In Australia recently there has been a lot of discussion about a hereditary disease called Chondrodyplasia (1). [early closure of the growth plates to put it simply]. One of our Stud Dogs has been throwing puppies with this problem. Our National Council, the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia, was notified by a breeder about a Chondrodysplasia puppy he had in a litter. The breeder followed the correct procedure as laid down by the Chairperson of the Hereditary Diseases Committee and was met with 9 months of silence and inaction so he blew the whistle and put it on his website- .  A can of worms was opened. It appears from the information that flowed in from Canberra, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia that bitches carrying the lines of  Iwan Lechtal, Hammer Waterkant, Leitungen Prince Rowdy [an Iwan son] and Lindendale Strike Force when put to the un-named Stud Dog produced a Chondrodysplasia puppy/ies. Given that Iwan Lechtal was the most prolific Stud Dog in the history of the breed in Australia you can imagine the scenario. The Stud dog concerned is a Show winning, multi-Excellent, Breed Survey Class One dog with good Hips and Elbows record regarding progeny and very popular with bitch owners.

The discussion lines were divided into two camps. One group was shocked and struggled with the fact that the Stud Dog was allowed to continue being used at stud in spite of the fact that he was throwing these puppies. They queried why the dog was not being withdrawn from public stud and his Breed Survey status suspended until a full investigation was completed by the Hereditary Diseases Committee. The other group were the so-what group. They stated quite openly that if they had a chondrodysplasia puppy they would not be telling anyone. They would simply put it down and continue on their merry way breeding as usual and just hope that no-one found out or no more chondrodysplastic puppies cropped up in any of their future litters. What was all the fuss about?

 Some of the arguments on both sides were quite balanced and some were over the top. The fact that National Council asked that the discussion be withdrawn from the Rhosyn website did not help matters. According to Vince Tantaro …’ The GSDCA acted swiftly and published a report on the status of Chondrodysplasia in our breed.

However he then went on to say

The GSDCA some time ago introduced the Hereditary Diseases Reporting Form which was an attempt to have a record of health problems encountered by the breed, unfortunately the response has been disappointing…”

That is the crux of the issue, the reluctance/refusal of breeders to co-operate with such a scheme.  No-one wants to submit their pedigrees and admit that they have health problems in their lines. It is not good for puppy sales and Stud Dogs! Also the protection being afforded to the Stud Dog concerned has not helped matters. The dog’s name is probably the worst kept secret in the breed at the moment. It is being thrown around with gay abandon but not put on paper for fear of litigation and reprisals.

Monica Stewart of the well-known Jaimon Kennels in Tasmania after reading the Council’s statement that

            ‘Genetic problems that results in a high incidence of blindness, crippling arthritis or vastly shortened life span [e.g. storage diseases] where there is pain and suffering on behalf of both the dog and the owner [be it monetary or emotional stress] the greater the effort that should be made to decrease the incidence of these problems. The most important point is to keep the problem a breed has within perspective. That this means that if there is a minor problem that does not affect the animal’s soundness either as a working animal or its quality and length of life, that should be kept in proportion to other problems within the breed….’

queried whether National Council really understood the full implications of the situation they were facing. These chondrodysplastic puppies were not cute little oddities that just pop up now and then but that there were other implications apart from the obvious limb deformities that needed to be considered despite National Council’s assurance that ‘the affected dogs lead relatively normal lives with normally only further acquired health problems.’  Relatively normal lives compared with what? Corgis, Bassett Hounds? These are German Shepherds who are supposed to be working dogs – dogs that should work tirelessly for their master was how Max von Stephanitz put it. If the simple dominant/ recessive gene equation applies to the un-named Stud dog and his progeny, 50% of his progeny are chondrodysplasia carriers. According to the statistics placed on the National Council website, the dog has 600 whelps; 6 of these are identified Chondrodyplastic puppies. 50 % normal, 50% carriers means that approximately 300 carry the Chondrodysplasia gene. That should be a concern which should send shudders down the collective spine of the National Council. In a breed which is so dominated by the importance of correct angles, correct proportions of one part to another and with the continual emphasis being placed on the breed as a working dog, Chondrodysplasia should be viewed as a severe deformity which prevents the German Shepherd from functioning as a sound working animal. Not as something which is a mere hiccup in a few breeding programmes.

