Eastern German Shepherd



Image Credit: Wiki


The Differences Between East and West German Shepherd Lines and The American German Shepherd Lines

You might be thinking: Is there any difference? Start thinking temperament, confirmation, coloring and movement. So you’re undecided on which line of pups is best for you and your family. Asking yourself first if you want a working dog, family or show dog. Temperaments differ greatly. Start by making a list of all the qualities you are looking for in your shepherd. Pink papered imported pups from Germany are free of hip dysplasia and come from generations of parents that are free of hip dysplasia and that have Schutzhund titles.

History of the Western and Eastern Shepherd

Western German Shepherd



Image Credit: Wiki


From 1949 until 1990, Germany was divided into the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) in the East, and the Federal Republic of Germany in the West. The DDR, being a communist state under influence from the USSR, was kept separate from West Germany. This separation is what caused the split in German shepherd bloodlines that persists to this day.

The working lines in Czech were bred to have a high pain tolerance so that they could endure the hardships of protection work and border patrol. They are mostly black and tan, all black and sometimes sable in color.

  • Breeders focus mainly on good movement and looks.
  • These shepherds are larger, heavier but have a lighter bone structure.
  • Temperament plays a huge factor here as shepherds from the US were not bred as working /herding dogs but for show.
  • In Germany both parents have working titles-Schutzhund and are hip certified before they are allowed to breed.
  • Schutzhund is about accountability, whereas in the US and Canada, breeders do not need any of these things except pedigree.
  • German shepherds in the US are primarily judged by their looks.

To German shepherd breeders , their dogs working ability was most important, and then came the outstanding looks.

The West German show lines are the most popular worldwide. These dogs are mostly black and red and exhibit a fluid, ground-eating trot.

The Czech lines were originally bred in Communist Czech as state working dogs.

  • Large blocky head with big bone structure and much leaner in build. These shepherds have straighter backs and fewer problems with hip dysplasia. However, they are high-energy dogs.

Czech line German Shepherds and East German DDR German Shepherds are essentially the same bloodline.

The bloodlines in West Germany were split between working line dogs and show line dogs.

It is important to recognize that the working line and show line German Shepherds from West Germany are vastly different.

Show line dogs are bred to be physically attractive, but lack the courage and strong nerves of a true protection dog.

Accepting that West German show line dogs are unfit for protection work, the true comparison is between the West German working line (often stated simply as German working line), and the DDR/Czech line. There has been much debate over which is superior, and this debate may continue for years to come.

Some people consider the West German lines to be superior, arguing that the DDR/Czech lines were developed before the split between working and show lines, and are not extraordinary in either discipline.

Both lines were recovered from the original German bloodlines after WWII, and both have been continuously built up and bred for working qualities over the past 60 years. The bottom line is that they are both working line dogs.

Show lines are a better choice for homes with children and working lines for protection work.

The American shepherds are calmer in temperament and have a lower energy drive. The North American shepherd relies on physical ability to move quickly and turns on the blink of an eye.

Many breeders have attempted to combine the East and West or American shepherds to achieve a lower incidence of hip dysplasia and achieve a strong work instinct and more refined show lines.

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German Shepherds Wiki

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Copyright © 2016 Claudia Bensimoun



Loki The Wolfdog & Kelly Lund

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Photos by Kelly Lund







“I believe dogs aren’t meant to live out their lives in a backyard or inside a house. I hate to see that. I hope we are inspiring people to get out, explore our world, and make memories with their pups,” says Kelly Lund.

It’s no surprise that Kelly Lund and his best friend, Loki lead an exciting life.

No one else understands adventure better than Lund. Together with his beloved three-year-old Loki, an irresistible Siberian husky, Malamute and Arctic Wolf hybrid, the two have been passionate about exploring the wilderness off-leash and having fun.

“I’ve traveled most of the Western United States with Loki. Our goal is to see as much as we can in his life. We love to find wilderness areas without people. Outside of Colorado, we have seen much of Utah, traveled through Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, California and Nevada,” says Lund.

A typical day for Lund and Loki means having plenty of outdoor fun. “I’ve always been really into road-tripping, exploring new places, camping, outside activities, etc. When I brought Loki home, I did my best to restructure my life to include him in my activities instead of leaving him behind at the house. Believe it or not, I actually have a full-time job. I am the Outdoor Recreation Coordinator for the City of Denver. My work is diverse, and I don’t exactly have a normal day. Outside of work though, he runs next to me as I ride a bicycle quite a bit.

