The American Alsatian™ was first developed by Lois Denny in 1987. The first litter between a purebred Alaskan Malamute (Buddy) and a purebred German Shepherd Dog (Swanny) was whelped on February 4, 1988 in Oxnard, California.
The idea for this new breed of dog entered the mind of a child around the year 1969 when a mixed German Shepherd Dog followed her home. At the age of 9 years old, Lois Denny started breeding animals. (Guinea pigs, pigeons, mice and rats). Genetics had a hold on her and she spent her days in local libraries researching her passion. She kept records of the coat colors, density, eye shapes, mutations, and albinism that occurred.
By the time Lois was 30 she had the experience behind her of hundreds of breeds as she trained, groomed, handled and bred animals for others. In her mind she was constantly evaluating and gathering information as an image of a new breed of dog formed deep within her. She prepared a standard of what this new breed would look like and how it should behave. She knew the character it needed to have to become the best breed she had ever known. The brains and heart of the dog had to come first. She wasn't concerned about the looks just yet, that could be done in a couple of generations, but the heart and the intelligence would take some time. She had figured at least 6 years. This would be an expensive undertaking and would take a lot longer than she had imagined.
Several AKC American Show Shepherds, other working German Shepherd Dogs coming directly from Germany, Holland, and Canada as well as two purebred Alaskan Malamutes formed the basis of the foundation stock used to start shaping the temperament and character so prized in this relatively new large breed of dog. After ten years of breeding within these mixed lines, a new and consistent temperament was formed, although the looks were still too similar to the German Shepherd Dog. It was at this time that a few hand selected American Alsatians™ with mellow, even temperaments were then outcrossed with a fawn colored English Mastiff, Brite Stars Willow of Cold Springs, who was out of Ch. Brite Stars Sir Winston Churchill who gained his championship at the young age of 18 months. The English Mastiff breed was chosen to add the full round bone and large head of the strongbred American Alsatian™ one sees today.
After several years of breeding these American Alsatian™/mastiff mixed dogs and choosing only the quietest, boldest dogs in the litter (and disregarding the look in order to concentrate on the most important feature of this new breed, its companion dog personality) each litter began to reproduce themselves consistently, thus continuing the formation a new rare breed of dog.
In 2002, all lines were again set and each litter produced a similar personality and look. These strongbred dogs were bred unto themselves to beget 18th and 20th generations who were again crossed with unrelated dogs in 2006. This time the outcross dogs were an Anatolian/Great Pyrenees mix out of purebred lines and a shepherd/malamute mix. She chose these two dogs in order to keep the largeness and enhance the temperament. We are now in the fourth generation from this last outcross and all lines are once again strongbred dogs, meaning they beget themselves consistently in personality, health and looks.
After 20 years of breeding and the recording of litters and owners while striving for perfection, she has at last reached her goal. Today there is such a dog! A dog that fits the standards of the breed in both health and temperament that she had envisioned so many years ago.
Although at present each dog when bred begets itself in conformation, the wolf look is not complete. Because Lois concentrated on the health and the mellow, calm, non-barking temperament before looks, the breed's conformation is still under development. Now the founder will be working to improve the look of the 'big bad wolf.' At some point, we will once again outcross, this time in order to concentrate on the wolfie look of the breed without compromising the health and temperament that have been the most difficult of the three to achieve.
The name of the American Alsatian has changed several times as this breed progressed from a mixed breed of dog to a separate breed conforming to its own unique standards in temperament and looks. In 1988, the name of the breed was the North American Shepalute. Lois, our founder, chose to take the words shepherd and malamute and blend them together to reflect the blending of the two founding breeds. In 2004, the breed name was changed to Alsatian Shepalute in order to start the transition from the portmaneau word, Shepalute, to a name that harkened back to the past when the German Shepherd Dog was called the Alsatian Wolfdog. The term Alsatian came to remind one of a dog that looked, in some general characteristics, similar to a wolf. Since this breed was meant to resemble the extinct Dire Wolf in bone and body structure, this term was adopted. On February 21, 2010, the name of this breed was again changed, dropping Shepalute all together. Our club decided this change in order to completely eliminate the tie this breed once had to the mix breeding of the shepherd and the malamute. In order to reflect this breed's strongbred conformity, the name was changed to American Alsatian. The descriptive term American was added in order to reflect this breed's origins and create a distinctiveness from the colloquial usage of Alsatian in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
Foundation Stock dogs are those original dogs bred which start the foundations of what will eventually become a new breed of dog. Listed below are all the beginning and outcross dogs that went into the mix to create this new breed of dog, the American Alsatian™.
