Breeding top quality German shepherds can be a frustrating hobby.

By Dennis Fisher

Note:  This article is one of many dealing with every aspect of the German Shepherd Dog - breeding, training, bloodlines, famous German show winners, and a great deal more, that appear on the author, Dennis Fisher's website. Visit  http://www.allaboutgermanshepherddogs.com to see these articles.

 

At the annual German Shepherd Dog specialist Show held in Germany every year, hundreds of the finest German Shepherds in the world compete for the coveted title of "Sieger",the male Grand Champion of the year and "Siegerin",the female Grand Champion of the year.

The hugely popular, three-day event is attended by as many as 40,000 enthusiasts, many of whom have traveled from all over the world. A large number of those who attend are serious German Shepherd Dog breeders. An important reason for their visit to see which top males are proving to be the most dominant and successful sires of quality progeny and which bloodlines are the most successful.

The extreme - almost obsessive - enthusiasm for their hobby, shown by these German Shepherd Dog breeders, can be compared to the fanaticism of the most ardent baseball or soccer fan.

For many the names of the top-winning male in previous year,winners of the "Sieger" or "Siegerin" titles,are as familiar to them as the names of top baseball or soccer players are to devotees of these sports.

There is however, an important difference.

If you were to ask any baseball fanatic the name of Babe Ruth's grandmother, or Lou Gehrig's paternal grandfather, or Warren Spahn's great- grandfather, or ask any soccer the name of David Beckham's maternal grandfather (incidentally I happen to know it was Joseph West!) do you think they would be able to tell you? I doubt it!

But with true German Shepherd dog fanatics, not only are the name of the top show winners of the present and the past familiar to them, virtually every name in the pedigrees of previous winners of "Sieger" titles are names they can instantly quote without hesitation.

Does this detailed knowledge of pedigrees help them breed the very best, show-winning German Shepherd Dogs? Yes! But only to a limited extent!

Breeding top-quality, show-winning German Shepherd Dogs is a fascinating, but frustrating hobby. Why frustrating? Because as familiar as one may be with pedigrees and the various attributes of the dogstheir faults and virtues - the breeding of top quality animals still involves a great deal of luck.

It's impossible to explain why some top-quality, show winning males turn out to be excellent, prepotent, dominant sires that consistently reproduce their own excellence while other stud dogs of equal show quality, with equally good pedigrees- sometimes even litter brothers, are disappointing sires.

Of course, the breeding of top quality German Shepherd Dogs can be simplified by only using males in one's breeding program that have already established themselves as dominant animals and have proved their worth as dominant, prepotent stud dogs, known to have produced excellent progeny.

But this over cautious attitude involves completely ignoring promising youngsters that have yet to prove themselves capable of transmitting their own excellent qualities.

Many of the dogs frequently used as studs because of their show successes and their known ability to produce a large number of show winning progeny, owe their reputation to statistics. They sire hundred of litters. A good proportion of their progeny are excellent animals. But there are also a large number of mediocre animals in these litters.

Luck always has been and always will be an important element in breeding top quality dogs.

Another important factor,perhaps even more important,is the breeding value of the bitch. The problem arises in the choice of your original breeding stock. Many newcomers to the breed believe the quickest road to success is to select a bitch whose Dam is a top show winner. They follow the route of acquiring the daughter of a "Siegerin" and mate her to a top show winning male, perhaps the current "Sieger".

Unfortunately success is not achieved so easily. An examination of the breeding records of a large number of "Siegerins" will reveal that by far the majority have not been successful in producing show-winning progeny, even when mated to top show winning males.

Unlike the popular stud dog that frequently sires hundreds of litters in his breeding lifetime, the bitch because of the limited number of litters she is capable of having, has very limited opportunitities of proving her breeding worth. Statistics are not in her favor!

Here again the element of luck plays a very important role in breeding success.
The number of top winning bitches,"Siegerins" and top-rated show animals, who have proved to be outstanding producers of excellent progeny, are very few indeed. There have been some, but they have been the exception rather than the rule.

There is unfortunately insufficient space in this short article to allow a detailed list of all past "Siegerins" and an examintion of their pedigrees and their progeny. Below are the name of only a few Siegerins, winners of the title from 1997 - 2007.

Some of these "Siegerins" proved to be successful brood bitches as well as top show specimens, producing a number of excllent animals in their litters. Others, even though they were equally well bred, did not produce any progeny of real quality.

           Siegerin                                  Sire                                    Dam


1997   Connie vom Farbenspiel      Eros von der Luisenstrasse    Daggi vom Farbenspiel

1998   Anschy von der Magistrale   Karly von Arminius               Panja vom Wildsteiger Land

1990   Saskia von Arminius            Karly von Arminius              Leika von Haus Bork

2000   Chipsi von Bad Boll             Natz vom Steigerhof             Xena vom Wildsteiger Land

2001   Mila von Frutteto                 Xano Shanto's                     Doli di Casa Pielier

2002   Karma vom Ochsentor        Wasko d'Ulmental                Feli vom Ochsentor

2003   Kora vom Bierstadter Hof    Wilson aus Agrigento        Salome v. B. Hof

2004   Kamilla vom Romerland       Wallace aus Agrigento          Isabella vom Romerland

2005   Tabata du Val D'Anzin          Ursus von Batu                    Ronda du Val D'Anzin

2006   Xara  vom Agilolfinger          Larus von Batu                    Karma vom Oschentor

2007   Gina vom Aquamarin            Fedor vom Gelingenstrasse  Hanka vom Turkepkopf

For a detailed examination of the pedigrees of all Siegerins from 1955 until 2007, and the progeny they produced, go to the author's website http://www.freedogadvice.com

You will find detailed information of every winner of the "Siegerin" title from 1955 to the present day.

Dennis Fisher has been involved with German Shepherd Dogs ever since his schooldays. He has bred German Shepherds Dog, purely as a hobby, for more than 40 years and has been successful in breeding a number of top quality show specimens. He has judged the breed in many parts of the world and is a member of the German S.V. - the controlling body for German Shepherds all over the world. A great deal of valuable information about the breed can be found on his website http://www.freedogadvice.com