German Shepherd Dog Breeder
BundabergGSD
Puppies for sale Surrey
+44 (0)1342 833712
+44 (0)7595 432095

Buying a Puppy Questions and Answers

1. head 2. neck
3. lower jaw 4. upper jaw
5. neck 6. withers
7. back 8. loin
9. croup 10. thigh
11. rear angulation 12. hock
13. paw 14. pastern
15. elbow 16. upper arm
17. shoulder

A German cavalry officer, Capt. Max von Stephanitz, is the father of the German Shepherd.

For some time von Stephanitz had studied the possibilities of creating a new breed that was to embody the best traits of the hardy German sheepdogs that the officer loved for their loyalty, tenaciousness, intelligence and strength. Von Stephanitz wanted a breed that could be used in various tasks by farmers, law enforcement personnel, the military, and fire and rescue units.

Then, in 1899, at a regional dog show, von Stephanitz became mesmerized by the skills of a sheepdog named Hektor Linksrhein. The captain decided then and there that he had discovered his ideal animal and purchased Hektor on the spot. Later, he named the animal Horand v Grafeth.

Horand's seed became the genetic starting point for the development of the remarkable breed we call German Shepherds in the United States and in most English-speaking countries. In Great Britain, the dog is popularly known as an Alsatian. That name is a vestige of the stigma attached to the adjective "German" in the immediate years following the conclusion of the Second World War.

After acquiring Horand, von Stephanitz organized an association, the Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde, or SV. From the beginning he presided over the group with a firm hand, developing the new breed's standards. He applied his exacting criteria to breeding programs that were started throughout Germany. Von Stephanitz's attention to detail and his uncompromising standards helped breeders fix the qualities for which the German Shepherd is admired today.

Later, as a result of von Stephanitz's energetic campaigns on behalf of these dogs, German Shepherds were used extensively during World War I as messenger dogs, rescue dogs and guard dogs. In little time British, French and American soldiers discovered the German Shepherd's remarkable qualities. As a result, some servicemen took the dogs home. From that moment, the breed's popularity grew by leaps and bounds outside Germany.

During the Second World War, the German Shepherd became the Allied serviceman's inseparable companion. The animals were assigned many of the same duties these dogs had performed throughout World War I.

Unfortunately, and perhaps this is due to the breed's popularity among armed forces and police departments, in the popular mind the German Shepherd is often viewed as a vicious, aggressive animal that is little more than a domesticated wolf.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If they are bred with care and raised with a bit of common sense, German Shepherds are even-tempered and affectionate. Indeed, until very recently, the German Shepherd's loyalty, adaptability, stamina, and great natural intelligence made him the guide dog of choice for blind people in the United States and Britain.

Today, German Shepherds continue to use their skills in law enforcement and military work. They also serve as farm guardians and guide dogs. But above all they are wonderful family pets, devoted companions to children and adults, and tireless sentries for the home.

Extract from Max v Stephanitz GSD Words On breeding

“The breeding of Shepherd dogs must be the breeding of working dogs, this must always be the aim or we shall cease to produce working dogs. In contradistinction to working and utility breeding is “sport breeding” which produces a temporary advance but is always followed by deterioration, for it is NOT done for the sake of the DOG, nor does it make him more useful, but it is done for vanity of the breeder and subsequent purchaser”.

“Breeding can only give the foundations for good body build and high efficiency ...... for perfection of the body and for usefulness of vocation, bringing up, keeping and training are responsible.”

The word “SPORT” also means competition for the highest, that is true, but this competition reaches its high watermark in “Exhibitions”, which, just because they demand no real capabilities lead people only too easily astray...”

“Dog breeding must be done by a dog lover and cannot be a profession. The work of breeding service dogs must be the work of dog lovers (such as) the shepherd with sheep breeds as a dog lover, for they have the desire to breed for exemplary, efficient and useful dogs.”

“The dog bred for a business is no longer bred for his service to the breed, but for his market value. The direction of the breed then is dictated by the desires of the market, usually novices to the breed who knows nor cares (nothing) of the weal and woes of the breed, knows nothing of the value or aptitude for work...he often only has eyes for IMPOSING, REMARKABLE, and even a RUFFLING SWASHBUCKLER”

“The breeder on a small scale, one who works with one or two bitches, is the most serviceable breeder for service dogs, for he can care for his breeding animals and their progeny to such an extent that he can produce strong sound animals that can be trained”

“Breeding on a large scale and in a kennel is the ruin of sound Shepherd dog breeding. It is not possible to keep shepherd dogs in “herds”...... his master must be able to be busy with him, especially as a young dog.”

