It should be known that a breeder in CA- (Lanes Shepherds -now superior shepherds,) who has been breeding only five years.. has copied my breeding goals and much of my web site and my personally written information and views without permission.Basically just replaceing royalair with his kennel .I am not affiliated with, nor am I a co-breeder with this gentlemen. To date he refuses to take my breeding goals off of his site.
Many people have many reasons for breeding dogs. I have had a German Shepherd since I was 16 . When I first decided to breed I knew little about German shepherds and made a lot of mistakes. I often listened to what other breeders thought I should do--- very soon I realized the shepherds I had were not what I wanted to breed. I set up my Idea of the perfect shepherd and set goals for my breeding program. From then on I have had a purpose and a plan for my idea of what a truly good shepherd is. Eventually I would like to produce a dog with the following qualities in their order of importance to me.
1. TEMPERAMENT- The temperament of a Royalair Shepherd should be loyal, self-confident, courageous & protective but not aggressive. He should be self aware & intelligent, he should be easy to train , willing and love to do work, but still be very calm & mellow,not hyper in any way. He should be a dog that is easy to have as a house pet, non destructive and not extremely dog or animal aggressive. And he should never- regardless of harsh discipline or punishment, even begin to snarl or growl at his owner or any member of the family for any reason what so ever. I like a dog that can be trained for not only AKC obedience, but search and rescue, tracking, herding, assistance, and of course as a therapy dog. Lately I have focused on tracking or S&R titles or FH lines in the background. This ability to track also seems to run in family lines and along with it calls for a calm focus and alertness that serves very well for a family pet and therapy dog. I have noticed most of the newer German lines no longer have lots of FHs behind the name, just the SCH.The ability to be calm and focused is often needed for an advance tracking title.
2. Soundness- Beauty and uniformity in movement often gives the breeder a good indication of overall soundness. A gait that is choppy, bumpy or wavy at the trot can over the long term lead to a lot of joint discomfort and pain. But an unnatural flying side gait is not good unless the dog can walk soundly too. and climb stairs with ease!
3. Beauty and Size- (The Look of Eagles -Regal-Hard to define yet unmistakable when present) Although I put this category last it is very important to me. Generally speaking I like a dog with a large head, deep back skull, and substance of bone and depth and width of chest . Also head and ears are a sticking point with me. I like big ears but they must be set straight on top of the skull as opposed to being set too low on the side of the skull. This is part of the reason why so many photos of shepherds are taken from the side rather than head on because the ear set is not pleasing if the dog is seen straight on or the head is very narrow. I've seen many dogs who have a beautiful side gait but the hocks bang into each other at a walk. There should always be lots of distance between the legs front and back. I like moderately angled hocks, not extremes. I've seem some hocks that drag the ground! Long sloping back ends are not my goal. and feet should be tight, round ,compact and large. Chest should be WIDE -not narrow. Deep but not below the elbow -too much depth may predisposition a dog for bloat, also jumping ability appears to be reduced. Over the top of the back there should be lots of rib spring giving a solid appearance not a narrow one. I believe Falco had the look of eagles more than any dog I have ever owned. I also like a large dog-even a really big dog, but I will always go for soundness over size. Our breed should not be a giant either, as many breeders strive for. Short life spans and numerous health problems and slow brains seem to affect some giant breeds. A shepherd should be long lived and agile physically and mentally. I have seen dogs of heavy German heritage that are tiny and act like hyper terriers, this is not the shepherd either. A shepherd is a large breedm but not a "Giant" breed (as it seems to be with Shiloh or King shepherds.)
As far as color goes I like a deep-rich pigment as opposed to a light creamy washed out color. Eye color is not a big factor but really dark eyes mask expressiveness in the face so I prefer a deep yet lighter eye. Also light eyes in dogs seem to be a plus, all wild canines (wolves, coyotes, foxes, dingos etc..) have very light eyes,straight backs, tight round feet, high back skulls,and moderate angulation in the back hocks. Being a science teacher, I feel if nature selects it, it must be better than going for what a judge might like in the show ring. I spend hours looking at photos of wild canines, I just wish dog show judges would too. Conformation judging should be for soundness not fashion.
I have searched for dogs with these qualities and have been for the most part successful in bringing the old -fashioned shepherds back by combining some of the Old East German lines (Bodo and Don), (the two dogs most heavily used by Seeing Eye dogs) with the Older American lines. In my search I have found people who breed for either Conformation Show ring, or the Sport Shutzhund ring, or for color, (black or white) and almost no one who strives for just thebest family pet. I think we as breeders lose sight as to where 98% of all the puppies they breed go --- To the average family.
The Royalair Difference. Many GSD breeders are now corporations or very large kennels. They only breed shepherds , but on a large scale, they use Master Card or visa, or run full color. page $1000 dollar ads in lots of magazines and usually advertise 100% German Schutzhund linesand often asking thousands per puppy. This practice I believe will destroy the breed. In many of these kennels the main goal is money, and the breed is bound to suffer. The best way to tell a large breeder is by the ad, how much they are home to answer calls, (hobby breeders have a job!), and sales tactics. A big breeder will always have the top pick of the litter for you even though they've already sold half the litter, they will have puppies most of the year etc... and often breed ten or more litters a year. Some breeders are untruthful about the numbers of dogs they have, as they know many people will not buy from large puppy mill type breeders.
Royalair German Shepherds are raised in the home. Puppies raised outdoors or in a kennel cannot be socialized to the same extent. All puppies are born in the house with sounds of TV, Radio and other activities of family life from birth until at least four weeks of age. This imprinting is essential. I make an effort to expose older puppies to lots of different surfaces,noises and situations all of this helps in their future developments. I also try to get them outdoors to learn potty training-(on grass-not cement!) Of course all vaccinations and worming's are done on a regular basis. And all puppies are temperament tested in order to place them with the family that is best for their particular tempers .
Parents: Temperament is a combination of genetics and environment. Temperament as a general rule follows after the female more than the male , but both temperaments are essential. A dog can have wonderful lines, and even act like a perfect dog at home, but often when the dog is taken away from home Ive seen serious temper problems arise, especially from dogs whose parents had no titles involving temperament. It is common to title the male but never do a thing with the female - nothing at all, The males' temperament can be wonderful and stable but if you don ’t have those tests on mom watch out! It's common to breed a good male to anything female, always remember mom is important. Some breeders have had dogs for years but seldom or never take them from home or ever make an attempt to have the dog professionally evaluated, or if they do someone else does the training. In my opinion I don't believe it is possible to evaluate a dog well without training him or her yourself. I've had and seen lots of dogs that were protection trained, or obedience trained, had AKC obedience or Shutzhund titles, but many could not actually get a CGC or TDI certifications (especially shepherds!) .
Some people believe that a shepherd should appear to be protective and somewhat aggressive towards strangers, while actually they should NOT present this picture to the stranger. This does not mean they are non- protective, in fact a dog that has a sound temper and greets people outwardly is more stable- and when a threat comes is much more likely to protect at a real threat than the dog who barks and growls wildly behind a fence.
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Mira and Caroline S&R volunteer with her black and silver Brandy Daughter Mira lived to be 13 years old! She has been a great Family german shepherd. She was 10 in this picture. SEE her in the GSD 13 club along with a brother and sister from the same litter.
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