Temperament of Heidelberg Dogs


Temperament:(Ger. Shepherd Personality) People unfamiliar with the 'true temperament' of the German Shepherd like we breed here at Heidelberg Shepherds, think the Shepherd as a Breed is Vicious, Hates and Attacks Children and is dangerous to their Owners -  -However, when a German Shepherd is bred for the Temperament of Heidelberg Shepherds they are totally different from the above description of the 'Temperament" as perceived by many people who have never seen a correctly bred German Shepherd.  The following true happenings are examples which clearly explain the outstanding temperament we breed. 
 
 
     H's Vonda Trelag with her friend, a young Fawn.                                                   
All our Heidelberg Shepherds are:
1.
The sweetest, loving and licky dog in existence. They are extremely protective of little children and other animals and pets with whom they live. For example, if we put a five (5) day old baby, a two (2) year old tot and a six (6) year old first grader in a pen with any pair of Shepherds here at Heidelberg. None of the above children would be in danger--quite the contrary. One of the Shepherds would inform the other Shepherd that the three (3) above children belong to him/her (the alpha Shepherd) and to stay away from them. In some instances, the Shepherds would share and care for the children equally. Although they are exceptionally sweet, they would fight like a monster giving their life before an intruder, either animal or man, could in any way harm these children. These traits are instinctive when the Shepherd is Bred as we do here at Heidelberg Shepherds.

2.  Example: The Lane family lives on a farm near Brennam, Tx.  and owns our little Heidelberg's Cheyenne'.  While Mrs. Lane was in the barn feeding her animals, 7 mos. old Cheyenne pulled her 2 yr. and 4 yr. old children plus her sisters 6 mos. old through their 'doggy' door of their burning home and saved all three babies from dying by burning.  Twice Cheyenne had run to the barn and barked at Mrs. Lane warning her of what was happening.  When Mrs Lane finally decided to check on why Cheyenne was barking at her in the barn where she was feeding and caring for their horses, then running out for a brief period of time then returning to bark, she found her house on fire.    With a sinking feeling she ran to her burning house fearing for her two children and her sister's infant that she was caring for that day but to her amazement, Cheyenne had pulled the two older children out the doggie door and was in the process of pulling the 6 mon infant by the diaper out the doggie door.  The house was too far gone to save anything else.    ALL ANIMALS FEAR FIRE  MORE THAN WEAPONS, GUNS, ETC.  I've known of many adult shepherds we have sold breaking and jumping through a window to save their owners, but never one so young as this female, Cheyenne..  


Lili Aviles with her Mex. Champion from our Mex. Ch. Heidelberg's Judd.

3. When a new family member (baby) is born into this world where a mature Shepherd lives, if the Shepherd is allowed to be in the house when the family is home, Heidelberg Shepherds will immediately assume a position near the crib where they can care for the newborn. In most instances, when the newborn needs to have the diaper changed, without training, the dog will go to the kitchen or other part of the house to whine or bark and tell the maternal parents or baby sitter that his/her baby (the Shepherd thinks this baby belongs to him/her, the Shepherd) needs to be changed. When the baby begins to walk and gets near the edge of the swimming pool, the Shepherd will block the babys progress by standing in the baby's way. If the baby fell into the pool, the Shepherd would immediately jump in and pull the baby out without hurting the baby. These traits are instinctive when the Shepherd is Bred as we do here at Heidelberg Shepherds.

