This is for The Breeders – Let’s Breed Better Dogs!
20 years ago I started my journey in the purebred dogs world and I started to breed dogs. How few I knew then about the problems in purebred dogs breeding. By the time my eyes opened. Everywhere I looked I saw unbelievable stupidity, kennel blindness and run after some strange things which in real life did not matter. Best dogs are the ones that win dog shows? That have deeper angulation? That have more wrinkled skin? That have longer coat? That runs best at the show ring? And then you breed one show winner female with another show winner male? What’s wrong with you World?
Dog shows are the biggest problem of breeding dogs.Dr. Per-Erik Sundgren
Could you imagine that in the human race only Miss World and Mister World would have children and 60% – 80% of the born children of existing year is out of the Mister World? What impact would it make to the human race? Over exaggeration everywhere. Starting from over angulated dogs till breathing deficiency and unable to give normal birth to puppies!
I know a dog breed whose specimens life expectancy is only 6 years! Many dog breeds life expectancy is 9 years which is still really low compared to the previous time. I know a dog breed where breeders think it is normal that dogs can not give normal birth to the puppies but must have caesarian. Some dog breeds have serious health problems which start from 3rd or 4th year of the life. When I was a child the dogs lived 14 years old, 16 years old, 21 years old and small dogs even more. I admit, these were not purebred dogs. But hey, should the purebred dogs really be so much worse from the non pedigree dogs? What most breeders do not understand is that purebred dog breeds are moving towards the end! Extinction of the blue-blood is happening! Has history taught you nothing? It is a dead-end! I have had many dogs during my life. All of my dogs have been different, each one of them has been special and never forgettable. I have had many non pedigree dogs and many purebred pedigree dogs. A Great Dane, an Eastern-European Shepherd Dog and some German Shepherd Dogs. A couple of Belgian Shepherd Malinois and many White Shepherd Dogs. At present, I am breeding Belgian Shepherd Malinois and White Swiss Shepherd Dogs. Both breeds have their own problems but I don’t go into deep with Malinois as I consider myself a beginner in the Belgian Shepherd breed. I concentrate here on white shepherd breed where my breeding has made a remarkable impact in the breed. When I started with white shepherds it was a new FCI registered breed. At it’s very beginning. Some white shepherd dedicated people had worked for decades to save the breed from extinction. As white colour was disqualifying for German shepherd dogs and the white dogs were not considered to have rightness to live. I was very lucky with my very first white shepherd. Then I started to breed and took more white shepherds. At some point “it hit me with a rock in my head!” The white dogs were soft, shy, afraid and had a really weak nervous system. They were nothing like German shepherds where they are originally from. Not any trainability and nothing to be compared with other shepherd dog breeds.
When you breed Dogs. Do not compare your Dogs with another Dogs of the same breed! Compare your Dog with Life!
First ten years I was very active in dog shows. I can say that I was five years in a row every weekend, and seriously, every weekend in a dog show with my dogs. It was fun to win and all my dogs were show champions of several countries, had many best in show placements and winner titles. At some point, it all seemed so meaningless for me. Why? What’s the point? My best show winning dogs were my worst dogs from a character point of view. I basically, had to cull from breeding my highest show winners, because their puppies were “afraid of its own shadow”. I have always been very good with animals, since childhood. So, for me, it was easy to handle my dogs and train them to behave normally. But it turned out, training results did not inherit forward. The training of the parents did not affect the puppies born. And owners did not manage and had many problems. Only then I first understood what was going on… I also trained my dogs. I have always been a very active person. So when dropping dog shows I started to compete with my dogs. The circles I was with my dog were German shepherd owners and German Shepherd Club and trainers. German shepherd people are nice and friendly and they always are willing to help you. It all started with the helpful German shepherd owning friends, that felt sad for me and told I should drop the breed. And then helped me, because German shepherd owners are compassionate and are always there when you need help. But I could not stop the breed nor the breeding of the white shepherds. How many times I wanted to quit. Every time I had again a bad litter from very good parents I felt like “it’s the dead-end”! But I always kept going. Then after few generations the character and working ability started to improve. I ruthlessly culled out from breeding all white shepherds who did not have something useful for my future generation. By culled out, I mean, I placed them into family homes and did not use in breeding. My supportive training partners were happy with every positive result I got. The better the character and working ability became, the happier and more supportive my friends were. So I must say thank you for the Estonian German Shepherd community for supporting me on my road. And thank you for all my training partners, training clubs and training companions that have supported me, have had faith in me and have cheered together with me when we have succeeded. And then, one day, I was in a protection training field testing my young whites with another helper. When I got first-time positive remarks: “Have you mated your whites with Malinois?” I started to laugh and told, that these are just pure white shepherds. However, I did not manage to convince the helper, because the level of the white shepherds drive and ability was not such he had seen earlier. So it all started to come. Generation by generation. Just breeding better dogs with your heart. More positive remarks from everywhere. Later already puppy owners were able to achieve results with their dogs and positive comments kept coming from different countries around the world. To achieve that I kept from almost every litter a puppy who was most vital and had something that a “good dog in white shepherd breed” in my mind had missing. I sacrificed everything from exterior just to get better dogs in return getting the character. The only thing I did not sacrifice was dogs health. I kept dogs with not so white coat, dogs with not so good pigmentation, dogs with not so good looks for dog shows. Most of them went to live in different families and only very few of them were suitable for breeding when grown up. My best White Shepherd for me was neither white nor good pigmented and had many faults. But I consider him still my best. And when he will be gone I will forever have him in my heart. Because with him I learned many important life lessons. I feel that every single of my dogs is special and each one of them has taught me to value different things. Every single one of them has got something very good in it. When you see and feel it, you understand your dog. The ones that were suitable for breeding needed only one generation to improve the exterior, getting bright white coat, dark black pigmentation, rich coat and stunning look with excellent movement for dog shows. But changing character took 7 generations.
