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Home Breed History of the German Shepherd Germany | Post War Breeding

German Shepherd European Post War Breeding | SV | Schutzhund | World War II | Pfeffer and Odin

In Germany, meanwhile, the situation was somewhat different for the German Shepherd breed, especially after World War II. The war had left Germany, particularly rural Germany, absolutely ravaged – the food scarcity had killed off many German Shepherd dogs (not to mention humans), while thousands more had been unfortunately killed. German breeders tended to inbreed or line-breed the best of the remaining specimens – although few dogs dominated the German breeding scene in the way that Pfeffer and Odin had in America. - and by 1949 quality breeds began appearing at dog shows again. In the following decades, the SV remained a powerful force, and the classification system expanded to include a tattoo identification system and the “a” stamp even as standards for top dogs became far more stringent than was the case in America, where breeders were given far more free reign over the lineages they produced, and where show status, rather than bloodline and genetic status, was considered most important.

The SV also began to put increasing emphasis on training and behavior for the German Shepherd breed; tests for courage and temperament as well as endurance and obedience were introduced into the SV's classification and ratings system, echoing in some sense the original purpose of German Shepherd-breeding, which had emphasized character, temperament, and usefulness above aesthetic appearance. These divergences in national tendencies have continued to characterize the breeding and characteristics of American and German Shepherds to the present day.  Interestingly, many of these characteristics that formed the basis of the German Shepherd breed allowed for the formation of Schutzhund, a training regimen focusing on tracking, obedience, and protection.  There are also three (3) levels for Schutzhund, consisting of Schutzhund I, II, and III. Also, before a German Shepherd entertains the notion of Schutzhund I, II, and III, the dog must go through a companion test, known as Begleithund.

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