“A dog raised in a kennel craves to escapes from such a crass stupidity into liberty, the presence of people ......to play and work (and) causes a state of continuous exasperation that frets at their nerves..... may acquire a craze for purposeless reaction......often harmful to themselves.”

“The more we emphasize the social and civil importance of service dog breeding , the easier it will be for all true friends of the breed to keep it sound......it will then be stripped of all which has grown through indifference, ignorance, vanity, the obsession for sport and greed for money.

The internationalism of the big bank balance has been the downfall of the Shepherd dog.

Every dog is not suitable for every bitch, even as, for other reasons, every man is not a mate for every woman.

The Captain on Training the Dog, correction and punishment, and temperament of the trainer.

How shall we produce in dogs that which is absent in man?

Whoever can find the answer to this question “How shall I say this to to my dog?...has won the game.

The good Shepherd dog knows his master almost better than himself and must wonder indeed at the lack of reverse

Not everyone is suited to be an instructor and even less to be a trainer

Confidence in the master must be the foundation .......all exercises culminate in coming to the master and working with him.

Our chief means of influencing our dogs are eye, gesture and voice......a good trainer can do everything with these, without any other means at his disposal for punishment.

Training is a sine qua non (meaning a condition that is indispensible) and obedience the foundation of every training; both go hand in hand and both are inseparable. Blind and servile obedience is not rooted in trust, but fear.....such we do not demand from our dogs, but an obedience that is joyful and willing, founded in love for the master.

The art of a good trainer consists in making (any) compulsion as imperceptible as possible compulsion is not punishment, the trainer must make sure the dog understands this by his tone and countenance.

Training that is too severe and loveless cause’s agony to the soul of the dog, his possibilities will not unfold because his trust in his trainer is lacking. Sound training keeps itself within its bounds....producing joy in work.

The dog can read from the glance of a trainer the state of the trainer’s soul.

The trainer must first learn self control before he can control the dog. He must always know how to adapt his methods to the nature of the dog.

Let the trainer examine himself when the dog makes a mistake or does not understand the exercise, or fails in obedience and let him ask “Where am I at fault?”

Drill never produces the same results as training which penetrates the soul of the dog.

Easily irritated and rough is absolutely unsuitable.

A short jerk must not deteriorate into a senseless jerking here and there.....whoever loses his temper deserves a thrashing himself.

Bygones must be bygones..........proud dogs especially need this.

To obtain good results a trainer must possess even disposition, decisiveness, clearness, and a loving understanding of the animal and his nature.

You must discern between the stubborn and the yielding, the receptive and the slow in the uptake.

One must begin with the easiest........the more difficult when the dog has a grasp of what is elementary.

To enforce the performance of an exercise is only right when the dog refuses out of sheer cussedness and there is no fault in the training, or error in giving an order, even then the conscientious trainer will ask himself whether he will attain his end more certainly by appearing to break off abruptly and change over to an exercise the dog does well and does gladly.....to calm the dog and have him in hand again,(rather) than to exact again an exercise which was just before refused.

The foundation of confidence starts immediately .......constant changes of home, like a servant destroys the nature of the dog and his faculties.

Nothing tires and paralyses the mental powers as much as constant reiteration of the same exercise it’s a weary as when “Uncle sings the only song he knows”

If a dog does not understand an exercise, a change of exercise, a change of venue or trainer, often works wonders.

The first training of a pup should instil good habits in them, while the training for a specific vocation must not start before the 10th month, better still after a year.

It must be a principal that every session ends with a petting to keep alive the joy in the work.

The dog must be praised for prompt obedience and for work well done, and indeed the praise must be given at once, especially after initial stupidity or opposition it does it  correctly or shows willingness to do it.

A dog, especially a young dog, can never be praised too much

The aim of punishment is improvement not vengeance.

Punishment must only be given in close connection with what has preceded it, NEVER for clumsiness, always for defiance and disobedience.

There are any amounts of punishment a thoughtful trainer can discover ...... reproof or withholding praise, is the mildest are sufficient in the majority of cases..... a short jerk on the collar ........a clod of dirt thrown at a dog not working close....... the whip the last, most drastic and never anything but a light switch, never the leash, never the hand, never during a walk and never for very long (and) the owner always with the whip testifies to his own incapacity ......... many dogs cannot bear it and are ruined, others may need or endure it, but it doesn’t affect them at all. The whip must first be shown as a threat, or cracked, if applied, done only on the flanks, never on the back or sides.

