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Archive for the ‘german shepherd’ Category

I can’t believe I have such a nice dog.

anka posing

The eyes pretty much say it all.

I never thought I’d like a dog of this breed, much less consider one my best canine companion.

I think I’m always going to have at least one Deutscher Schäferhund in my home. They are that much fun to train and play with, and they are so clownish and loyal. Plus, they are great watch dogs that can easily be trained not to bark excessively, and the best ones are not vicious.

She is stable and attuned my mood. She is sensitive and eager and quite brainy.

Which is a good thing, because she is built like a body-builder, with massive muscles in her hind quarters and forelegs.

I would not want a dog like her if it was a crazed lunatic that went around randomly attacking people. She could do a lot of damage, but she’s docile and domesticated.

I have, however, seen that demure clowny coyote suddenly become all business when she thought her job was to be the protector.

Anka is what I like in a dog. I’ve always been looking for that perfect balance of drive, good sense, and intelligence in a dog, but it’s harder and harder to find in golden retrievers. It still exists, but it is something one must seek out with a great deal of rigor.

And even then, you may be turned away.

Working German shepherds are really common, and because people often don’t know what they are getting when they purchase a puppy– “I want one of them straight-backed ones” is a common idea in the public mind– they often are in need of good homes. What most people don’t get is those straighter-backed Rin Tin Tin dogs have far more drive than most people are accustomed to having in a dog, and they would be be better suited to buy an actual show-bred dog.

Living with both forms of this breed has given me a deep appreciation for each type.  I can’t say that I am as fundamentalist against the show dogs as I once was. I had to change my mind, because I was wrong.

And yes, we can have all these debates about functional conformation in this breed. We can post that image that shows the horse with the extreme rear angulation. We can show photos of Hektor Linksrhein/Horand von Grafrath all we want.

But i have changed my mind about what breeds I do like to have. One of these days, I’ll probably up my game with a Malinois or a Dutch shepherd, which are like five or six clicks more driven than a working German shepherd,  but for right now, I enjoy what I do have.

A good dog.

 

 

 

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Little puppy has big ears

He is gonna be a stallion of a dog.

quest ears up

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She looks like a female version of him.

rin-tin-tin

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The golden pups are hanging out with Quest, the dorky but soon to be magnificent German shepherd pup.

german baby sitter

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anka

I always thought I’d be a golden retriever person. And I still am. Indeed, I am still very much into the gun dog breeds. I will always have one around.

But I’ve added to my canine tastes an entirely different sort of dog. Well, they aren’t entirely different. I really like the working shepherd dogs from the European continent. They are into retrieving, too, but their natural tendency is to retrieve with a very hard mouth. Half-wild sheep or cattle living on the North European Plain need hard tending.

Anka is a working German shepherd, whose ancestry I’ll never know, but I know she is from working lines. Her dark sable color predominates in those strains, and she is only 64 pounds.

She has decided that I am her main human and with me is as demonstrative and fawning as a golden retriever. With strangers, she is merely aloof. Aggression towards people really isn’t her thing. She loves children and will even adjust her wild playing to meet their needs.

I suppose now I will always have a dog of this type too. The two types of dog are an interesting juxtaposition to each other. Both are about seeking the approval of mankind. Both are about marveling at our species. As flawed as we are, there is something oddly comforting to look into the brown eyes of a dog like these two types.

A German shepherd is a wolfy enough animal for me to think of them as something truly primitive. But their primeval appearance is illusory. They were made wolves out of herding stock, and though they may have a bit of Central European wolf blood coursing their veins, they are working herding breed.

I suppose that as I gain more experience meeting dogs, I will have new ideas about them, and I have the right to change my mind as new facts and faces come to the fore.

I never thought I’d feel this way about a dog of this type, but I really do like her. I love her soft sensitivity, which she avails only to a select few, but it is so different from what I’ve seen in other “macho” breeds.  The boxer and working bulldog types I’ve been around are not like this at all. They are many things, but sensitive souls they are not.

I feel so embarrassed that I was wrong about this breed. Dogs barking like maniacs in backyards or the ones that you pass at the park that growl at you as their owners hold their leads tightly are not truly representative of the breed.

In fact, those same dogs in the right hands might be the most stable working dogs. and with their owners, they might be biggest babies that cower before the Yorkshire terrier or cat that lives in the house.

Anka has this odd sense of humor. It is developed and refined. She greets me with a lick on the face, and then when I’m not looking at her, she will pop her jaws just an inch from my face. I will flinch, and she will look back at me with this goofy grin. Her eyes are so soft and gentle, yet you cannot readily see them through her black mask.

And the way those eyes look at me, I know that I am hers and she is mine, and all will go right with the universe so long as we can be together.

 

 

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