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Okay, I consider myself an above-average researcher. But I've never been able to find answers to a couple basic questions:

1. Who were Horand's parents (i.e. what breed) and
2. Who were the dams that produced Heinz von Starkenburg, Beowolf and Pilot?

Really, what I'm curious to know is what specific breeds went into creating the GSD. The closest I've been able to get to an answer is on this link, which looks like a family tree: Horand von Grafrath (Hektor Linksrhein) But I'm a hobbyist, not expert, and don't understand all the pedigree lingo.
 

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To be a little more specific - the GSD was developed from 3 different regional types of dogs. Horand, I believe, represented the Thuringian regional type. The other types that were included in early development of the breed were the Wurttemberg and Swabian dogs. None were what we would call 'breeds', but regional types that were bred for purposes suiting their environment and the work they were required to do.

Max von Stephanitz and others combined these three types, through line breeding and inbreeding, to establish the breed we know today.
 

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Horand's parents were Kastor (1893) X Lene Sparwasser (1894.) Beowolf and Pilot were out of Horand X Thekla I von der Krone. Heinz was out of Horand X Lucie von Starkenburg. The SV was not started until 1899, so Horand's parents were not of a specific breed, but more from types of herding breeds, such as the Thuringian shepherd dog (North Germany) who was more of a "fancy" dog due to erect ears and wolf-grey color and Wurtemberg dogs, (South Germany) large boned and fast, lanky and not as driven. Horand was the first registered GSD. Von Stephanitz used very close inbreeding to set a structural type early in the breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
To be a little more specific - the GSD was developed from 3 different regional types of dogs. Horand, I believe, represented the Thuringian regional type. The other types that were included in early development of the breed were the Wurttemberg and Swabian dogs. None were what we would call 'breeds', but regional types that were bred for purposes suiting their environment and the work they were required to do.

Max von Stephanitz and others combined these three types, through line breeding and inbreeding, to establish the breed we know today.
Thanks! I just looked up pics of those types and they all look very similar. Wonder when/how/where the black saddle made it into the equation.
 

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Some of the early dogs had a black saddle but it was much more dilute than a modern black and tan saddle. Hettel Uckermark (DOB-1907) was a better pigmented black and tan saddle and son of solid black Roland v. Starkenburg, and was the foundation for the first black and tan GSDs that came to America. I don't know what color Hettel's dam, Grettel was. Both Hettel and Roland has passable temperament at best. This where I think v. Stephanitz and all his talk about keeping his breed a working dog is somewhat hypocritical. Early on, he sacrificed temperament and health problems in order to set a certain type/structure. Hettel passed on some serious health problems, and Roland was praised as a genetic mutant that was very prepotent due to intense inbreeding, and lead to a very desirable structure, but at the expense of temperament as it has been reported he was a weak/nervy dog. All GDSs go back to Roland.
 

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The third link here spreads the myth that the Nazis are the reason the white GSDs were pushed out - von Steph did that himself. Though he said things like "no good dog is a bad color"... he was very outspoken about which colors he did not like, among other exclusively aesthetic traits. (Much to the detriment of the breed's genetic diversity and therefore health and longevity, if I may infuse my own commentary - about time we do something about this and end things like color and head silliness. A lifespan of 10 is unacceptable.)

His 1923 book on the breed: https://archive.org/details/CAT10506117 - part of his dislike for the white dogs seems to stem from a mistaken belief that there is a connection to ill health - this is only true when the white color in a dog is "true white/extreme white" as caused by the piebald gene, etc, as opposed to "false white" like the GSD which is genetically a very diluted buff color.
 
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