Monica Stewart’s concern for the good of the breed contrasts with effort of the National Council to dampen things down and see it as a mere glitch in the wider scheme of things. Some glitch! The breeder who made the issue public has been pilloried by a section of the GSD breeding fraternity and many will be watching to see whether at the coming GSDCA National to be held on April 30/May 2 2004 in Adelaide, South Australia, Rhosyn GSDs will be placed at the end of line.

 Breeding for soundness of limb brings us to the Hips and Elbows Scheme which we have in place. (2). We are very proud of our scheme because we do have the lowest cut –off point in the world as far as Hips go- 8 points is the maximum allowed on each hip. However questions are being asked about the integrity of the scheme when it is a known fact that some breeders if they get a Fail, put their dogs in the trailer and go to another Vet in another State who specializes in Hips and Elbows X-rays. Another set of x-rays and presto, a Fail is turned into a glorious Pass. When we had Grades it was even more miraculous. In some cases a Fail could be turned into an A: Normal! There is talk about the quality and type of film being used by the Vets when they take an x-ray. One type is supposed to give a clearer plate than the other. If this is so, why has the National Council not specified the type of film to be used when taking the x-ray?  They specify everything else in detail. Make it a level playing field for all, not just for those owner/breeders who can afford the interstate trips and multiple sets of x-rays. (25). There is another side to the issue – these dogs that have questionable A stamps when used for breeding will pass on those genes. Some puppy buyer who has high hopes is then devastated to learn that their beautiful puppy has HD and in quite a few cases the breeders will not accept any responsibility because if they do then puppy sales will go down and people will want their money back. Not good for the bank balance and the reputation of their Kennel, let alone the Stud dog.

In 1995 the Elbows Scheme was introduced to combat the rising incidence of Elbow Dysplasia. (3). In 1998 there was a move to make 0-0 Elbows a pre-requisite for the Excellent Select grading. It seemed reasonable enough for these dogs and bitches are considered and promoted as the cream of Australian breeding programmes. The motion was soundly defeated. Self interest came to the fore because owner/breeders worked out quite quickly that their magnificent dog/bitch with a grade One in an elbow would never go Excellent Select. We have had a Sieger who has a Grade One in both Elbows as well as a Siegerin who has a Grade One in both Elbows. The Siegerin is a daughter of the Grade One elbows Sieger. A perusal through the latest Breed Survey Book will reveal just how common it has become for dogs to have grades in their elbows. It raises the question of just how serious are we about Elbow Dysplasia. Where does breeding for soundness come in?

The Breed Surveyors lately have come in for a lot of flak and the Breed Survey Scheme is not pulling in as many dogs as it used to in past years. Close scrutiny reveals a scheme that is becoming flawed. To the on-looker there seems to be another agenda operating. On paper it is very strict but it is the exception to the rule that is weakening the scheme. At a recent Breed Survey held where two imports were being breed surveyed for the first time an interesting thing happened. Both dogs had arrived from Germany without their Korung gradings because they were young dogs not yet 18 months old when they arrived in Quarantine. [We have a rule in Australia that no dog/bitch can be used for breeding until they are18 months old. The GSDCA rules regarding the listing of puppies require that both parents must be breed surveyed] Both dogs were on the upper limit. The stick was put on one dog and it swung in the breeze like a pendulum. Our SV measuring stick is set at 66cms for dogs and 61 cms for bitches and then adjusted accordingly. The Surveyor gave the dog every opportunity to relax in order to see if the dog dropped down. This did not happen so the Surveyor failed the dog on account of height. The second dog came up and again the stick swung but just slightly in the breeze. There was a different surveyor for this dog, the dog passed. Several months later the first dog was re-presented at another breed survey in the country and passed – the explanation given was the high price paid for the dog justified the owner having the right to have the dog at stud even though the dog was oversize.  It must be said that this particular dog is a producer. His progeny that are in the ring are very beautiful and so far, none is over size. They fall within the medium size range. (24).