4. Mr. Alan Cole and Family own Heidelberg's Nitro v Ilsa, (Call name 'Nitro' pictured here with Mr. Cole). Nitro is a large handsome Male and is typical of the temperament we raise here at Heidelberg. Alan Cole lives in the Woodlands, Texas near Houston. Nitro is very sweet German Shepherd, great with children, loves everyone, and Alan had often called him 'just a big Powder Puff'. As a matter of fact, Alan had questioned whether of not Nitro would ever be protective. Alan works in various sites in the Southern US. On one occasion, he was sent to work in Central Mississippi and liked to drive late at night as there is less traffic and he needed to report to work at 7 am the next morning. He took Nitro along for company. At around 4:00 am that morning he pulled into a rest stop in Mississippi. There were no cars or evidence of people about so he let Nitro out to exercise among the trees and he went into the Restroom. As he came out of the building he saw 4 men, 2 on each side of his truck trying to open his truck doors. Alan looked around to see where they had come from and saw that their car was parked some distance from the Restrooms. One of the men had a 3-4 foot pipe and the others had shorter clubs. Alan said 'Hey, what are you guys doing there?' They turned toward him and all four of them began to come toward him. The guy with the long pipe said 'Say, man, what have you got?' Alan knew he was in trouble. When the 4 men were about 10 feet from him they began to spread out and all of a sudden Nitro ran up and sat beside Mr. Cole and barred his teeth and made a low growl. Three of the men's eyes bulged and they turned and ran back to their vehicle. The man with the pipe stood his ground. He said, 'I ain't afraid of no Dog". With that he raised the pipe and stepped forward. Nitro in one bound leaped through the air and hit the man with all his weight in the chest and knocked him backwards to the ground and stood over him growling, his teeth bared at the man's throat. Alan told the man to remain quiet and the dog wouldn't hurt him but the man raised the bar to bash Nitro and Nitro bit his arm between the elbow and the shoulder and tore a hunk of flesh off his arm. Blood went everywhere.

Meanwhile the three fleeing would-be-robbers had retrieved their car and came back for the man on the ground, yelling for him to run and get in. Nitro was sitting on alert beside the man bleeding on the ground who quickly rolled over and got up and ran to the get-away-car with Nitro in pursuit. Just before he reached the car he turned and tried to hit Nitro again with his undamaged hand. Nitro got him in the rear on the upper leg this time and bit a large piece of flesh out of his leg near his buttock. His friends pulled him through the opened window of their car with Nitro handing onto his leg. After they drove off Nitro dropped a hunk of flesh (at least a pound from the guys leg at Alan's feet. Of course, this whole exchange happened in a matter of seconds. Almost too quickly to think of proper responses.

When Alan recounted this story at his work site that morning his co-workers who lived in the area said he was very lucky indeed to have had Nitro with him as they had heard of many travelers being beaten up, robbed, and their cars stolen at picnic areas and rest stops in the late night hours. Usually they also put the phones out of service so the person couldn't alert help until they were safely away. It was happening all around the state.

Nearly two years later Alan and Nitro were traveling the same route and stopped at the same rest stop, this time around 1:00 am. This time there was a Security Guard on duty. Alan went up to him and said "I see you have security here now." The Guard said "Yeah, we had to. About two years back a group of guys were attacked by a wild dog or wolf at this rest stop and the State feels that there is need to protect the travelers from animal attacks." Alan told him "That was no wild dog or wolf, it was my dog Nitro and he saved my life, those guys were going to do me in. Would you like to meet Nitro, he is in my truck right over there." "Hell No", the Guard said, "Why he must be a really mean and vicious dog to have torn up that guy like that". Mr. Cole said "why no, he is just a big powder puff to those people he likes".

5:  Ninja Burglar story.  Ture stories of Abner, (Heidelberg's v Tara) by Rob Jeanes, Owner.
When Abner was barely two years old, in my neighborhood, we had a 6 month run of some very unique thieves.  They referred to themselves as the 'Ninja Burglars' and all of them seemed to be well trained and very athletic.  Their mode of operation was to hit homes at night while occupants were sleeping, targeting such items as purses, wallets, guns, valuables, valuable automobiles by virtue of key possession, etc. and had proved to be quite proficient at it without waking a soul.  Whenever one was discovered inside someone's home, they intimidated or frightened the individuals and ran off into the depths of our deep, heavily wooded subdivision lots with alleys in back, usually hitting another house or two within a very small radius to escape unscathed.  They were fearless, not your typical burglar type.  The police told us that they would not go into our alleys and back yards in search of them for fear of mistaken identity and retaliation from some very concerned and frightened residents.  Many of my neighbors on my block had no dog to protect their grounds so we shared Abner.  He always sleeps in our house at night but by virtue of a pet door, my back yard is accessible to him as needed.  As I have only a 4 foot cyclone fence, he can step right over it.  At this time there were 5 older widows living on my block who I had known for 15 yrs. or so including their late husbands....good people.  I found out much later that anytime Abner jumped the fence and prowled the area,  they always had a snack for him such as pot roast, chicken or some special snack when he came to visit.  As a result, he had a regular route to run when he snuck out of our house to visit his friends on our block.  He's always been good about looking out for cars and none of the neighbors minded or complained about his presence patrolling the yards.  Even the resident canines didn't have much to say to him.  I don't allow my dog to run loose, but I was outnumbered by him and the neighbors in this unique situation.

