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Leerburg » A Letter of Criticism from Daniel Smith - President of GSDCA

A Letter of Criticism from Daniel Smith - President of GSDCA

A Letter of Criticism from Daniel Smith - President of GSDCA

(German Shepherd Dog Club of America)


Daniel Smith
President of the GSDCA
RD 1, Box 358 A
Red Lion, PA 17356


Leerburg Kennels

Dear Sir,
I do not know who is responsible for the enclosed article from Leerburg Kennels, but I find your statements very offensive, totally inaccurate and very irresponsible.

The GSDCA, Inc. supports all phases of the German Shepherd Dog which was recently portrayed at our National Specialty Show at Perry, GA in November this year. Needless to say, you probably were not in attendance.

We also send a team to the WUSV trials every year, which you certainly must be familiar with. The GSDCA, Inc. through its Working Dog Association (WDA) offers Schutzhund Trials and SV Conformation shows through our 18 Regional Clubs. Many of these competing GSDs are American Bred.

The AKC sanctions dog shows for conformation, obedience, agility, herding and tracking. They also require a temperament check by their approved Judges.

Personally, I take offense to the statement that "not one American Bloodline of GSD's can ever produce a police service dog."

In addition to the ten (10) champions from our Darby-Dan Kennel, my wife and I have bred five (5) Schutzhund titled dogs and over the past twenty-five (25) years we have produced quite a few police service dogs and currently know of several of our dogs on K-9 duties.

How dare you make such a novice statement. Let me remind you that this is America and breeders here have the freedom to breed purebred dogs indiscriminately. I will be among the first to admit that there are those who breed for profit, there are those who breed for fame, but that also holds true in every other country that breeds German Shepherd Dogs.

But, please, do not generalize all the breeders into one category only to promote your own kennel and breeding program.

This letter is intended to defend the position of the GSDCA, Inc. and the many breeders in our Club that produce excellent working dogs on a regular basis.

I would hope that you might consider what damage your article could do to our breed and the GSDCA, Inc. when read by the uninformed.

Daniel L. Smith
President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America


December 27, 1997

To Daniel Smith,
Your recent letter dated December 23, 1997 arrived and brought a smile to my face.

Let me begin by saying that I have met a great many people in the GSDCA who are very nice people, unfortunately they are badly misdirected and poorly lead. The majority (99.9%) of these people would not recognize a good working German Shepherd with proper drives and sound nerves if they saw one. The upper management of your organization (starting with you) should take responsibility for this.

You and your friends have long ago forgotten that this breed was originally designed to be a "working service dog" with good drive and sound nerves.

The fact that the GSDCA holds a Confirmation show, Obedience competitions, Agility Competitions, Herding competitions and Tracking competitions is very nice. But these endeavors hardly classify dogs as working dogs. Many other breeds of dogs compete in these same sports and I would hardly call them "working service dogs." So your point is lost on this statement.

Your letter is a little pompous in stating that the GSDCA has 18 regional clubs (I was recently told it was 14) that sponsor SV Schutzhund trials. If I were you I would not brag up the fact that schutzhund has been in this country for 24 or 25 years and 14 or 18 clubs is what you consider supporting the working ability of the GSD. I am not a fan of Schutzhund USA management but at least they have built an organization with 6,000 members and hundreds of clubs in the same time period.

You ask "How dare I make a statement that no American Bloodline can ever produce a police service dog?" The fact is that this is a true statement.

You mention that a few of your Darby-Dan kennel dogs have or are working on police departments. That's nice, but if they are American bloodline dogs I am sure they should not be working as patrol dogs. They may be able to be tracking or narcotic dogs but not patrol dogs. No American bloodline kennel (including yours because I doubt you have reinvented the wheel) can produce a dog with fight drive, nerves and temperament to do serious patrol work.

Most police departments have no idea of what a good working dog is supposed to be. They lack experience and therefore accept candidates for their K9 program that should never have been selected. In the past 20 years I have worked with a lot of police K-9 officers around this country. My experience is that close to 30% of the patrol dogs that work the streets are not suitable for this work. American bloodline dogs always fall within this category. So don't tell me that just because a couple of your dogs work as canines on some department that you breed American bloodline police dogs.

The same goes for schutzhund titles. If a dog has enough prey drive they can be titled in schutzhund by a competent trainer. This does not make them a working dog. Some American bloodline dogs fall within this category. These prey dogs can not compete in the nationals or the Bundessieger, nor can they do police service.

Evidence of this is seen again and again in Germany where all of the show dogs get schutzhund titles and 99% of them cannot do service work. Occasionally we will see a German dog from show bloodlines with the ability to do service work - but he is a genetic freak that can never reproduce himself when bred.