Bred from the foundation stock dogs, below are the first mixed dogs who have contributed their genes to the strongbred American Alsatians™ of today. These dogs were not strongbred American Alsatians™, but were dogs of known mixed ancestry, bred with a standard and purpose in mind. We've included their sire/dam for reference.
Strongbred dogs are those dogs who, when bred, produce stock similar in health, temperament, bone structure, and coloring. We add them here in the American Alsatian™ museum in order for you to compare those dogs who are of mixed breeding to those strongbred American Alsatian™ dogs. Note: Strongbred dogs are more stable in personality and health, which cannot be seen in a photograph. Remember that the last feature we worry about is looks.
Lois Elaine Denny was born in 1953 in the city of Cocili, Panama on government land, as her father was enlisted in the military. In 1962 the Denny family moved to California.
During her childhood years Lois bred and raised many small animals. Along with this, she recorded the many different things she saw and the outcomes of the breedings. Each baby animal had a name, number and a description along with a photo. She got into rats, mice, turtles, birds, fish, pigeons, rabbits, guinea pigs and of course the family dog.
Lois started training dogs when her family got their first purebred Boxer from Central America around 1960. She took him for walks and taught him how to climb up the park slides and then to slide down the other side.
After 'Devilaire' kept jumping over the fence, her family acquired a small poodle mix that they called Tiki. Tiki would do anything for food, so the Denny girls taught Tiki the normal everyday stuff like sit, down, and roll over. Lois remembers that teaching Tiki to roll over was the difficult part but, with food in hand and Tikiâ€™s nose following right along with the closed fist, Tiki's body just flipped over and that's when the food and hugs followed. Next Lois taught Tiki to â€œplay deadâ€. Tiki would lie there waiting for the â€œokâ€ command so that she could get that ultimate treat. Lois was now showing anyone who would watch, all the tricks that Tiki knew. Folks were amazed and Lois wondered why people thought that Tiki was so smart.
Lois also trained her ducks to walk on cat leashes and to swim in the family swimming pool. One day Lois's younger sister came home with an absolutely drop dead gorgeous, sable German shepherd pup and she was stoked! Lois was about fourteen and extremely jealous. Where on earth did she get that dog? And how did she know to get that particular one? Where did she find it and how did she pay for it? Lois was now determined that she would also get a wonderful dog one day.
That day came when a shepherd mix puppy followed her home. Lois thought that this was the perfect dog! She began training that dog and soon Caesar would follow her anywhere. They were pals. Lois didn't know much about the health of dogs and Caesar proved to have worms so Caesar was not her motherâ€™s best friend. Lois then found a home for Caesar and got fifty dollars for this eight-month-old trained German shepherd mix. That was the beginning of her quest to find the ultimate companion dog; she just didnâ€™t know it yet.
Lois graduated from Hueneme High in 1972 then went into the Air Force. She left the Air Force before graduating from boot camp because of her strong convictions of what the military should be and wasnâ€™t. She then went into the electronics field as she tried to find her place in the world. She never realized that her love and passion could carry her through life with any kind of stability so she continually sought out her desires with no satisfaction.
After five years in the field of electronics she enrolled in modeling and fashion institutes. Since Lois had varies experiences in the modeling field in her youth and she had the gift of artistic abilities, it was thought that this was where she could excel, but because of an unforeseen pregnancy she was declined further enrollment.
Lois then acquired a job as a cashier for a neighborhood gas station. During this time Lois was able to continue her work with canines as she climbed the ranks within the company to become manager of several gas stations throughout Ventura County.
Lois began serious breeding at the age of twenty-two and chose the American Cocker Spaniel because that breed was a family 'all-around' kind of breed plus she wanted to try her hand in the show ring. She also started a small business within the Bird Aviary field raising a variety of colorful birds. She took this time to study more on her passion in genetics. Her business began to thrive but her relationship with the father of her first-born child was failing.