One morning, the little lady across the street came and told me that she was awakened in the middle of the night by Abner barking profusely and chasing something through her backyard.  Two days later, I was asleep in the TV room in the back of the house about 2:00 AM, Abner was in the back yard snoozing also, I guess.  I was suddenly awakened by the cound of Abner on full attack chasing something and heard a major tussle in the back behind my storage shed.  I ran through the door and outside to Abner to see what was up.  By then he was trotting up to the house proudly chewing on a bloody back pocket and sizeable chunk of the rear of a pair of jeans. Good Boy!!!
Although we heard of lots of burglar hits all around the neighborhood during this period, my block seemed to get through un-thieved....go figure!  Eventually these guys were caught only because of a very large reward offered and the head, trainer and chief of this organization was turned in by his cohorts.

Rob Janes with Abner in his fishing boat.

Abner' Fishing Story, by Rob Jeanes
Abner is quite adept at boat riding and bass fishing, see above photo.  I often fish by myself, stay overnight in my tent, and fish again the next day.  Sometimes, my only partner is Abner, and he's great.  He never complains about wind direction, solar content, wrong color of lure, no more beer or anything.  At nighttime, he sleeps right at the door of my tent.  I've never had any complications on these outings except with an occasional skunk or other woodland critter's appearance.

There is one fishing trip that stands out though.  I was as the San Jacinto River in a desolate spot with one of my fishing buddies and Abner.  It was right at dusk or past.  We pulled over to shore as the dog had requested a personal relief walk on the beach.  Abner jumped out and wandered off in the trees to our left.  Suddenly, 30 yards to my right, out of the trees came 4 black males headed in our direction talking some very ugly language and acting quite suspiciously.  We turned and began to walk to the boat ignoring them, as our guns were in our boat.  As we felt their pace hasten in our direction, we were more than a little concerned about a serious confrontation.  At that moment, Abner came hurdling out of the woods to our left, hair standing on his neck, growling, teeth barred and launched right at the group of four.  It was almost funny, two of them screamed, and all four turned and ran away as fast as they could with Abner in away pursuit.  We jumped in the boat and called him back.  He immediately wheeled around, bolted straight back and jumped in the boat.  I slammed it in reverse and we were gone.  Good Boy Abner!!!

Abner's Truck Story
For a living, I have my own hydraulic repair shop that I travel to every day and a good dog's presence there is no problem throughout the workday.  Abner rides shotgun with me almost everywhere I go alone.  I used to have a full dressed Silverado Suburban that Abner was quite fond of.  He either rode in the back with the seats down or in the captain's chair next to me, his choice.  When I dash in somewhere for a short moment only, I normally leave the engine running, A/C going, dog inside the truck and the window half down.  This was the situation one day as I pulled into a convenience store.  Driving in to a head-in parking space near the pay phones outside, I noticed two 'characters' standing at the phones and at first paid them no mind.  Abner was laying in the back of the truck and through the tinted windows in back, he was invisible.  I was in quite a hurry, rolled down the window, threw it in park, opened the door and proceeded to go inside not even fully closing the drivers door.  I noticed out of the corner of my eye though, as I passed the hood of my truck, one character looking at my running truck and lightly slap the other guy.  I knew what he had in mind and thought to myself, shame on him.  I went inside the door and mentioned for the attendant to come over and watch as I was peeking at my truck from behind a coke machine.  Sure enough, character one bounced over to my truck, reached in and opened the door intent upon taking the vehicle.  About this time Abner spoke up loudly and character one and Abner came flying out of the dirvers side together.  The owner of the store and myself both rolling on the floor laughing.  Character one and two then shrieked and proceeded to run as fast as they could with Abner in hot pursuit.  I let him run them for about a block and called him back.  He came trotting back very proud of himself and hopped back in the captain's chair.  Good Boy Abner !!!

