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The Doberman – A History of Success & Versatility

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212 – June, 2018

By Amy Fernandez

The Choking Doberman. As far as urban legends go, that chestnut was a mutating virus in our cultural landscape long before social media commandeered fake news distribution. It’s far from the only sour note that’s marred the Doberman’s public image over the years. They come in all flavors, but basically reiterate the same frightening theme of demonic canines run amok.

It’s usually easy to trace the evolution of urban legends despite the shifting embellishments tacked on for timely credibility. They all serve the same purpose. Maybe they wouldn’t hold up in court but they’re plausible enough to reinforce some popular stereotype. And it’s especially curious that this particular breed should have earned a starring role in this long tradition of truth enhancement.

First of all, as German imports go, the Doberman had an exceptionally slow start on Planet Purebred. Britain’s cropping ban thwarted its show ring acceptance there. And although the breed had a loyal American following by 1908 when AKC accepted it, it was marginal compared to the massive popularity it en- joyed in Europe.

The Doberman’s breakthrough as an American showdog took forever. But as breakout moments go, this one was transformative. Two-year-old Ch.Ferry von Rauhfelsen of Giralda was fresh off the boat from Germany when he stepped into the ring at Westminster 1939.

Over the decades Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge finished 180 champions and obedience titleholders under her Giralda banner. Nobody did that kind of winning in those early days of the sport. In 1934 Dog World reported that Dodge set a new – and previously unimaginable record that year, finishing five Pointers, two Foxhounds, ten Beagles, one English Setter and 31 German Shepherds. Throughout the 1930s it wasn’t unusual to find Giralda representing three of the six group winners in many BIS lineups. They cap- tured over 200 BIS but she had been gunning for another Westminster win since 1932 when her British Champion Nancolleth Markable became the second Pointer to do it.

Click here to read the complete article
212 – June, 2018

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=145393

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