddy.
A Police Service Dog or a personal protection dog needs to have "fight drive" in his temperament. Fight drive is inherited; it is a genetic factor that cannot be trained into a dog. An animal either has it or it doesn't. Our dogs here at Leerburg Kennels are bred with fight drive in mind.
It is important that a new comer to the breed does not confuse "fight drive" with "bad temperament" or "handler aggression." These three are totally separate issues in a dog's make up. A dog can have excellent fight drive and still be very safe around children and in many cases even around strangers. A dog does not have to exhibit its fight drive until it is attacked or its owners are attacked. When that happens these dogs show the self-confidence to enter a fight with the knowledge that they can beat their attacker.
Dogs can have no fight drive and still have bad temperament. You only have to look at the American Shepherd to see this. Dogs can also be handler aggressive and have no fight drive. Many handler aggressive dogs show aggression through fear. This means that they have learned to show aggression when they are placed in a position that they are a little stressed. They don't understand what they are expected to do. They react to stress by biting the handler. This is not fight drive.
Our kennel is not the only good breeding kennel for working bloodline dogs. If you cannot afford one of our dogs, at least make sure you are buying German working bloodlines and not German show lines, and for sure, not American lines.
President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America
If you would like to read an interesting letter of criticism about this article that I received from the President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (Daniel Smith), CLICK HERE.