For more on this article.

Images Copyright Kelly Lund

Copyright © 2017 by Claudia Bensimoun



Improving Fido’s Health With Kale, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes and Fish Oils!

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“For the first year of a dog’s life, balanced nutrition is vital,” says Dr. Stanley Coren, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. “Without balanced nutrition, the nerve cells of a dog’s brain will not mature properly; and the brain will be smaller in volume and weight and not function as well. Poorly nourished dogs act less intelligently throughout the rest of their lives. A dog’s brain and behavior is shaped to some degree by events in the womb. When the puppy is ten days of age, we can easily count the number of neural connections (synapses) that a single cell has with other cells in the brain since there will be only a few hundred. By the time a puppy reaches 35 days of age, the number of connections for each neuron in the brain will have multiplied to around 12,000.”

Most dog lovers have no control over the nutrition of their dog’s parents. Nonetheless, the diet during the first year of a dog’s life is most important, so owners can still influence their pet’s development.

Puppy Keeva (who grew to be She Walks in Beauty RL1, RL2) eats a healthy meal on her first night in her new home. Photo courtesy of owner Kimberly Wilson.

Negative Effects of Inadequate Diets

Packaged dog foods may not include everything your dog needs for healthy brain growth. “Commercial pet foods don’t contain some things we wish they did: adequate quantities and qualities of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, as well as the more intangible qualities unique to live, like fresh foods,” says veterinarian Dr. Richard Pitcairn. “Secondly, they contain other things we wish they didn’t: slaughterhouse wastes, toxic products from spoiled foodstuffs, non-nutritive fillers, heavy metal contaminants, sugar, pesticides, drug residues, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives and bacteria and fungi contaminants. All processed pet foods are missing something that seems to be the most important ‘nutrient’ of all. This key ingredient is practically ignored by nutritional scientists, but we can sense when it’s there. It is a quality found only in fresh grown, uncooked whole foods: life energy!”

Natural ingredients are also recommended by Andi Brown, the director of Halo and author of The Whole Pet Diet. “Whether your dog is young or old, adequate nutrition and mental stimulation will keep his brain functioning at its peak, and allow him to develop and keep a high level of fluid intelligence. Artificial ingredients are often highly antagonistic and can actually contribute to an animal’s mental and emotional imbalance,” says Brown. “Some additives can be so detrimental that they can actually have the same effect on an animal as hallucinogenic drugs have on people. According to Best Friends Animal Society, the most common reason animals are put down by veterinarians or turned into shelters is because of unruly behavior.” Brown suggests that adding minerals and vitamins, especially the complete complex of B vitamins, to your pooches diet, will aid in behavior problems.

Healthy Ingredients

There are a few major nutrients that good and healthy canine diets will include such as protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water. All well-fed dogs need to eat a healthy diet each day to get the necessary balance of vitamins and minerals.

*Choose premium brands and possibly organic brands of dog food that are made with nutritious high quality ingredients that can be digested easily. for organic and healthier treats and supplemented dog foods that contain pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, kale, carrots and other healthy vegetables and fruits. Healthy ingredients will give your pooch all the extra nutrients that he needs.

*Feed fish like salmon that contain healthy fish oils during puppyhood. This helps your pup to focus on training, and aids with increasing his attention span during training. Fish oils are also beneficial for cognitive development.

*Provide your dog with safe human foods such as lean meats, lightly steamed vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits like blueberries. Keep in mind that dogs should never be fed grapes. Healthy fruits and vegetables should never be the main bulk of your dogs ingredient list. Some table scraps are okay, as long as they are healthy and free of fats. Table scraps that are healthy and nutritious additions to a dogs diet can be great. They add plenty of variety and introduce him to different foods.

*Root vegetables also provide many important healing properties for dogs. They help by providing stabilizing energy that aids in helping your dog to focus.

*”Seafood is loaded with protein, minerals and enzymes when fresh and also has lots of collagen,” says Brown, Halo “Spirulina and chlorella are a more concentrated source of chlorophylls than any other food. Both of these algae help reduce inflammation and are also rich in essential fatty acids.”

Cognitive Function in Mature Canines

Dr. Milgram, together with Dr. Carl Cotman, a neurochemist from the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine and colleagues studied old dogs as examples of human aging. Both these researchers agreed that “Oxidative damage is a key feature in the aged brains of animals and people, and that the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease demonstrate greater damage.” Dr. Cotman also suggests that by employing antioxidant supplements like vitamins E and C, one may “improve cognitive decline” in people as well, since mature dogs develop similar pathological changes in their brains.

