German Shepherd Dogs – What You Really Know About the Controversial “Canto v d Wienerau”?

Although Canto v.d. Wienerau died young and sired relatively few litters, because of his remarkable prepotency he is still regarded as one of the three most important dogs who shaped the modern German Shepherd dog.

Canto was born on the 17th September 1968 and sired by Hein vom Konigsbruch out of the Jalk v. Fohlenbrunnen daughter Liane von der Wienerau.

It is interesting to examine his pedigree as this may provide clue to his quite exceptional prepotency. In spite of having produced only a limited number of progeny during the short time he was at stud, a large proportion of these received the high classification of Korklasse 1. Six of these animals were V.A. in Germany. He also sired two American Champions.

Canto sire, “Hein v. Konigsbruch”, born on the 10th March 1965, was a very interesting dog for a number of reasons. Most important is why Walter Martin decided to use him as a stud for his Canto’s Dam, his excellent bitch, Liane von der Wienerau, a V bitch of exceptionally good breeding.

Although Hein’s Koer report was satisfactory he certainly did not have a very illustrious show career in Germany. In 1968 he was placed in a relatively low position of S.G. 7 in the Open male Class under Dr. Funk. In 1969 he did no better under Dr. Rummel, being graded only G because of his lack of working ability.

His “Koer” report describes him as large, stretched animal with harmonious lines, good angulation, ideal backline, and ground covering gait. It also referred to his temperament as being sound. His fighting spirit “kampftrieb” however, was described as “vorhanden” – present rather than pronounced.

In addition, he had not sired many litters before Walter Martin decided to use him.

Why then did Walter Martin decide to use him rather than more popular, proven animals who had already demonstrated their ability in the show ring and also their prepotency?

The answer to this, I feel, is because Walter Martin was a visionary with a remarkable eye for a dog. Hein represented a departure from the mostly square dogs of the time, with limited hind angulation. Hein was over-angulated compared to many of the leading dogs of the time. He was a very glamorous dog and Martin recognized the qualities he had to offer.

Moreover, he was aware of Hein’s pedigree. His Sire “Fix zu den Sieben Faulen was a very good dog as was the sire of “Fix”, “Asslan vom Maiweg”. I remember seeing “Asslan” in Germany and was impressed with his beautiful clean lines and – what was unusual at the time – his very good croup. In addition the Sire of “Asslan”, “Alf vom Walddorf – Emst was an exceptionally good dog, who was also a very dominant sire.

Walter Martin was clearly aware of the qualities of “Alf” and taking, what some people might have considered a gamble, he reckoned that in Hein, he would be able to perpetuate the fine qualities that “Alf” possessed.

I remember seeing “Alf”, ten years old at the time, at the home of his owner Walter Lueg and was very impressed indeed with this outstanding animal. Not only was he a very handsome dog, even at 10 years, he also had an outstanding temperament, bold but friendly.

Alf’s breeding reflected the successful combination of Rolf v. Osnabruckerland and Axel v.d. Deininghauserheide. His Sire was Rolf and his Dam, Elga vom Villosahaus, was an Axel daughter.

Walter Martin must have considered that with his bitch Liane’s breeding he would not have to be concerned with temperament problems. Liane was a daughter an exceptionally good dog, Jalk v. Fohlenbrunne, who also had a background of very good temperaments. Liane’s Dam, “Dixie v.d. Wienerau” was a daughter of the V.A. dog “Arno vom Haus Schwingel”

Moreover, Liane was one of an exceptionally good litter. Her litter sister Landa v. Wienerau became a Siegerin, and a litter brother “Lido” was also an outstanding specimen, a very dominant Sire with a very strong temperament.

Hein was exported to the Tadellos Kennels of Mrs. Egger in Britain at the age of 5 where he was reasonably successful in the Show ring, winning two C.C. s. He also sired some good stock in England.

The best assessment of Hein v. Konigsbruch”s temperament was made by my good friend Percy Elliott in his book “The Complete German Shepherd”. This is what Percy Elliott wrote: “Hein had little working ability and for this reason was downgraded to good at the 1969 Sieger Show. He was not shy, just a normal friendly enough dog and satisfactory if not too much was asked of him…”

I can agree with this assessment. Many years ago I imported a young Hein son from Mrs. Egger. My dog was a very lovable, friendly, good-natured dog but somewhat lacking in protective instinct; an ideal family pet.