I have bred different white shepherds. I have ones that are really good at working and you can also go to dog shows. And then I have the ones that are really goodlooking for the dog shows, but are also able to perform in training field. And for every dog there is always the right owner. I have managed to breed many good whites and also many bad whites. I never know when and where I will succeed. What matters for me is the percentage of success of my puppy owners. When they manage to achieve with their dog it means I have done something right. I do not want to say that what I do is right and that all others are wrong. I believe that there must be many visions of many breeders around the world. Who knows which one will save the breed when it is on the edge of the extinction. The breed standard is a guideline. Life happens meanwhile. You don’t live your life by reading the law books. Laws are changed according to real life. Breed standards get changed according to real life situation. When breeders concentrate only getting lower quality dogs the breed standard will be after 20 years changed to support the lower standard. Why not raise the breed real life standard? However, what I want to emphasize is the following: When you breed White Shepherds. Do not compare your White Shepherd with another White Shepherd! Compare your White Shepherd with Life! When you train with German Shepherds, compare your White Shepherd with German Shepherds. When you compete with Malinois or Border Collies, compare your White Shepherd performance for Malinois and Border Collies! Do not be satisfied with a low level average White Shepherd dog whom you are able after 2 years or 4 years of hard training to get onto some average level. Do not be satisfied with a White Shepherd whose only virtue is that it is able to live normal life! White Shepherd Dog is a shepherd dog and should remain as such! For gods sake, the breed is origin from German Shepherd Dog breed. How comes that an average white shepherd is much worse then a show line German Shepherd? If your biggest proudness is that your dog has never been shy to strangers that already says everything about the level of the breed! And that is a very very low level. Wake up! Yes, there are already dogs and breeders in the World who concentrate on character and overall dog. We have even working champions and one World Champion. But this is only just the beginning. We are just at the very start of our journey. White Shepherd breeders must not satisfy with this but keep improving so that at least 80% of the breed specimens would be normal dogs. Why otherwise you are breeding? What I have seen, the worst dogs are in most regulated areas. And I am talking right now about many different breeds. The reason is very simple. Firstly, a human can never control with the 5 to 20 switches nature. It does not matter how much you test or measure the nature is always wiser. Secondly, when concentrating only on these few things overall dog disappears. Some things just become a fashion. When fashion changes, you have already bad dogs and you start going into a new direction, making the breed even worse…
The breed standard is a guideline. Life happens meanwhile!
White shepherd people are number people. They like to present the genetic test numbers. The starting point was HD numbers. Then came ED numbers. And the latest mode is MDR1 and DM tests. Then we have a coat colour which must be bright white. Then we have pigmentation which must be dark black, best if the ears, belly and nails are also black. Forgetting the overall dog… Well, I have many dogs with black spots on the tongue and I had three dogs with black mark on the coat like the well known Disney “Bolt”. I don’t know should I consider it good or bad… Depends, from which side to look at… White Shepherd people have become crazy about White Shepherd eye colour. They do not think that the same colour of eyes what have dark coloured Malinois or German Shepherds is good enough for a White Shepherd. The eyes must be black. At the same time, most of the White Shepherds in the breed are soft, shy and afraid of everything. And people say breeders should be concerned about eye colour? That’s exactly why the breed is in such a bad condition, the longer corners, darker eyes, darker pigmentation, longer coat… Voila – white shepherds are no longer suitable for anything and not anywhere. And their nerves get broken in smallest accidents. Best you can do with such whites is only a low level obedience and dog shows. In case you are lucky enough to get such a specimen that is not afraid of its own shadow. Most whites are even not able to live normal lives without enormous socialization work. And to train a white shepherd you really must be a genius. But white shepherd owners protect their dogs’ bad character and say, but look how nice long coat my dog has or how nice pigmentation…. Whites that have exactly the same eye colour as very dark coloured Malinois or normal GSD-s are not with dark enough eyes for White Shepherd people? What about pigmentation? Shouldn’t that be also one of the priorities? Or a long coat? That’s the total package you are after? Some few genetic test results which don’t mean anything or HD and ED number that does not actually say anything… There are some old time white shepherds that were really good as I was told. I never saw them, so I can not comment. However, I have seen two white shepherds in Germany. One had problems with hips and was not allowed to breeding, another one was not FCI registry dog. And they really reminded me a real dog. But because of the cultus of “numbers”, they were not in breeding. Years ago I decided that I stand for a White Shepherd as a DOG! There are many things in one dog that should be balanced and a good dog is a total package. A good dog is able to perform and with whom people can