Carotenoids like beta carotene that are mixed together with certain minerals like selenium, fatty acids DHA and EPA, carnitine and alpha lipoic acid were also found to hinder formations of amyloids in older dogs. Dr. Milgram’s research team used a diet that was rich in nutrients for “cognitive enrichment,” and deduced that it slowed down and sometimes partially “reversed” cognitive decline in our dogs.

Good nutrition is important for the canine brain at any age. “Whether your dog is young or old, adequate nutrition and mental stimulation will keep his brain functioning at its peak, and allow him to develop and keep a high level of fluid intelligence,” says Dr. Coren. For more on this article visit: USDAA and Animal Wellness.


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Woofs & Wags!



Animal Wellness, Volume 15, Issue 1.

This information is not a substitute for veterinary care. Discuss any potential dietary changes with your veterinarian.


Copyright © 2014 Claudia Bensimoun

Wolves Can Tread Water While Killing Prey


Vancouver Island Wolf



Image credit:


Arctic Wolf Germany



Image Credit: Wiki Commons


Gray Wolf. U.S



Image Credit: Wiki Commons



European Wolf



Image Credit: Wiki Commons


Eurasian Wolf


Image Credit: WikiPedia

The Wolf

Facts From ” If Dogs Could Talk. Exploring The Canine Mind.” Vilmos Csanyi

Dr. Csanyi is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethology at the University of  Budapest,Eotvos Lorand. He is one of my favorite ethologists.His book “If Dogs Could Talk. Exploring The Canine Mind”, connects with all dog lovers.

  1. The wolf is the largest of all canids weighing up to and sometimes more than 144 pounds.
  2. Wolves hunt in cooperative packs for prey larger than itself.
  3. Habitat includes the tundra, taiga, steppe, savanna, and forests.
  4. When running short distances the wolf can reach speeds up to 37 to 43 miles per hour.
  5. If a wolf is being chased, it is capable of jumping as high as 13-16 feet in the air.
  6. When out hunting it can maintain a run for 15 to 20 minutes. After that wolves need to rest.
  7. Wolves can tread water while killing their prey.
  8. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, gray wolves once ranged from coast-to-coast and from Alaska to Mexico, and they were one of the most wide-ranging animals on the continent.
  9.  There are a number of wolf subspecies in the U.S of which the “plains” wolf belongs. This wolf is also found in the Great Lakes. Idaho wolves that lived more than 100 years ago possibly had gray wolf DNA. Some researchers believe that evidence demonstrates that Idaho’s wolves from hundred’s of years ago were similar to Canadian wolves. Todays Idaho’s gray wolf population originated from Alberta and British Columbia in 1995 -1996.
  10. Wolves can hear and see extremely well.
  11. Pack wolves can detect the smell of an elk as far away as 1.25 to 1.55 miles.
  12. Tame wolves respond to imitated wolf calls from as far as 3.75 miles.
  13. Volume of a wolf’s brain ranges from 9.2 to 10.4 cubic inches. Wolves are the most intelligent predators who gained their mental abilities through social interaction.
  14. The usual size of a wolf pack is 7 or 8, yet sometimes it will only have 2 or 3 wolves.
  15. Larger wolf packs will divide into smaller groups and according to Cysani will reunite later on.
  16. Many times one comes across loner wolves that are typically outcasts and are normally older wolves.
  17. Wolves that form the breeding pair will be the main wolves of the pack. This will consist of wolf pups and a few male and female wolf adults.
  18. When a wolf pup turns 2 he/she is considered an adult wolf.
  19. Many wolf pups will die before reaching 2 years of age.
  20. Wolves that do not belong to the pack are chased away when they visit, yet when wolf pups are born, these outside wolves are often welcome to join the pack. Older adult wolves around this time may also leave the pack. This is the time that the wolf pack gets divided into several parts. They will all inhabit exclusive territory.
  21. “Black wolves rarely occur in Europe and Asia, where interactions with domestic dogs has been reduced over the past thousand years due to the depletion of wild wolf populations. They have occasionally appeared, as wolf-dog hybrids and are known in Russia as “black wolves”.  20–25% of Italy’s wolf population is composed of black wolves. They are more common in North America; about half of the wolves in the reintroduced wolf population in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park are black. Like Pyrenees Wolves, Black wolves do not live in France. In southern Canada and Minnesota the black phase is more common than the white, though grey coloured wolves predominate.” via Wiki


