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German Shepherd Database Project

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    Early German Shepherd American Lines

    The records are vague on the early American lines of German Shepherds [note:hence the reason this database was created]. Probably the earliest point of significance was after the First World War when the soldiers started returning with German Shepherds. In 1918 whatever organization there was in the United States held their first Specialty in which they selected a Best of Breed and Best Opposite Sex. They called the best male the Grand Victor and the best female the Grand Victrix. The club that got it all started and was the voice for the German Shepherd in North America at that time was the German Shepherd Dog Club of New England. They were also the first publishers of the German Shepherd Dog Review. Eventually they merged with the new orginization called the German Shepherd Dog Club of America who also took over the responsibility for the "Review".

    Ch Komet von HoheluftThe first two American National Specialty shows were judges by Ann Tracy Erikoff who is credited with being one of the first importers of German Shepherds into the United States. The first show has an entry of 42; the second show had 95. The first Grand Victor was called Komet von Hoheluft (pictured left). Hoheluft was the kennel name used by John Gans. There is some evidence from the beginning and carried on that Specialty Judges had limited experience and knowledge that showed through the years in the inconsistencies of results.

    1919 GVCh Apollo von Hunenstein PH

    The second dog to win the Grand Victor title was the imported dog Apollo von Hunenstein (pictured left) who was Austrian, French and Belgian Sieger before coming to the United States. This was the dog the Germans felt was not masculine enough so they used him seldom.

    Ajax von Hohenstein PH

    The connections with the beginning lines are impressive with Ajax von Hohenstein (pictured left), son of Gunter Uckermark, Apollo's father.

    Diethelm von Riedekenburg

    Apollo could have been a tremendous influence on the breed in North America but the breeders missed him. They got too wrapped up in all the other big imports coming across the water. But Apollo in just one of his few litters produced Diethelm von Riedekenburg (pictured left), conceivably one of the best of the Riedekenburg dogs. At least Diethelm was part of the development that went into the combination of dogs that formed the main line forward.

    V Nores von der Kriminalpolizei SchH3

    In 1920 and 1921 two sons of Nores von der Kriminalpolizei (pictured left),  one each year, were selected American Grand Victors.



    1921 GVCh Grimm von der Mainkur PH

    The first Rex von Buchtel is lost in history but the second Grimm von Mainkur (pictured left) who is from an excellent German litter that also contained Gerwin von Mainkur is recorded in the first Koer book. They had lines back to Roland, Hektor and Beowulf on the mother side as well as those behind Nores.

    Eventually in North America breeders became turned off the Nores line after what looks like a brief period of popularity. A look back, and considering what eventually evolved through Nores, I wonder if his progeny were just too tough for American culture. Nores himself was brought to the US and put at stud. Then the "word" came out denouncing the whole Nores line, which pretty well stopped the use of him in the US.

    1922 GVCh Hamilton Erich von Grafenwerth PH

    The twenties were a time of great popularity for the breed in the US. [Note: the AKC Stud Books reflect this with huge numbers of German Shepherds listed.] The German Sieger of 1920, Erich von Grafenwerth (pictured left), was imported [note: renamed Hamilton's Erich von Grafenwerth]. Since he had at that time already made his mark in Germany as a producer it should have been a time for great progress in the American dogs, a time when the best German Shepherds would come from America. In 1922 Erich was given the Grand Victor title.

    The import trend did not stop there. There were a lot more coming over. The pattern repeated time and again. Everyone with enough money wanted the best dog, but it had to be German. The status dogs were supposedly always in Germany. So the import business grew and grew. There were also those dogs from Germany that looked good on paper, had won enough to be promotable for the "greatness". The German economy was in ruins at that time as a result of the past war. It was difficuly for the German people to feed themselves, never mind the dogs. If some of their dogs could be sold so that the breeders could continue, it became the way to go.

    Exporting of dogs became a great business that continued to some extent to the present. The Germans found out that many of the Americans buying dogs knew little about what a good dog was, and less about the the characteristics of the animals in the pedigrees. Another aspect to the evolving story is a suspicion that the hierarchy of the SV adjusted the "Standard of Excellence" from year to year to accommodate the market. The differences between Erich von Grafenwerth, Harras von der Juch, then back to Cito von Bergerslust, Arko von der Sadowaberg and Herold von Niederlausitz, all Siegers almost in subsequent years, would be hard to justify.

    From the beginning of the twenties it was evident that the German style was changing. In 1921 and 27 they seemed to have second thought as to where they were going but other than those years the breed fashion was moving towards a lower stationed, smaller animal. Where the American trend went in 1930 was again out of step with the way things were going anywhere else. The winning by Arko who was totally different from what was winning in Germany must have been confusing. Especially when in 1931 they put him up again as a seven year old.