However, size is just one issue with the Breed Survey. Of greater concern is the temperament test and the gun test. We have a lot of dogs running around with Breed Survey Class One that freak out at a sharp sound, dig a hole or head for the hills or spin like a top when they hear a gun, and back off from approaching strangers. Some are so dog aggressive that they want to rip apart any dog that comes within 30 feet of them. Others are so aggressive that no judge can do a tooth check.  Yet these are Breed Survey Class One. The most classic case occurred at the 1996 Main Breed Exhibition (4) our equivalent of the Sieger Show- in full view of everyone, Kantenna Ablaze, an Arko Huhnegrab son, attacked a bystander. He ripped off the man’s trousers and sunk his teeth in. Was the dog stripped of his breed survey status for an unprovoked attack? Did he lose his Excellent grading? Not on your Nelly. He retained his Excellent at that Show and was not required to be re-presented at the next breed survey. The Queensland Police Dog Squad have commented that the Kantenna Ablaze progeny they had in training were a public liability when it came to bite work because a] they would not respond to commands and b] instead of grabbing an offender they bit through to the bone. They could not use the dogs for crowd control or criminal pursuit. (5).

With regard to temperament testing (6) it is becoming painfully obvious that the walk through a crowd of 10 persons and having a clip board waved over the head is not a true test of temperament or trustworthiness as too many surveyed dogs are showing poor temperament away from the familiar surrounds of the show ring and their familiar training ground. There is no confrontation at a breed survey with the result that everyday things such as traffic, doors banging, strangers passing by, dealing with prams and shopping trolleys, are revealing dogs lacking in steadiness of nerves. Years ago Tom Luxton and Anita Pettenhoffer introduced a series of tests known as the Temperament Instinct and Character Test. This wasa pre-requisite for entry to Breed Survey. Under pressure from the Show fraternity it was dropped. Years later Max Stokes tried to introduce a series of temperament tests that would have really stretched the reliability of the dog under various conditions but it too was unsuccessful. The time has come for temperament testing to be reviewed. We need a good, sound, reliable temperament test such as that which is a major part of the Canine Good Citizen Programme to be a pre-requisite for Breed Survey. Show dogs need to be socialized and taught how to deal with everyday situations not kept isolated in a kennel and brought out just for training and a trip to a show.  They have to be trustworthy under all conditions and in all situations. We need to ask ourselves whether we are prepared to put in the extra time to train our show dogs or will we drop back on the usual catch cry- too hard, not enough time, just for the Obedience dogs.

Australian GSDs did not have a massive soft ear problem until the 1990’s with the rush of imports including Bedwins Baron and Iwan Lechtal.(7). We did have the odd soft ear from time to time. Now it is like watching the washing on the line flapping in the breeze when you see the dogs in the ring. Many of those ear owners are Breed Survey Class One. What does the form say ‘Ears- firm, correct shape, size and set’?  After one Breed Survey where a beautiful bitch was given a Class Two because her ears were not sufficiently firm; they were paper thin and stood out like helicopter blades unless she heard a whistle.  The owner/ breeder was really miffed and berated the Breed Surveyor for daring to grade one of her bitches as a Class Two. 8. In Australia there is a misconception that Class Two is equivalent to a Fail and not as is in the Breed Survey Manual a Very Good. It is a brave Surveyor who will take on some breeder /owners.

Good sportsmanship is a thing of the past for some people. The almighty dollar and the success of their kennel take precedence. The recent GSDL NSW State Breed Show and the recent Main Breed Show revealed how strongly some owners feel. The display of bad sportsmanship at both shows left a lot to be desired. (23).

