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GM All,

I am curious as to what the pedigree experts think the potential is from this breeding. I ask because my dog originated from Jen Ager's kennel in Denmark and I am always interested in what he produces. I would have asked the breeder directly but he has some major health issues and difficult to get a hold of. The sire is a "military dog" as posted on his web site and dam's sire is supposedly a "gangster" dog with very high social aggression. Seems to have some really strong dogs and I just wanted to get some input to see what the pros and cons are from this breeding out come as far as working ability (more sports vs working), be able to live with a dog like this, health concerns, etc.

Thanks
 

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Thanks Lisa, appreciate it. Since I have nowhere near the knowledge nor experience that you have how would you interpret it as the type of dogs this has the potential of producing.
 

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Thanks Cliff. I assume you mean these will be primarily sports prospects and less working prospects - by which I mean LE, SAR, Patrol, etc.
 

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What is your definition of social aggression? I ask because it has all but been bred out of the breed and, IMO, what many people refer to as social aggression is actually some other trait. I'm not saying Immo was not a strong dog, but rather, it is more likely that his strength in the bite work comes from other traits such as genetic civil aggression, dominance, hardness toward the decoy/man, strong defensive aggression, active aggression, desirable sharpness, etc. But those traits are different than true social aggression and are motivated by different things and are the result of different genetics.
 

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Social aggression
"Social aggression is the only type of aggression that can be categorized as active aggression. Even though the term active aggression is used frequently, it really only applies here. The reason social aggression is called active aggression is because it really does not require any specific action as a trigger stimulus. Social aggression serves two purposes of biological significance. One is ensuring the even distribution of a species across a given territory by repelling equally strong individuals. And the other is to establish and maintain order in social units such as a pack. Social aggression is always directed at the individual's own kind. In the breeds that were created for police and military service, selection took place that expanded the direction of social aggression to also included the dog's adopted kind, humans. As an example of contrast, in the dog fighting breeds, selection took place to ensure that the social aggression would not include humans.
Let me give you a couple of other reasons why I hold this view. In virtually all older texts describing the police service dog breeds a few points were always made. They were that the dogs show mistrust and aggression against strangers and that they are very devoted and loyal with the family and very loving with children. To me this combination of qualities stem from a very strong closed pack oriented social behavior. That means loyalty and devotion to members in the pack and aggression against all outsiders, even those belonging to the same species.
This form of aggression is not very common in our dogs anymore, because many people find it to be socially unacceptable. Dogs today are supposed to be social and to a certain degree friendly. And while I see nothing wrong with a social dog, I personally also see nothing wrong with a socially aggressive dog. These dogs are not unpredictable menaces to society or vicious animals. They simply have inborn motivations that include this form of aggression. Social aggression is a trainable trait, meaning it can be directed and controlled. Naturally that requires the right handler so that accidents are prevented.
Socially aggressive dogs have an urge to be aggressive towards strangers. This can be controlled and the dog can be taught to tolerate strangers. However, the dog will not become a social or friendly dog with strangers, no matter what type of behavior modification is attempted. The only way this urge to confront a stranger aggressively when not under control would go away is if the stranger meets the confrontation and social order is established. This happens either if the person can subdue the dog and subordinate him or if the person unequivocally submits to the dog. (At that point the person is no longer a stranger but an integrated pack member).
The trend in breeding has been to breed dogs who do not have social aggression. And that may be what many people want. The point I would like to make is that social aggression is nothing that should be made out to be something evil. It is a valuable trait in dogs that are in the right hands. Such dogs do demand a high degree of responsibility and vigilance on the part of the handler. Socially aggressive dogs who are also dominant are difficult to handle and to train and should be in the hands of experts. " Armin Winkler
 

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Hi Chip,

I guess my definition of social aggression (right or wrong) - is a natural tendency of a dog to be suspicious of strangers - not because of lack of confidence but rather driven by "I dont know who you are so dont step in to my space or you will regret it". I personally am not a big fan of this - I much rather prefer a dog who is aloof but will not take kindly to being petted by strangers (adults) and can stop it with just a look/stare without being aggressive. At the same time, I would want the dog to be able to discern a true threat from a child running by or coming over.

Not sure, if this helps or muddies the water further.

As far as Immo, all I have heard from both his current owner and breeder overseas - he is a gangster and will demand respect as he shoots first and does not ask questions, needs a very experienced handler will get bit. Probably not the best family dog.
 

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I think you are close to Winkler's definition with you mentioning mistrust of strangers, loving with children, and not related to a lack of confidence. I don't think discernment is part of the trait in that truly socially aggressive dogs will bite anyone outside of their pack simply because they are outside of the pack.
 

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Chip,

Then I believe Immo fits your definition of socially aggressive - what I hear he will bite anyone outside his pack and does not show discernment - hence he comment - not ideal as a family dog, needs a strong and experience handler and will still demand respect, probably not good for points in sport, but good for breeding stock when paired with the right female.
 

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Could be. I don't believe the trait has been completely bred out. It is often selected away from due to the lower demand for such a dog, potential liability, and some breeders mistaking the trait as a temperament fault. I think most of the time, people who say a dog has the trait of social aggression are identifying other traits.
 

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Chip,

In this case both breeders - here in the US (who happens to be European also) and in Europe (Denmark) are very experienced and are very selective when they call a dog "gangster". The only other dog that they owned/bred and described as "gangster" was Astel vom Ecke - who was sold to Ukraine. He did participate in the BSP twice but when sold to a buyer in Germany was returned because the new owner/handler could not handle him and was afraid of him. Breeder in Denmark then sold him to Ukraine who know a thing or two how to handle socially aggressive dogs.
 

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Thanks Cliff. I assume you mean these will be primarily sports prospects and less working prospects - by which I mean LE, SAR, Patrol, etc.
I think they have good genetics for doing good sport, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t working potential/prospects....just that the drive level makes for a good sport prospect.
 
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