Interesting Facts About Black Wolves


Image Credit: WikiMedia


“In 2008, Dr. Gregory S. Barsh, a professor of genetics and pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine used molecular genetic techniques to analyze DNA sequences from 150 wolves, half of them black, in Yellowstone National Park, which covers parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was discovered that a gene mutation responsible for the protein beta-defensin 3, known as the K locus, is responsible for the black coat color in dogs. After finding that the same mutation was responsible for black wolves in North America and the Italian Apennines, he set out to discover the origin of the mutation. Dr. Barsh and his colleagues concluded that the mutation arose in dogs 12,779 to 121,182 years ago, with a preferred date of 46,886 years ago after comparing large sections of wolf, dog and coyote genomes. At the University of California, Los Angeles, Robert K. Wayne, a canine evolutionary biologist, stated that he believed that dogs were the first to have the mutation. He further stated that even if it originally arose in Eurasian wolves, it was passed on to dogs who, soon after their arrival, brought it to the New World and then passed it to wolves and coyotes.Black wolves with recent dog ancestry tend to retain black pigment longer as they age.” via Wiki



“If Dogs Could Talk. Exploring The Canine Mind.” Vilmos CsanyiCsanyi,V, “If Dogs Could Talk Exploring The Canine Mind.” North Point Press, 2000, pp,10-15.

Yellowstone Park Wolves

Wolf DNA Study

Protected Wolves in Alaska Face Peril

Copyright © 2016 Claudia Bensimoun


What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Dogs? Why Dr. Miho Nagasawa’s research paper about ABANDONED DOGS AT FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN and PTSD-LIKE EFFECTS IN DOGS is so important.

Why Dr. Miho Nagasawa’s research paper about ABANDONED DOGS AT FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN and PTSD-LIKE EFFECTS IN DOGS IS SO IMPORTANT.Impaired learning and an inability to bond with humans were two of the post- traumatic disorder symptoms displayed by both humans and dogs.Cortisol levels in the Fukushima dogs remained at higher levels than the Kanagawa dogs, even after ten weeks of care.

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Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun

In order to recognize the signs of stress in performance or working dogs, one must try to visualize the external stressors in a dog’s environment. Although it is impossible to measure levels of stress, it is certainly possible to measure certain stressors in a dog’s environment.

Understanding some of these signs of stress in working dogs that may include:

Panting, yawning, avoiding eye contact, shivering, licking, tucked tail, general restlessness, muscle tension, zooming around the ring and avoidance of the handler or pet parents is key to improving overall performance in dogs.

While many handlers and dog parents are familiar with some of these stressful behaviors, it may be interesting to note that many of these behaviors were found in the Fukushima dogs in Japan.They can also be found in rescue dogs that have had traumatic experiences in the past.

In agility dogs where speed, accuracy and timing are important, many performance/working dogs may display signs of stress when in a new environment.

According to Dr. Miho Nagasawa’s research paper, the dogs that were abandoned at Fukushima, Japan displayed severe symptoms of canine stress, similar to humans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this varies from the stress experienced in performance dogs, stress and its effects on learning and behavior in all canines should not be ignored.

A dog’s well-being depends on the absence of stress. Although some research papers say that a little bit of stress may be beneficial to a dog’s performance.

According to Dr. Miho Nagasawa the Fukushima dogs had stress hormones that were far higher than normal and that lasted over a period of ten weeks.

“ The Fukushima dogs had significantly less aggression toward unfamiliar people, were harder to train, and exhibited less attachment to caregivers than the dogs from the other region of Japan.” Miho Nagasawa, Veterinary scientist and author via Los Angeles Times, Science Now.

“In Fukushima, Japan, a prolonged refugee situation caused by a major nuclear incident after the earthquake of March 11, 2011 has led to the unintentional abandonment of many pets. We received stray or abandoned dogs from rescue centers in Fukushima Prefecture. During re-socialization training and health care, we accessed the behavioral characteristics and the urine cortisol level of each dog and compared them with those of other abandoned dogs not involved in this earthquake. The dogs from Fukushima showed significantly lower aggression toward unfamiliar people, trainability, and attachment to their caretakers; also, urine cortisol levels in the dogs from Fukushima were 5–10-fold higher than those in abandoned dogs from another area of Japan. These results suggested that the dogs from Fukushima suffered through an extremely stressful crisis.”   Miho Nagasawa via Nature’s Scientific Report.