Canto was described as a dog of medium size (64cm) and medium strong with excellent proportions. His front angulation was very good indeed and hind angulation was marked. Special mention was made of his very well laid, long croup, a feature he passed on to many of his progeny. Negative features included a head that was lacking in masculinity and also lack of strong pigment. There was also a distinct tendency towards loose hocks which was particularly noticeable when he was a young dog

As a young dog he was placed 4th – S.G. 4 in the Youth Class at the Sieger Show in 1971 he was V.1 in the open dog class.

His temperament was not as bold as one would have liked and in this respect he took after his father rather than his mother. It must also be mentioned that Canto is regarded as the first known hemophiliac in the breed. This was not discovered until later when it was found that his daughters began to produce affected males.

Although he died at the very young age of four he produced a vast number of exceptionally good dogs.

Very important Canto sons whose names appear in the pedigrees of a huge number of today’s top winners are the following. Frei v. Holtkamper See, Canto Arminius and to a lesser extent, Argus Klamme.

Frei V. Holtkamper See was sired by Canto out of Iris v. Sudfeld, a bitch whose breeding reflected the valuable Vello zu den Sieben Faulen influence. Frei was the most successful of Canto’s progeny with 5 V.A. progeny, one of which, Zorro v. Haus Beck – V.A in 1981 – produced the very important Lasso v. Wiederbrucher Land.

Lasso v. Wiederbrucherland in turn produced the exceptionally successful sire, “Fedor v. Arminius” who was V.A in 1987. Fedor’s name is to be found in the pedigrees of a vast number of top winning animals, in many instances through the important V.A. Fedor son, Mark v. Haus Beck.

Mark has proved to be one of the most important sires of recent years and is the sire, among many others, of the Sieger Kimon Dan Alhedys Hoeve.

Kimon is the Sire of the V.A rated “Karly v. Arminius. “Karly” has also proved to be an exceptionally good sire and produced the V.A animal “Jello Michelstadter Rathaus”, an important sire in his own right.

Canto v. Arminius the other very important Canto v. Wienerau son was Sieger in 1978 when the title of “Sieger” was re-introduced after having been discontinued since 1973.

Canto was an exceptionally good mover. When I saw him at the Sieger show for the first time, I was amazed at the fluidity and effortless nature of his gait. Although he produced better daughters than sons, he did produce a very good animal in Sonny v. Badener Land, who in turn produced the Reserve Sieger to Uran – Tell v. Grossen Sand.

His litter sister Tina was Siegerin.

Tell produced the double Sieger “Fanto v.Hirschel” – 1990 and 1991 and also his litter brother, ‘Frei v. Hirschel”, who was also an important Sire in his own right, producing very strong temperaments.

The “Frei v. Hirschel” son, Amigo v. Belgier is considered by knowledgeable judges to be a ideal source of excellent temperaments, He is the Sire of a number of very good dogs who have done well at Sieger Shows, including the highly regarded, Italian bred, V.A. animal “Quartz v. Templari”

The Canto Arminius litter brother, Caesar v. Arminius, was also an important Canto v. Wienerau son. Considered by many to have a stronger temperament than his litter brother, he was the sire of the Dingo v. Haus Gero, Sieger in 1982.

Dingo was an exceptionally good mover with a spectacular gait. Although widely used at first, and the Sire of 4 V.A. animals, Dingo was later not favoured by German breeders as it was felt that he produced too many animals whose hips were suspect.

Argus v.Klammle.

Argus was sired by Canto out of Zilly v. Klammle, who was later exported to American where she became a Champion. Argus was known to be a dog of excellent character.

The bitch I imported, Fara v. Bad Boll in whelp to Lasso di Val sole was a daughter of Argus. She also inherited the same firm, confident temperament as her Sire.

Argus’s influence continued mainly though his excellent son Argus v. Aducht who is represented in animals sired by Manto Overdinger Land and Miro Holtkamper See.

It is clear that Canto v. Wienerau’s influence though his sons and daughters has left an indelible impression on the breed. He can truly be regarded as on the three pillars of the modern German Shepherd Dog.

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