6th  Eleanor & Daren Moore's testimonial about their Ch. Heidelberg's Buffey, co-owned with Heidelberg.  Her call named 'Bugsy'.  Eleanor headed the following as " Show vs Companion vs Working Temperament :

 
Bugsy (Ch. Heidelberg's Buffey ) shown with Eleanor and Daren on the left.
 

I bought my Heidelberg GSD in Jan. 1998 when she was 6 months old because I wanted a show dog prospect.  Bugsy, a.k.a. CH Heidelberg's Buffie Rosieb, RN, bonded to us immediately.  While sweet, playful and thoughtful she was also confident and grounded.  When she was barely a year old a pizza delivery driver came to our door and while exchanging money for pizza he put one foot into our house.  To our surprise, a low serious growl came from Bugsy. The driver was a bit concerned and my husband suggested stepping out of the house.  Immediately, Bugsy stopped growling and just stood by patiently and respectfully while we finished paying the driver.  We did not teach her to be a guard dog, we did not encourage her to be mean or wary of people...she acted because she loved us and had the self-confidence to protect her family.  She had the intelligence to recognize a possible threat, reacted appropriately and did not over react out of fear or aggression.  In this day and age of law suits and idiots, you don't want an attack dog you want a thinking, self-confident alarm system that can back up it's alarm if needed.
 
When we got our second dog a Rottweiler, she was incredibly helpful in training him.  I was lucky enough to live in an area where we could walk off lead by a drainage ditch.  Bugsy and the little Rottie would walk near by exploring and when I called Bugsy the little Rottie learned to come too.  If he did not come fast enough she would run to him and knock him down.  As he grew into a 95 pound dog, little 65 pound Bugsy could still run circles around him and knock him over at a full gallop. 
 
In the three years we did conformation shows, Bugsy was touched by literally over a hundred people, complete strangers to her.  She never acted aggressively to any person or any of the thousands of dogs she saw at the shows.  At some of these shows we would not even be with her, she would have traveled with her handler...so how she chose to handle situations were her true temperament shining through.  In fact, Bugsy was my handler's helper's favorite dogs.  She loved her because she was so "normal" not like the other German Shepherds she had taken care of in the past.  She finished her AKC Championship in 2001 with a 4 point major in Oklahoma City.
 
While we were in Oklahoma I was interested in learning herding with my other dog a 2 year old Rottie who had earned his "Herding Instinct Certificate" at the 2001 ARC Nationals.  I took lessons from fantastic trainers and herding judges Kent and Lori Herbel at XP Ranch.  After two months of lessons, I asked if I could bring Bugsy along to see if she had herding instincts too...I did not feel I should expect it when I bought her from Heidelberg as a conformation dog with correct type and movement; I did not ask for a "working" dog or a dog that would be good with sheep.   Well, Kent's exact words were "that is what a dog with instinct looks like".  While our Rottie did the work for a while until his instincts told him the water trough was great place to cool off, Bugsy had the instinct and working drive to keep at it even when a bit hot and tired.  Unfortunately for our herding career, my husbands work relocated us to New Mexico and we decide to let Bugsy have her second litter.
 
Bugsy's due date was early January 2002.  Coincidentally, I was pregnant with my first child too.  My due date was early Feb.  On Jan. 6th, Bugsy went into labor and while I helped her with the first two puppies, I went into labor too three weeks early (got too emotionally involved I guess).  Bugsy, without an epidural, two nurses and two doctors delivered her next three puppies, cleaned up and nursed them all by herself while I delivered my one.  My husband traveled back and forth from our home and hospital checking on us both.
 
While we had been as proactive a we could in making sure our dogs were around children of all ages and had good experiences with small people they had never been around a three-day old baby.  Nor had they been in a house with a baby 24/7.  Bugsy never once has given me any reason to have a concern around my children. 
 
