Captain Max Von Stephanitz -- hero or fiend?
I have lost all my respect for Max. By his own words and writings he was a butcher. I was so excited to get his book and read it. Having done so, I cannot imagine why our breed's founder, of all breeds, is put on such a pedestal.
I think Max refined sheep-herding dogs into a standard that he set up, and he then marketed those dogs to other venues than sheep herding, and give him is due for that. But his methods/practices were nothing short of barbaric.
He gets off on race a lot. But perhaps he was a product of the times. We had our black/white issues here, and other places had their class or caste systems, so I will not send if to the guillotine for that.
And I can understand not going to phenomenal lengths, like I did with Cupcake to keep a pup alive against the odds. But he would take a perfectly ordinary litter, look them over, cull the weak or deformed ones, and then cull perfectly good dogs to get the litter size down to 3-5 for a bitch's first litter, and after that knock them down to 5-7. He would start with the weaker dogs, and then move on to cull for sex. So if you had six healthy pups, he would choose either girls or boys, by sex alone to kill.
Of course kill them when the dam is not present.
If you use a foster dam, remove her own pups and kill them -- they have to be close to the same age as these pups, and then add them to her litter. I like the way he thinks a foster dam would seek revenge. Revenge is a pretty human idea isn't it? And the idea that shepherds do not make good fosters? Huh? Shepherds who foster tiger cubs and kittens and anything else?
Yo Max, why not wait until a bitch is fully mature to breed her, and if she has a good size litter, feed her well, and then maybe do not breed her on her next cycle if you want to ensure that her own body is not compromised for the puppies? Slaughtering puppies to have the number you desire, not the number she is capable of raising. If you want to produce a strong, sturdy race, why not breed bitches that can raise the number of puppies they have?
So, I could care less what he says about training or schutzhund, about the race. His arguments fall on deaf ears. I just cannot accept killing puppies for no other reason than too many are born. And too many being seven or eight or even five. That is totally disgusting.
Jenna's first litter produced ten puppies. She raised them all and gained weight by the time they were weaned, the picture of health and vitality.
I always had a bad taste in my mouth for Winifred Strickland, how she would cull a litter down to eight, deformed, weak ones, then white, liver or blue, but then also to get the number down to eight. But she was much more in favor of finding a foster dam, and has instructions on tube-feeding, etc.
Maybe the race has improved since Max's time, as a bitch can whelp and raise a larger litter. But in either case, whatever good Max did is wiped out as completely as Joe Paterno and more deservingly, in my opinion, as he actually did the deed and instructed others to. Take his name off the trophy, shun his edicts. I truly do not care if he would approve or be appalled at what the GSD is today, because I find what he thought rather appalling.
If you like Max, and have not read his book, maybe it is best to just not read his book. At first, I was impressed by how varied his knowledge was, but I can't get past his killing perfectly healthy puppies.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.