We try and answer every question we receive. We may often come across as a little on the blunt side (some may call it brash). That is because we consider ourselfs an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. We are advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


Question:

Should I get a female or a male? What do you think?

Answer:

The answer to this question obviously varies. Here are some things to consider:

  • Females are smaller, they average 60 to 70 pounds, males are 80 to 90 pounds. The females are a little easier to live with as a house dog.
  • Females never (or very very seldom) get dominant.
  • Females are usually easier for novice trainers and handlers to control. They usually want to please their handlers a little more. So if you have a spouse that is not keen on a big dog in the family, it is probably a better idea to go with a female over a male.
  • Females come in season 2 times a year, males come in season every time they smell a bitch in season.
  • As a general rule, males are tougher. Females can do Schutzhund work just fine, but we have only seen 2 or 3 females in our life that could do good police service work. By that we mean patrol work.
  • If you want to start breeding, you always buy a female, never a male. You can take your female to a top stud dog for the price of a stud fee. This is usually a dog that you would never be able to own for yourself. The odds of buying a male pup that will grow up to be a super stud dog are slim to none.
  • If you need normal personal protection from a dog a female is just fine. They can be trained to bark at strangers. Our feeling is that any intruder that comes into your home uninvited and comes through a barking German Shepherd is a very bad person that will need to be stopped by the police and or a gun.
  • If you want a patrol dog for service work, buy a male.
  • If you want to compete at the top level of Schutzhund, buy a male. Very very few females make it to the top levels of the sport.
  • As a general rule, males have a harder temperament than females. This means they can take a firmer correction without going down in drive.
  • Females do not lift their leg on the shrubs and flower beds in your yard.


Question:

Can I name my own pup?

Answer:

Every dog we produce is named with the "BUNDABERG" kennel name. The first name of every dog in the litter starts with the same letter. When a breeder starts producing litters, all of the dogs in our first litter have a first name that begins with "A," the second litter "B." When the breeder gets to the end of the alphabet, he starts all over with "A" again. Our clients may choose to have a "call name" for their dog, which is entirely different than the registered name. This is a common practice.


Question:

Do you tattoo your pups?

Answer:

We do tattoo our pups in the left ear at 7 weeks of age. When the pups come they will still have a green inner ear. Do not wash this ink out, let it wear off. It only takes a few weeks.

The tattoo number is unique to your dog. We have it recorded here at the kennel but the number is not registered anywhere else. Some people ask if we register it with various organizations and the answer is "NO." We tattoo the dog so the customer can identify his dog if it is stolen or if it is returned to us (we can verify that it’s our dog).

The tattoo number will be used when you x-ray the dogs hips. At that time the vet should print the tattoo number on the x-ray.


Question:

What about x-rays and hip dysplasia?

Answer:

If you buy a dog from a breeder like myself (one that is very strict about his breeding requirements), you have taken the first step towards insuring that you get a dog with good hips.

Every dog we breed has had their hips x-rayed. In fact every dog in 5 generations on the pedigree has good hips.

We wish that we could say that a pup from my kennel will never have bad hips. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Because of the nature of the breed, there is still a small risk that a dog from my kennel can have a bad hip.

Hip dysplasia has four major causes:

   1. Genetics,
   2. Diet,
   3. Over feeding,
   4. Too much exercise at a young age.


It is felt that genetics play between a 25% and 30% role in a dog having hip dysplasia. This means that new pet owners can assume a great deal of responsibility (70% to 75%) in their dog devloping good hips.

This begins with feeding an all-natural diet, or a dog food that is made up of all human grade ingredients (i.e Innova). It also means that you should keep you dog thin. Carrying too much wieght at a young age is going to add stress on soft puppy bones and you only kid yourself if you think this does not have an effect on skeletal devlopment of your dog.

New owner need to be very careful of over exercising a pup. This means no jogging until after the dog is 12 months old. This means not exercising to the point of exhaustion, or taking the pup for long long walks. Around the block is fine, a 2 mile walk is not fine.

This is the reason that we only offer a partial hip replacement guarantee on my puppies. If a dog from our kennel has bad hips we will only warrant 1/2 the price of the dog. There needs to be some responsibility from dog owners to make sure that they feed a good healthy diet (commercial dog food is not a healthy diet) and do not over exercise thehir pups. This is the only way we can think of to address this issue. We do our part as a breeder by only breeding dogs with 5 generations of good hips. We expect our customers to do their part in making sure their pups develop properly.