Lois bred the old fashion cocker with the short, easy to care for coats. â€œAmerican cockersâ€ that would retrieve anything a person threw out in front of them. These cockers were great bird dogs and would quarter back and forth in front of her sniffing the ground and reading all that came into their senses. When walking one of her dogs a persons eyes would go right to his little tail because it was always wagging and happy.
Lois had a lot of fun with those dogs but she had a problem with the â€œCocker Spaniel Club of Americaâ€ and the breed standard verses the A.K.C. judging of this breed in the ring. Lois couldnâ€™t accept the new evolution of the long cottony coats being that they were in complete opposition to the standards for the breed that stated that the cocker coat was to be short and easy to care for.
Trained and groomed for show, her dogs entered in puppy classes and different show events around central California.
With her dedication to the breed Lois let one of her new style cockers enter the show ring UNCLIPPED to make a statement to the spectators that this is the dog that was replacing the 'old style American Cocker Spaniel'. You can just guess at the outcome!
Her Cocker Spaniel Business was thriving and she sold her pups throughout the United States. She obtained six generations of solid chocolate cocker spaniels of which she is very proud of and all the while she kept the retrieving instinct in the gene pool. She bred a multitude of different lines and recorded all data.
Lois then moved to Stratford, California and started up the â€˜Bozemanâ€™s Barnyard Kennelsâ€™ where she raised, bred and boarded a variety of animals. This is where her experience in all of Godâ€™s creatures went into full bloom as she bought and trained horses, goats, cows and pigs as well as bred chickens for a variety of colors and recorded the characteristics of the eggs as well as the quantity produced by the different species. Lois was ready to move on and she wanted to try her hand at protection training and more serious causes.
Lois started teaching obedience classes at naval bases and she knew that she needed the ultimate dog to use as a demo, but which breed? Lois then got her first AKC registered German shepherd. This German Shepherd Dog was given to her from a friend who worked in the Schutzhund sport. She was a mellow dog but could not be used as a brood bitch or a mom, as she always ate her offspring.
Lois performed part time jobs as a security officer and the job was now becoming full time as demand for her services was mounting. She took several classes in the baton and gun handling courses and received a multitude of achievement awards. She also kept up her training in First Aid.
Because of the love of facts and truths, Lois seriously decided to try her hand at becoming a police officer and enrolled in the College of Sequoia Police Academy's 54th class in the town of Visalia, California. She was awarded her P.O.S.T. She was now on her way to becoming an officer of the law. She applied in several different police stations but her need for a job was pressing so she jumped into the truck-driving field and was soon on the road driving the big rigs.
Lois had a plan to create the best companion dog ever and her desire inspired her to stay up nights studying every book she could get her hands on that could fill her cravings for more...This is when the idea of the new breed of dog entered her mind and she began to form the dog in her mind and on paper. She had always known she was going to do this but it never really presented itself until the opportunity arose.
Lois married first class petty officer Gary Kingsley of South Dakota and they settled in a cabin in the Los padres National Forest. She continued to teach classes at Navy bases and colleges around Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Next, she started up the â€˜K-9 Emporiumâ€™ in Oxnard, California where she ran Saturday obedience and show classes. She also started up a night class for people interested in learning to groom, breed or show their animals.
One of her students told her that they were going to be moving out of California and they couldnâ€™t take this six-month-old malamute pup with them, so Lois said she would take him. This malamute was a very loving dog and a very smart dog as a pup, but after all that obedience work that she put into him she found out that malamutes would refuse to work commands as they become very independent as they mature.
Now this malamute knew all the commands and knew them well for she had been training dogs for over 20 years at that time in her life. While Buddy was a pup he would perform right on the money for all her attention, but when he got to a certain age and bam! It flew right out the window! The obedience 'recall' wouldnâ€™t work if there was a cat or small dog as a distraction and it only got worse as this dog aged until he did only what he wanted to do, regardless of any reprimands.
With her spare time Lois took a home study course in animal sciences and finished it ahead of schedule with scores in the top 90's. Her â€˜One Stop Dog Shopâ€™ was so successful that she opened up a second grooming shop that she called 'Kingsleyâ€™s School of Grooming.' Next, she opened a third shop that she named 'Grooming Plus.'
Lois had always had a bunch of dogs go in and out of her life so after all the dogs she had been through, she knew that she had to go back to the German shepherds and she went to find the perfect German Shepherd Dog for Buddy.
Lois began the new breed of dog that she would call the 'North American Shepalute' in 1988. She also began the club and, as always, kept records of all the breedings, sales, characters, temperaments and out-crosses that she bred. She kept charts and genealogies and sold the offspring to those who wanted what she could provide.
Lois bred the mix cockapoos, terripoos, maltipoos, shihtzapoos, pekapoos, as well as all the registered pure breeds of the small companion dogs and found that there was a huge demand of these small cute mix breeds. Lois then became a buyer and seller for many people throughout the state.
All the while Lois continued work on her favorite mixed breed the 'Shepalute.' She had to start a quantity of genetic branches and at one point she had acquired over thirty dogs in her kennels in the mountains. After she went on to the next generation, homes had to be found for the retiring matrons. She never tired of such work and people from all over came to her for help with their shepherds as well as to 'trade' their shepherds for hers.
Her major concern with these new pups was that they not only fit her high standards but that their character and temperament far exceeded most other dogs. Somehow she had to have dogs that had the brains and the want or will to do the work put before them. She didnâ€™t care too much about how they would look; she just wanted the ultimate companion dog! She wanted a laid back friendly dog that would not be hyper and that would not whine or bark.
Next Lois had to consider what this ultimate companion dog would look like. She figured the wolf in her mind. She believed that a large Dire â€œwolf lookingâ€ dog would be a good prosperous look. She should then be able to appeal to the public dog lovers of America with that â€œwolfyâ€ look. It shouldnâ€™t be too hard with both the Malamute and the Shepherd. Well, now she had a set of standards and a goal to breed forâ€¦
Lois thought it would only take 6 generations. She had it all planned out. Haâ€¦ fooled her. She was right on track with the personality, the intelligence and the trainability of this new breed, but the look was far from where she wanted to go after the six years of breeding crept by! Lois did not figure that the German shepherd dog would be so dominating in breeding its 'type' within outcrosses, so she persevered.
Lois knew that she needed more bone and mass to achieve her goal for the 'Shepalute' to resemble a Dire Wolf so Lois then purchased her first English Mastiff and fell in love with the breed. She was given another mastiff after that family found out that a mastiff just grew too large to be a housedog in the city.
Lois entered her English Mastiffs in AKC shows and enjoyed the time spent running around the state showing off her dogs. She bred one of her mastiffs to a nice stallion of a Shepalute and within these pups she was given the larger bones to improve the stock. She kept the best pups to rebreed back into her concentrated lines.
There were so many difficult problems to overcome and genetic defaults to get rid of! Lois had to drop many of her lines because of skin problems, panosteitis, hip displasia, ear sores, bad feet, epilepsy, and then corona virus struck her puppies! Her dogs had to have the best immunity systems to survive.
Generation after generation she hand picked the best pups according to her tests of what the ultimate companion dog should be. She continued to test for soundness, strength, health, temperament and lovability. She also had to find homes for the many pups that did not meet her stringent requirements. Year by year went by and generation after generation until finally all the dogs started to look similar. She had made it! Eighteen years and fifteen generations had gone by with so many hills that she had to climb. Many families got some really great dogs and she was proud to sell those wonderful temperaments and those intelligent dogs to the public!
Lois figured it to be a good thing that she did not know how long it would take to get where she was now, for if she had know perhaps she would never have undergone such a journey.
Now the "Shepalute" that had started as a mix between an Alaskan Malamute and a German Shepherd Dog has evolved into a separate breed, with each generation breeding true to standard in temperament, looks and health. In order to aid in the recognition of pure breed status, Lois changed the name in the year 2000 from North American Shepalute to Alsatian Shepalute. The club has now changed the name to American Alsatianâ„¢ in 2010, officially dropping the misnomer Shepalute, as it is no longer a cross breed dog.
What makes these dogs so different from other 'new' breeds? No one knows more about temperament and character and how to obtain it than she does. Over 45 years of breeding the many different species and then trying to help the public find the right companion dog. Lois knows what character and temperament is needed to keep her dogs out of the pounds. Easy going, NON HYPER, NON-Barkers are what Americans want and Lois has bred over 18 generations with this in mind!