Thursday, May 20, 2010
AN OBSERVATION OF COLOR DEPTH AND COAT LENGTH
Armani vom Finkenweg SchH1 KkL1a Life
I’ve already written about the many different colors that the German Shepherd Dog’s coat can be in another article on this blog. When the general public thinks of the German Shepherd Dog, most of the time they will think of him as a black and tan dog. This is the standard color that is normally associated with this breed. Some people won’t own any other color like a black or a sable. I’ve never been color blind to other colors besides the black and tan dog. A good dog is a good dog no matter what color he is. Do I prefer certain colors over another color? Yes, I prefer the black and red or black and orange colored dogs or the red sables. These are just my preference but I don’t HAVE to have it!
So I’m talking to my friend the other day that just imported another German bred dog that she just shown for his first time in the United States. I was congratulating her on her dog winning his first major points towards his championship title. Now I haven’t seen the dog yet although I have been invited to her house many times to come make friends with her new boy. With my own schedule, I haven’t found the time to do it yet. So I’ve just looked at his pictures and marveled at his handsome masculine head and bone and that black and RED pigment!!!
So I ask my friend. “Hey, you know what I’ve been thinking, how come I never see the German dogs in any other color besides black and red or black and orange?” I really had to stop and think about that for a moment after I asked it. It’s true. I never see any sables. I never see any blacks, bi-colors, saddles, or lighter black and tan dogs. “Why is that”, I wondered. My friend said that the German breeders only breed for the rich black and red pigments that we always see on their dogs. She said something about them breeding the other colors out of their breeding program years ago.
So that is my question that I’m putting to my readers. Is this true, did the German breeders stop breeding the other colors of the breed that we still see here in the United States? And if this is true, how come? Did they not find the other colors of the German Shepherd Dog as appealing?
I have never owned a black and red dog, but have owned a black and orange dog. Not only did he have beautiful rich dark pigment, but he had a plush coat as well. In my opinion the combination is stunning.
And speaking of plush coats, that’s the next part of my question. How come MOST German bred dogs along with their beautiful pigment have gorgeous thick, plush coats? I know not all of them are plush coated, but the ones that I’ve seen advertised, most of the time are. When I think of these very dark pigmented dogs, even the American bred ones that I love; many times they are plush coated. Although I can think of a dog that went Select at one of our more recent Nationals that wasn’t plush coated but has extraordinarily beautiful rich black and red pigment. Years and years ago, the winner’s dog at the National had this beautiful black and red pigment but he wasn’t plush coated either.
How important do you think dark pigment is when you breed? How are improving the coat length? Do you breed to improve pigment and coat? Of course temperament, structure and movement as well as the health of the pedigree is more important than pigment and coat length when choosing a breeding partner for your animal.
One thing that I’ve noticed with the German bred dogs is they have consistency in breed type. They all look the same. The American bred dog is not as consistent in breed type because they have so many different color combinations. Certainly this discussion is not about German vs. American lines and which one is better. They both have their redeeming values and I’ve never owned anything but American bred dogs. I’m just commenting about the color of the coats and length of coats.
To illustrate three different colors of the German Shepherd Dog, take a look at "Armani" at the top of this article. He’s a black and red dog. Then take a look at three of my dogs that I owned on the top of my blog. "Nuance" was a black and tan dog. "Rajah" was a blanket colored dog. Because you can’t see his whole body, you might think that he’s a bi-color. He was not. He had a lot of black on most of his body, but he didn’t have the stripe going down his toes like the bi-colors do and his legs were mostly tan in color. "Xanadu" which was the mother of both of these dogs was also a blanket bitch. However, her face wasn’t predominately black like her son "Rajah’s" was.
In my opinion there is nothing more gratifying than looking at a beautiful looking dog lying by your side or walking down the street with you. Some of them can take your breath away because of their stunning beauty. Someone had a picture of an American bred male that she owns (maybe I saw it on Face Book – I can’t remember now), but he was dark and plush and drop dead gorgeous and I wouldn’t mind owning him.
So although the German Shepherd Dog is considered by many a movement breed to do the work that he was bred for, there is not substitute for beautiful breed type. And yes that’s me saying that and my friends all know that I’m a movement nut, but that subjects for another article.
Speaking of color and coat length, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a plush coated bi-color. I’m sure they must be out there, but most of the time I’ve seen closer coated bi-colors. I’d be curious to see pictures of them if anyone has one.
I would like to know, which kennels in America has deep dark pigment…….either black and red or black and orange dogs or red sables? If they have plush coats, that is even better. Which bloodlines are producing these qualities?
So although as a breeder, you should never just be breeding for one thing, improving on breed type is never a bad thing if you have structure and movement in your lines already.
I thank Dan and Marilyn Smith of Darby-Dan Shepherds for allowing me to use a picture of their dog "Armani" for the sake of this article.
My rating: a good dog is a good dog no matter what color: (4)