What We Do
Stories From Shepherd Owners
Before you read, more about Heidelberg German shepherds know this…Our Champions and non-Champions will protect their families by sacrificing their own lives without hesitation if necessary to prevent harm to the family or property. Our German Shepherds are naturally the best companions and protectors you will ever find for your children, family pets, and property. Our German shepherds are true herding dogs with herding instincts intact, and your family and property become theirs’ in their mind.
The following stories are true:
Heidelberg is a kennel name that was started in 1971 by Mr. Eugene Thompson and Mr. Wayne Richards (pronounced Ri-shard). Eugene purchased his foundation stock from a longtime American Kennel Club (AKC) Judge, Ann Mesdag. Her kennel was founded on Grand Victor (GV) Harrigan, whom many claims were the greatest shepherd that ever lived. Harrigan was out of Grand Victor Lance of Franjo, which ancestors originated from Germany, and who was bred by Francis and Joan Ford.
From the same lines that produced GV Harrigan, gave rise to the Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs, as well as, many of the other highly regarded top producing kennels in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these other kennels went another direction in their breeding in the late 1970s and early 1980s by producing a more extreme show dog type of German Shepherd that is over angulated. In addition, these top kennels in many cases disregarded temperament.
Our guidelines to breeding the Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs are, first and foremost, temperament, followed by health, and finally, show quality and appearance. In the 1980s to reinforce the Heidelberg lines, Eugene purchased Select Champion Sundown Von Freya for the unheard price of $20,000.00, which is almost $45,000.00 in today’s dollars.
More than 150 champions later and several thousands of satisfied owners of the Heidelberg type of German Shepherd Dogs, we continue breeding Heidelberg German Shepherds that are world-renowned.
We continue to use the Heidelberg name because we do not breed these dogs for our ego to have some contrivance of our last name to label our dogs with and to collect accolades. Rather we breed these shepherds for the future generations that will enjoy and love these wonderful German Shepherd Dogs, as we do, long after us. Why change the name? They are Heidelberg’s, therefore, we should and do call them Heidelberg’s.
If you are interested in owning the World’s Best German Shepherd Dogs for companionship or even for the show ring then call us for an amazing and loving adventure with one of our shepherds.
American vs. European: One
Disclaimer: Before reading, the following note that we are providing only anecdotal evidence that we have witnessed with our eyes. In addition, nobody at Keystone German Shepherd Dog & Kennels believes that all imports have bad temperaments – far from it – we find that many better-bred imports have solid temperaments.
We at Keystone German Shepherd Dogs & Kennels provide kenneling for all breed of dogs as well as obedience and conformation training. Throughout the years, we have observed that the biggest cowards and least trainable dogs consistently are the so-called import German shepherd dogs. For example, when the owner brings their import out for boarding, the import will have its hackle up and be extremely aggressive towards staff, even to the point of snapping at our staff. This aggression is unfounded, and these shepherds are potential liabilities for their owners. However, after the owner leaves, these same dogs become cowards. They consistently refuse to socialize with other dogs or staff and coward in the corners of their kennels. This type of temperament would not protect their owners if a real threat materialized. For example, while these dogs are being aggressive towards staff, a quick step towards them would send them cowering behind their owners. This is not the correct German shepherd temperament.
Keystone German shepherds are not aggressive towards strangers and do not coward from threats. Our dogs are aloof toward strangers until they learn that they are friendly, in which time they will readily accept the stranger as a family friend. Likewise, if the stranger proves to be a threat to family or property, our shepherds may provide a warning growl.
At this point, if the bad actor does not cease, but continues with their aggressive behavior, they may be met with a bite. At this time, the perpetrator will again be allowed to stop with their aggressive actions; however, our shepherds may meet additional aggressive acts with increasing aggression. This is the correct protective temperament of the German shepherd dogs. This natural, innate protective behavior, by our dogs, is not learned and cannot be trained, and it may keep you from being sued. The correct shepherd temperament is discerning and controlled. Note: all breeds of dogs can become liabilities if untrained or improperly trained.
The European or import shepherd purposely is bred to be high-strung and restless.
They breed these dogs to be high energy (translated as high maintenance) for the very demanding sport of Schutzhund and police work. This is a very legitimate pursuit, and necessary for the production of police and military dogs.
