say GSD 'too soft'
THE ONCE-FEARED German Shepherd is being ditched by police
dog handlers because it is becoming too soft, according to a report published
Police dog trainers claim that the aggression has been deliberately bred out
of GSDs to make them more suitable for showing, but without the edge
which makes them ideal police dogs.
They have had the suspicion and boldness bred out of them, says
PC Phil Tyson of the West Yorkshire Police Dog section. Quoted in an article
for Police Review magazine, PC Tyson adds, Dog shows dont look for
aggression, but for dogs which look nice and which are subdued. But working
dogs need to be alert.
Taking the point further, Inspector Howard Norman of Hampshire police commented:
Breeders have made an effort to eliminate some of the dogs faults
but in doing so have lost some of the characteristics that made them what they
are. Were now looking abroad to purchase dogs from the Continent.
Inspector Norman added that the force was negotiating to purchase Malinois,
one of the four Belgian Shepherd Dog breeds. Malinois are about three quarters
the size of GSDs, with short coats ands a similar, wolfish appearance.
They are extremely intelligent and have strength and the edge, which
makes them ideal as police dogs.
Indeed, the Malinois is the worlds favourite police dog, being used exclusively
in the USA and many European countries.
Malinois breeder Liz Richardson of the famous Sabrefield affix warned that police
would find Malinois a revelation, pointing out that many of the
Continental working BSDs do have an extreme hardness about them.
Steve Dean, police dog handler for the Metropolitan Police told OUR DOGS The
Met breed over 80 per cent of GSDs ourselves, in order to maintain the qualities
we need in police dogs. We take on very few dogs from private homes or from
Kennel Club spokesman Phil Buckley said. We are very surprised to hear
these comments about GSDs. Our breed standards have not changed and I would
have thought that German Shepherds were still ideal for police work.
Berkshire-based breeder Maureen Paul who supplies GSD puppies to forces all
over Britain agreed that most puppies from non-specialist breeders would be
unsuitable for the police.