German Shepherd Pigment: HOW RED SHOULD THEY BE?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So many times when people buying puppies from me preface the purchase of a German Shepherd puppy with the statement “I really want this puppy to have rich reds”.  I think it might be a good thing to discuss this issue a bit.

First of all, the German Shepherd is a very unique dog.  It is one of the top three most intelligent dogs in the world.  It is more multiutility than any canine on earth. Though some dogs may be better at some individual task, no dog on earth is as capable at a multiplicity of tasks as this amazing breed.  There is just so much more to the breed than pigment.  You might buy roses based on color.  You might even purchase a toy dog largely on outward appearance.  But not a German Shepherd.   In the next blog I will discuss the term “temperament” when it comes to the German Shepherd.  But, certainly buying one of these magnificent beasts based on pigment is a critical mistake.  In fact, people who do, and don’t appreciate the multifaced metrics you must consider might end up being unhappy owners. They might insist on a certain pup based on color and end up with a dog with drive they can’t handle or might settle on a litter without considering other important variables such as confidence, dog aggression, timidity.

How red should a German Shepherd puppy be?  First of all, although you can tell a good deal about the final pigment from a puppy, it is clearly not definitive.  For example, Ulk Arlett, the 1995 world sieger, didn’t really red out until 4 years old.  The Arlett kennels had actually sold him to someone, I believe in Italy, only to buy him back later.  But one way to determine the potential pigment in a puppy is to lift up the tail and look underneath.  If you see red/orange/rust there, that is a good indication.

But, although one thing we breed for is pigment, it is clearly only one characteristic.  Conformation, health and termperament are equally important.  The old Rin Tin Tin black and tan has somewhat been replaced by black and red (more mahogany).  But, the amount of pigment varies quite a bit.  It is nice to get some rusting, but don’t expect a distorted deep red.  Most of the pictures you see of World Sieger champs, those done by Urma and others, are all enhanced.  Some of the pictures I get are clearly doctored.  I know because the tongue of the dog is a rose red and the person’s hand which is holding the dog is pink and the grass is way too green.  It makes us expect our pups to also be that red.

So, bottom line, with German shepherd puppies, while we would like some browning/rusting on the lighter parts of the shepherd (chest is usually lighter), on the legs, mane, and maybe face, we shouldn’t expect really rich deep reds, which rarely if ever exist.  And look for balance.  Don’t exclusively look for red or you may get what you want in pigment but not what you will want as a dog.  I would take wonderful conformation, health, temperment and moderate pigment in a German shepherd puppy over a beet red mess anyday.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.













Introducing Dogs to Your Pack

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

This is for all of you who have asked me how to introduce new German shepherd puppies / dogs to your pack.  Here are some helpful techniques:

First, a good way to start them off on the right foot is to put the puppy in a crate and then tell you other dog to go find his/her new friend.  Lead them into the area calmly but with enthusiasm.  When they find the puppy, have a treat ready and reward them for finding them.  Do this five times or until your dog is really enjoying the adventure.  Then switch.  Put your dog in the kennel and have the new puppy go find your dog.  This time, when the puppy finds your dog, reward them both.  Do this a number of times.

Once you have done this, it is time for the walk matriculation as I have explained in another article/blog.  You take them both for a walk, dogs on the right, shoulder at your hip, and then stop one dog, control the head and let the other go behind and sniff.  Then continue walking and let the other do the same.  Do this a number of times.  This allows then to scent without challenging and is a good way to break the ice.  And having them go face to face can lead to pack warfare, especially in an amorphous pack.

Continue this with the walk matriculation a few times.  Remember to always watch your dogs together as long as tails are up.  When they drop to their normal position in each others company or wag, accompanied by a relaxed countenance, they are starting to get used to each other.  Still, always watch your dogs for a few months and never leave them alone together.

I hope this is a help to you.  Visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.











Your German Shepherd Puppy Import: What to Expect

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

For all of you importing a puppy from Germany through us and those of you planning to import one through another breeder, see my new article on Importing German shepherd puppies.

There are actually many things to know.  This article goes over everything including the process of travel, the health, what to bring to the airport, paperwork etc.

I hope this is a help to you.  You can see it by clicking on “Your German shepherd Import puppy-what to expect“.  Also, visit our German Shepherd K9 University by clicking on “GSD K9 U“.