Colour paling is another curse. It is amazing to see some dogs from show to show. They go from a yellow canary gold to a dirty brown or to a rich chestnut in a matter of days. Saddles that were diminishing are suddenly solid black once more. Catch them on an off-show day and they are cream with practically no saddles (9.) One explanation given when the German Judge queried the true colour of the bitch before him was that she laid under the mulberry tree and the strange blotchy colour was due to the mulberry stains. 10.  A whole kennel changed its colour from pale gold to rich mahogany red for a show. Even the bitch that was described in a previous critique as being a ‘grey sable’ was now a rich gold with a solid saddle.11. By the way there was no way that bitch could have been a sable as neither parent was a sable. So what are we on about? When Iwan Lechtal came into the country he gave us magnificent colour and everyone wanted to cash in on it, thus the colour change syndrome that is obvious at Australian Shows. When there was a move to colour test all dogs on the pegs at the GSDCA National, the reaction was so strong that no host Club and no Judge/Surveyor was prepared to back it up for fear of reprisals and litigation. 12. The other issue was the use of steroids, performance enhancing drugs. It goes down as far as the Minor Puppy Class and even some in the Baby Puppy Class are known to have been given steroids. That was another issue that threatened to tear the place apart; ‘That all dogs on the pegs from Minor Puppy Class upwards be tested for performance enhancing drugs’ It never made it into print. (13). Some bitches are forever in full coat. No matter how frequently they are shown.  Other owners have to deal with their bitches dropping coat. Obviously some owners are fortunate enough to have bitches that don’t come into season for at least 2 years!

In most States of Australia Schutzhund is banned (14). Imported dogs with Schutzhund titles cannot have them on the ANKC registration papers and only imported dogs can use the titles in any advertisements. That is how strong the paranoia concerning Schutzhund titles is in Australia. In Queensland Schutzhund is permitted at specially licensed Clubs such as the Australian United Schutzhund Club on the Gold Coast. We may not as yet be a Breed divided as in other countries when it comes to Working Vs Show but it is in the making. The seeds are being sown. The attitude of some of the Show fraternity towards the Working/ Trialling dogs is paving the way for the great divide (27). It is a well-known fact among the Obedience fraternity that if you wish to purchase a dog from the top Show kennels you do not mention the word ‘Obedience’ otherwise they will sell you crap – the dog that no one else wants. Elke Effler with her Search ‘n’ Rescue Training Group, the Australian Swiss Search Dog Association, is doing a lot to break down those attitudes as are the many Dual Champions in the various Clubs and also Honey Gross Richardson with her Good Companion Programme in Western Australia. Perhaps the one dog that has done the most to break down the barrier is the Dual Champion Astasia Carson UD ET who is the first Dual Champion to go Excellent Select/VA. This dog certainly blazed a pathway for the other Excellent graded Dual Champions and raised the profile of Obedience. Carson is currently aiming for the Triple Championship with the addition of Tracking Champion. When Carson was purchased there was no mention of the word ‘Obedience’ in any of the dealings.  His owner was asked if he would bring the puppy back at 6 months so that the breeders could see if the puppy was show quality. Wisely he agreed to the request and the rest is history. Carson lit up both rings and was a joy to watch.

Perhaps the strongest indication of the attitude towards working dogs is illustrated by the move of Louis Donald when he was GSDCA President to have all dogs who competed in the Open Classes at the Main Breed Exhibition do a compulsory round of  Agility (15). Now before you have visions of a full Agility Ring, it was a truncated course of 5 obstacles and they were given 10 minutes to complete the course.  The outcry was such from the Show fraternity that it was abandoned after just one Main Breed Show and has not been resurrected since. The claim was that a] it confused the dogs and b] they did not have time to train them (16). The tendency to insulate the show dogs from the basics of obedience is often illustrated at a Breed Survey when they are trying to get the dog to stand still for the measuring stick. The current Australian Siegerin was like a leaping gazelle. A good 5 minutes passed before something was done to calm the bitch down sufficiently to allow the stick to be placed on her. In frustration one of the onlookers yelled out ‘Just tell her to stand!’ Only when the comment was made did the person realize that she was speaking a foreign language. Show dogs don’t know the command to ‘stand’ as their owners believe  that it confuses the dog if they do obedience as well as show. So we are steadily breeding blond bimbos. German Shepherds without brains or the willingness to work. Why?  The big money is in Showing not breeding dogs that can work. In Australia we do not have too many dogs with strong working lines, we have bred them out. Vasall v Kirschental gave his progeny brains and the ability to think, face challenges and solve problems but his lines are gradually disappearing. Those kennels that do concentrate on working lines are considered to be inferior (17). The late Max Stokes former President of the GSDCA, Breed Surveyor and Championship Judge and the late David O’Rourke from the GSDL NSW, Breed Surveyor, Championship Judge and Senior Obedience Judge, both of these men worked hard to raise the profile of obedience in the Specialist Show arena and dreamed of the day when Excellent Select would require at least a CDX title. They would have been gratified to know that at the 2003 Main Breed Show two of the Excellent Select bitches were Obedience titled – the Vice Siegerin Flicona Lollipop CDX ET and Excellent Select 6 Ch Astasia Enya CDX ET.