“In human studies, chronic stress has been shown to induce psychological disorders. We expected that the Fukushima dogs might be under chronic stress and show behavioral and neuroendocrine stress responses that may possibly be attributable to the above-mentioned unusual living environments. Therefore, in order to elucidate the impacts of stress from one of the highest magnitude earthquakes recorded in history, we compared behavior and urinary cortisol levels between disaster-affected dogs and non-disaster-affected abandoned dogs. The levels were significantly higher in dogs from Fukushima than in those from Kanagawa. Fukushima dogs’ urinary cortisol levels were highest on the day of arrival and declined significantly after the 8th day, while the Kanagawa dogs showed no significant changes in urine cortisol levels over time.Humans affected by the disaster are already recovering and gradually returning to normal life. However, our results suggest the possibility that stress can induce excessive, deep psychosomatic impacts with implicit behavioral manifestations, such as deficits in attachment and learning ability also in dogs. Long-term care and concern regarding the psychological impact of disasters appears necessary in humans and companion animals.” Miho Nagasawa and colleagues via Nature’s Scientific Report.

Dogs that experience stressful or traumatic events can carry psychological trauma. Walk through any dog shelter in Japan and one will experience the most common behavioral problems associated with post- traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD). Shaking, cowering, shying away from people and excessive barking are among the few behavioral changes that these dogs may experience. Dogs like people can feel stressed confused and unloved.

Dogs that were left stranded in the Fukushima exclusion zone after the nuclear crisis have had to survive many of the devastating affects: High radiation levels, lack of food, freezing temperatures and sudden changes in their environment and family.

Canines and humans display similar symptoms after life changing events. Veterinarians will go as far as prescribing anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants. This combined with the work of an understanding trainer is found to help dogs desensitize from situations that they find stressful.

The numerous meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, not only caused a humanitarian crisis, but created a crisis for all pets as well. More than 100,000 people had to be evacuated from within the 20-kilometer radius.

Dogs were left feeling traumatized. Today researchers have evidence that the Fukushima event was so devastating for the 5800 dogs that were registered in the area, that when tested, these abandoned dogs had extremely high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone in their urine. Researchers compared behavior patterns and levels of cortisol in dogs that had been rescued and found evidence that dogs do indeed suffer from post- traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD)

Yuki was discovered wondering alone in the Fukushima exclusion zone. The ghost -like town that surrounds the quake-crippled nuclear reactor is the home to many abandoned dogs that were either left chained or wandering alone. Haggard and stressed, Yuki seemed to be suffering from a canine form of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a paper published in Scientific Reports 2012, Miho Nagasawa, a veterinary scientist and author, stated that abandoned and stray dogs that were recovered in the Fukushima area, also suffered from the lingering effects of the earthquake.

According to the report the Fukushima strays also showed difficulty with learning and developing an attachment to humans. Nagasawa studies animal cognition and endocrine response and admits that although the study involved only a small number of dogs: 17 , the devastating effects of extreme stress in these dogs were very similar to the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in people.

Researchers concluded that all the abandoned Fukushima dogs that had received specialized veterinary care and re-socialization training, did not overcome the severe effects of extreme stress.

“The dogs from Fukushima showed significantly lower aggression toward unfamiliar people, trainability and attachment to their caretakers; also, urine cortisol levels in the dogs from Fukushima were 5-10 fold higher than those in abandoned dogs from another area of Japan.” Miho Nagasawa explains via Los Angeles Times, Science Now.

Although the study involved only a small number of dogs-17 dogs from the Fukushima exclusion zone, these dogs along with another group of dogs from Kanagawa, Japan, were taken to a special dog rescue program at Abazu University. Both groups of dogs were then given veterinary care and trained; so that they could be re-home later on. Nonetheless, Miho Nagasawa and colleagues stated that the cortisol levels in the Fukushima dogs remained at higher levels than the Kanagawa dogs, even after ten weeks of care.

Impaired learning and an inability to bond with humans were two of the post- traumatic disorder symptoms displayed by both humans and dogs.

Miho Nagasawa and his colleagues, says it is unclear whether the greater stress in the Fukushima dogs resulted from experiencing the devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake in 2011, the unusual and sudden disappearance of humans or the length of time it took to rescue all the abandoned dogs in Fukushima.

Thanks for visiting!

Woofs & Wags!


Copyright © 2016 Claudia Bensimoun






  2. ptsd-like-symptoms-302900.html
  3.             dogs-were-.html Scientific Reports 2, Article number: 74
  4.        life/fukushima_dogs_had_symptoms_comparable