However, let us be realistic, for every puppy produced that would excel at this sport or as a working dog, these breeders produce several cull dogs for which they have to find homes. Some of these breeders sell these cull dogs to the unsuspecting public. Invariably they will sell these dogs to families that are ill-equipped to deal with a nervous, high-strung dog that must be occupied or they become destructive. These are the very same dogs that we see time again being boarded at our kennels.
Our shepherds while capable at excelling at Schutzhund and police work are even-tempered. They are bred to be relaxed and calm. Our shepherds are happy to lie down next to you while you watch television or if asked to herd livestock or play fetch. They are focused on you and your activities. Their energy level will match your family’s activities. This is what we believe is the correct shepherd temperament, which is a pleasure to live with.
We had a European breeder come out to our kennels to try to show us how superior his European lines were to our American lines. He brought out his prize stud. This dog was released from his crate and took off running around our property. After 30-minutes of this man trying to catch his prize import to demonstrate him to us, we told him that we had to get back to work. The man finally caught his dog and left. We never saw him again.
Our dogs never run off from us. Our dogs are true shepherds and as such, they are herding dogs. They herd us by observing us, they love us, and we become their sole purpose in life. For example, while at dog shows, we exercise our dogs off-leash several times a day. We usually find a big open field so that they can run and play. A competitor once asked us why we would take the chance of losing one of our valuable show dogs by letting them off the lead. I responded that we are not taking any risks because if our dogs wander too far, all we have to do is call their name and they come to us at a full run. Our competitors exercise their dogs at the shows in small pens because their dogs will run off and not return.
We had another Schutzhund trainer come out to purchase one of our puppies. He had seen one of our dogs at a Schutzhund event and he was quite impressed with its working abilities.
American vs. European: Two
However, because of years of propaganda about how inept American lines are, he could not bring himself to purchase one of our puppies. He left our place muttering that these dogs cannot be this good. The poor man wanted one of our puppies so bad, but he could not let go of his incorrect biases. I also suspect that the man was afraid of the grief that he would receive from his schutzhund friends if he showed up with one of our American bred, German shepherd Dogs.
We had another misguided import breeder challenge our dogs and their temperaments. He asked us if he could come out and perform temperament tests on our puppies. We obliged him. He ran through all his tests with our puppies passing all of his tests. Perplexed and frustrated, the man picked up a large stainless steel bowl and threw it down as hard as he could on concrete in the middle of the six-week-old puppies. The puppies reacted as any normal living thing would by running a few steps from the loud noise and then turning to investigate. The man yelled with glee, “Did you see that? They were scared; your dogs have terrible temperaments.” How foolish, the only animal including human beings that would not have reacted to that noise would have had to be deaf or comatose.
Structurally many shepherds have been bred to be deficient. Both European and American lines have their specific problems. Many American lines have been bred to have severe angulations and slopes to their backs, that forces these dogs to run on their hocks or to flip their hocks in and out of their body line to provide leg clearance while trotting. This can be readily viewed by watching a dog trot away from you. The correct motion when viewing a dog in a trot moving away from you is that the rear legs and hocks
should move in straight lines in an economy of motion.
We breed our dogs to be structurally correct, and thus movement is fluid without wasted motion or energy. Our shepherds’ top lines are level, and the correct back slope is an illusion that is formed when the back left leg is placed behind the right rear leg, thus dropping the pelvis well below the shoulder.
Likewise, many imports have been bred to have an imbalance with strong shoulders with weak and underdeveloped rear legs. These dogs are two-wheel drive only. You can see this best when they are on a lead and digging in, thus driving with their front legs almost dragging their rear legs. This has been taken to the extreme with some of the import lines, which can be best seen with what is termed as a roached back.
This roached back results in a downward tilt of the pelvis and curved spine, which weakens the rear legs and negating a fluid trot. Most all modern imports and European dogs have very short and choppy strides. This short and choppy stride results in very inefficient movement. These dogs would be poor herding dogs and would quickly tire much quicker than shepherds with correct and efficient movement.