How big is too big? When to STOP puppy food.

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I have so many people calling me to ask if their puppy is too big and if they should stop puppy food.  This is a difficult question.  First let us look at the breed standard and then give some useful benchmarks to to use in making that decison.

For males, height ranges from 60-65 centimeters adn 66-88 pounds.  For females the height is 55-60 (5 cm or 2 inches at the withers…shoulder blade area) and weight at 48-70 pounds.  So the maximum weight for a male it around 88, although they may get to be 90-95 at maturity (4-6 years old), MAX.  An 80 pound female is over standard and may be overweight.  But this is where it takes more discernment.

Frame is very important.  If a dog is over standard in height then it will likely be overstandard in weight.  If a dog is mid-standard in height it should likely be mid-standard in weight.  When dogs are obese is when they have a weight grossly inconsistent with their frame height.

American always seem to want to buy by the pound.  They think they are getting a better deal when getting more pound for the dollar.  But oversize shepherds are more prone to joint problems. They move less characteristically, I would say less gracefully.  They can, if much larger than the standard, start exhibiting characteristics of gigantism:  Drooping jowls, different bone structure in the face, atypical gait, etc.  Shepherds are not a giant breed.   For years the Germans have allowed “creative stacking” in the world sieger show and have been biased toward the more majestic, larger shepherds.  But not the gigantic ones Americans seem to like.  They were maybe a centimeter or two above standard.

But the SV is moving back toward the middle of the standard, trying to correct the tendency toward huge shepherds.  Max Von Stephanitz had a particular vision for the shepherd which was as a working dog, and oversize can negatively impact this.  One could also argue that having shepherd grossly larger than standard could negatively affects other characteristics of the breed standard from movement to appearance. Also, one might argue that the German shepherd joints were not made for such a large dog.

In the next article we will give you some guidelines about when to stop puppy food and some of the dangers of overgrowing puppies.  Bottom line:  Bigger is not better, stick with standard, although slightly over standard is fine.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.














CAREFUL: Don’t get bitten-Dog’s Ceremonial Dances

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

It is so enjoyable to see German shepherd puppies begin their ceremonial dance from about 5 weeks on.  Dogs are all about ceremony.  They have learned scripted communications patterns making it easier to predict their behavior and for them to predict other dogs’ behavior.  They have meet and greet scripts, challenging scripts, pack order testing and proving scripts, etc.  It is a simple yet clear language which we can learn to read if we look for the signs.  And reading them can really help you obviate being victims of K-9 aggression.

For example, take the tail.  If the tail is in its natural position, dogs are normally at ease with their environment.  If it is tucked between its legs the dog is usually demonstrating signs of submission. If it is held high, stiff and rigid, it is a sign of wariness and dominance.  If it is high and stiff/rigid, and slowly “flagged” (moved side to side) the dog is in a challenging and aggressive posture so stay back.

Let’s give one example of how we might use ceremony and scripted language of our K9 companions to our use.  For example, you may be introducing an adult dog into your pack with other dogs.  A great way to do this is on the walk.  One person walks one dog (dog on left) and the other the other dog (dog again on walker’s left).  Stop one dog and stand in front securing his head forward.  The other person will bring their dog around and allow it to sniff behind the other dog.  Once this scenting ritual is complete, repeat with the other dog.  Do this a number of times on the walk.

Then, perform a ritualized submission routine to get each to submit to you while the other dog is near to emphasize your top pack position and teaching them to be comfortable with this behavior around other dogs.  You first down one dog, and then, with dog on outside, circle the downed dog with yours.  Do the same switching who is down.

By doing this you limit the script to scenting and avoid the possibility of a challenge script being invoked during the ritual by an unsure dog.  Watch the tails.  When they start to drop to normal height they are beginning to feel comfortable with eachother.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.













Male or Female? Which do I choose?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So which gender do I choose?  For all you German shepherd puppies buyers, please see my new article at:  The K9University to get some help making the difficult decision.

I hope you find it helpful.  Good luck searching for that perfect German Shepherd puppy!








ATTENTION: Get Hips X-rayed at ONE YEAR or TWO?

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

So what is the right answer?  Should you get your German shepherd puppies hips x-rayed, OFA’d at one or two years old?

