I am all about my dog--I think that's pretty clear from the site you're currently on. While I love Arie, I don't own a lot of "German Shepherd Dog Enthusiast" gear--The t-shirts, the magnets, etc. While there are plenty of dog lovers who can pull off these accents, to be blunt, they seem out-dated and a little crazy cat lady to me, so I haven't purchased any.
That being said, I take total pride in my pup, and I do want to show it off. I love Etsy and their amazing handmade finds from around the country. Recently I scoured them for White German Shepherd themed items. Here are a few of the chic handmade items for pet parents that I've found and would love for my own home (hint hint...Christmas...cough cough...birthday...nudge nudge):
One of Todd Young's paintings. Image via Todd Young Art on Etsy.
Todd Young. This artist stole my heart when I found his works on Etsy. Hailing from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Young is a fantastic painter that puts favorite breeds in various landscapes, all from varying distances and I believe from viewing the dog from the back. I LOVE his paintings and prints--They range in price from $12 to in the hundreds. Check out the variety in his shop to see if your dog is in there somewhere. PS: He paints cats, too. Black ones included. (swoon)
German Shepherd Dog watercolor by Helen Pavlac. Photo via Helen on Etsy
Helen Pavlac is the animal lover behind Whiskered Paintings, an Etsy shop producing custom pet portraits and wildlife paintings. I love the appeal of watercolor as it offers a freedom to lines and shading, and Pavlac does an amazing job capturing the spirit of a German Shepherd Dog in this gorgeous painting. I love this style as it lends a modernity to dog portraits, and it's a little bold--It almost reminds me of the artistic touches in The Dark Knight batman movies.
White German Shepherd Magnets from Silly Dog Magnets by Brianna Brunsell
Quirky fridge magnets are a thing for me. A major thing. They remind me of my childhood and of my grandparents, as they always had a fun assortment on the fridge, as did my mom; these White German Shepherd Dog magnets may have to be my first set, and truly capture the oddities of Arie. Brianna Brunsell is the artist behind Silly Dog Magnets, an Etsy shop showing off her hand-drawn art in the form of magnet sets for a variety of breeds. Brianna works with her business partner on the artwork--her dachshund! Sets of six magnets are only $8.99.
German Shepherd Shirt by Michelle Frank/Wicked Moxie photo via Etsy
T-shirt? Check. Modern design? Check. White German Shepherd silhouette? AWESOME. I love this modern t-shirt showing love for White German Shepherds everywhere. I'm a t-shirt person on the weekends--They're my go-to item for cleaning, the gym, running, or when I wake up a few minutes too late to slap an outfit together. Michelle Frank from the Etsy shop Wicked Moxie is selling these babies for only $17.95. New wardrobe addition, here I come.
These are just a select few of the awesome items I found celebrating Arie's breed to the fullest, with a modern, chic touch. What are your favorite items celebrating your pets? Do you have any crazy-dog-lady gear? Show it off with a photo on our Facebook page or tell me about in a comment.
Sigh. Again. With the belated post....really?!?! Sorry guys, you'll have to love me through it. Apparently any time I announce I am going to feature another item from the gift basket, I have something going on that delays me from blogging...but this something is very exciting. More on that on Sunday.
Anyways, back to the subject at hand: Unusual colorations.
I've told you all about White German Shepherds (and have some news coming up on that front as well), but do you know how many different colors are possible within the German Shepherd's genes? Not all of them are show friendly, and some are discouraged, but these are also possible:
As you can see from the chart, there are many different mutations, diluted coloration, and masking genes within the German Shepherd Dog breed that don't adhere to the typical coloration options you see--I cannot speak to the health of any of these colorations besides what I've seen in Arie, though I can say that you should never breed a dog just for coloration--there's so much more that goes into that than just a pretty coat.
Though White German Shepherds are starting to become more prominent because of their recent positive press with movies and starlets, they are still considered a rare breed (they're even included in the American Rare Breed Association) and a rare coat coloration for the GSD.
Today has been an absolutely wonderful day. I slept in late. I got to go to a wonderful fundraiser. I met a new neighbor...who loves dogs. Awesome day? Check. Now for the details.
Today was the Stylin' for Sheppies event with the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Georgia. this event was a total blast, complete with adorable German Shepherd Dogs, a great fundraiser principle, and two companies putting themselves out there to help a great rescue group. Stylin' for Sheppies was offering $5 for a manicure, $10 for an adult haircut, and $5 for a kid's haircut from a local salon ,with all proceeds going towards the rescue. Very cool. The salon is also right beside of a Firehouse Subs, which offered a discount to all participants. Also very cool.
