ALT (old) DEUTSCHER (German) SCHAEFERHUND (shepherd dog)

written by Tina Barber

reprinted with permission from the March/July 1998   Newsletter

Before attempting to start a breeding program, a conscientious breeder will outline a plan. Much like a contractor does, before starting a building project. No experienced contractor would attempt to build a housing complex, without first examining the blueprints. Likewise, no breeder should start "producing puppies" without carefully examining several pedigrees of their chosen breed.

Sincere breeders that are willing to devote some intense research into the Shiloh bloodlines will find that ALL of the dogs in our genepool have the same ancestors by the time you reach the 7th – 9th generation. Let’s take a look at SHILOH’S EASY RIDER, does anyone have a pedigree that does NOT reflect his name? Maybe you should look further back? He is the sire of Shiloh’s Wolfin Sasquach, as well as Shiloh’s Captain Caliber-Baker, and dozens of other, less "popular" names in your pedigree. Most Shiloh’s have been heavily inbred/linebred on this dog, why? Aside from the fact that he is linebred on Ch. Eko-Lans Paladin & Ch. Lance of Fran-Jo, what else could be hidden in his genes? What problems will start surfacing soon, from too much concentration on him? How many breeders bother to count the number of times he shows up in the first 5 generations? Their puppies will certainly "draw" in both his faults, as well as his virtues.

Maybe less emphasis should be placed on "gossip & rumors," and more on true facts. The former will fade with time; the facts will make or break a breed, depending only on whether they are used in a positive or negative breeding program. In 1971 Leon Whitney published "HOW TO BREED DOGS". To this day, this is one of the most comprehensive books I have read on breeding. On page 160, he advocates crossing two INBRED strains. The chart was amazing, and that is why I crossed the "Kari" line with the "Ria" line, and also with the "Ursa" line, and it worked! The SIZE was dramatically increased! A 25" female (inbred Ria) outcrossed to a 27" male (inbred Ursa) would produce 29-30" males, then (inbred "Kari") and the Giants were "locked in." This breeding program continued for over a decade! Unfortunately, all good things must someday end, and I noticed that the "rest of the story" was coming true. All research done on this type of inbreeding points to complete infertility by the sixth generation, and most certainly severe regression by the fifth generation!

Please note the corn; 2 inbreds (on far left) produced the giant corn #1; by the fifth generation things are going down hill! It is time to go back to step #1, or prepare for the inevitable. Anyone experimenting with such a program must maintain exact records on all progeny produced, for several generations (and prepare to repeat step #1), before attempting to continue inbreeding.

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In order to maintain hybrid (not wolf!) vigor, it is imperative that step #1 is repeated by the fourth generation of any inbred line. During the 80’s such an inbred-outcross was being prepared for my lines. The result of this "specially" designed outcross was Samson, commonly referred to as the "MAW" line. His first pups were born in ’91, and their first official litter (of 3 pups) was born 12/92, to be followed by 2 more litters in ‘93. Since that time this line appears in over 80% of all registered Shiloh’s, between the 3rd and 5th generation. Since inbreeding on these dogs is not allowed (for very good reasons). The search for another (inbred) outcross line was started several years ago, in order to prepare for step #1 to be repeated again! All roads pointed back to the ADS, since these dogs had the same ancestors 7-8-9-10-11 generations back, yet were still linebred on the "Old" style GSD that the Shiloh line ORIGINATED from! Nothing else would allow us to continue producing the same "type" that we have been trying to "lock in" for the past 3 decades.

Two years of phone calls, letters, picture exchanges, "cashing in" on family favors, etc., finally came to fruition in Nov 97, when the litter I was looking for was born! At this time there are only 18 "recognized’ breeders in all of Germany. Most have only 1 litter per year, if that. Only 3 have 2 or more litters. Researching the pedigrees, LMX data, etc was very difficult, since there is so much mistrust of "American" breeders. In order to select the perfect dog(s) for our lines, we had to be sure not to double up on faults we already had, nor bring in new ones that we would have to deal with in the future! Some of the lines being used would not work, simply because the aggression level would be far too "strong’ for our breed, not to mention other structural faults (like "roach backs") that we most certainly want to stay away from!

Despite the fact that only time will prove how well this new blood will work with our lines, I feel very strongly that the ADS will not only improve on many of the faults we are now dealing with, but will give our dogs that "special something" we have been slowly losing! We will definitely reap a burst of new "hybrid vigor," strengthen our hips, and bring more "confidence" into our temperaments! After 23 hrs. In a crate, when I picked Artus up at the airport, he stepped out on the dock like he owned the place! I put a leash on him, and he walked down a flight of (open-grated) icy stairs like it was nothing! In the dark, strange new place, he grabbed my scarf to play and slipped out of his collar, while a plane was taking off! I know that many 3 mo. old dogs would have spooked under such conditions! I just said "here" and he came right back to my side, so that I could put his collar back on. Who could ask for a better reaction? We can’t afford to compromise the "fearless" qualities this breed once possessed! I see great new frontiers for the Shiloh’s to conquer in the future, including many venues in the world of true "working" titles!

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO WE RAN A "CONTEST" THAT INCLUDED 36 PICTURES (IN 4 CATEGORIES) OF THE ADS & SS. These pictures will be "blown-up" and posted on our BB at Homecoming, along with the contest results!

(Note: these pictures are still available--see if you can "pick that Shiloh"--e-mail your answers to the webmaster! To date no one has been able to correctly pick every one.)

Publishing history

Originally published in the SSDCA newsletter - March/July 1998
Published with permission in the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center - 1998

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