THE DOBERMANN – A few historical records, from before WW 1 and 2 ….. author Bitten Jönsson

THE DOBERMANN

A few historical records, from before WW 1 and 2 …..
Curnow and Faulks (1972) & Mark Ladd

Curnow and Faulks (1972):

Because of conditions in the war years (World War I), many Dobermanns were put to sleep. Breeding programs were severely curtailed, and much of the best breeding stock sold to neutral countries at comparatively high prices. These conditions did of course assist breeders in Switzerland, Holland and Czechoslovakia, and undoubtedly out of the sorrow and pain experienced by German Dobermann enthusiasts came some good to the breeders from these countries who purchased their stock.

Philipp Gruenig tells us that on the day he was ordered to the front line, eighteen of the half-grown puppies in his kennels had to be put to sleep or died of slow starvation, and although he kept his two favorites both succumbed to malnutrition in 1916. It was because of the lack of food in Germany that many breeders, in order to stay alive themselves and also because of the love they had for their dogs, sold them as pets.

If it had not been for the need of the German Army for Dobermanns as guard dogs and messenger dogs, it is probable that all breeding would have ceased there during the war. This would have been an irreparable blow. After the cessation of hostilities many of the best dogs that remained in Germany were sold at high prices to American soldiers in the Army of Occupation, and to buyers from neutral countries. The breeding stock having become sadly depleted, a few years passed before recovery in general quality. Due to the growing popularity of the breed in the USA in the 1920s, Americans descended regularly upon German breeders and, using the mighty dollar, acquired many of the top dogs in that country. The Germans did however retain a few of the best Dobermanns and with their usual thoroughness and skill as selective breeders, continued to produce several outstanding dogs.

Burschel v Simmenau born in 1915, also survived the war years and was greatly instrumental in resuscitating the breed when hostilities ceased. Because of several transfers of ownership, Burschel sired litters all over Germany, and I imagine almost every exhibit in that country today (published 1972) can be traced back to him.

The bitch Asta Voss, also born in 1915, was a daughter of Edelblut v Jaegerhof, and a line of fine dogs descended from her. Among the best of these was Lux v d Blankenburg, the result of a mating to Buschel v Bimmenau. Born in 1918 Lux v d Blankenburg was a late developer, and his potency as a sire was not recognized until he was four years old. He was full of Ilm-Athen blood, which helped to make him one of the greatest Dobermanns of his period. He was extensively used at stud before being sent to America, where he died in 1931.

Lux v d Blankenburg from 1918 to 1931 – 12½ years

Leddy v b Blankenburg, a ltter sister to Lux, proved successful as a breeding force, chiefly through her son Alec v d Finohoehe, who before being sold to Czechoslovakia sired Stolz and Lotte v Roeneckenstein. Lotte proved a bitch of immense hereditary value. In the following year. mated to Lux v Blankenburg (her grand dam’s brother), she produced Ari and Alto v Sigalsburg, both dogs of great spirit, that excelled in body structure, compactness and gait. Alto remained in Germany; Ari went to America, but unfortunately died soon afterwards.

A repeat mating of Lotte v Roeneckenstein to Lux v d Blankenburg produced in 1926 Lux II and Lotte II v Simmenau, both of whom excelled in substance, shoulders and front. Lotte II proved her hereditary worth in Germany before being sent to America. Mars and Modern v Simmenau bred from Lotte v Roeneckenstein in 1927 also went to America. Apparently Mars was well named, being somewhat belligerent; Modern had a more refined appearance and a quieter disposition, and was considered to be one of the best dogs ever brought from Europe.

1926 proved to be vinttage year insofar as several dogs and bitches were born in that year whose progeny in Germany and America produced foundation stock later imported into the UK after WWII.

LuxII and LotteII v Simmenau have already been mentioned. A son of their older brother, Alto v Sigalsburg, was Hamlet v Herthasee, the 1928 Sieger, who became the sire of other great dogs, almost all of which were graded ‘excellent’. Hamlet’s best known daughters in Germany were Bessie and Bajadere v Brandenburg. Bessie was bought as a 7 week old puppy by a novice owner Mrs Bauer in Berlin, who chose her simply because she was the most extrovert in the litter. By the time she was 3 years old, Bessie v Brandenburg had become a German Siegerin, after which she was sold to the USA. Bajadere v Brandenburg, Bessie’s sister, remained in Germany and was the dam of Desir and Daisy v Glueckswinkel who in 1933 took the dog and bitch Sieger tites in Leipzig. Truly an outstanding bloodline. Before he too was sold to America, Hamlet v Herthasee left behind another daughter, Kora (sometimes Cora) v d Ruppertsburg, whose name has become famous through the success of her progeny in the USA.

Mark Ladd:

The textbooks on the History of the Dobermann in the UK usually begin with the period of the late 1940’s. A study of the Kennel Club records leads to a different starting point.

The information gathered shows the presence of the v Stresow and v d Margetenau lines, among others. These lines may be traced in Gruenig’s and Rietveld’s books.

The first Dobermann listed in the Kennel Club records was Harras, born in Germany in 1911 and imported in that year. Two years later, Harras v Parthengrund, also born in 1911 and a son of Lord v Ried, was imported; he was a blue. In 1925, Baldur v Margarethenhof (1921), a son of Alex v Finohöhe (1920) arrived. His breeder also produced Ulf v Margarethenof who came to the UK in 1949 and subsequently became the first working trials champion.

The year 1928 was interesting in that the bitch Ossi v Stresow (1925) was imported, in whelp to Harras v Wedelstein (1925). Harras was a great grandson of both Sturmfried v Illm-Athen (1906) and Prinz v Ilm-Athen (1901).

The Sunday Express newspaper for 24 June 1928 carried pictures of Ossi, with the caption ‘The Most Romantic Dog in the World’; the Dobermann was a very rare breed here in 1928. One of her progeny, Otto v Stresow (1928) was bred to the bitch Wally v d Margaretenau (1928), herself imported in 1930. The other five litter mates of Otto became pet/guard dogs, and were not used in further breeding as far as has been ascertained.

There were very few more imports prior to World War II, when all progress with the Dobermann that might have been made in the UK was effectively halted for 10 years.

Conclusion:

From the above records we can conclude, that the exchange between the countries and continents of the Dobermann, have given an almost similar foundation of the breeding stock used. We also get confirmation of, that there was next to no breeding stock left in Germany during the 2nd WW.