History of German Shepherds

History of The Old Fashion German Shepherd.


Captain Max Von Stephanitz founder of the German Shepherd In 1889.




The German Shepherd was created using three foundation lines.


  •  Thuringian – Known for the bountiful energy, sharpness, and wolf-like appearance. Stamped the GSD with their “type” (wolf-like appearance).


  • Wurttember – Known for effiecient movement, larger bone, active working dogs, intelligence, powerful yet good natured, aloofness. Stamped the GSD with temperament, trotting, structure, working ability, intelligence, and courage.


  • Swabian – Known for Size, intelligence, steadfast, calm, versality. Courage and conviction that would not back to a threat. Stamped the GSD with versatility, strong temperament, and working ability.

Horand Von Grafrath – The 1st GSD



Horand was genetically made up all the foundational bloodlines; one of the reasons one could believe that Max fell in love with him instantly. While Horand seemed to exhibit more Thuringian traits , Max understood the other qualities were contained within his genetics and in the beginning Max went to the bigger, calmer dogs in his early breedings – in particular Audiofax and the Madame Krone.


In spite of what most current German Shepherd breeders of today preach, the very early foundation dogs were made up of a great deal of unknown bloodlines.


Being such, the German Shepherd varied in size all across the board. So much that the trend was to promote and crown the larger dogs Champion, until Bodo Von Bloxberg was named Champion in a predetermined outcome.


Before Bloxber, the Champions ranged from 24 inches in height to 28 inches in height – With taller dogs dominating the gene pool.  After crowning Bloxberg Champion, Max stopped the recording of “Oversized” dogs in the official Stud Book to insure smaller dogs. 


What is important to keep in mind is, even though the Stud Book only recorded dogs under a certain height, those dogs still contained the genes that could produce “Oversized” dogs.  And those dogs – particularly the Wurttember and Scwabian lines were being bred by farmers and others even as standards changed over the years.



There can be controversy and bitter conversation by breeders of today’s standard German Shepherd about the “Old Fashion and Oversized” German Shepherds. Knowing the historical records and history of this breed should leave No Doubt that the Old Fashion German Shepherd is more true and correct  as to what the GSD started off as 129 Years ago.


The term “Old Fashion” was actually used in the mid 20’s to describe the Shepherds before Bloxberg was crowned Champion. It’s in the history books if you don’t believe me!


However, I feel with todays standards being less than desirable to many (other than those breeding for standards) ; the term “Old Fashion” can today accurately refer back to the GSD’S of the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s. While you could still find some nice “Old Fashion” GSD’S in the 70’s & 80’s with straight backs and thick strong bones, The “Old Fashion” GSD was a dying breed for the new standards to make way.