I say resoundingly, at one year old for a couple of reasons.  First the Germans do it then, and I believe they have a good logic for it.  First of all one wouldn’t want to put in all the training, time, and energy into a dog whose hips were going to be dysplasiac.  It is very expensive to title a dog to BH and Schutzhund titling, which can all be done prior to the two year xray.  Extraordinary effort goes into showing these dogs and preparing them for the ring.  It is a great investment of time and effort.  In addition to trainers and handlers, there is vet bills and food, as well as the use of limited time resources devoted to the dog.

Secondly, many dogs begin serious training in the second year of life.  But some buy them as pets, while others use them for sport or work.  Up until one years old, dogs are treated fairly equally.  However, between 1 and 2 there can be a great disparity of how much stress hips get from one dog to another.  So, where one dog is worked heavily and shows more change/deterioration in the hip profile, another may not be worked.  So even if the unworked dog had slightly worse hips at one, they will look as though they are better at two, and this can be attributed to erroneously to genetics.  It is better to do it at 1 when you are comparing “apples to apples”.

I require all of my clients to do the OFA prelim which they tout as being an accurate predictor of future hip health.  But I do it for a third and very important reason, the good of my clients.  You hear of lifetime warranties given on hips.  But how many people are going to bring their dogs back to a breeder, their faithful and loved companion, in order to trade in for another pup.  I know that the longer they wait the harder it is emotionally to make the break and take the pup back.   So I would rather they do it at one year old, when they are more likely to return their German shepherd puppy so I can replace it, rather than them waiting until two years old and being less likely to part with it and therefore be saddled with a miserable dog in pain, with costly medical expenses.

So I say resoundingly, for these three reasons, get German shepherd puppies hips done at one year old as they do in Germany.

I hope this was helpful.  Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters with parents with excellent hip profiles, which is one of our major goals as German shepherd breeders, strong joints.







WARNING: German Shepherd Puppies are not toys


Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

Warning: German shepherd puppies are not toys.

Too many people get puppies on a whim for Christmas and never consider the long term implications of adding an animal to the pack.  Not that most of us would not welcome the extra work in return for the pleasure of ownership, but I have seen so many articles lately of abandoned pups.  It is just logical that post holidays we would see a marked increase in abandoned pups.

They are not toys for two reasons.  First, you can not just put them up when you are tired of them.  They need feeding, potty time, vigilance so they don’t eat something that could harm them, vet checks, toys, training, discipline (pack order style), cleaning and grooming, a place to stay (crate or cushion).  Kids get tired of toys, and they can be put on the dust heap of toyland as their interest wanes, but a puppy is a living, breathing thing whose needs do not end when the entertainment value wanes.

Second, they are not toys because when they break, it harms a life.  Toys can be replaced and repaired, but injuries to you dog can vex them for life.  Some hints:

1.   Do not let your child pull on a puppy’s legs.  The joint are not yet formed and this can hyper-extend the joint, causing damage and eventual calcium deposits and arthritus.  If your puppy gets the leash caught on its legs, don’t abruptly lift up, just weave the leash out of the legs gently.

2.  Be oh so careful letting a small child hold a puppy.   It does look cute and it does make a wonderful picture.  But the child can drop them and squirming puppies can jump out of their arms.  One hard dive can be brutal and bones and joints, let alone potentials trauma to their skulls.

3.  Be careful putting puppies on the bed.   So sleeping with you child is cute.  What is the harm.  But, puppies do not have good judgment and can jump off of high beds onto the hard floors.

4.  Watch out for puppies in between your legs, getting under foot.  Please be careful.  You are heavy enough to do significant damage to your new pup.

5.  Watch out for electric cords.

6.  Never, never pick of pup up by the hind or front legs.  This can certainly cause damage to joints.  Instead reach under the chest and cradle them.  If they are small enough, you can grab them by the scruff of the neck.

7.  Please put them down gently.

8.  Only get toys which can handle the aggressive chewing of German Shepherd puppies.

I hope this was helpful.

Please visit our current litters or import litters pages  for some exciting world class litters.






