Doberman Lab Mix Facts:
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is one of the most popular breeds today. They are very loyal, affectionate and loving dogs with a strong sense of loyalty.
These dogs have been bred to perform various tasks such as guard dog, search and rescue dog, police officer, military personnel and many other jobs. Some of these roles include tracking down criminals or dangerous individuals or even performing surgery on injured soldiers. The GSD is known for their ability to hunt animals and large prey such as deer, boar, elk, bear and even humans. The breed was originally developed to assist hunters in finding game. They were used extensively during World War II where they served as sentries at gun emplacements and guarded convoys. Today the German Shepherd Dog is still used in many different ways including working as a guide dog for blind persons or hearing dogs for deaf people.
Doberman Lab Mix Breed History:
In 1876, Charles Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species” which included a chapter on the origin of man’s best friend. In it he described how dogs came to be domesticated from wolves.
He stated that when two wolves meet each other in the wild they fight until only one survives. However, he believed it was a different story when a male wolf interacted with female wolf. He believed the female would submit to the male (or dominant) wolf and this was how dogs came to be. He believed the more passive wolf was favored by natural selection to become the first dog. This theory was generally accepted for many years.
In the late 1800s, a man by the name of Rudolphina Menzel conducted experiments to prove how dogs were domesticated. She observed wolves and dogs that lived in close proximity with humans in rural villages in Germany.
She found that wolves rarely if ever attacked livestock living near these villages. To her surprise, no matter how close the wild wolves or captive wolves were to humans, they did not attack them. To test this theory further, in the early 1900s she raised a litter of puppies with a nursing female wolf. She wanted to prove that wolves would naturally attack humans even if they had no previous bad experiences with them. The female wolf did not attack the babies but rather nursed them like a normal wolf mother.
This experiment disproved Charles Darwin’s theory on the origin of dogs. It showed that without exposure to humans, the wolf pack would not turn on and attack humans.
This paved the way for German taxidermist, Karl Hagenbeck to develop his own theory on how dogs came to be. In 1859 he had received a male and female big-eared wolf (Canis lupus) from London Zoo. He gave them a den and raised wolf cubs. This experiment gave him the idea that human intervention was necessary for wild wolves to breed in captivity and that they needed a lot of care and attention. He believed that it was this careful treatment that led the wolves to become tame and domestic. He built a very large cage in his backyard where he kept an adult male and female pair of wolves. While visiting the zoo he found an orphaned infant bear and also brought it home to live in his backyard “wildlife preserve.” The captive wolves treated the bear like one of their own and nursed it, thus Hagenbeck believed that this experiment proved that animals could be domesticated with relative ease.
He built a second wildlife preserve near Hamburg Germany where he briefly displayed animals that he and others captured in the wild. He returned most of the animals, including the wolves to their natural habitat but kept an adult male and female wolf.
These two wolves soon had a litter of puppies and this was the beginning of the Hagenbeck Wolfdog. By 1888 he had created a sizable collection of different species of mixed animals that he used for various traveling animal shows and circuses. He began using the term “PanTheraPods” for these various animal combos. He soon settled on the name “Hagenbeck’s Animal Show” for his traveling circus.
In 1895, Hagenbeck presented a special show in London that contained four different types of big cats, (lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars)three different primates (orangutans, chimpanzees and gibbons), a giant turtle and four African elephants. This special show was a great success and other animal collectors were inspired to create their own animal shows.
One of these men was an animal collector and dealer by the name of Frank Buck.
Frank Buck had first visited the Hagenbeck Wolfdog kennels as a young boy when he purchased a cub for $20. He later returned to buy the cub’s mother for $200 with the intention of breeding more of these dogs.
The wolves were descendants of animals that had been captured in the wild in Canada and then raised by Hagenbeck. Originally Buck planned on displaying the wolves in his shows but found they were ill-suited to captivity because they were too skittish around people. The dogs would pace back and forth and howl constantly, they also pulled so hard on their leashes that they sometimes injured themselves. Buck decided to sell these aggressive animals and buy some tigers which were more suitable to display. He soon became a successful animal dealer and traveled to Asia where he captured animals in the wild for zoos, circuses and private collectors.
