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".
The 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.
second dog to win the Grand Victor title was the imported dog
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.
The connections with the beginning lines are impressive with
Ajax von Hohenstein (pictured left), son of Gunter Uckermark, Apollo's
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.
In 1920 and 1921 two sons of
Nores von der Kriminalpolizei
one each year, were selected American Grand Victors.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Marlo von Hoheluft (pictured left).
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 Champions.in 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.
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,
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.
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