German Shepherd: Working vs. Show Lines

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

I can’t forget getting the phone call. A family needed help.  They had purchased a working line German shepherd puppy from one fo the top working line breeders in  the United States and needed to find it a home.  The female puppy was relentless.  It was so mouthy and too dangerous for their children to be around.  It had unmanageable drive, and an attitude to boot.  They dropped the $4,000 puppy at my kennels and asked me to just take her.  I then trained spent time training her and found a man living alone in a rural area with a farm who wanted a companion.  She was perfectly suited for this situation.  It was a match made in Heaven.  He came and bought her and I never heard from him again.  This family was a first time shepherd owner.

Working lines are on average much more driven and quite a bit sharper (easier to bite) than West German show lines.  As opposed to the West German show lines which are all big black and red dogs, they are normally a bit smaller, and are black, bi-color, sable and a few other variations.  They have a bit flatter backs which is why they normally have a show dog somewhere in their pedigree which serves to improve conformation.   They can be quite intense, very driven, and do better on average in the Schutzhund sport ring.  They can bounce off the walls at home if not given proper exercise and if they are not given a task to do.  Certainly all shepherds need a purpose, but these need a constant immersion in that purpose.  They are very intelligent, as are the show lines, but so driven that without a good deal of exercise and time working they can become destructive.  They can be somewhat easier to train due to their drive, but also a bit more dominant and certainly on average more aggressive.

Does this mean they are less desireable as a line?  Not at all.  It just means they are more suited toward different purposes.  They are better suited for tough personal protection and police work, to be sent into an open warehouse alone to confront a tough character.  They are tenacious protectors.  They can be like loaded guns, but with their own minds.  They have tougher nerves and intense energy.

However, for most family situations, on average, the West German show lines are much better suited to the task.  Let’s be clear.  The West German lines are great working dogs and perform as herding dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs and sport dogs, and they make exceptional family companions and protectors.

Although still having drive, they are not insanely driven as many working line shepherds.   They are more forgiving on average and not with triggers cocked.  For my taste, the West German show line has much more attractive conformation and have beautiful black and tan/red pigment.  They are better with kids and present less probility for biting someone and incurring liability for the owner.  Considering that my market focus is getting the finest imported German shepherds for families, A WEST GERMAN GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY IS FAR SUPERIOR for the task.  They are amazing for this purpose and why they are the most popular of the German shepherd lines in Germany.

Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.




OVER THE TOP: Staggering figures on what we spend on pets.

Hello German shepherd puppies lovers:

Listen to these staggering figures.  How much do you spend on your German Shepherd puppy or older dog?

The APPA states that total US pet industry expenditures totalled a staggering $51 billiion in 2011.  I am dumbfounded.  In a previous article I mentioned 38.  That is because I was using a figures from 2006.  So, in the last 5 years the industry grew 34%, and that even during considering the financial crisis.  Of that almost 40% went to food, 13% to vet care (ouch), 13% on supplies and medicines,  4% to live animal purchases, and 8% to grooming and boarding.

So by far we are spending the most on dog food.  I spend about $53 on one 35 llb or dog food.  In fact, what they have been doing is reducing the size of the bag and keeping the price close to the same.  In all their marketing wisdom they have figured that we will not notice the smaller size and the number of times we have to refill.

However we get another troubling stat when we combine vet care and suppplies/otc medicine.  That is 26% of the total.  This means that food and vet care accounts for over 75% of the 53 billiion in expenditures.  That is an absolutely mindboggling $170 for every man, woman, or child in the United States every year.  The average family spends over $1,500 for their dogs and cats per year.

And if current trends with designer foods and exotic supplements, mouth wash, electric toothbrushes, beauty treatments, bird pedicures and nail polish, yoga classes for animals, massages for animals, faux mink coats for your pet, matching jewel and leather collared leash sets, monogrammed sweaters, every new gadget and trendy toy etc. continue, we will be spending even more.

Figure, over three billion people in the world live on less than $2.50/day.  That means they survive on less than $912 per year.  Some on less than $1/day.   At the rate of $2.50/day, the estimated pet expenditures for 2012 in just the United States would be able to feed 58 million starving people.

Lets put this in perspective.  With what we spend on our pets, we could feed the entire population every year in Haiti, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, and Togo, some of the poorest countries in the world.


Certainly we are fond of our dear animal friends, but maybe, just maybe, we should do some deep thinking about our priorities.

Please visit our K 9 University for more useful articles and links.