The other reason for the bimbo syndrome is Breed Specific Legislation. The ordinary person in the street cannot handle a dog with strong defense and prey drives. They want a ‘soft dog.’ Also the years of the Ban 1929 -1972 are deeply ingrained into the Australian GSD breeder’s psyche ( 18). We live in fear of this ban being imposed once more as the anti-dog lobby grows and spreads across the country. Any dog with upright ears involved in a dog attack has to be a GSD even if it is the size of a Chihuahua.

Like many other countries we are subject to the spate of imports that flow from Germany. Australians believe that if it is expensive it must be good. If it comes from Germany it has to be the best. We also have had the Jeck progeny with questionable pedigrees. (19). Luck Batu was not exactly a roaring success in Australia. His Hips and Elbows results were very poor. We have had dogs that failed their DNA 20. as well as dogs whose Australian owners have refused the request of the SV to have a DNA sample taken just in case the dog is not who he is supposed to be (21). We seem to regard imports automatically as being the best thing for our breeding programmes in Australia. It comes from being a Convict Colony, a dumping ground for the refuse of the British legal system. It will be interesting to see if Lafer Batu is good for our Australian bitches given what is happening with his full brother, Larus Batu. Can Lafer Batu correct the forward placed Forequarter Assembly that Iwan Lechtal has given to the breed? Will he be able to improve the lack of bone? Will size be contained? Will our males look like males once more? (22).

We are at the crossroads. Hard questions need to be faced with regard to what is best for the breed in Australia. Judges and Breed Surveyors have to be prepared to take a stand. Honesty is needed plus a massive dose of courage. We have an approved Breed Standard which should be adhered to. Size needs to be addressed without worrying about who owns or who bred the dog or who is at the end of the lead. It is either oversized or not. Breeders need to do their homework when it comes to using Imports. Boutique breeding is not working. Some lines should never be put together. We should ask ourselves whether the lines that are being promoted – Jeck Noricum, Zamb Wienerau and Ursus Batu – are the direction we should take. Breeders need to be more honest and acknowledge that they do have problems in their lines. Vince Tantaro had a valid point when he spoke about the reluctance of breeders to report hereditary diseases and health problems in their lines. We need to address the problem of poor fronts, short chest development, lack of bone strength, loss of masculinity.  Poor temperament, loss of working ability, unsteady dogs – all of these detract from what the German Shepherd was bred to be a sound [sound in mind and limb] medium sized working dog. (26). We stand in need of clear breed direction. Louis Donald is missed. His passion for the German Shepherd and his vision for the future direction of the breed laid a solid foundation for those who followed him. Louis was not on about self-promotion but was motivated by a true love of the breed which he passionately loved with every ounce of his being. He had to make the hard decisions and take a stand. He paid the price. When facing the hard questions and making the decisions that need to be made we must be honest enough to ask ourselves ‘Is it for love of the breed or self-promotion?’ – and then be prepared to face the consequences of our answer.

Jean E. Johnston rsc


Notes and References:

1.Chondrodysplasia – Rhosyn Site www. plus Forum comments

Memorandum to all Affiliates of the GSDCA from NBC Chairperson – Stud Dog is now named and use with caution issued. February 2004.

· Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog March 2004- Update on Chondrodysplasia- Dr Karen Hedberg, BV S

2. Integrity of the Hips Scheme – Rhosyn site www. plus Forum comments; Fidelity GSDCQ magazine October 2000 “Hips Scheme Review” Dr Karen Hedberg BVSc “Minutes of Meeting with Drs Lavelle and Wyburn.” Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog December 2002 – “What Price A Normal Hip” Dr. Karen Hedberg BVSc. The Veterinarian May 2001

Incidence of Hip Dysplasia –Radiography Results” Ray Stephens BVSc.