One very important point on preliminary x-rays: Our experience is that many vets who take preliminary x-rays don't know how to read them. In addition most vets have little to no experience reading puppy x-rays of hips. They don't understand sub-luxation that exists in pups (pups - like kids - can be loose ligamented.) Because of this many vets will mistakenly tell a customer that the hips don't look good on this dog - when in fact they are normal. So, what I always recommend is that the x-rays and get a preliminary opinion. People which do this and institution are the experts. They look at hips every day of their life.


Question:

When should my shepherd puppy’s ears come up?

Answer:

Sometimes a puppy will have its ears up at 8 weeks. Usually this is a dog with small ears for its age. It’s not uncommon for ears to not be up until 4 1/2 to 5 months of age. In fact, a lot of times a pup will have both ears up and all of a sudden they will come back down when the pup starts to teeth. Many owners panic when this happens. But not to worry, we have never seen a pup whose ears did not go back up when this happens.

If a pup does not have his ears up by 5 months we strongly recommend that you get involved with your vet and have him show you how to tape the ears.

When talking about ears not being up we always remind people to make sure the pup is in good health. Be sure that he is wormed and does not have worms. Feed the pup a good quality diet.. This will help the ears, but some still need to be taped.


Question:

Will the pup you sell me do protection work?

Answer:

We are often asked by our puppy customers if my pups will protect them when they are adults. Our answer to this is: “We can give you a dog with the correct genetic make up to do this work, what you do with him after you get him determines if he will protect you.” We compare this to David Beckham(the Football player). When his son is 20 years old will he be able to play for Man U ? The answer is NO - not unless he has been trained as a young boy. He certainly has the genetic makeup to play ball - but unless he is trained and his natural drives are developed into basic skills he will never play professional ball. The same goes for puppies. We can give you a pup with the right genetic make up, but this is a 2 part deal and it's what you do with the pup that determines his destiny. Without drive development and later training you just end up with a "nice pet."

We will guarantee one thing though: unless you start a pup with the right genetic background you will never get a protection dog. 


Question:

Can I train my own dog in protection work?

Answer:

We are often asked by new trainers if they can do the protection training on their own young dogs. We have a little story that we use to answer this question.

If you have a son and want to teach him to fight - you send him to Karate classes. These classes are all prey drive work where students learn the technique of fighting. Your boy can compete in a Karate competition and get the bedevil kicked out of him and this is still prey drive work - because its still a game. Granted a serious game - but still a game.

If your son goes downtown on a Friday night and gets into a knife fight where he is fighting for his life, this is different. This is real defensive work. While a handler can train his own dog in prey work, he can never put his dog in the position where the dog feels like his owner or handler is trying to kill or hurt him.

Owners can take their dog through prey drive training to the point where the dog has learned all the moves it needs to know in bite work. In fact, if the trainers neighbor would come over some day and see the dog biting the sleeve on his owners arm, even though the dog was biting in prey, he would think that the dog was attacking his handler. When in fact the dog is just playing an advanced game of tug of war with his handler.

When the dog needs to be worked in defense, the handler is going to have to find an experienced helper to work his dog. There is no way around this.


Question:

Do I have to be concerned about your dogs with my children and family?

Answer:

Very very few dogs the come from our kennel ever show signs of dominance at a young age.

When a dog shows aggression towards its handler or family this is a dominance problem and not a protection problem. These two areas are TOTALLY unrelated parts of a dogs temperament. Dominance can show itself even if a dog is never protection trained. Dominance is not breed specific. .

Dominance will start to show in the temperament of a puppy at a young age. You will see growling around the food bowl, you will see growling when you try and take his toys away.

Dogs are pack animals by nature. They accept and live by pack rules of nature. When we train protection dogs the handler is ALWAYS the Pack Leader. This is very important. A dominant dog is always one step away from challenging the handler for the leader position, or he is always a dog that is more difficult to train in obedience because he questions the pack leaders commands and decisions.

Dominance is unacceptable in any form in terms of a dog. It must be stopped as soon as it starts to show. I recommend reading my article Groundwork to Becoming a Pack Leader .

If a young dog gets to be 8 to 12 months old and starts to show dominance, it is time to put a leash on it and correct the bedevil out of it. At this age the dogs defensive drive has not matured. It is still very immature and does not have anything in its temperament to allow it to fight back. So strong corrections are still safe for the handler to give without to much fear of a dog winning a fight. The problem is that weak willed handlers do not give strong enough corrections.

