Let’s take an opportunity to pay our wholehearted tribute to Horand – Horand von Grafrath – the father of modern German Shepherd Dog. An important phase in the evolution of the German Shepherd Dog breed starts from Horand (DOB — January 1st, 1895), SZ1.
There’s no better we can pay our tribute to Horand von Grafrath than by mentioning here what Captain von Stephanitz, the originator of the breed said about this awesome dog. Here’s what he said about Horand… “Horand embodied for the enthusiasts of that time the fulfillment of their fondest dreams. He was big for that period, between 24″ and 24 1/2″, even for the present day a good medium size, with powerful frame, beautiful lines, and a nobly formed head. Clean and sinewy in build, the entire dog was one live wire. His character was on a par with his exterior qualities; marvelous in his obedient fidelity to his master, and above all else, the straightforward nature of a gentleman with a boundless zest for living. Although untrained in puppy hood, nevertheless obedient to the slightest nod when at this master’s side; but when left to himself, the maddest rascal, the wildest ruffian and incorrigible provoker of strife. Never idle, always on the go; well disposed to harmless people, but no cringer, mad about children and always in love. What could not have been the accomplishments of such a dog if we, at that time, had only had military or police service training? His faults were the failings of his upbringing, never of his stock. He suffered from a superfluity of unemployed energy, for he was in Heaven when someone was occupied with him and was then the most tractable of dog.”
~Captain von Stephanitz, Originator of the breed
So by these words we can at ease understanding what actually the desirable qualities of an actually well bred German Shepherd should be. Horand von Grafrath was a name that had been given to the dog by Captain Stephanitz. There is a beautiful and interesting history behind the Horand’s life story. While attending a dog show in 1899 the captain came across a Thuringian type sheep dog of medium stature, whose name was Hecktor Linkshrein. It was Hecktor ‘s typical shepherding qualities, his nature and anatomic structure that grabed the attention of the captain, who he fell in love with him at the first sight. He purchased him at the spot and later he changed his name to Horand Von Grafrath registered him with his new name the verein’s newly found stud book. Horand was the first shepherd dog to find the first place in the new stud book of the verein. “Verein” here is Verein für deutsche Schäferhunde (shortly known as SV – the “Club For German Shepherd Dogs”).
Later Horand sired many pups, the worth mentioning and most celebrated of which was Hektor von Schwaben. Hektor von Schwaben later produced some head reeling offspring named Heinz von Starkenburg, Beowolf, and Pilot. These three studs had been used in the breeding program later, and thus their progeny contributed immensely to the development of the breed.