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Brindle German Shepherd Information


The Brindle German Shepherd has been known as the lost pattern for many years.  The origin of the bloodline I have can be traced to a female named “Brilla”.  Her owner (whom I have spoken to on many occasions) states that Brilla has very fine almost minute traces of black markings within the tan on her legs and a tad on her face as well.  She also said that in every litter she produced there were always puppies with black markings in their tan in the litter as well. 

‘Copper’ is one of those puppies.  He was purchased from his breeder and resold before he was a year old to a couple in Alabama.  I met Copper when he was about 8 wks old and remember his pattern being very striking and quite surprised to learn that he was an AKC registered German Shepherd. 

I am always on the look out for unusual colors/patterns that GSD are known to come in and when I saw an ad with a puppy picture that looked like Copper as a puppy, I immediately contacted the litter owner.  That is when I found out that Copper sired the litter and there were several puppies in his litter with this brindle ‘looking’ pattern. 

Many had very faint markings, some had no markings and one very special puppy had very dramatic markings.  That special puppy is my 'Helga'.  'Helga' came to live with me a few short weeks latter.   I knew there would be controversy surrounding her pattern so I asked the breeder if she would DNA Helga’s parents.  We knew from the pedigree that Copper’s parents already had DNA on file.  So all we needed to do was fill in the gap.  Coppers parents were imported from Germany so their DNA had been done when AKC first started requiring all imported dogs have their DNA done.

Copper’s DNA matched his mother Brilla however the DNA for his sire was inconclusive.  AKC contacted Copper’s Sire’s owner to discover he had passed away.  Since AKC was unable to conclusively identify Copper’s sire any litter he produced was to be registered with provisional status. 

What this means is that all dogs and bitches bred into this line must be DNA profiled for 3 generations to meet the provision.   Nothing within the 3 generations may be shown in any AKC conformational events however they may be used to breed with.  Keep in mind that as I said before that Coppers parents were imported from Germany.  This is why I can not trace the brindle pattern beyond Brilla.  Also remember Copper’s brindle pattern came from Brilla and not his sire.

To document Helga’s brindle pattern as being brindle I sent her DNA to vetgen. I can email those results to anyone who wants to see them.  Her DNA has also been submitted to document her parentage as well.  Anyone she is bred to will also have their DNA done.  This will put 2 complete generations on the required 3 generations of the Provisional Registration status with AKC. 

Helga puppies are the 3rd generations and anyone they are bred to will have to have their DNA submitted to lift the Provisional status which will make that generation FULL (non-provisional status) Registration.   The next paragraph will give some history of the brindle in the German Shepherd breed and how we feel it came full circle. 

V. Horand von Grafrath was the first registered German Shepherd http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/pedigree/1208.html the black and white picture does not give much detail nor does the caption from the founder of the breed.  There are only 3 black/white photo’s of Horands 33 sons (no daughter photo’s) also very difficult to see much detail concerning color/pattern.  However this grandson obviously has brindle on his legs/head: http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/pedigree/2051.html  This grandson also obviously has the pattern as well: http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/pedigree/8427.html The reason I am directing you to the foundation of the GSD breed is so you can see the pattern in the first 3 generations of the GSD.

Why is the above paragraph significant?  To show you that the brindle was once an accepted pattern within the GSD breed.  The SV (original GSD governing body) decided to eliminate many colors and patterns that the GSD came in.  The colors eliminated to be eligible to be shown include; blue, liver, white and patterns– brindle and blue merle.  Since these colors and patterns were not allowed to be shown they were bred away from.  I want to make perfectly clear these colors and patterns were eliminated from being shown because the people ‘in charge’ did not want them shown.  They were not eliminated because of health issues but rather personal preferences. 

Max Von Stephantz (breed founder) wrote: ‘No good dog is a bad color’

In closing the theory that the brindle in this line of GSD are that since the gene was once in the line, the brindle seen presently is the result of a mutation.  There is also the possibility that the gene could have been hidden as in the research that Sheila Schmutz (healthgene color geneticist) documents in her findings: http://homepage.usask.ca/~schmutz/brindle.html

Brindle we have in our program now:

Motzart - Ay Fawn and Brindle

Tigra - Ay Fawn and Brindle (Motzarts daughter)

Toyger - Aw Sable and Brindle (Motzarts daughter)

Brinda - blue/tan, saddle pattern, brindle legs

Charlie - blue sable brindle panda