Take note of the heads of many of the modern European and import shepherds. Their skulls are bulbous and unrefined grading into truncated shorter muzzles, whereas our Heidelberg’s have the classic Roman nose. Due to the shorter snout, the jaw of many imports was forced to be wider because teeth have not changed in size or number (It is very difficult genetically to change teeth) the jaws and head of imports have become wider to accommodate all the teeth. Notice also the lack of leg bone thickness on many of the import shepherds. Many of these dogs have a petite bone structure, which is undesirable for herding or working dogs. The bones need to be substantial and strong to avoid breakage in the field or while bringing down a criminal. A dog with a broken leg cannot perform its job.
Nature does not make mistakes over the long-term. Compare the structures (body and heads) of the timber wolf too many of the modern import dogs and our American Heidelberg’s German shepherds. Compare shapes and angles by examining several pictures of the wolf compared to the import and our dogs. Then examine and compare pictures of our German Shepherd Dogs vs. the import. The difference will become evident in these visual comparisons.
Do not buy into the propaganda that imports are inherently superior to all American lines. This propaganda was started as a sales technique to get unsuspecting purchasers to pay more for inferior and sometimes extremely ugly shepherds. If examined and investigated with an open and intelligent mind, you will come to the conclusion that our Heidelberg German Shepherd Dogs are superior in temperament, structure, and natural beauty than most all other lines and types of shepherds whether European, imported, or American.
What is beautiful? Researchers have attempted to define beauty. The overwhelming consensus in defining what is beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to the eye was found to be in Form and Function, Balance, and Symmetry of the object considered. The Heidelberg shepherd meets these definitions of beauty. Few scenes in life are as invigorating and stimulating as watching a Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog running in a flying trot across an open grassy field.
Temperament: (German Shepherd Personality) Some people unfamiliar with the “true temperament” of the German Shepherd such as the Heidelberg we breed here at Keystone German Shepherds and Kennels think the Shepherd is a vicious breed that hates and attacks children and is dangerous to their owners. The opposite is true! Our German shepherds are loving, sweet, and gentle dogs, especially around small children.
Supplements and Supplies
We offer everything that is needed to bring home a new puppy from toys, collars, to water and feeding bowls. The prices and quality are exceptional and, we are likely less expensive than big wholesale houses such as PetsMart because our overhead is lower.
In addition, we provide one of the best vitamin supplements available. Our Pure Total Vitamin Supplement meets the micro and macro-nutritional requirements needed by your growing German Shepherd Dog, puppy or adult. These nutrients cannot be obtained from the diet alone. Have you seen puppies eat dirt or grass? They do this because their nutritional requirements are not being met. Our supplement contains diatomaceous earth, brewers yeast, active yeast enzymes, vitamins B complexes, E, and C, kelp, flax seed meal, chicken liver powder, brewers yeast, selenimum, complex amino acids, Omega oils, and fishmeal.
We also provide the purest contaminant free cod liver oil available in one-quart bottles that will last approximately 3 months. Our cod liver oil is human grade and many of customers use it for their own nutritional regime.
We sell an assortment of highly effective non-prescription wormers including a two-year supply of heartworm medicine for only $21.50.
We start vaccinations on our puppies at six weeks using Duramune Vaccines. Our first series of shots include distemper and parvo. At six and nine weeks we vaccinate for Distemper, Parvo (live and killed), Adenovirus Type 2, and parainfluenza, and corona. At 12 weeks we vaccinate for all the above including 4-Leptospira Canicola – Icterohagiae Bacterin. This same shot is repeated at 16 and 20 weeks and then again at 6 months. Since following this vaccination regime, we have not had any puppies get sick. We also inoculate for rabies between four and six months followed by an annual booster then biannually after age three. Oklahoma rabies is required annually for the first two shots and then bi-annually. For required rabies vaccination in your area, check your state’s and local regulations.
We sell puppy shots and adult shots for a fraction of the cost of going to a veterinarian clinic. Our vaccines are always fresh and up to date. For example, we were one of the first kennels to receive the new vaccines that protect against the new strain of Canine parvovirus type 2 ( CPV-2).
Since we are not veterinarians it is illegal in Oklahoma for us to administer shots to dogs not owned or co-owned by us. Our vaccines are easily administered intramuscularly by injecting the needle quickly into the meaty part of the rear hip. We usually have an assistant hold the puppy in the air with the rear leg hanging loosely (relaxed) and the puppy does not even know it has received an inoculation. For rabies shots, we administer these subcutaneous by grabbing the loose skin on the back and injecting just under the skin.
