4 of the original GSD studs were WOLF CROSSES? Do our dogs have wolf in them? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
Elite Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,675
4 of the original GSD studs were WOLF CROSSES? Do our dogs have wolf in them?

I want to research the origins of the GSD because I love studying history and I love our dogs. I'm pretty sure there are books out there that go into detail on the GSD beginnings. Maybe even some biographies on Max von Stephanitz. If you have any recommendations, please let me know so I can check my library or purchase them online.

Also, I checked back on Wikipedia (I know you can't trust anything on Wikipedia, which is why I'm running this past you guys: the expert historians!) and found the below quote that mentions some of the original stud dogs were wolf crosses. Does that mean a small percentage of every GSD or some of our GSDs might be the slightest bit wolf? Just curious. I know when watching wolf documentaries, they always compare the wolf's body/size/shape to be most comparable to a GSD out of all of the domesticated dog breeds.

Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and was the first dog added to the society's breed register. Horand became the centre-point of the breeding programs and was bred with dogs belonging to other society members that displayed desirable traits. Although fathering many pups, Horand's most successful was Hektor von Schwaben.[8] Hektor was inbred with another of Horand's offspring and produced Beowulf, who later fathered a total of eighty-four pups, mostly through being inbred with Hektor's other offspring. In the original German Shepherd studbook, Zuchtbuch fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (SZ), within the 2 pages of entries from SZ No. 41 to SZ No. 76, there are 4 Wolf Crosses.[9] Beowulf's progeny also were inbred and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz's strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog
Thanks in advance for any and all help on the books and the quote/question!

Last edited by counter; 01-31-2013 at 12:06 AM.
counter is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 12:10 AM
Crowned Member
selzer's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Denmark, Ohio
Posts: 30,497
Let's see, in seven years, you can have three generations. So over 100 years, you have to figure there have been probably 42 generations. If there was wolf back there, it is way back there. I undertand that Max culled pretty aggressively, and I am sure that he realized early on that wolf wasn't a good idea. My guess is that if Wickapaedia got it right, than there probably weren't many dogs that survived to breed with wolf in them.

Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC
selzer is offline  
post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 12:25 AM
Knighted Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,683
I read that the Czech Republic military tried to introduce this into their breeding program. If I remember correctly, they weren't happy with the results, and it was a short lived experiment.

Wrath of Grim z Dragon
"Mr. Grim"- Threaten my handler. I dare you.
Jag is offline  
post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 01:24 AM
Crowned Member
Freestep's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northern California
Posts: 6,117
This is a longtime rumor that does not appear to be substantiated. But even if it were true, the amount of wolf blood in modern GSDs would be pretty negligable.

People have been experimenting with wolf/GSD crosses in an attempt to make some kind of super-working dog, but actually, they generally make lousy working dogs. If there were individual dogs in the early GSD that dipslayed wolf-type behavior or temperament, they were probably culled. It would have been totally counter to their breeding goals.
Freestep is offline  
post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 05:06 AM
Knighted Member
Anubis_Star's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,059
There have been NUMEROUS recent "breed" attempts, crossing wolves with GSDs, to create an "improved" version of the breed. Almost all these attempts failed because wolf hybrids maintain a skittish temperament that is not suitable for most work.

Sarloos wolfhound would be the most noted, bred by a Dutch man. Hoping to make a breed closely related to the german shepherd that was also immune to distemper and possessed less "domestication" and more intelligent working capability. Several of his first dogs resulting from these breedings died of distemper (and in fact the first she-wolf he purchased also died of distemper), and were to skittish and lacked the will to attack to even perform in sport.

Czechoslovakian wolfdog is a better example, carpathian wolves crossed with WL GSDs to produce border patrol dogs. Much better working capability as they lack much of the skittish behaviors other hybrids posses, but training can still be very selective and challenging.

I guess point here is hybrids more often then not do NOT posses the qualities that Max was looking for in his breeding program. If they did exist (and it's very possible they did, remember he used herding dogs as his founding stock and they could easily of cross bred), it is unlikely they would of been the leading stock for the foundation of the breed. A few may of possessed traits he was interested in, but I find it very unlikely he would of used a large number of F1 hybrids. And even if he did, as someone else pointed out the number of generations that have passed, probably 40-50+, it would make very little difference.

The russian farm fox experiment showed that it takes only 14 generations of selective breeding to DOMESTICATE a fox. Not tame it, but actually domesticate it to the point that dog-like features are exhibited (coloration change, curled tails, rose ears, barking, etc... Interestingly enough this experiment also showed that there was a direct link between domestication and physical change - which is how we have the variety of breeds we do today). If a fox can be tamed and turned into a new species in essence in only 14 generations, then 40 generations would wipe out any trace of "wild wolf" in the german shepherd breed.
Nurse Bishop likes this.

~Emergency Vet Tech

Berlin vom Spartanville, BH, OB1 1/13/13
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
'07 - '15
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
'08 - '12

"Make sure my shepherd dog remains a working dog, for I have struggled all my life long for that aim." - Max Von Stephanitz
Anubis_Star is offline  
post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
Elite Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,675
Thanks for the replies!

Anyone know of some good books/bios to read about the origins of our beloved GSDs?
counter is offline  
post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 11:42 AM
Crowned Member
Freestep's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Northern California
Posts: 6,117
Published in 1925, written by the founder of the breed. Great reading, really interesting photos. Every GSD enthusiast should have this book on their shelf--IMO, it clears up a lot of misconceptions about what the breed should be. You can sometimes find good used copies around $35.
Freestep is offline  
post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 11:45 AM
Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Chris Wild's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 13,602
Get Max v Stephanitz' book "The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture". It will cover just about any question you could have about the beginning of the breed.

As to wolf crosses, this was tried a few times early on in the development of the breed, and considered a failure every time. Did some of those dogs go on to produce offspring that were included in the breed? Sure, but the influence is very small as they were used minimally compared to the other dogs that founded the breed and what tiny bit of wolf was there then has now been very diluted over more than 100 years.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Chris Wild is offline  
post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 11:58 AM
Master Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: IA
Posts: 701
Posted some thing similar earlier, but no activity.
Canis poutiantini

Second the GSD in Word & Picture.

Check out the research of Theophil Studer (Spoken about in the book), very good propositions. Further research shows conflicting reports that all dogs descended from Canis lupus, not through the branches that Studer is proposing, especially no jackal (Canis aereus). One way or another, recent DNA tests show all dogs are descended from a form of wolf.
These are in German, but translate them, they are decent reads.
Urrasse ? Wikipedia

Urhund ? Wikipedia

Dingo (C. lupus ferus) is spoken about in depth in the book. So there is a very good chance that GSD may have a lot of dingo in it. Very good read.

Last edited by jae; 01-31-2013 at 12:06 PM.
jae is offline  
post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Jeff. County, NY
Posts: 9,001
...und taeglich gruesst das Murmeltier..
Mrs.K is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome