Serving The GSD Community for 25+ Years

Ted Hoppe (386) 337-0730

Ted Hoppe (850) 633-1826

Articles in Category: Therapy Dogs

Ted Hoppe Answers Your Questions about Importing German Shepherds

on Wednesday, 20 February 2019. Posted in German Shepherds, Protection Dogs, Service Dogs, Service Protection Dog training , Therapy Dogs

Ted Hoppe has been importing world class bloodline German Shepherds for over 30 + years

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Q: I'm thinking about getting a German Shepherd as a family companion protection dog. I want a dog that is family friendly, great with children and also has been trained for family protection. What's the difference between a German shepherd bred here in the USA and GSD bred in the EU?

Ted:The quality control standards in the EU have been in place for many, many years and as a result the overall quality of the dogs is superior to those bred in the United States in my opinion. I have been working with the same bloodline for years in EU. Breeders in EU are consistent and are bound to a higher standard of breeding thus lending itself to healthier and highly trained dogs.

Q:I have some neighbors down the road who breed German Shepherds and want to sell me a puppy, but I'm worried about health issues such as hips and the integrity of their breeding as they do not X-ray the hips, or test for other health issues.

Ted: In the United States, there is a lack of quality control regarding the breeding of German Shepherd dogs. Most domestic breeders do not require their dogs to achieve work or sporting titles. The German Shepherds of Europe are required to achieve recognized working titles before they can be licensed to be bred.

The working titles are a test of structural integrity, intelligence and trainability recognizing that form must follow function, and this insures that the dogs can work.  Many breeders in the US breed to show their dogs in confirmation (i.e.; Westminster Dog Show) and do not work their dogs. Their emphasis and goals are to breed championship show dogs not necessarily for intelligence or trainability. The dogs in the EU under the German rules are required to achieve working titles before they can be bred. In the USA all a dog needs are AKC registration to get papers. They also have what is known as a breed survey or a breeding license. Some of the requirements for a breeding license are that the dog achieves a working title, a show or confirmation rating, Hips, Elbows and Temperament along with many other items on a breed survey sheet. The quality control of breeding in EU produces a higher quality German Shepherd. This is why I have been importing my dogs for 30+ years and this is why my clients continue to return to GatorlandK9 for their German Shepherds.

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Q. What does the term pink papers mean?

Ted: Pink papers mean that both parents and all the dogs in the pedigree have been licensed to breed so they are subject to the German Quality Control Standards.

Q.vDo these tests guarantee that all dogs produced by this system are perfect?

Ted: No. Not at all. A long time ago, a German breeder told me that there are no perfect dogs. Just like there are no perfect people, there are also no perfect dogs. Environment plays a huge role in the development of your dog. This cannot be over emphasized! I've been importing dogs for over thirty years and have been privileged to meet very knowledgeable breeders and trainers in the EU and have come to the conclusion that whenever you buy a living animal you must understand that they encounter issues that we cannot control. This goes for any living animal.

Q. I spoke to a breeder and he guarantees his puppies for life. Do you guarantee your puppies for life?

Ted: I believe guarantees are a sales closing tactic and in general are not worth the paper they are written on in most cases. I cannot guarantee the care given to a dog once it leaves my kennel. I cannot control what you do with the dog once you take it home with you. It is very possible that dogs can be ruined by poor environment or abuse. Beware of breeders offering lifetime guaranteess it is a red flag.

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Q. What is the best advice you can give the new buyer when getting a new dog?

Ted: Educate yourself as much as possible regarding the care and training of your new dog. The importance of training cannot be overstated! A dog is only as good as the person holding the leash. You can obtain a world champion competition trained dog, but if the dog owner or “handler” isn't familiar with the dog handling or the training techniques used to train that individual dog, then that dog will function poorly and not meet the expectations one would expect from a properly trained dog.

We realize that all dogs are different just like people. The techniques we use to train are based on the quality of the individual dog.  No training is better than bad training and you must recognize and educate yourself as to what good training is.  

We hope that you consider GatorlandK9 International and we will listen to your needs and recommend a dog suited to your individual needs.

Picking A Level of Protection Dog Training

on Friday, 25 January 2013. Posted in German Shepherds, Protection Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs

After researching protection dogs on the Internet and feeling totally confused, people often ask what level of protection training my dogs have? It’s like they are trying to compare the deluxe model with leather interior, power windows and all of the bells and whistles vs. the basic model. Buying a dog that you can trust with your family is something entirely different than buying a car.

You should ask yourself ‘What is my handling ability/experience?’ ‘What do I need in a dog?’ ‘What is the right dog for my situation?

Communicate your needs and describe what you expect from the dog. A good trainer will take the time to listen to your needs and try to get a feel if he has the right dog for your situation.

Most people and families need an excellent quality animal with a good obedience foundation and basic protection that is useful and practical. A trained dog is not a vicious dog. It is confident and approachable. You don’t want a dog that is aggressive to the point of being a liability. You need a very forgiving dog, your children can pet it and it does not feel threatened. In the Military and Police K-9 schools, the handlers are matched with the right dog for that individual. The same will hold true for matching a protection/companion dog with the individual needs of that person or family.

The proper temperament for a family protection dog is something a dog is born with. Dogs, like people have their own personalities, i.e. a very alpha/aggressive dog is not a good choice for a family companion dog. It is possible to find a very well trained dog that looks good and acts good in its training environment but is entirely different when you bring it home.

You need a good instructor to show you how to maintain a protection dog’s training. You need to acquire training/handling skills. This is all part of our service. So when selecting a dog for family protection, be less concerned about levels or bells and whistles, and more on individual personality and traits of the dog.

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