All breed boarding for $12.00/day includes a home-cooked meal. Please call or text (918) 261-4729 to reserve a spot. We do tend to fill up during major holidays.
Indoors crate boarding is available for $17.00/day. Space is limited.
After Hours pickup and drop off available for $35.00 surcharge.
Stud Service starts at $1,200.00, which is due at the first breeding. We will board at no charge and breed your female every other day to a stud dog of your choice.
Stud fees are nonrefundable, although if female fails to get pregnant you may bring her out for an additional breeding. If a third breeding is necessary, we will require that a veterinarian examine the female to ensure fertility before we attempt the third breeding.
If your female is a virgin, no brucellosis test is required. However, if she has previously been bred to a dog other than a Heidelberg, we require a brucellosis test.
We offer full-service grooming. We offer a spa service, which includes a deep shampoo, blown dry with a commercial dog dryer, which removes all the loose hair, and nails trimmed for $27.95. We also clip nails for $5.00.
Many times throughout the year, we offer free group obedience and conformation training on Saturday mornings.
I am an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and these classes focus are on preparing German shepherd Dog, puppies to earn their Canine Good Citizen Certificate. See our Show Info page for dates and times of these free classes.
One-on-one, obedience training is $25.00 per session. Usually, it does not take more than one or two sessions to resolve a particular problem or to teach your Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog, puppy or adolescent basic obedience commands.
We also have many of our dogs being trained in search and rescue, herding, and as service dogs. Patty Heckathorn has successfully trained our stud dog and Grand Champion Champion (GCh. Ch) Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad (Kodi), CGC as a medical alert dog.
If you are interested in any of these training services, we can provide you with information for the best groups to contact.
If you are interested in owning a champion and competing in the conformation ring, we will assist and fully support you in this endeavor. For a nominal fee, we will gladly take your dog to shows if you cannot make it yourself. In addition, we will assist you in picking out and training a future champion that will readily win so that you may avoid unnecessary expenses.
Building Our New House With Help
In March of 2000, we were building our house on twenty-wooded acres, which is currently the home of Keystone German Shepherds. We did much of the work ourselves, and after my real job, I would drive out to the property to do construction work. This particular occasion, I was on the property installing hardwood floors. A young Champion Heidelberg’s Oregon V Burmak accompanied me. Oregon became bored with my installation work and he decided to find another room with a cool place to lie down on the concrete subfloor.
I stepped outside the back door to rinse out a bucket when out of the woods two very large Rottweilers came running straight towards me. I instantly could tell that these were not friendly dogs and that they were intent upon attacking me. With one Rottweiler, I could possibly defend myself, but with two, I was in real trouble.
Suddenly, I felt Oregon brush across my leg as he charged to meet these two large muscular dogs. He slammed into the shoulder of the closest one knocking him over, and then Oregon latched onto the face of the other with a guttural growl. The swiftness of Oregon’s attack unnerved the much heavier dogs. Unsettled they ran back into the woods from which they had materialized. Oregon was in hard pursuit.
After I processed all that had taken place in a matter of seconds, my thoughts and concerns were redirected to Oregon. Before I could call him, a terrible noise came from the woods. I heard dogs growling, crying, screaming, and then silence. Then Oregon appeared unscathed from the woods in an extremely proud trot. Naturally, I gave him the royal treatment for the rest of the day.
I am convinced that I would have been severely injured or worse if Oregon had not been there to protect me. If you need a protector for your wife or children, call us for the best home protector and baby-sitter that you will ever own. No alarm or security system short of a 24-hour armed guard could protect your family and property as well.
Nancy and the Kids
Nancy has asked to remain anonymous. Therefore, I have used only her first name and the call name of her Heidelberg German Shepherd Dog.
Nancy was 27 married with children, a boy and girl age 3 and 2, and her husband traveled a lot for his job. They had purchased their Heidelberg shortly after they were married to protect Nancy while her husband was out-of-town. Up to now Heidelberg’s Chance had shown no signs of protectiveness and seemed to love everyone. In this neighborhood, the mailboxes were on the front porches. Therefore, Chance’s daily routine included waiting for the mail delivery, which developed into a friendship to the point that the postman would ring the doorbell to say hi to Chance.