3. GSDCA Breed Survey Year Books 1996- 2002 Elbows Results; Troy Noriswand; Kantenna Nutmeg Advertisements

4. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog December 1996– Editorial re directive from President concerning Letters to the Editor. Any letter dealing with the Kantenna Ablaze incident was not allowed to be printed.  No Official Complaint was made. cf. CCCQ 1996 Rules regarding show of aggression at Show or Exhibition. # 225, 225A, 225 B, 225C, 225D. Also *Constitution of Incorporated Affiliates: Objects 4: [i] “….the responsibility of owners for the conduct and actions of their dogs.” This particular Show 1996 MBS was controversial also because the Open Dog Judge awarded his own dog Excellent Select. The furor over this action superceded the attack incident. An official wall of silence surrounded the attack.

* A young GSD breeder/ owner in Far North Queensland put in her own incident report when her young dog bit his handler prior to going into the ring even though it meant that her dog was suspended for 6 months and the details published in The Queensland Dog World. She worked very hard at improving his temperament and succeeded in being able to present him successfully for Breed Survey 10 months later.

5. QPDS August 2000 Discussion: Torro Bisschofsheim & Kantenna Ablaze bloodlines. The discussion ranged around which bloodline better suited the work of the Police Dog Squad. The K Ablaze progeny training in the Dog Squad at the time could not be worked in public because they were over the top once they were engaged in bite work but were successfully assigned to other duties such as Drug or Bomb detection work and Corrective Services [Prison duty]. At the time the Torro Bisschofsheim line could not be fully assessed as the dog in question was only 8 months old whereas the KA progeny were about 2 years old at that time. This comment only refers to the actual QPDS trainees in a specific controlled training situation and not every single KA progeny in Australia.

Breeding advice re use of Arko Huhnegrab given by Walter Martin, Hans-Peter Rieker, Erich Orschler & Helmut Buss against line breeding on  X-litter Arminius -Xaver & Xandra because of anticipated problems with progeny. Because his Sire was Arko Huhnegrab Kantenna Ablaze was line bred X –litter Arminius Xaver, Xandra 5,5-5. cf. Breed Survey 4409 ‘Character is strong & protective.’ However, it does not therefore follow, as some in Australia have assumed incorrectly, that automatically all K Ablaze progeny were seen to be problematic. This was not the case. The advice given by the SV Judges was to avoid where possible further linebreeding to the X-litter Arminius for reasons previously stated.

Walter Martin SV did say that in every third generation you need a crazy dog to maintain hardness of character but that presupposes knowledge and a respect for the true Schutzhund dog.

“The Making of the Wienerau World Champion” Interview conducted by Ricardo Carbajal with Walter Martin SV after his success at the 1992 Sieger Show.

‘[Vanta] inherits her spirit from Xaver Arminius. He was the crazy one, always the ‘gangster’ and Vanta is this way …’

6. Max Von Stephanitz 1923 The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture Anton Kampfe Jena: ‘Work is an absolute necessity for the German Shepherd Dog …. Kennel life alone becomes a curse for him in a physical as well as a psychological manner…’ Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog June 2003 “The Canine Good Companion Programme” Honey Gross Richardson & Rick Richardson.

Herr Hans Rudenauer Report WUSV Minutes Karlsruhe 2002.

Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog March 2002Gun Test, James Rodger,

German Shepherd News July 2003 “From a Judge’s Point of View” Fran Farley

Article: When Judges Get Lost, Breeders will Too Fred Lanting. ‘… True mark of beauty is utility, and that the German Shepherd Dog is nothing if it is not a working dog. …’

7. Breed Workshop Papers – GSDCV 1996 Louis Donald. “Strengths & Weaknesses of the Modern German Shepherd Dog” Manchester Lecture February 2003 Peter van Oirschot, Breed Affairs Chairman, NDL.

8. Breed Survey # 5303; German Shepherd News February 2003 “Where to now?” ‘…Breed Survey: * Quality control should be enforced- a Class 2 animal is a Class 2. 'Emphasis should be made that Class 2 is still above the average of the standard and not derogatory….’

9. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog December 1999 President’s Report.  ‘There is much rumour about colour and the use of dyes to enhance a dog’s appearance. It has been suggested to me that we should introduce random colour testing as they do in Germany……but to go the easy route and colour one’s dog that in most cases hides poor pigmentation is not sports like and a disservice to the breed. …’

10. 2003 National Catalogue #186 Intermediate Bitch cf Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog June 2003 – Judge’s critique.

11. Judges Critiques – Fidelity November 1999 GSDCQ SBE Judge’s Critique, Breed Survey 5557

12. German Shepherd News GSDCV Magazine July 2003Fran Farley From A Judge’s Point of View – Guns, Colour & Rose-coloured Glasses.

‘…I well remember one dog being so spotty with a bad colour job, that I said to the owner, “You insult my intelligence.”…’

13. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog March 1987 Editorial, James Rodger. 15th National - Testing for Drugs.  The Editor referred to the use of drugs as being ‘… a pathetic, disgusting practice….’   Random Drug Testing for Performance Enhancing drugs is carried out at Australia’s most prestigious Agricultural Show, the Sydney Easter Royal Show.  All Breed winners are tested for performance enhancing drugs. If it is good enough for the Royal Shows, it should be good enough for the National and the MBE. What are we concerned about?

14.  Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog December 2003 President’s’ Report.  ‘…  In my discussions with Dr. Lux, Director of the SV, I made mention of the restrictive dog legislations that we face in Australia and the reasons why the Council cannot support the sport of Schutzhund. He was understanding and assured me that there would be no pressure placed on us to push for the sports acceptance in Australia.’ 

'One is left wondering what system to correctly assess a dog’s character Australia will adopt if we do not take on board the BH test as a minimum as recommended previously by Messler and Rudenauer at Karlsruhe 2002'.

When Judges Get Lost Breeders Will Too. Fred Lanting… ‘I have yet to see any dog with normal temperament [either soft or hard] that cannot become a better canine citizen through Schutzhund. …’

15. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog– Autumn 1992, June 1993;

16. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog March 1994 – Agility no longer required for Open Classes at MBE. Quite ironic as the Australian PAL National Champion Agility Team was the Western Australia GSDA team known as the FLAGS – Fast Lean Agile German Shepherds. They were undefeated for four years 1997 -2000. No mean feat as they had to win the WA State title each time before they made the final six teams. They chose not to defend their title the fifth year. They had travelled east to Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide for the previous finals and won for the fourth time on their home ground, Perth. To date, no other State Agility Team has equalled this record.

17. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog, December 1999. In Praise of Working Dog Temperament – Theresa Mancuso. Theresa Mancuso was a member of the New Skete Monastic Communities for a number of years.  ‘… Breeders control the future of this breed we all love. Those who strive for quality [more than money] are the strength of the present and the hope of the future. … German Shepherd Dogs are first and foremost working dogs whose physical structure and form is intrinsically tied to their working ability. To speak of the German Shepherd Dog separate from its working character is to slice away at the core of this noble being’s essential reality. …’

18: The COURIER- MAIL 17 June 2003. [Queensland’s Daily Newspaper]  Article by Michael Corkhill.  In this article referring to the dog attack statistics, Richard Hockey, Senior Analyst Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit comments : “One may speculate, given these results, [GSD attacks] why it has never been proposed that the keeping or breeding of German Shepherds be again restricted….”

19. Bedwins “S” litter: two were in Australia; Ch Bedwins Siegaro, Ex Select 1996 and Ch Bedwins Siegfreud, the latter was a very popular Sire. He died as a result of bloat in April 1996.

20. Memorandum GSDCA Breed Affairs July 2003 re problem with pedigree papers of imported Sire.  Ring Leader The Dog Paper Vol 3 #10 “From Dog to DNA’ Dr Jeff Sampson; “What is DNA Profiling” Dr Jeff Sampson. The Kennel Club Canine Genetics Co-coordinator

Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog March 1999 ‘Genotyping How Can It Prove Pedigree?’

