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1 GERMAN SHEPHERD
Origin There are different theories regarding the origin of the German shepherd: that the breed was the result of crosses between the various breeds of sheepdog existing in Germany, or that it resulted from the spontaneous mating of shepherd bitches and wolves. The answer is lost in the darkness of time. However, it is known that the first German shepherds (long-haired) were presented at Hanover in 1882, and the short-haired variety was first presented in Berlin in 1889.
Description Ideal height: dogs, 24 to 26 inches (60-65 cm.); bitches, 22 to 24 inches (55-60 cm.). Weight: 77 to 85 pounds (35-40 kg.). It has a sturdy, muscular, slightly elongated body with a light hut solid bone structure. Its head should be in proportion to its body; forehead a little convex; strong scissors bite; ears, wide at the base, pointed, upright, and turned forward (the ears of puppies under six months may droop slightly). Eyes: almond-shaped, never protruding, dark, with a lively, intelligent expression. Its bushy tail reaches almost to its hocks and hangs down when the dog is at rest. Its front legs and shoulders are muscular; its thighs, thick and sturdy. It has round feet with very hard soles. Colors: black, iron gray, ash gray; either uniform or with regular shading of brown, yellow, or light gray. There are three varieties: rough-coated, long rough-coated, and long-haired.
Personality Bold, cheerful, obedient, steady, loyal, affectionate with its master and with children, tolerant of other animals, wary of strangers, easily trained.
Uses The breed came into being as a leader of flocks. Due to its intelligence and its outstanding character, it has also been used in time of war (carrying messages under fire and across mine fields), as a rescue dog (in water, in the mountains, and through fire), as a police dog (it can follow a trail several days old). But the German shepherd is unbeatable as a guard dog where it can display its fine reflexes and its lightning-quick attack. It always performs the work requested of it with good will and enthusiasm.
2 BELGIAN SHEEPDOG
Origin There have been Belgian sheepdogs for centuries, but the breed as we know it was Isolated in 1891 by Professor Reul of the Belgian faculty of veterinary sciences. Professor Reul recognized three main types: long-haired, short-haired, and shaggy-haired. Later, in 1907, It was established that the long-haired variety should be black, the short-haired variety should be fawn and charcoal, and the shaggy, or rough-coated, variety should be ash gray. The Groenendael, a completely black long-haired Belgian sheepdog, was developed by the breeder Nicholas Rose, who lived in Groenendael, a few miles outside of Brussets.
Description The Groenendael should have a sleek black coat somewhat thicker at the neck. Ideal height: dogs, 25 inches (63 cm.); bitches, 23 inches (58 cm.). Average weight: about 62 pounds (28 kg.). Ears: small and erect, triangular in shape. Eyes: brown, slightly almond-shaped. Legs: straight and muscular.
Personality Continued selective breeding has attempted to eliminate excessive timidity from the Groenendael's personality. The majority of these dogs are endowed with intelligence and long memories. They are obedient, brave, and docile in the home.
Uses The Groenendael is an outstanding herder and guard dog. It is adept as a police dog and is good with children.
3 BELGIAN TERVUREN
Origin The Tervuren is one of the breeds developed in 1891 by the Belgian school of veterinary science under the direction of Professor Reul. It is an extremely close relative of the Groenendael, both physically and temperamentally, so much so in fact that a Tervuren pup can be born from the mating of two Groenendaels.
Description The Tervuren differs from the Groenendael in the color of its coat, which is blackened fawn, abundantly thick and without curl. Average height: dogs, about 25 inches (63 cm.); 10% less for bitches. Weight should be about 62 pounds (28 kg.). Eyes: brown, slightly almond-shaped. Ears: triangular. Body: powerful but not heavy. Teeth: scissors bite. The Tervuren is the most robust of the Belgian sheepdogs and is therefore used by breeders to strengthen related breeds.
Personality Like the Groenendael, the Tervuren is prized for its quick intelligence, its courage, and the ease with which it can be trained. It is deeply devoted to its owner and is very possessive, giving and demanding attention and affection. It should have a firm hand.
Uses Originally used for guarding sheep, the breed is a fine devoted protector of its family and home.
Note Belgian sheepdogs have formidable appetites. Their feeding should be watched carefully to avoid overweight.
Copyright © 1980 by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore S.p.A., Milano