The popularity of the GSD owes much to the American film industry. Two names are notable: Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin but there were many, many more. Most of these were not 'show' GSDs but 'working' GSDs, bred more for their ability than their looks or adherence to any club standards.
The GSD was widely sought after during World War II, employed by Allied and Axis forces, as mine detectors, sentinels, guard work, messenger, and in other services. After the war in Germany the breed was in poor shape. Many dogs had been killed or destroyed due to lack of food. The best that was left was bred, frequently with outcross breedings, since there was no great selection of line-bred stock. However, the annual Sieger award continued and the dogs that won this award continued to be bred to the shape that von Stephanitz had promoted.
The claim that dogs from Germany are, somehow, correct and that all other countries should follow their type is totally meaningless. Most of the best stock had been exported to other countries and in those countries, notably Canada, the UK and USA, breeding has continued from those original dogs. In all three countries it is still possible to find dogs which closely resemble the early German type GSDs.
Starting in the 1970s the SV was increasingly dominated and transformed by a cabal of new men focused on the form, structure and external appearance of the German Shepherd with a concurrent, gradual and incessant loss of focus on the working origins of the breed.
Perhaps the ultimate instance of this were the Martin brothers, Walter of the von der Wienerau kennel and Herman whose kennel was vom Arminius. Walter was the guiding light, the architect of the 'new' German Shepherd, and Herman was SV president from 1984 until 1994, only two years before the passing of both brothers within weeks of each other in 1996.
Nepotism was endemic at the top, for when Walter’s dogs became Sieger it was Herman in his role of SV president who was making the selections and handing out the trophies, when he was not actually selecting his own dogs. The 'new' dog that resulted from this self-glorification is very much the dog that the German SV supporters of the GSD in the UK claim to be the 'proper' GSD. However, in other countries it has been suggested that it would have been better to rename these dogs "The Martin Shepherd". No less a person than the distinguished International SV Judge, Mr Fred Lanting, (known as Mr.GSD) places the deterioration of the topline and the emphasis on rear drive of the 'modern' GSD firmly at the feet of the Martins.
The dog shown here is the 1992 Sieger, Visum von Armius. It is obvious, even to the untrained observer, that the rear part of the dog now exhibits a distinct curve. Note that this is not a curve which exists purely because of the natural curve of the croup but starts higher up the back.
It is because there is a marked difference between the original appearance of the dog as defined by von Stephanitz and promoted in the UK as an 'Alsatian' type and the current appearance of the dog regarded as 'German SV' or 'Martin' that it is felt that it is now the time to create a breed of 'The Alsatian'.