21. Review of Bremen Sieger Show 2000– Fred Lanting

www.  Concerning Grando Dei Profiti, V24,

‘a son of Iwan Lechtal whose DNA has been questioned, but who is safe in Australia now with arguments about those reports and no resubmission of swabs or blood…’

22. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog June 2001 – ‘A Hot Friday – Beautiful Shepherds” Fran Farley; 

Summary of Observations & Views of the 1998 MBE Louis Donald ‘…length and lay of the upper arm …has deteriorated significantly…’

23. Quarterly National Review German Shepherd Dog - December 2003 President’s Message and Summary of MBE – re Bad Sportsmanship at the MBE.

‘… Of late exhibitors in this country are more willing to questions a judge’s decision and whilst I have no objection to this, for there to be a benefit, it must be done in a proactive way and not to be seen as a witch hunt…. But what I cannot understand is the way now exhibitors do not accept the decision….’

Open Dog Summation Main Breed Exhibition 2003.

‘No show is complete without perceived or real controversy. It is unfortunate that exhibitors feel the need to vent their anger both visibly and vocally when the expectation of where their dog is placed is not realized by the Judge. It is also most unfortunate that exhibitors lack the respect to keep their frustration to themselves. … The Open Bitch Judge and myself were subjected to what is poor behaviour and really those concerned may need to evaluate exactly why they show dogs.  The showing of dogs is to get an opinion. If the opinion does not suit then please do not shoot the messenger. The fact that dogs failed the gun test and/or temperament or were not properly prepared or performed badly is no reason to abuse or to intimidate judges from outside the ring. ….’

*24. Louis Donald, a former President of the GSDCA, in his summations after the MBE frequently stated that size must be contained. .. ‘Size is unquestionably an issue and needs to be checked before it gets totally out of hand…’ MBE 1998. Louis also used to say that size does not necessarily beget size. This particular dog proves his point.

*25. The GSDCA does have in place a detailed procedure of Appeal regarding Hips Scores. The comments on the Integrity of the Hips and Elbows Scheme as well as the other Forum comments on the Rhosyn site about this topic do not refer to this procedure.

*26  German Shepherd News February 2003. “Where to now?” Report on GSDCV Breed Seminar held on December 1 2002.  ‘…*Need to review worth of imported dogs – not all imports are good for our breeding programs and breeders should show more discrimination….*We need to look at breeding to improve the forequarters, hips, elbows, size, masculinity, pigmentation and working ability… *Concern has been expressed at higher levels about the deterioration of the breed, the lack of strength in the males, the large bitches in our breeding program….’

*27. Shepherd News Jan /Feb 2004. Letter to the Editor. [Name supplied]  ‘…What is happening to our Club? We already have Tuesday & Thursday night training at Erskine Park. …. Aren’t our other dogs [pet and obedience] good enough to be around? Do you people who attend this Wednesday night training want to build the Berlin Wall again and divide the Club?...’

· Letter from GSDCQ: 1 April 2004 to Sister Johnston

At the German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland Inc General Meeting held on the 22 March 2004, the issue concerning your continuing membership with this club was discussed.

The members were advised of:

  1. The internet literature written by you

  2. The six written letters of complaint from other members

  3. The letter forwarded to you by the GSDCQ Inc dated 10 February 2004

  4. Email from you 18/2/04 stating all correspondence will be with your solicitor

  5. your response letter dated 22 February 2004

  6. A Statutory Declaration from you dated 12 February 2004 received 18 March 2004….

“ … for anyone to publicly denigrate such efforts [re National Council] via the world-wide internet is unfortunate.

Please be advised that this is an Official Letter of Censure and an Official Warning from the German Shepherd Club of Queensland concerning your behaviour.

Should you persist in this conduct and further complaints are received from club members, the GSDCQ Inc, will have no choice but to review your future membership with this club.

Should you decide that you will continue writing such articles on the German Shepherd Dog breed, the German Shepherd Dog National Council and all its affiliates for circulation via the world wide internet, we suggest that you seriously consider the value of your membership with this club.

We advise the German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland’s decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into, subject to receiving further letters of complaint as mentioned above.

Signed on behalf of the GSDCQ Inc              

Sharon Thorp


German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland Inc.