Hello Rover-ites! With Veterans Day just around the corner, it seems appropriate that the next popular dog breed is the German Shepherd. Well loved by dog sitters and owners alike, this dog breed tied with the Bulldog at number 3 in Seattle for the most popular dog breed.
It usually only takes one glance at a German shepherd by any dog owner, dog sitter, or owner of a Seattle dog boarding facility to understand why the breed is so popular. They are magnificent looking dogs from their pointed ears and distinctive grin all the way down to their furry tails. However, do not let the pristine physical appearance of these dogs fool you. They were bred for work and durability in the late 19th and early 20th century by the German military (thus the name “German” shepherd). An army captain by the name of Max von Stephanitz purchased a sheepherder dog with a high degree of intelligence to begin breeding a dog that could work under any condition. This first dog was named “Horand von Grafrath” and became the first registered German Shepherd dog in history. Horand was inbred heavily to consolidate the characteristics Stephanitz saw as critical to the breed. Stephanitz used his influence as a military officer to convince various branches of the German government to use the dogs as messengers, supply carriers, guard sentries, and crowd control animals.
Although the first German shepherd came to America in 1907, it was not until 1917 that the breed became popular. American soldiers (AKA doughboys) returning home from Europe brought German Shepherds back with them in large numbers exposing them to the general public. The intelligence and ideal “dog” look of the breed landed it in the Hollywood spotlight with Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart (two famous German Shepherd pooch moviestars) making multiple appearances in films. Unfortunately, the widespread demand of the breed encouraged the use of “puppy mills” to meet the public orders. This resulted in a significant downturn in the quality of the average German Shepherd. However, in the 1960s American breeders realized the need to regulate the breed of the German Shepherd to maintain its popularity.
Post by Rover-ite Danny