by Tina M. Barber
In the elite world of show dogs, it is assumed that a
Championship title represents exceptional quality of the individual dog.
Every breed has a standard (blueprint) that breeders strive hard to breed
toward, in an effort to produce the ideal representative of their breed.
They then select their absolute best progeny to compete against other such
dogs of their respective breed for the coveted championship titles. The
competition can become extremely fierce, and politics can often play a
role during such intense show competitions.
The Breed Standard "paints" a picture of the
ideal dog. At the shows, the dogs entered claim to be the closest
representatives of this standard, then it is up to the judges to select
the one that is "THE" closest to the ideal, without any
disqualifying faults. The dog that has managed to come out as "THE"
winner in several such competitions should also be an excellent
representative of his breed!! When he parades past the spectators, along
with all of the other breed representatives, it should be easy to point
him out as the "IDEAL" Beagle, Poodle, or Collie, etc.
There should never be any doubt that he IS the epitome of the breed he
To illustrate how show ring politics can negatively
impact a breed standard, a discussion of the transformation of the German
Shepherd Dog will follow.
GV Lance of Fran Jo
1967 G.V. Ch. Lance of Fran-Jo was not only a
Champion, but a GRAND VICTOR!!! The greatest of all the Champions for that
year! There was no doubt that in his day, he was the "IDEAL"
representative of his breed ;-)
Unfortunately shortly thereafter politics set in and a
very destructive fad was created. In order to visually distinguish
themselves from the German "Import" Shepherds, the America
breeders set a new standard for their dogs. This new "ideal
version" quickly led to the modern GSD we see today.
It took less then a
decade to set this new
"type" -- yet the results have continued to influence this noble
breed ever since!! By the late 80s several breeders started to cross
the German Imports (that had remained true to type) back into the American
lines in an attempt to restore what once used to be. Their efforts did
improve the structure (although these dogs were no longer "show"
quality) but serious temperament problems started to surface. Many of the
hard working GSDs did not "mesh" well with the timid American
show dogs, resulting in progeny with very unstable temperaments.
In Conclusion; What did the "Championship titles" do for the
German Shepherd Dog??
Extremely brave, intelligent dogs like Strongheart,
Rin Tin Tin®,
Roy Rogers Bullet,
Buddy (the first lady of the seeing eyes) and
London (star of the "Littlest Hobo" series), among others, would
never have qualified as "champion" show dogs ;(
It was dogs like those pictured above that created the
demand for "German shepherd" puppies, and it was the
responsibility of the parent club (GSDCA) to ensure that structurally
sound (via the shows & properly supervised breeding programs), as well
as healthy-tested (OFA), stable (ATTS-Working Dogs of America, etc.) dogs
were being produced. Those goals were continuously sabotaged by people who
created an unproductive "political" environment for the poor GSDs!!!!!
In the early 70s I heard the rumblings & saw the power plays that
were being set to diminish the beauty & nobility of my beloved breed.
In 1974 I set forth on a
different road to preserve these magnificent animals for all future
generations ;-) That road has never been an easy one, yet I wear my battle
scars proudly! I am just as thrilled with the REAL Shiloh Shepherds of
today, as I was with my dogs nearly 3 decades ago!!!!!
7 year old Josh
5 year old Josh
with Uli and 3 year old David with Doc
George Santanyana wrote that those who do not remember
the past are condemned to repeat it. Just as a small group of GSD show
people took that breed on a path that often results in small boned,
unstable and unsound dogs who are a far cry from the noble GSD who once
existed, so too a group of inexperienced (non-ISSR) breeders are mass
producing inferior puppies that they insist on calling Shiloh Shepherds.
They form their own
"registries" and show at "rare breed" shows that
do not even check registration qualifications, much less the ISSR breed
standard! They also have their own "specialties" with their OWN
"breed standard" to title such dogs! Yet, they insist on calling
them "Shiloh Shepherds" so that they
can easily convince the unsuspecting public to purchase these (not ISSR
approved) puppies; (
Their goal is to sell puppies, apparently having no
concern regarding the damage this will certainly cause the entire breed.
At this early stage of development, with such a
small limited genepool
available, it is imperative that ALL concerned breeders work together for
the betterment of the Shiloh Shepherd!! Although many Backyard Breeders
may think that the ISSR is way too harsh when it comes to its rules, it
is important that we all understand that those rules were created
to protect the future welfare of this entire breed, and that
breeders that adhere to them should be PRAISED while those who
choose to reject them, should not be supported in their effort to sell
substandard puppies!! (Please refer to
Puppy Producers: What Are They?)
Even though these dogs may be "titled" it
should NOT influence anyone to pay outrageous prices for such
puppies, that are almost certain to have some potentially
serious health problems!
Just Look at
The dog pictured
on the left has been shown at
nearly every show available, from coast to coast, earning himself the
GRAND VICTOR! The dog on the right has not been shown,
although he has been bred several times, producing outstanding puppies,
such as the progeny shown below.
We expect him to earn his
ROM before the end of this
year--a title that should be coveted even more so than just a
"championship" because it clearly shows that the dog can PRODUCE
NOW, please take a moment to compare both of the dogs
shown above to the IBS drawing of the
Ideal Shiloh Shepherd pictured to your right.
Which one (the "super" Champion or the "untitled" dog) do you
think is a better representative of the "IDEAL" Shiloh Shepherd?
For a much deeper study into the original ancestry of our breed, please be
sure to take some time to view this
! Get a cup of coffee & don't miss any of the links .. they will
take you to some fantastic pictures ;-)
For more comparisons, please be sure to read the
reports listed below!!