    1925 SG AKC Ch Klodo vom Boxberg


    Erich von Grafenwerth's greatest son, Klodo vom Boxberg (pictured left), when he was imported to the United States shortly after going German Sieger should have been the predominant influence the country. Ironically his influence in the US comes mostly through the great bitches that he produced, other than through Utz.

    1929 SGR IntlCh Utz von Haus Schutting SchH3 ZPR

    Klodo never ever did win the coveted Grand Victor title. Perhaps his American sons got lost in the shuffle, overshadowed by the mad rush to Utz von Haus Schutting (pictured left). But there was another dog of similar breeding also making an impression.

    2x Sieger Erich vom Glockenbrink

    Erich von Glockenbrink (pictured left) 1926 and 1925 Sieger...his breeding is most interesting, he has no Klodo or Utz, was 4-4 on Alex von Westfalenheim, 4-3 on Harras von Lippestrand and 4-4 on Bianka von Riedekenburg. That would give more lines back to Harras and Flora. If we ever think von Stephanitz wanted to get back to the herding dogs, consider that Erich von Glockenbrink was a grandson of Asta von Kattenturm. Asta was a full sister to Flora von Berkemeyer from a later litter. This Erich was almost forgotten. His influence in American breeding must be considered positive and there is some hint of the white coat coming through this line. Still Erich von Glockenbrink did not make the impression on the breed as expected.

    Ch Cita of Shereston's pedigree shows the judicious use of the best that came from Germany. The breeding programs of this kennel closed in on the best. Largely because of the time frame, Cita's breeding was also free of both Utz and Klodo, very unusual for that time. Looking back at that scene, to their future, with the concentration behind Cita, it would look like an obvious combination to breed to upcoming greats, Champions Pfeffer von Bern, Odin von Busecker Schloss, Klodo or Utz, take your pick.

    Ch Marlo von Hoheluft ROM

    Dr Scherer owned Shereston Kennels. His dogs made their mark into the forties. He actually tied the record with Grant Mann for the most number of times to win the Grand Victrix (three). I am sure that Lloyd Brackett would have been sure of the breeding value of Ch Cita of Shereston when he bred to her son Ch Marlo von Hoheluft (pictured left).

    Ch Erikind of Shereston (pictured left), who was the double grandfather of Cita, was the 1934 Grand Victor, the only Grand Victor produced by the kennel. But Shereston bred two Grand Victrixes, one of them winning the title for two years running, Ch Dora of Shereston was the one who won Grand Victrix in 1933 and 34. The kennel's Erich von Grafenwerth daughter, Ch Erich's Mercedes of Shereston won the title in 1928.

    The breedings from this kennel do a lot to form the solid foundation upon which the American German Shepherd breeding is built, yet it is practically ignored in most books on the breed. Cita was the result of a brother - sister breeding. The sire of Cita's father and mother was Grand Victor Erikind of Shereston. Erikind was the grandson of 24 Sieger, 26 Grand Victor Donar von Overstolzen, through Ch Hettal v Bodman, Donar's father. Hettal of Shereston brother of Hannes was inbred 3-3 on 1913 Sieger Arno von Eichenburg PH. Erikind was also a gradson of Erich von Grafenwerth through the double grandmother of Cita, who was a daughter of Ch Cito von Bergerslust and Ch Erich's Mercedes of Shereston. Mercedes was also a daughter of Erich von Grafenwerth and a sister to the mother of Erikind. It sounds like impossible breeding but is shown better by pedigree.

    SGR 1937/38 GVCH Pfeffer von Bern  ZPR MH ROM

    John Gans probably owned Cita, who bred her to Pfeffer von Bern (pictured left). The breeding to Pfeffer, whose breeding produced Ch Marlo von Hoheluftt who has great significance when it is tied in with that of Long Worth Kennels. First there was Hoheluft then there was Long Worth, both have their place in American German Shepherd history.

    John Gans became one the most well known influential breeders of the early American days. His breeding efforts in the early 30s almost took over the breed. He was involved from near the beginning in US German Shepherd breeding. Two factors had a bearing on his success. Gans had brought in Ernst Loeb from Germany as his kennel manager and he either listened well or knew himself. Ernie knew people in Germany, had connections and as history would prove knew German Shepherds.

