I don’t have the presumption to tell, or worse, explain a breed. I'm not a breeder, I don't know by heart the names of each pedigree, or the standards of the breeds.
THIS IS JUST A STORY OF THE PASSION FOR A BREED. MY STORY WITH THE GERMAN SHEPHERD.
I grew up with a German Shepherd. Kira, a longhaired female, when long hair was still a disqualifying fault. During our Sunday walks with the dogs, my Dachshund Uta was on the leash, and because Kira impressed me a bit, I pretended that Uta was Kira. Years later came Daisy. She was found tied to a tree, almost starving to death. She was skinny and long, as the cartoon character Olive Oyl, and with a disarming kindness. Then other dogs came along, but no German Shepherd. Then it was love at first sight for the Belgian Shepherd, Malinois, and it was a bit like being on the right side of the fence. Those who own one of these yellow dogs, they feel like they have something no one else has – like a super power. I still found myself writing in the German Shepherd forum, telling about Kira and Daisy, although I didn’t own a German Shepherd.
And I didn’t even want one. In my opinion, the Showline German Shepherd was without any imagination or originality. Not the dogs, but those who choose them, among the hundreds of breeds that are in the encyclopedia of the dog. I had seen the grey, Workline German Shepherd, but they were nothing compared to the Belgian Sheperd. And, in my own little world, the Malinois jumped better, ran faster, and the bite was the same. The Belgian also had the advantage of a straight backline and shorter hind legs (which undoubtedly contributes to a better jump).
THEN I RAN INTO A FRIEND, WHO HAD A FEMALE GERMAN SHEPHERD LOOKING FOR A NEW FAMILY.
Small, black, and less than a year old. I brought her to the training camp to get to know her and to get her to be known. Within a month she was living with us. For two weeks she followed me around like a shadow, then she decided that the world was hers. She walked on a leash as if she had always done it.
Not afraid of anything or anyone. She was clever, shrewd, very aware of who she was and what she wanted. Sociable. Wisely selfish. Died at the age of three, poisoned.
I WANTED TO TRY AGAIN, I ASKED FOR A CONFIDENT, SOCIABLE, PREDATORY, NON-AGGRESSIVE PUPPY.
Arjuna arrived. It was not difficult to find her at the airport of Dusseldorf, I just had to follow the desperate screams (ok, delete confident from the list). I tried to reassure her, but nonetheless it was tough to see her leave screaming before boarding. We arrived at home, and it was clear from the beginning that she is an insecure puppy, if not fearful, with low motivation to play predation, and she is aggressive. Aggressive, because she is fearful. She collects anything with my smell on it, she piles it up in her basket and she will lie on top of it – dragon style.
In tracking, she’s phenomenal, in obedience she’s a camel, and forget utility and defense because in this phase, she is not able to play.
She threats dogs and people – the family is her only accessible world. Everything else is dangerous, and when in danger, she threats. The first time she saw the sea, she screamed and ran to the car. It will take a lot of work to give her stability and inner peace.
AND THEN PUMA ARRIVED.
I went to Munich to pick her up. I came back with two sisters, one of which was for a veterinarian in Pinerolo. I liked the sister more. Puma is a bit insecure, and not particularly sociable. She doesn’t sleep with the belly up. The sister only stayed with us for one day, and Puma kept me company at home after my ankle surgery. Then the half-sister Mighty arrived.
In the first two months, I was a bit skeptical of the new dog. But then we start to develop a mutual understanding. Puma is addicted to Gappay ball (only Gappay ball), she is relentless, stubborn, ready to face anything if we are together and if I give her a chance to understand.
STILL NOT SURE IF I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS BREED.
I show some symptoms of this syndrome. Like, when I share dogs looking for new families, they are often German Shepherds. I watch movies about German Shepherds in action (any kind of action). I look at my German Shepherds and I think they are just beautiful. But what binds me to the German Shepherd is not the aesthetics. In fact, I find their long hind legs, deep chests, short legs and heavy skeletons meaningless.
What I prefer in the German Shepherd (maybe I should specify for work, but I know of Showline dogs with the same qualities) is their spirit.
I don't know what else to call it.
(Endof the first part)
Read all the article, go to SECOND PART
Text Alexa Capra, photo Daniele Robotti
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