(Updated 20/02/01)

Police 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 last week.

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 don’t 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. We’re 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 world’s 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 breeders nowadays.”


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.



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