Horand von Grafrath

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Horand von Grafrath circa 1899
Horand von Grafrath circa 1899

Horand von Grafrath (January 1, 1895 - after 1899) (formerly Hektor Linksrhein) was the first German Shepherd Dog and the genetic basis for modern German Shepherds.


A society named the Phylax Society formed in Germany in 1891, with the intention of standardising dog breeds. The society disbanded in 1894, but many of the members continued to exhibit the ideologies promoted by the society. One of these members was Captain Max von Stephanitz, the man now credited with being the father of the German Shepherd Dog.[1] In 1899 while attending a show, von Stephanitz was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Von Stephanitz was so impressed by Hektor's intelligence, strength and obedience that he purchased the dog for 200 German gold marks[2] and immediately formed the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog). Von Stephanitz admired the dog for its "obedient fidelity to [its] master."[3] Von Stephanitz changed Hektor's name to Horand von Grafrath and included him as the center-point of the society's breeding programs. The dog was then registered under a new breed registry, thus making Horand von Grafrath the first German Shepherd Dog.[4][1][5]

Many breeders of the time idolized Horand as the goal for what a well-rounded working dog should be.[1]

There have been statements that Hektor Linksrhein was part wolf.


Horand sired many pups. His most celebrated offspring was Hektor von Schwaben, who later produced Heinz von Starkenburg, Beowolf, and Pilot. These three studs were used in later breeding programs; their progeny are thus the ancestors of all modern German Shepherd Dogs.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "History of the German Shepherd Dog". German Shepherds.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  2. ^ "Eine Idee findet ihre Organisation" (in German). Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde. Archived from the original on 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
  3. ^ "V Horand von Grafrath pedigree information". Pedigree Database. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  4. ^ "SZ-1 Horand von Grafrath". German Shepherd Dog Club of America. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  5. ^ von Stephanitz, Max; Schwabacher, Joseph (1994). The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture. Hoflin Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-99932-80-05-7.