Kelly, from Sew Alluring, who is not only my blog friend but also a bestie and a neighbor, went with me to get our nails did. Oh yes, that is one phrase where I don't mind abusing grammar. :) Unfortunately, when we got there, only one of the stylists who had offered her time was present (and she was amazing, handling all the haircuts solo), but the one for manicures was MIA. Boo on her. Still, hooray for rescue. As neither of us was in need of a cut, we instead planned to go on our merry, after donations to the rescue and meeting the gorgeous sheps they had with them.
All of the shepherds present were loving and friendly, showcasing the true family friendly nature of this breed. As usual, the puppy stole the show, but rightfully so. Riley is going to be a small shepherd, as her paws were nothing like Arie's gargantu-paws at her age, and she has an amazing disposition. It was hard for me to get a picture of her, as anytime I got close, she ran right up to me to love on me. So cute! We did get one nice though, and she became the focal point of my event recap on Examiner.
After the event, my roommate and I went for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant that's part of the Monterrey's chain. Success number two of the day? Finding out that they have the exact quesadilla that I LOVED back home, but that I haven't been able to find at a Monterrey's in Georgia. Score. After lunch, we headed back home where I grabbed a cider (the hard kind), my lap top, and headed out to the porch to enjoy the sunshine.
While typing away, someone strolled past with a little schnauzer who alerted me to his presence with lots of barking. After a few minutes, he chilled out, his owner gave a quick apology, and a conversation begun. I have a normal neighbor. For reals. For those of you who know me well, you know that my neighbors have been an issue in my new apartment community--They are very nosy, and like to call to complain to the office about EVERYTHING. Like when Arie reacts to their dog...who is also leash reactive. Go figure. This neighbor was friendly, congenial, funny, and had similar tales of woes with neighbors and their nosiness. She also loves dogs. Woot!
Today has been one of those days that you just chalk up to a wonderful weekend--and exactly what I needed for my Sunday. How was your day?
As you've probably seen, I've been absent again for a little while. I've had a few family things going on, but now that everything is back in the clear, I've also had a little bit of time to prepare for April. It's going to be a big month ladies and gents (and furry friends).
For April, we're doing two blog challenges. That's right, two. This may be a sadistic way to throw myself back into blogging, but I'm ready. The first challenge is the A to Z challenge -- For the month of April, you write 26 posts, each one focusing on a different letter of the alphabet. You write every day except for Saturdays. Many writers include a theme; mine is, of course, pets!
The second challenge in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. This challenge requires that you write 30 posts in the month of April. That's right. 30. It coincides really well with the A to Z challenge, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Now, onto the alphabet!
A is for.... Alsatian Shepherds, and American Shepherds!
Do you remember this lovely post about White German Shepherds? In the post I mention a few of the other names used for a White German Shepherd, as well as the break in certain bloodlines that prefer to be known under these other names. White German Shepherds are commonly known as American Shepherds in many bloodlines, as well as Alsatian Shepherds (The term Alsatian Shepherd is also used for standard coloration). New comers to the breed who are introduced via these new names often think that they are different breeds, and just similar to the German Shepherd dog, but the facts say otherwise.
If your dog is one breed, or you know what components make up your lovable mutt, what are a few alternative names for their breed that you've found?
Though I would never say that they're any better or worse than other dogs, White German Shepherds, as a whole, have stolen my heart. After house sitting for a family that had two, Dixie and Bill, I fell in love with the breed. Bill's lopsided grin and Dixie's love of snuggling won me over to this energetic breed that passionately loves, protects, and plays.
The point is, White German Shepherds steal your heart. I've had pets my entire life, and I've never been as close to one as I am to Arie. I swear she understands what I say, even when it's not a command or a request. When I'm down she lays beside me and rest her chin on my knee. When I'm up and energetic she brings her ball to me to play, as if she knows I've got the energy for a long game of fetch. The dog gets me, and that's just the way it is. I'm not alone in my love, either.
In our September post, I wrote about White Shepherds (or American Shepherds, or Berger Blanc Suisse, whatever your preference) in the media, and mentioned the starlets and movies that loved them like I do. One person I didn't mention on the list was Tom Hanks; I didn't know that he had a White Shepherd. Today on Twitter, however, I found out that he did, just in time to read about his goodbye:
"Monty. Deep brown eyes, noble demeanor, finest dog ever. A sad day. Goodbye Big Boy. Hanx " Tom Hanks' Tweet, January 19
Hanks also posted a photo of Monty on his Play Tone.
When I first got Arie, I had a lot of people who said at first "Wow, I never knew they came in white!" The novelty of her breed made her get a lot of attention, with people often mistaking her a husky, or asking if she was albino. When I really got into understanding Arie's breed and what it meant for her to be a White German Shepherd Dog, I discovered something. We've been staring at White German Shepherds EVERYWHERE. We just never took notice.
White German Shepherds have been in the media for years, but have gotten a great amount of press in recent decades. Did any of you see the movie Getting Away With Murder with Dan Aykroyd? Well, a WGSD named Nikki was a character alongside of him.