Having a GSD and Rotties I come in contact with many people with "working" dogs.  Most of them can not live in the house they have to be kenneled due to their "high drive".  Some of them are dysplastic or have "double joints" as I was once told by a delusional owner.  Many of them are not conformationally correct...basically a bit ugly.  You do not have to sacrifice one completely for the other.  You may not be able to have it all but you can get MUCH closer than some breeders lead you to believe.  I believe I have that in Bugsy.  If I had wanted more of a sport dog, I could have gone in that direction when picking a puppy looking for a larger more alpha puppy that would have still had the health, intelligence and temperament too.
 
In 2005, AKC came out with the obedience Rally title.  Bugsy, then 8 years old, and I practiced for about one month and earned our RN in two weekends of showing...I messed up more than she did. 
 
Bugsy just turned 9 this July and is happy and healthy.  I get complements on her looks and temperament where ever I go.  I am a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the AKC and use her as my "neutral" dog when testing.  She is a wonderful GSD, and awesome worker and an incredible companion!  Thank you Heidelberg!!!
 
Sincerely,
Eleanor, Darren, Taylor and Austin Moore
from: Houston, TX; Edmond, OK; Albuquerque, NM; Round Rock, TX; and now Greenville, SC 8/7/2006

7th Sabre's story told by his owner, Diane Miller.

Sabre (Heidelberg's Sabre v Tiffany-Tat# 3263H-DOB: 9/23/92) has been a fantastic family member and protector and I love him dearly.  He's been everything I was looking for in a German Shepherd and more.  I purchased this gorgeous male, Sabre, from your kennel about 7 yrs. ago. (Date purchased=11/24/94=Sabre was 3 yrs. and 2 mos. of age)  I can't tell you how happy I am that I found this wonderful dog.  I'm sure you hear stories like this all the time, but he has saved my house from being robbed three times that I know of.  I'd get a call from the alarm company that there were motion detectors going off all over the house and the door was open.  I'd get home, and there was Sabre all pleased with himself..... ..throwing pieces of jeans up in the air and prancing around.  These burglars
never got a thing except some ripped clothes (I'd find pieces of clothing along with blood)  and no doubt the scare of their lives!   He guards his family just like you said he would and has never had any guard dog training to do it.  If I let someone in the house and tell him "friend" he will lick them to death and try to get them to play ball.  If they go outside to have a cigarette and come back in without me letting them in, he'll bark at them and back them into a corner (no biting - just herds them away and keeps them away until I tell him to stop).   (A German Shepherd bred with the great instinctive temperament that Heidelberg produces never need to be trained to protect, it is instinctive!!)  I listened to what you told me and have always had a dog door so he could protect the house inside and out.

Diane Miller
 


8th. Testimoninal by L.C. Hamlett about H's Laramee   Taken from a letter of love about their faithful friend and devoted companion.
Laramee, pictured here during one of our rare snowfalls in South Texas

Dear Gene,

 Larimee passed away Saturday December 16, 2006 at 9:40am.  I loved him more than a whole lot of humans.  I called Larimee from work Friday and left a message he could hear.  I told him I loved him and to wait until I got home.  I had a feeling he was about to die.  Roy, Andy, and I spent a lot of time with him that evening.  I stayed up until 3am and told him I was there.  I got up and was afraid to go into the kitchen, because I was afraid he had died during the night.  He was alive.  Andy had been petting him.  Larry kept looking toward the bedroom.  I woke Roy up.  I called Andy down from upstairs.  Larry looked at each of us with the saddest face and told us he loved us.  Then he died.  We buried him in the backyard behind the swing where he liked to face the cold north wind.  He’s near the bird feeder outside our kitchen window.  Roy said he was glad he didn’t put him to sleep, but took care of him instead.  Larry’s passing left a big empty hole in our household.  It will probably be a couple of years before we can even think about getting another dog, if ever.  At least Larry knew we were all with him when he died and how much he was loved.  I thought you might like to have a picture of Larry; I attached one of him taken on December 24th or 24th, 2004.

