The German Shepherd Dog originated in Germany in the 1800’s and was initially bred as a herding dog. They were protective and vigilant over the flock. The German Shepherd would not only bring back a lost sheep; they would also fight off predators.
In 1891 The Phylax Society was formed to create set standards for the breed. Unfortunately, they could not agree if the German Shepherd should be bred to be solely a working dog or should the breeding also focus on his appearance. The Phylax Society disbanded after three years. In 1899, an ex-member of The Phylax Society, Captain Max von Stephanitz, attended a dog show. He became very impressed by a dog named Hektor Linksrhein.
Captain Max von Stephanitz believed strongly that the German Shepherd should be bred for working. Hektor Linksrhein was a beautiful, highly intelligent and a very strong dog. Hektor Linksrhein was the result of selective breeding. He purchased Hektor and renamed him Horand von Grafrath. Mr. Stephanitz then established the Society for the German Shepherd Dog. His dog Horand was the first German Shepherd added to the society's breed register. Horand was then bred with other German Shepherds that had appropriate traits. The first German Shepherd Dog registered in the United States was Queen of Switzerland. In 1993, the German Shepherd became the third most popular breed in the United States.
As of 2017, the German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in the United States. Etzel von Oeringen, a male German Shepherd who had served as a police dog in the German Red Cross during World War I, was sent to the United States to be sold. He was then purchased by the screenwriter Jane Murfin. His new name became Strongheart. He was trained and directed in films such as The Silent Call, Brawn of the North, and White Fang. Strongheart became the first major canine film star. It is believed that the Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed that originated in Central Asia or Siberia. They migrated with their shepherds and herds into the Pyrenees Mountains about 3000 B.C. They are named after the mountain range. In France, these dogs are called Le Chien des Pyrenees, which translate to dog of the Pyrenees. Hard-working dogs brave dogs who gallantly protected the sheep from predators, they would bark to alert the shepherd of the danger to the flock. Brought to North America in 1824, the breed entered into a kennel in Massachusetts where further breeding strengthened this majestic breed. They were registered with the American Kennel Club in 1933 in the Working Group.