Perhaps the most iconic White Shepherd to hit the media of late would be Bolt, who's lovable Disney character has actually been credited with a boom in the breed, that both hurts and helps our cause. While the breed is getting positive attention rather than the "you're a genetic failure" or "Shepherd? RUN!" that are more typical, it also saw a population rise that landed more WGSD in shelters due to breeders going overboard with puppies.
WGSD haven't just made it into the hearts of millions through their feats in Hollywood: They're in the homes of Hollywood as well. Maggie Q, the well-known action-ready star of CW's Nikita has a beloved White Shepherd, as well as an affection for dog breeds that usually get a bad rap for being "aggressive" breeds (speaking of which, have you checked out Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Week?). In her interview with Modern Dog, Maggie even said that if she were a dog, she would probably be "a cross between my two favourites; a Pitt and a German Shepherd".
Even people with a less than tough reputation can love a stereotyped aggressive breed. Miley Cyrus, the young pop singer and star of the movie The Last Song, recently got a White German Shepherd puppy, named Mate.
Finally, America's sweetheart, Jennifer Anniston, also has a WGSD pup in her brood. Anniston is well-known for her lovable dog Norman, who just recently and very sadly passed away. Anniston also had and still has another dog, Dolly, a White Shepherd. The actress's love of canines is well-known, and is definitely apparent in photos of her walking her pooches:
What other Hollywood White Shepherds can you name? Tell me your star sightings in a comment.
Many people love animals. Many of those people love dogs. A good number of those people love White German Shepherds. A few people love MY White German Shepherd. However, only I get to love the bond between Arie and me.
The bond between a pet parent and their pet is something unbreakable and beyond special. You get to know them in a way others don't, and you grow to love little things about them. Like a human best friend, their oddities and quirks become endearing and some of the things you love about them most. For a few examples, here's my top 5 list for Arie:
1. I love the fact that my dog is GINORMOUS. There is nothing more hilarious than walking a giant dog. Why? people. I love people watching, and seeing how people react to her cracks. me. up. "OH. That's a BIG dog." is a common statement. Some people will switch sidewalks to avoid her. Others, like a five-year-old in my neighborhood, want to get up close and personal. "Can I ride your puppy? She looks like a pony!" (I kid you not. It was said).
2. I love the fact that my dog honks. Yes, honks. Arie is a very vocal pup for a dog that doesn't bark often. She sighs. She grumbles. She "honks", or at least that's what I call the noise she makes when she's over tired or exasperated. It's reminiscent of a moose, which is fitting--If she had been male, her name would have been Moose.
3. When she was a pup, she looked like a bat. If you've ever seen a German Shepherd puppy, their ears look like they could take flight at any minute. Hilarious.
4. Shake in Arie language means a lot. Arie has come to associate "Shake" with making sure that things are okay. When we taught her to shake, she thought it was the best thing ever. Now, when she's in trouble, or if I'm ill about something, she comes over to shake, as if to say "It's okay mom, right?"
5. I love the fact that she's a White German Shepherd. Having a WGSD is like having a hipster hair cut and a classic home. On one hand, you have something that's trendy and cool, a little controversial, and a little rare so that it gets appreciated. It's ever-changing, and constantly evolving. On the other, you have an amazing, classic and comfortable companion that makes you feel at ease, that you know will be with you for life, and that is all your own. WGSD are something that took time to create--Arie is from a breed that was built on decades of work and effort to make an amazing dog.
Oh, the history behind this dog.
As a History major in college, I developed a love for the convoluted and complicated series of events behind many decisions, names, people, and places that we know and speak of today. There are very rarely simple stories in history. When I first came into contact with White German Shepherd Dogs, they were the animal companions to one of my classmates. I would dog sit for her when she went out of town, and oftentimes before she left, we would together for instructions for while she was out of town and to chat. Several times, the history behind this breed was discussed. The story behind the white GSD is, as expected, complicated. This breed has survived a lot of love and hate in its lifetime.
"A white herding dog named Greif was the grandfather of Horand von Grafrath, the dog acknowledged as the foundation of all contemporary German Shepherd Dog bloodlines." -Wikipedia
From the beginnings of this amazing breed, the recessive white coat gene was present. Still, the color became frowned upon over time. First, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany disqualified it as a qualifying color. Other kennel and clubs followed suit, and eventually, being a white GSD meant that you simply weren't up to show standards. The more common black and tan variety of shepherd became the claim to fame in the breed, leaving the white beauties in the dust.
Brave New World
After becoming an outcast within their own breed, these beautiful white pups and their owners decided to take action. The White GSD started a new step into it's own brave new world...one as a separate breed. White German Shepherd Dogs today can be found under several new aliases, such as: