26 January 2004
HAMBURG – Police in Hamburg Monday said they were retiring their German shepherd canine force and replacing them with Belgian dogs, according to a report in Bild newspaper.
Police sources said the Belgian breed make better police dogs than the German shepherd, also known as the Alsatian. The sources claim a century of over-breeding has ruined the German dog.
“The dogs are bred for show rings,” Hamburg Canine Corps head Joerg Silkenath told the newspaper. “The result is German shepherds are becoming slow-witted and are losing their hunting and tracking instincts.”
In addition, efforts to create the sloping spine-line characteristic of the breed have resulted in painful back and hip problems and incontinence in many German shepherds.
“We have no use for slow and clumsy dogs,” Silkenath added.
Last week the Hamburg police retired a 7-year-old German shepherd called Largo who was suffering from spinal problems, and replaced him with a Belgian sheepdog named Kyra.
In coming months the Belgian Malinois breed, as Belgian sheepdogs are also known, will replace all 71 German shepherd police dogs in Hamburg.
The force’s canine retirees reportedly will receive a “pension” of about EUR 50 a month.
Subject: German news