One night while alone with her two small children Nancy was awakened to the sound of a deep guttural growl, that she had never heard before. The growl caused the hair of her neck to stand. She got out of bed and followed Chance downstairs where he jumped up on the back window barking loudly.
Nancy still hazy from her deep sleep thought the best thing to do was to open back door and let Chance out. Chance shot out the door and while Nancy couldn’t see clearly it was obvious that Chance chased a large object over the chain-link fence.
Nancy called the police, and the police found that the screen was removed from the back window and that the window had been pried open. The intruder, they said, was only moments from coming in the house.
A week later in the same neighborhood, an intruder broke into a house and brutally raped a woman. They never did catch this predator, but what is known is that Chance saved Nancy and her two children from a potentially brutal attack.
Diabetic Service Dogs
In 1999, we moved from Daphne, Alabama to Tulsa, Oklahoma. While our kennel was small, we still had several German Shepherd Dogs that we had to divide them up and have family members care for them until we could purchase property and build kennels in Oklahoma. Two of our shepherds, Heidelberg’s Oregon v Burmak (Bismarck) and Heidelberg’s Winsome Umberb stayed with us in our hotel. In the mornings, Patty, my wife would take the two dogs to my parents’ house while we were at work and then pick them up after work.
During these trips, Patty started to notice that every time she had high or low blood sugar Bismarck would lean over the car seat and incessantly lick her face. Patty has had juvenile diabetes since she was 18-years-old.
The entire family learned to trust Bismarck’s newly discovered ability. Whenever Bismarck alerted to sugar problems by licking Patty’s face, we made sure that she received proper treatment. Sometimes with high or low sugar blood levels diabetics will not help themselves because they become confused mentally. Therefore, family members may have to force the diabetic to test and treat their sugar blood level.
Bismarck’s talent was discovered well before the use of Service Dogs was made into law. So the use of Bismarck’s medical alert talent was not utilized outside the home and dog events. After the new Service Dog Law came into effect, Patty wanted to train a full-time Diabetic Alert Service Dog, but he had to be bred from Champion Heidelberg’s Oregon v Burmak (Bismarck). Unfortunately, Bismarck had passed, so we bred his son Champion Heidelberg’s Amazon v Whispe to Champion Heidelberg’s Querida Diamond. This litter produced Patty’s new Service Dog, Grand Champion Champion (GCh. Ch.) Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad CGC (Kodi).
Before this breeding, Patty’s diabetes had deteriorated to the point that she was regularly blacking-out, and even having diabetic events while she was driving. One day, my daughter and I had just started to watch a movie when Patty said that she was going to Wal-Mart. Two hours later, Ashley walked outside to find Patty hanging halfway out the door of her vehicle passed out and almost in a diabetic coma.
As a 6-week-old puppy, Kodi’s Service Dog training began. Patty would check her sugar in the evenings and if it was high or low, she would then bring Kodi into the house and love on him until her sugar returned to normal levels.
Within time, Kodi began to react to Patty’s low or high blood sugar levels by pawing at her and basically being a complete nuisance until she checks and treats her blood sugar levels.
Kodi goes everywhere with Patty including work, restaurants, when she travels, etc. In the four years that Kodi has been a full-time Service Dog, the only serious diabetic event Patty has had is when she left Kodi at home to do some Christmas shopping in 2012.
Patty had disappeared for several hours and the entire family began calling her. When she answered the phone it was obvious that her blood sugar was low and that she did not know where she was while driving her car. We finally got her to park in a parking lot and through a lot of questioning, we pinpointed her general location. Her sister found her and got her to eat dinner, and Patty recovered. The next shopping trip, Kodi went with Patty.
Kodi sleeps on the floor next to Patty and wakes her up in the middle of the night if her sugar is high or low. This is a great comfort to the family because most diabetics slip into diabetic comas or even die while asleep. This nighttime risk for diabetics is because nobody is around to know they are in trouble.
There is no doubt that Kodi has saved Patty’s life on several occasions. He is our hero!