live long and happy lives. Health comes first, character secondly and balanced healthy anatomy thirdly. This is my “breeding mantra”. I have been traveling around the world, looking for different dogs. Mostly the breeds I have been involved with. By time, your eye starts looking for every breed specimens and evaluates for your own brain if it is a good dog or not. There are dogs out there, not in the show ring, that are really good ones and healthy specimens that can save your breed. Just keep your mind clear and eyes open. I have found some remarkable specimens in different breeds in different countries. I am not sure these dogs would win Best in Show or Best of Breed in dog shows. But I am absolutely sure people, normal people, would think of these as the best specimens in the show ring. I have seen the coolest black Labrador Retriever that everyone would be proud to own. I saw him in Estonia, far away from cities, next to our islands in the countryside. The owner told he is from working lines and his work was hunting. He looked magnificent, he was strong, full of muscles, brave and very very nice dog, everyone would love to own such a labrador. I have seen best Rottweilers ever, I would be proud to own such a specimen. It was in a training field in Rottweiler in Germany. You don’t see such magnificent Rottweilers around in the world. And the protection training he performed, it was so powerful a german shepherd owner can only dream of. There are very few such good level dogs left… I have seen the best Malinois and Dutch Shepherds in Holland. Nice, healthy, vital, strong, clear from the head, biting like hell… Every working line Malinois or a Dutch Shepherd owner would be proud to have such specimens. But these dogs are like this because they are bred out of FCI regulations and breed book. They are used in real life work where dogs quality matters… There is a country I am in love with. It’s Italy. I have seen there most magnificent Golden Retriever. I even did not know such dogs exist. He was also a specimen I myself would proudly own. Several very nice different breed bullmastiffs, all in very good condition, bred extremely well and even I would be willing to take such magnificent creature for myself. And the best working line German Shepherds which I have ever seen were also in Italy. We were talking about dream dogs, how a working line German Shepherd should be. Well, there I found it, in a training field in Torino. In the country where the magic happens and where real values still exist.
There are dogs out there, that are really good ones and healthy specimens that can save your breed. Just keep your mind clear and eyes open.
I am sure there are more good dogs in different countries, but you must go to and search them and get your mind out of the matrix. The matrix in the dog breeding is the stamp that has been built into your head – this is what your breed should be and the overall structure that protects this matrix vision. And then there are the show dogs. Sad to look at and destined to extinction….
I know, I know… It is not nice to say, but really, first should be the dog, and only after the results from the dog show… If you don’t take my word, then believe a late Swedish geneticist Dr. Per-Erik Sundgren, who told already more than a decade ago that, today’s dog breeding biggest problem are dog shows. I believe that breeders should breed their vision. Healthy dogs, with purpose in life that every owner is able to perform with. Well bred dog winning once in a while in the show ring is much more worth then dog bred for dog shows with “empty head” and “weak nervous system”. I have won several times with good dogs, not bred for dog shows and felt proud of myself. Even when you become 2-nd, right behind a wow wow wow show dog, with your great dog, who is great in everything and also successful in dog shows, you have already achieved much more than the 1st place dog only suitable for dog shows…. When I went my own direction with white shepherds, I got many remarks about it. All breeders, and I repeat, ALL breeders, told me: “You are not going to succeed! No one want’s short-coated dogs!” And many breeders have told me: “I like short-coated dogs, but what can I do. People want to buy only long-coated dogs.” Then don’t do puppies. It is not about what people want to buy, it is about what is your, the breeders, vision of the dog. And breeding is meant to preserve the purebred dogs not about selling the puppies. Every dog should be bred for a purpose.
Isn’t it strange that in the early time when breeders start breeding, breeders just do matings with other breeders bred dogs and think it is breeding? When time and generation passes only then the breeder understands what is real breeding. Then the breeder learns that in order to do breeding the breeder needs to have knowledge, understanding and forgiveness. The values what breeders are going to have will be much different that were in the beginning. The vision of the future is not ended with one litter of puppies, but the breeder sees forward for some generations. Plans change, and they are ought to change, but the breeders eager to define the future must never change. However, the arrogance of the young breeders, breeders that call themselves breeders even not had any litters yet, goes over the normal limit. They seem to know best what is right and what is wrong. After had some litters the silence arrives and values are changed. Keep your mind clear! Look around in the World and analyze what you see! Concentrate on doing the right thing! I know it is hard! Right decisions are in the short term always very difficult, but very rewarding in the long term. Have your own vision, and go after it. Don’t listen to others. Keep Your Dream! I wish you all the best on your road and I know that doing the right thing success is inevitable!