Frank Buck’s occupation as an animal collector was very dangerous. In his book “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” he describes how he was almost killed several times by rogue elephants, snarling tigers, angry native people and even venomous snakes.
He also had many exciting adventures while at sea traveling to remote islands in shark-infested waters. He not only displayed and sold animals but he also exhibited his own feats of daring by wrestling lions and other large wild animals. He was an excellent showman and a very likeable person which resulted in his attaining great popularity.
In the early 1920’s Buck became involved in the newly developing field of motion pictures. He was hired by the producer of the first Tarzan movies to go to India and capture a young Bengal tiger for use in the films.
This turned out to be easier said than done! Buck succeeded in his mission but the effort took a toll on his health and he was only able to make one trip. However, it allowed him to experience some of the thrills he had when he traveled to foreign lands in real life. He later participated in the making of several other Tarzan movies. His experiences in this field, as well as his earlier career as an animal collector and exhibitor were all brought together in the 1931 novel “Bring ‘Em Back Alive”. This book is probably his most enduring legacy.
The Hagenbeck Wolfdog continued to develop over the next few decades. They were bred primarily in Germany and Austria but also in other parts of Europe.
In the 1960’s a small group of German Shepherds immigrated to the United States and continued the Hagenbeck Wolfdog bloodlines here. The Hagenbeck Wolfdog was still bred primarily for its working ability as a sheepherder and protector of property rather than for show. The dogs varied greatly in appearance with some being very similar in appearance to the German Shepherd Dog and others being very wolf-like.
The Hagenbeck Wolfdog Club of America was formed in 1979 to promote the preservation of the Hagenbeck Wolfdog as well as educate people about the breed. The HWD was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1998 but is still not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
In 2004 a dog known as ViggoM_Kappus (named after a character in the movie “The 13th Warrior” which was based on a story by the legendary writer Michael Crichton) became the first HWD to win Best of Breed at a United Kennel Club event.
By 2006 the Hagenbeck Wolfdog had grown in popularity and this led the United Kennel Club to begin a periodically held election to add a new breed to their list of recognized canines. The HWD was one of five breeds up for the honor.
It faced stiff competition from the Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Bergamasco, the Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound and the Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer.
The voting process was very interesting and a little confusing. Votes were tallied over a period of several months and there were three rounds of balloting.
In the first round, the Bergamasco and the HWD received the highest number of votes but failed to achieve the necessary percentage needed to be added. The Belgian Shepherd Dog and the BCRH each received enough votes to move on to the second round while the HWD and SHD did not.
In the second round, voting again took place and this time the HWD and the SHD tied for the lowest number of votes and were therefore eliminated from contention. The BSD and the BCRH each received enough votes to make it to the final round while the BRHP was eliminated.
In the final round, the BSD narrowly beat out the BCRH for the last available spot on the list of recognized breeds. The BCRH was very close to making it but just came up a little bit short.
Many people believed that the HWD would have been a better choice but such is the nature of the election process.
It wasn’t all bad news for the HWD, however. It still remains a somewhat popular breed and there are several dedicated fanciers out there working hard to make sure that it does not die out.
It may not be a recognized dog but it’s a living testament to the contributions of Carl Hagenbeck and his influence on the development of the German Shepherd Dog and the effort that people can put forth in order to preserve a breed.
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Wikipedia.org, Carl Hagenbeck
Wikipedia.org, German Shepherd Dog
Wikipedia.org, Great Dane
Wikipedia.org, Belgian Shepherd Dog
Wikipedia.org, Bergamasco Sheepdog
Wikipedia.org, Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound
Wikipedia.org, Slovakian Rough-Haired Pointer
Wikipedia.org, United Kennel Club
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