 Larry's constant companion was a monk parakeet, a Quaker.  She sat with him before he became ill and afterwards.  He liked sitting with her.  They were a little jealous of each other, but obviously liked each other.  There was only one accident when Larry's teeth scraped her leg, and she had to wear a cast for a few weeks.  He has caught her in his mouth a couple of times and never hurt her. 

 Animal Planet said it was a good idea to let the companion animal watch when the friend dies.  Sprite, the bird, sat on a fence we had for her in the kitchen, and watched when Larry died.  The next morning after, she was sitting on my finger and said, "Where's Larry?"  I told her he died; she didn't say anything else.  She still calls him name from time to time.   

Larimee, Larry, was a companion dog.  He was the best and smartest and most loving dog we have ever known.  He had a heart of gold, a heart of a champion. 

 I remember when I first saw Larry on an open fence area; he was too young to adopt; it was misting.  He was looking over at me with that loving face.  I didn't know at the time that he would be our dog.  Andrew, our son, picked him out, and we have no regrets.  We loved Larry and wanted him around as long as possible, even though he could no longer walk.  He was in no pain; his mind was all there, and he ate well.  Roy stayed up each night bathing him, or sponge bathing him.  He was on a bed in the kitchen; we used bed pads and adult diapers. 

Larry didn’t start health problesm that we know of until after I started having to work out of town in Plano, TX in order not to lose my pension and health benefits.  I came home every weekend.  I got home with my pension 072006 and turned down several good paying jobs so that I could spend as much time as possible with Larry, and of course, my husband Roy and son Andrew.  I used to call during the week on the cell phone and Roy would put the phone up to Larry’s ear; Larry knew that it was me and would lick the phone.  In Larry’s younger days, the phone rang; he knocked it of the receiver and breathed into the phone; he was trying to answer it. 

  If we ever have another dog, I want a Heidelberg.   Larimee was never bred.  Larimee was born 12-22-1994 and died 12-16-2006.  His father was Ch. Gerry Darcy; his mom was Flicka. Andrew Hamlett, our son, the owner.

 Thank you so much for Larimee.  He will live in our hearts forever. Sometimes I almost think he was an angel given to watch over us.

L.C. Hamlett,  Pasadena, Texas

 
 


Dear Heidelberg friends,    Sept. 24, 2009

Sabre (Heidelberg's Sabre v Tiffany-Tat# 3263H-DOB: 9/23/92) has been a fantastic family member and protector and I love him dearly.  He's been everything I was looking for in a German Shepherd and more.  I purchased this gorgeous male, Sabre,   from your kennel about 7 yrs. ago.  (Date purchased=11/24/94=Sabre was 3 yrs. and 2 mos. of age)  I  can't tell you how happy I am that I found this wonderful dog. 

I'm sure you hear stories like this all the time, but he has saved my house from being robbed three times that I know of.  I'd get a call from the alarm company that there were motion detectors going off all over the house and the door was open.  I'd get home, and there was Sabre all pleased with himself.....throwing pieces of jeans up in the air and prancing around. These burglars never got a thing except some ripped clothes (I'd find pieces of clothing along with blood)  and no doubt the scare of their lives!   He guards his family just like you said he would and has never had any guard dog trainning to do it

If I let someone in the house and tell him "friend" he will lick them to death and try to get them to play ball.  If they go outside  to have a cigarette and come back in without me letting them in, he'll bark at them and back them into a corner (no biting – just herds them away and keeps them away until I tell him to stop).   (A German Shepherd bred with the great instincttive temperament that Heidelberg produces never need to be trained to protect, it is instinctive!!)  I listened to what you told me and have always had a dog door so he could protect the house inside and out.

Ok, now  I have a question for you.  It's my understanding that all GS breeders have some long haired puppies sometimes.  Is that true? I actually think I saw some when I was last at your kennel, but I'm not sure.  I rescued two from running down a busy street a few years ago and found their worried owners a couple of days later.  These dogs were gorgeous and actually looked like they could have even been from your line.  Anyway, I was wondering about this because I was thinkingof eventually trying to acquire a long haired GS and I was hoping you have them from time to time since we've been so happy with Sabre.   Please let me know.

Thanks,
Diane Miller        Waiting for picture.