Manfred Heyne’s Letter to Helmut Raiser
On the Occasion of Dr. Raiser’s Election to
SV National Breed Warden in 2002
Translated by: Anka Andrews
February 17, 2003
Burgermeister Roth Strasse 4
Dr. H. Raiser
34246 Hann.Münden Gimte
Dear Dr. Raiser,
Please don’t be shocked when I say that you and I could have been twins. Although I was born in 1930 I didn’t join the SV until 1/1/1953 and will be honored on February 23 by members of LG 09.
I am an old Schäfermeister (Master Shepherd) and have to this day handled and bred genetically highly capable HGH [HGH = Herdengebrauchshund / herding utility dogs]. When my Schäfermeister teacher was a young helper he personally saw v. Stephanitz put Herold a.d Niederlausitz, who later became Sieger, to the acid test. (I would be happy to tell you the story). My Schäfermeister teacher was Reichssieger (National Herding Champion) in 1943 and 1947 and in 1949 he was the DDR Herding Sieger. In addition, he was the 10-time Landessieger (Regional Herding Champion) in Saxony. This is the blood line from which I was given a dog as a present.
Since 1954, always with this father line, I have been the SV Bundessieger (SV National Herding Champion) 11 times and the SV Hütesieger Nord (SV Herding Sieger North) twice [NOTE: from 1959-1963 only ONE SV Hütesieger title was awarded each year by alternating competitions between the South and the North] . Please confirm this with W. Scheld―the records of the SV in Augsburg are incorrect―yes, this does actually happen!! I have in my possession the Golden Shovels with the dates on them!!
The reason for my letter is as follows: I’ve been thinking . . . at this time, at the age of 73, I still have a small hobby flock, approximately 80 head. My current male is 4 1/2 years old and is an absolutely super dog in performance, temperament, independence, diligence, grip―he will compete this year at all the HGH trials. I would very much like to invite you and your fellow SV leaders for a visit so I can show you what the German Shepherd Dog used to be!!! I can show you how these dogs were that, according to the SV Zeitung of February 03, v. Stephanitz took from the flock in order to start his [breeding] experiment.
There were 8 or 10 Schäfermeisters besides v. Stephanitz involved in the founding of the SV, all of them known by name to the SV!!! According to my Schäfermeister teacher they were all very responsible men who most assuredly only selected those dogs which were genetically highly capable! It has always been my desire to preserve this genetic material and I have been successful in doing so to this day. I handpicked all my top dogs when they were still whelps!!! I only bred when it was time to get another dog for myself. It has been my experience that there was always only one whelp in a litter that could satisfy my selection standards.
As to the e-collar: the word is obedience! My life experience (I am a shepherd since 1946) is this: obedience is genetic!!!! Either the whelp has it or he doesn’t! Because I have been able to preserve this, my dogs’ ancestors must also have had it. In 1899 shepherds were very poor ― most of them could not afford a second dog ― and the shepherd’s shovel became the second dog in southern Germany (the shovel would be used to throw a clump of dirt when necessary). The herding dogs were fed in the villages (communities, sheep farms) with deceased piglets/calves and such. If a herding dog damaged an animal that belonged to a farmer or if he killed it the shepherd had to make good the loss!! That means therefore: obedience, obedience, and more obedience! They didn’t have e-collars in 1899; dogs were either obedient or they were chained in the farm yard, or strung up from the nearest tree!! v. Stephanitz said the source of the German Shepherd Dog should always be the inborn herding dog! (See also Herold Niederlausitz). In 1928 Stephanitz said that the German Shepherd is over bred.
It has been my experience that the higher the level of the SV leadership’s education over the past 50 years, the more the working ability of the German Shepherd Dog has suffered. I have been ashamed for many years to be a member of the SV. (Their deception in favor of . . . !! My protest resulted in me being banned for 2 years and so forth.) I could write a book . . . nothing but the truth!
I would like to invite you and your staff for a visit here ― and you’re welcome to bring an agitation sleeve!
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Just as you see this dog here is how he spends every single day, every minute, since his first birthday. He is always busy counting and is afraid he might lose one. I am convinced that you and yours have never seen such a thing and much more.