Wildhaus Kennels
Working German Shepherd Dogs
~Michigan, USA~

My name is Chris Wild and, like many, I grew up with German Shepherd Dogs. Thanks to my parents, a lifelong love of German Shepherds was instilled in me early on and, for me, there has never been any other breed. Now, together with my husband and fellow GSD lover, Tim, I have a small breeding program in rural southern Michigan. Here we enjoy raising and training our dogs for participation in various dog sports and working dog activities, developing and maintaining an exceptional breeding program of working bloodline German Shepherds, and above all sharing most every aspect of our lives with these wonderful dogs.

We have been actively training and titling our dogs for many years, and while schutzhund/IPO is our primary pursuit, we also enjoy participating in a variety of other dogsports with our canine partners. We value these activities as sports and breed tests for working GSDs, but most importantly as enjoyable and challenging hobbies to share with our dogs. We have trained and titled several dogs in multiple venues, and also have experience in the training of police K9 tracking, patrol work and drug detection through assisting several law enforcement officers with the training of their canine partners, and raising and imprinting young dogs to be placed into service with the Michigan State Police.

Our true love of the German Shepherd Dog stems from living and working with them, and the bond that this builds between dog and handler. Our dogs are far more to us than just breeding stock or dog sport partners, and we enjoy them first and foremost as members of our family. All of our dogs live in the house with us and enjoy life as our constant companions.

We consider ourselves to be "hobby" breeders as unlike many large commercial kennels we do not make a living off dogs. We both have "real" jobs to pay the bills and to afford us the opportunity to spend our non-working time focusing on our passion for GSDs. Our breeding program focuses on quality not quantity. We put a great deal of time and effort into planning our breedings, often spending months researching dogs and pedigrees. All of our breeding dogs are titled and health screened, thus proving themselves of good health and structure, sound temperament and nerve, and strong working ability before they begin their breeding careers. Breeding partners are selected very carefully based on the positive impact they will have on our own bloodline and on the German Shepherd Dog breed as a whole. Comprehensive testing of our breeding stock and diligent research and planning, combined with our small in-home kennel environment that allows us to provide all of our puppies with a great deal of personal attention, socialization and early imprinting, ensures that our pups have the best possible start in life.

The German Shepherd Dog is a working dog. Originating in the late 1800s from the selective combination of different types of regional herding and working dogs, the GSD was created to be all around working dog; a utilitarian breed capable of performing a wide range of services. The GSD's strong reputation and world-wide popularity is due primarily to its versatility and working heritage. Yet often when they hear "working dog" or "working bloodlines", those who are unfamiliar with these dogs are under the false assumption that these dogs are hyperactive, dangerous, and in general unsuited to family life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our dogs possess the courage and drive to excel in police or personal protection work, yet are gentle enough to play with a room full of kindergartners. They are high drive and will give their all in training and work, but when the day is done they will turn off and happily lounge about with the family watching television. As a working breed, we firmly believe that it is the responsibility of all GSD lovers, but especially breeders, to maintain it as such. But we also feel very strongly that no matter how much a dog may excel in working endeavors, if it is unable to be a stable and trustworthy family companion, it is not a good representative of the German Shepherd breed. And certainly not a breeding candidate. We strive for this balance between work and home life in all of our own dogs and in the puppies we produce.

At the same time, this does not mean that a German Shepherd is an appropriate dog for everyone. When asked if they make good pets, the answer is always "Yes, but...". While they are reliable, devoted and enjoyable companions, German Shepherds, and the working lines in particular, need owners that are experienced with dogs, lead active lifestyles, and enjoy involving their dogs in all aspects of their lives. These dogs are highly intelligent and have a strong, inborn desire to work with their owners and utilize their natural drives. While this makes them highly trainable, it also means that they are not couch potatoes. In addition to regular physical exercise, these dogs also need clear, fair, consistent leadership, mental stimulation through training, and quality one-on-one time interacting with their people in order to be happy, well adjusted and well mannered companions. If you want a laid-back, low maintenance house pet, a German Shepherd is not for you. If you want a dog that will work tirelessly for you, be your constant and faithful companion, defend you and your family with its life, let your children crawl all over him AND you have the desire and ability to properly raise, socialize and train your dog and ensure that his needs for mental and physical exercise are met, you have come to the right place.

We breed only top quality German Shepherd Dogs from European working bloodlines. You will not find any American or European show line dogs here. Our goal as breeders is to preserve the fundamental characteristics of the German Shepherd Dog, and promote the traits that make this breed great. We do this by only breeding dogs with proven working ability, superb nerve and temperament, excellent health and sound physical structure. The German Shepherd Dog is a breed that can do anything, and we strive for this in our breedings.

Much of our involvement in schutzhund/IPO and other dog sport venues stems not just from the enjoyment we get from participating in these activities, but because they also serve as superb tools for evaluating breeding stock. Schutzhund was originally designed as a breed worthiness test for the German Shepherd Dog, with the express purpose of weeding out those dogs that did not exhibit proper nerve, character and working ability and removing them from the gene pool. It is still used as such in Germany, where puppies cannot be registered unless both parents are titled in schutzhund or herding. This requirement that the dog first prove itself a good representative of the GSD prior to breeding, as well as pass strict tests of health and structural evaluation, is a major factor in why the dogs of European bloodlines are generally considered to be of better quality than those of American stock, as the American breed registries like AKC have no requirements for breeding beyond both parents being purebreds; no health or temperament testing is required.

Today, while not a perfect evaluation, schutzhund (now called IPO/IGP) remains one of the most stringent and comprehensive methods for ensuring that the German Shepherd Dog breed remains true to its working heritage. The schutzhund requirements for a dog to be proficient in tracking, obedience and protection work in order to earn a schutzhund title also ensure that the breed remains the all around "Jack of all trades" working dog that it was intended to be. This training provides important knowledge as to the dog's temperament and abilities, and helps separate dogs who possess the proper characteristics to be an asset to the breed from those who should not be bred.

Because we believe that the more varied and comprehensive the training and titling a dog undergoes the better, in addition to SchH we frequently title our dogs in a variety of other dogsports as well. We also put them through nationally recognized temperament testing with the American Temperament Test Society and AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program. Taking our dogs to widely different environments to have them objectively evaluated under vastly different standards and programs by judges with varied backgrounds, provides not only more activities to enjoy with our dogs but also significantly more knowledge about each dog's core temperament to assist us with breeding decisions. With this in mind, we require that all of our breeding dogs are titled (usually in multiple venues), as well as hip/elbow certified and health screened, before beginning their breeding careers.

From a breeding standpoint, while titles are fundamental measures of breed worthiness and provide an official record of achievement and objective evaluation, that is only a part of their merit. Even more important from a breeder's perspective is what is learned about the dog along the way. It is the time spent together working and training toward that title that is the most valuable when it comes to evaluating temperament and working ability, and in this sense the journey to a title is even more important than the title itself. With this in mind, we choose to raise, train and title our dogs ourselves, rather than purchase already trained or titled dogs, or send our dogs off to have breeding titles put on them by professional trainers. While we occasionally obtain dogs from other breeders in order to enhance our bloodlines and expand the gene pool, the majority of our breeding dogs are from multiple generations of our own breeding program and Handler Owned and Trained (HOT).

This can be a slow road at times as each and every title obtained represents a large commitment of time, energy and money. But it is well worth it. A thorough training program that pushes the dog's limits is the surest way to bring to light all that lies in the depths of a dog's personality, and schutzhund is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive and stringent training programs out there. Through the training process, we become intimately familiar with each dog's strengths and weaknesses and gain a thorough knowledge of his or her individual traits and working ability, which in turn helps us make good breeding decisions. Thus we are able to ensure that pups from our kennel will be true to their working heritage, and able to carry on the legacy that has made the German Shepherd Dog the most popular and versatile breed in the world.

Dogs from our breedings are excelling in schutzhund/IPO and other protection sports, agility, competitive obedience, herding, law enforcement, detection, tracking/trailing, nosework, search and rescue, service work, farm work and personal protection, while at the same time serving their families as trustworthy, loving and devoted companions. There is no better dog in the world than a good German Shepherd Dog, and that's what you will find at Wildhaus Kennels.