You ask me not to generalize all GSDCA breeders and to consider the damage my statements can cause. Well as long as your organization (and the breeders who choose to breed to your club standards) continue to promote these long backed over angulated spooks (you call them champions) I will continue to criticize.

In addition I do not need this letter on "American Vs German bloodline dogs" to help sell my dogs. I have bred 160 litters of working bloodline GSD's over the past 20 odd years. I currently breed 10 to 15 litters a year and I don't run one add in any news paper or magazine to sell my puppies. They sell by word of mouth. I let my dogs speak for themselves.

At the end of your letter you state "I would hope that you might consider what damage your article could do to our breed and the GSDCA, Inc. when read by the uninformed." My response to that is that I would hope that you and your friends who run the GSDCA would consider the damage you have done to the breed over the past 30 or 40 years. Unless you get your head out of the clouds there is no viable use for the GSDCA.

I have 35,000 people on my mailing list and a web site that gets over 200 hits per day. If I can educate a few people to the fact the GSDCA has a nice name with no substance then I will continue to do so because in my opinion I happen to be right.

Leerburg Kennels

An Unsolicited Comment Concerning Dan Smith:

Dear Mr. Frawley:

That letter from Dan Smith also brought a smile to my face as well. Several years ago, 1990, we bought a GSD puppy bitch from Dan Smith. We should have known better when we went to his place and saw the temperaments of his dogs. The dam of the litter would have taken us apart if given the opportunity, but my husband was sure the puppy would be fine. She wasn't.

At present, I do not remember how old she was, probably around 8 or 9 weeks. We bought her and brought her home. We also had another GSD we had gotten from Harlan Gibbs in York, PA several years before. She had her U.D. too - a lovely dog that lived to be almost 15 years old without a health problem her entire life.

To make a long story short, this Darby-Dan puppy came down with every kind of allergy you can name. She had skin problems, coat problems and TEMPERAMENT problems. She was diagnosed with Auto-Immune Disease. She was on steroids for months at a time. She couldn't be taken anywhere without constant whining, crying, howling - all kinds of verbalizations - a real psycho dog. We finally had her euthanized at about 18 months of age because no vet (including specialists) could do anything to allay her misery with allergies. What a shame. Not only did we lose money on her purchase and vet bills (which were enormous), but the heartache alone was terrible.

We made phone calls, which were never returned, to Mr. Smith. We sent copies of vet reports and letters and pleas to help us. We never heard from him. Also, if you've ever tried to speak to him on the phone, you will find that he is as pompous and unfriendly there as he is in his letter to you. So he finished only 10 champions in 25 years? Not a good record. And by the way, when we lived in his area, we saw some of the "police dogs" out of Darby-Dan kennels. More psycho dogs.

When Mr. Smith first started breeding GSDs, and I remember it well, he was producing many white dogs that he sold as "rare." I had a friend who bought one of his "rare" white dogs which was dead from a brain tumor at the age of 3. I'm sure this is a piece of his past he would prefer not to remember, but I remember, and I was even at his place with my friend before he built his "kennel" in southern Red Lion.

My husband and I were members of the GSDCA for years, and when Dan Smith was made president, we quit. Also, when Mr. Smith managed to get his AKC judging license, I wrote a letter of complaint which evidently fell on deaf ears.

Kudos to you, Mr. Frawley, for having the expertise and guts to write what you do in your website. I have spent all day perusing it, and I am impressed. Maybe someday we will be able to procure one of your puppies. In the meantime, keep up the good work.

Name withheld by request


Hi Ed,

I just read the letter from the president of the GSDCA, and I started laughing. My neighbor bought a dog from him a few years ago. This dog has CRPA, RPA, and von Willibran's disease, plus countless allergies, and severe hip AND elbow dysplasia. This dog is what the American show fancy call the most beautiful type of dog on earth, but at 3 years old, this dog is totally crippled and cannot walk, due to the severe angulation of her hips. She has had operations on both hips and both elbows. Yet, when I met Dan at a show, he had the nerve to tell me that I should not breed the dogs I had at that time. They were two very good looking, and perfectly healthy European working GSD bitches. To quote him exactly, "Those dogs will never get any AKC show points. You may as well spay them, and give them to a pet home." Of course they never got any points. They were bred to work, not look pretty, beg for treats, and run in circles. Plus they did not have the impossible 90 degree angulation that the AKC wants on all their dogs. They were both kor klassed 1, by the way. But I will never show my dogs in AKC shows, though I would possibly consider small Seiger shows if I wanted to show.

Thank you,
Sequoia Kennel
Breeder of Quality GSDs

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