Hardly had I recovered from jet lag after returning from an assignment in China, when I started the grueling travel mode again. As usual with my Asian assignments, it was more than 32 hours from bed to bed, with no sleep possible (for me) on any airplane. But this time the venue was Korea, and the assignment was for two weekends of shows plus a seminar for Korean judges at the office classroom of the Korean Kennel Club.
The game is the same (go to ground, in the quarry’s lair, and flush or drag him out), but the “game” (in the sense of what species is being hunted) will vary a little in size from the small rats to the large otters. Despite a miniscule percentage of terriers ever likely to be asked to enter a burrow after such prey or pest, the purists in the world of dog fanciers want the breed to remain true to its original purpose.
It was again a privilege and pleasure to associate with fun-loving fanciers of the German Shepherd Dog and to enjoy the beauty of the breed, when I went to South Florida to handle dogs in a WDA show sponsored by the Broward SchH Club. The show ran well under the firm hand of Miriam Barkus, although not always “on time”. I did not take part in the trial portion, except to watch and offer encouragement, but I was kept very busy handling one nice dog after another...
As always, my report on the international German Shepherd Dog “Sieger Show”, the main event for the breed that is held annually in Germany, consists of two parts, and you might only see part of the whole “picture”...
Travel broadens one, they say. While that epithet was meant to refer to the mind, it has a döuble-entendre for me, in that it tends to broaden my waistline as well. As a roving technical representative for some 30 years, I had opportunity to “wine and dine” on company (expense account) money, which meant that I could afford to develop into a gourmand and connoisseur. Since the mid-1980s, I have also globe-trotted in my avocation of judging dog shows and lecturing on cynological topics. As Keats put it, “Much have I traveled in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms seen.” I have yet to stand, like Cortez, upon a peak in Darien, but I have experienced his “wild surmise” in 50 U.S. states and some 30 countries so far, several of them many times. One recent assignment was a return to China — a different part than I had seen before.
In the German Shepherd Dog world, and echoed elsewhere, we have long heard (and voiced) complaints about the schism that exists between the "show" (Hochzuchtlinie or high-breeding) lines and the "sport" or working-competition (Leistungs) lines. I'll speak to the issue of the non-standard (AKC, Alsatian) styles elsewhere, but first I intend to discuss the continued and even widening gap in the international type. Here, I will allude a little more to the history of the breed. You might consider this "Part Two", with an illustrated companion article (though not actually designated "Part One") having been made available under the title, "Will the True Working Dog Disappear?"
As most of you know, I have been involved with the German Shepherd Dog since 1947 as a trainer, breeder, judge, author, and teacher. My love for the breed is unquestionable and I count it an honor to have fought for its welfare and preservation for all these years. In my zeal for one of God's great gifts to man, namely, the companionship and utility of dogs, I may step on some toes once in a while. But it never from spite or greed or self-aggrandizement that I call a spade a spade, and wish to correct error. Lately I have been railing against the deterioration of character in the show dog and the unwillingness of the working-only faction in the sport to make peace and use "gentle persuasion" in bringing the two communities back together.
The 2006 show in Oberhausen was certainly not as large as the SV’s 100th Anniversary show in Karlsruhe back in 1999, when massive publicity and encouragement brought 50,000 people into the stadium, but the Sieger Show is still the world’s largest single-breed event. It is getting more difficult every year to secure the venue. After all, a contract for dozens of soccer games per year is more lucrative than a single weekend of dog shows.
The genealogical table that we call a pedigree or Ahnentafel also contains a summary of the Körschein (Körung report — if it exists) for that dog. Included is the description of the dog, with its advantages and disadvantages, the good and less-than-good characteristics listed.
It was my great pleasure to again lead a successful tour of Bavaria and a little bit of Austria, the occasion being the annual Sieger Show of the SV, the largest specialty show in the world, with typical spectator attendance of around 40,000. The largest was the 100th anniversary in 1989 with 50,000 people and an entry of nearly 3,000 German Shepherd Dogs, each of whom had a minimum age of 12 months.