German Shepherd Dog Information
FEATURED GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG BREEDER
Breeder selected for thoughtful genetics and high quality GSD puppies
My German Shepherd Breeding Program
Frances Keyes / Nanhall, Reg.
Interview conducted August 2011 by Barbara J. Andrews
Nanhall is legendary in professional handling, and as a boarding kennel and “day spa” for dogs but we want to know how and when you first became a breeder?
“Hall was breeding since the late 40’s, I started in the 60’s with German Shepherds. My fondest memory was of a German import by the name of Ch. ULK Wikingerelut who was owned by Ralph and Mary Roberts. I thought he was so impressive and tried to purchase him … ha ha. Instead I bought one of his sons. I loved the German dogs and started to import from Germany. Ernest Loeb and Julius Due guided me in this endeavor. I imported The German Youth Siegerin, later Champion, Fenja von der Maienklause.
At that point, about 1967 I started breeding. Roy Schwartz, a professional handler and police dog trainer helped me as well. One of my fondest memories was Lloyd Bracket, known for his colorful jackets, but Lloyd gave me handling tips. He was a very special person."
“One of my first litters was by Ch. Fleetwood Aristocrat and produced two champions. That was in the early 70’s.”
What was your ideal, the most outstanding dog of the 70’s and 80’s?
“There were two. Grand Victrix Champion Nanhall's Donna CDX (right #1) – She was and is STILL the youngest Grand Victrix and the youngest champion in the breed.
Also Ch. Nanhall’s Tangle (left #2) who depicted gorgeous feminine type and lovely movement. She would always be so relaxed at a show, and I would worry that she would not show. Instead… show time for Tangle was hitting the lead, head gazing out. I loved showing her!"
What are the main elements and goals of your German Shepherd breeding plan?
“At that time, right through today, it is type, elegance and temperament. If you don’t have the type, you don’t have the breed, if you don’t have elegance you just have another nice dog, if you don’t have sound, strong temperament, then you might as well forget it.”
What are the primary problems that you see in the breed today?
“To me, there is a lack of vision in breeding and that is due to lack of knowledge of the German Shepherd’s structure, gait and character. The German Shepherd should have the look of eagles, stand tall and proud. The German shepherd is denoted with a unique FLYING TROT WITH SUSPENDED GAIT. That is what makes the breed. The sad thing is that many have never having studied dogs of the past, and that includes some judges; they do not recognize the gait. Many denigrate the dogs of the past, not realizing that there was greater competition at all shows than there is today. Dogs were very sound mentally and physically.
Today‘s dogs have extremely straight shoulders with overdone rears causing a scrambling motion. At a show, a new judge asked me what I thought of his judging. I answered by asking why he put a certain dog in 3rd, his answer was that he looked different. Well he was the only one with true suspension and overall soundness.
Many dogs have incorrect temperament and it is quite embarrassing. Too many people do not know about correct temperament and behavior. They think if the dog wags his tail that’s good temperament and it’s not necessarily true. There are too many hysterical dogs that have been improperly bred or improperly developed by unknowing breeders . In their quest to win, they produce many puppies, raising them as a pack so that no one develops as an individual. True German Shepherd temperament is the most important thing.
The second thing truthfully, is the character that comes with truly elegant type. Too many in the breed can’t remember back to great examples such as Ch. ULK Wikingerelut, an extremely strong and sound dog. Another great dog was Ch. Grand VICTOR Yonkalla’S Mike. He had the look of eagles, proud, confident and impressive, magnificent pigment “A working dog”.
“If you don’t have the look, the correct type, including elegance and regal appearance, it’s not a German Shepherd, and if you don’t have what the standard calls for, a suspended trot, they are not a German Shepherd, in my opinion."
What about German Shepherd National Specialties?
“Way back when Hall and I were really showing a lot of German Shepherds, it was the “norm” for German Shepherds to be shown under all breed judges and have sixty to eighty dogs in the all-breed shows. Now you can’t even get sixty or seventy at a Specialty Show.
In the past, the National Specialty had close to 900 German Shepherds in competition. At last year’s National Specialty there were perhaps 500 dogs. Even so, it’s very rare to find in the ring, dogs that own the ground where they stand and are able and confident and have strength of character."
I've seen this photo of your daughter Hayley and a magnificent German Shepherd. Everyone knows of her success as proprietor of the International Professional Grooming School but now that Hall has passed away, are you and Hayley still breeding German Shepherds?
“No. I would love to but I’m getting older. My Schipperkes keep me going though.”
But you must feel that you and Hall got where you wanted to be? You achieved the goals that you set early on for your career in dogs.
“Yes. I think no matter what we bred; Bouvier Des Flanders, Akitas (only bred one litter), Rottweilers (several litters and seven champions) German shorthairs, and of course Schipperkes, well, someone made a comment several years ago … she said “I always know a Nanhall dog because they are always elegant and that’s it!” That made us very proud.
That little puppy “Phoenix” in our Ad in TheDogPress; that bitch was only thirteen months old. And she is truly one of the best Schipperke I’ve ever had. She has quality, type, elegance, and correct temperament - her attitude to the judge is “who the hell are you?"
German Shepherd, Schipperke, whatever the breed, knowledgeable breeders breed consistently to the Breed Standard producing a high percentage of quality animals from fewer litters than those who mass produce litters to gain only a small percentage of champions."
Fran, we thank you. I have gained a lot of insight in doing this interview and I am sure our readers, regardless of their breed, feel likewise. We would like to schedule an interview on Schipperkes; I know you recently judged a huge Sweeps entry at the National Specialty. Could we put that on the schedule?
Yes, Schipperkes are my “small breed” nowadays. I would like that.
For unique dog accessories including winter wear and canine jewelry, or for training, boarding or information on the Professional Groomers School career opportunities, go to Nanhall, Reg. located in Greensboro, NC (336) 852-9867