We always shake our heads when we hear people say "I want a big ALPHA dog for my protection dog or my police dog.” We always know that these people do not understand dogs, temperament or training. The alpha dog is stubborn and difficult to train. They do what they want to do, not what you want them to do. They should not be police service dogs or personal protection dogs because they are to difficult too control. My police dog is one of the toughest dogs I have ever owned in my life and he does not have a dominant bone in his body. This is the type of dog people should want for a service dog or a family protection dog.

The dominance problem is most common in adult dogs that move into a new home. If a dog has not had the appropriate corrections at a young age, it learns that it can be the pack leader if it decides to try. This is where the biggest problems arises. An adult comes into a new home, he challenges the handler and the handler backs down (as most inexperienced people should). Now the dog is the pack leader.

The solution to this for most families that have no experience with protection dogs is to start with a puppy. The dog grows up in the family and learns its place in the pack order (at the bottom). When that happens there is never a problem if common sense is used as the dog grows up.

One last note here on dogs biting people. When dogs have very weak temperaments they can become fear biters, this is the opposite end of the temperament spectrum from dominance. This is a different issue and will never be a concern with a Leerburg dog.

So to repeat myself, very very few pups from our kennel ever show signs of dominance. If they ever would, you can deal with it at a very young age and the issue is finished. We always tell people that for me, the best judge of good temperament is a dogs ability to get along with kids. When we tell them that the dogs in our kennel have good temperament, that's what we mean.


Question:

Can you explain the terms, “sharp dog,” “hard dog” and “soft dog?”

Answer:

This is a very, very common question that is asked by people buying dogs. Especially dogs that they want some form of personal protection from.

A "SHARP DOG" is a dog that is very quick to bark at someone. An example of this is a dog that hits the fence and acts like he wants to kill you when you walk by his kennel. I don't mean that every dog that barks at you when you walk by a kennel is sharp. The sharp ones are those that charge the fence, they probably get the hair up on their back and they probably are showing a lot of teeth in the form of a snarl. A sharp dog is not a tough dog. The fact is that sharp dogs have weak nerves and are usually not tough. In its worse form a fear biter would be called a sharp dog.

On the other hand a "HARD DOG" does not necessarily mean that a dog is a tough dog. A hard dog has a temperament that can take a correction and not act like you just killed him or hurt his feelings. A hard dog is often a good choice for a person who is big and gruff and not the best of dog trainers. A hard dog is a forgiving dog in terms of a bad trainer because a hard dog is not going to hold a grudge against a trainer that makes a mistake and gives inappropriate corrections.

On the same hand a hard dog can be a difficult dog to train because as adults these dogs need a level of correction that most people are not willing to give to make them mind.

A "SOFT DOG" is a dog that is sensitive to a correction. If a soft dog is corrected to hard it acts like you hurt its feeling. In some cases after a hard correction a really soft dog will lay down on the ground and quit working all together. Its like they give up.

Soft dogs need to be trained with this in mind. These dogs require motivation and very controlled corrections. Just because a dog is soft does not mean that it can not become a good personal protection dog. Many, many soft temperament dogs are excellent protection dogs. A friend of mine is a officer in a very large city. He had an East German police dog (many DDR dogs are soft) that had over 450 street bites when it died at 10 years of age. He was truly a great police service dog. It's just that when my friend raised his voice to the dog he became very sensitive. Soft dogs are easy to control with voice commands at a distance.

I often recommend a softer dog for a woman who is just getting involved with dogs. Many times a female is a little more sensitive and listens better. Don't get confused here though - not all females are soft. I have some bitches that a lot of experienced handlers would be challenged to work with.

Many people confuse these terms and the term "FIGHT DRIVE" . In reality fight drive has very little to do with sharpness other than most sharp dogs have little or no fight drive. Certainly hardness and softness have nothing to do with fight drive. I would challenge someone to try and fight my friend's old police dog (who had a soft temperament). This dog knew how to fight humans. When he approached a suspect he did so with a talented eye - you could see him size up the man before he hit him. He always looked for the opening as he approached the suspect. He would hit the man with an explosive amount of energy and make his first bite as hard as he could. He wanted to subdue the suspect as quickly as possible without getting hurt. Usually after a police dog is hurt in a fight a few times during an apprehension they get smart. My friends dog fought with maximum force and it always worked and remember that this was a soft dog who could play with my friends baby and small children.