    Later in the thirties, he managed to the the best dog of that day for Mr Gans. Pfeffer von Bern had a total influence on North American breeding bringing the breed almost entirely in his shadow. Originally Ernie selected dogs in Germany, just for John Gans and had them sent to the US. Many dogs he brought over he handled himself. Then he went into importing dogs on his own, many of the breed builders of the new era were dogs that Loeb imported. For years dogs that he imported won the big shows. They went on to form foundation stock for some of the leading kennels in the US and Canada. The dogs he imported can be found at the roots of all American German Shepherd breeding today, whether the kennel concentrated on imports or American Breds.

    The thirties were a time of a lot of uneasiness in Germany. As a result some of the best breeders were becoming quite willing to move their best dogs out of the country. The arrival of Utz von Haus Scheutting on the American scene was like the arrival of the messiah. From that point American breeding got back on course, the improvement was dramatic. Utz had more of a dramatic affect on the US breeding than he had in Germay where he was almost missed. He was a great producer, his influence on the breed is undisputed.

    The new style German Shepherd had arrived, the "Utz" type was the "in thing". In the first Utz breeding years, there was no way of telling just how much of an impact he was going to make, so he was allowed to leave Germany just like any other Sieger. Up to the time he left his progeny had not been critically examined. Althought there did appear to be some outstanding sons, they had no way of knowing just how consistent the quality was going to be.

    In the center of this scene was Ernst Loeb. It soon became evident that he was a most elite entrepreneur, is still recognized as one of the prime authorities on the German Shepherd breed. Later he worked with training handlers and dogs for the American Armed Forces. He was the best dog handler of his day and his day went on, years after the war.

    Ch Jessica of Hoheluft

    Back to John Gans who had been quite successful in breeding to the better previous imports. Amongst his good ones was a bitch, from a breeding to Ch Cito von Bergerslust. Ch Jessica of Hoheluft (pictured left) was a daughter of Cito. It looks like Jessica had been sold to Madeline Baiter who bred her to Utz. The pups must have appeared better than what they had seen in previous litters. Surely they believed that they could not be as good as they looked. But they were.

    They grew up to be some of the finest Utz progeny or for that matter German Shepherds that they had seen to that date - anywhere. The N litter Glenmar Nix, Nox and Ninawereein it and all worthy it and all worthy Champions. When they grew up Nix and Nox often competed against each other for top honors at the biggest dog shows. Madeline Baiter retained Nix , she had started the kennel Glenmar with her late husband. Nix was the dog that Dr Funk was prepared to buy to take back to Germany but there no way she would let him go. Nox was owned by Marie Leary and became part of the foundation stock of one of Americas most successful kennels, Cosalta.

    Ch Cotswold of Cosalta CD
    Marie Leary had started in the twenties with rather insignificent breeding stock but gradually she directed her well-bred bitches to almost strictly Utz lines. This tremendously improved the quality of her stock. Nox of Glenmarwas Grand Victor inn 1935. He was one of the cornerstones of her breeding program but unfortnately was lost in a disastrous kennel fire that wiped out a number of her top dogs. Miss Leary had other Utz progeny doing well from her kennel. In 1939, Ch Hugo of Cosalta, anoother Utz son was American Grand Victor and in 1940 a son of Nox of Glenmair Ch Cotswold of Cosalta (pictured left) won the same award. He was inbred on Utz 2-3. This was a fitting tribute to the influence of Utz. Marie Leary's Cosatla kennels, for a while dominated the win circles in the Eastern dog shows. She also worked together with some on the West coast.

    Something happened that she and John Gans started going in different directions. As happens in the sport of breeding dogs different philosophies sometimes take breeders in different directions. However the breedings of Cosatla made an impact on the German Shepherd breed and as can be seen by the pedigrees. Utz was a major factor.

    In the '30's, there was a real demand for Utz progeny in the US. To go back a bit, Golf von Hooptal went to the States and became Grand Victor in 1933. Such dogs has to compete with excellent Utz sons bred in the US. Still the dogs kept coming from Germany, some were Utz sons and daughters, some line bred on Utz and Klodo. San Miguel worked closely with Marie Leary and for years was the most prominent kennel on the West Coast.

    Ch Anthony of Cosalta CDX

    The pedigree of Ch Anthony of Cosalta (pictured left) and Grand Victor Ch Costwold shows the way Marie Leary utilized the Utz influence and combined it with other American lines including Liebestraum to establish her own breeding lines.

    (Note: In an effort to keep the old bloodlines from being lost, this database was started back in 1996. It's always a work in progress! I admit it, I am a pedigree addict... and I passionately love the German Shepherd. It's important to know where we have been before moving forward. I hope you enjoy your journey thru time.)

    Except taken from German Shepherd Dog History by Gordon Garrett, notes by Julie Crawford