German shepherd dog and Belgian shepherd dog - On the continent of Europe there are many kinds of dogs used for guarding sheep, but those best known in this country are the German and Belgian sheep-dogs.
They have come into unusual prominence within the last five years because of the notable part they have played with the Red Cross units and in other activities on the battlefields of France and Belgium.
This is one of the handsomest and most attractive of dogs, and approximates more closely than any other the really wolf type. Strong and clean of limb, bright of eye, and alert in every sense, gifted with a very high intelligence and a wonderful memory for what he has been taught, he is a most excellent and useful working dog. The German shepherd dog should stand 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and show in every line the qualities which he is supposed to possess : "intelligence, alertness, loyalty, gentleness, courage, obedience, willingness, and devotion." He is a graceful, powerful dog, with beautiful lines and curves denoting both strength and speed.
It is not necessary to mention the many uses he has been put to in the present war, as Red Cross, No Man's Land patrol, messenger, and ration-carrier. It is perhaps as well to say here that any such active, restless, vigorous, and intelligent animal as this becomes a grave responsibility to its owner and should be sedulously cared for and kept in control every minute.
They become very dangerous when neglected or turned adrift or thrown on their own resources by being lost, and once they form a habit of chicken or sheep killing they become inveterate and persistent in their maraudings and ordinarily must be shot.
One very beautiful dog of this kind was recently shot in the Catskills after repeated ravages which started a rumor of wolves in the region. This impression was very natural, and when the photographs sent to the Conservation Commission were identified as a dog the rustic sufferers were still only partly convinced. Dog it was, however, and apparently a very fine example of this new and interesting type.
While the standard allows great range of color, those most often seen in this country are of the so-called "wolf" colors — dark tipping of hair over a tawny or buff ground.
The muzzle (unlike that of a wolf) is usually blackish. Both the German and the Belgian dogs may be divided into three general types, namely, rough-haired, wire-haired, and smooth-haired. By their erect ears and general expression they betray their near relationship to the wolf.
Some of the varieties are becoming popular in this country as companions, and while they do not seem demonstratively affectionate they are staunch and loyal and conduct themselves with quiet dignity which is equaled by few other breeds.
THE BELGIAN SHEPHERD DOG: Many types of shepherd dogs have been developed in Europe, and doubtless a good many have just "growed," like Topsy. But it is not likely that the Belgian dog is of the latter class, for in common with several other Belgian varieties he has arrived at a very concise standard, and has proved in the present war one of the most dependable and valuable of dogs for the purposes of finding and bringing aid to the wounded in No Man's Land, as well as carrying messages where a man could not go and live.
He is a trifle smaller than the better known and more extensively advertised German shepherd, or "police," dog, and is usually solid black in color. He is also a bit stockier and less rangy in build and has a little more width of brow. While not so strong as his big, light- colored German congener, nor so formidable as an antagonist, he is equally intelligent and capable, equally keen of scent and sight, and probably less of a responsibility for his owner.
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