At last, at last there was the recognition of the man to whom the words of A.M.A. Verhaar in 1934 applied, when he said ". . . let us hope that soon an experienced breeder will accept this hard, but thankful task." One cannot blame Mr. Kruis when he wrote about "... shorthairs with a coat that is too long..." and that he continued to write about "by-products". Only historical research has shown us that it was originally different. We have seen that these "by-products" were a symptom of neglect and decline, and not a natural trait. But the work of Dr. v.d. Akker was recognised: his ideal to breed longhairs of good type and character was on the way to realisation. Dr. v.d. Akker waited until 1951 before he sent the first dogs to a show. Those were amongst others Prins II and Rana. He never let someone else take his work and he had to be convinced of good quality. But, they were still not there and the criticism had still not been silenced. Right after the above quoted paragraph of C.A. Kruis Van Rheenen adds (page 41-42): ďAnd with this well-deserved trumpet blowing by the expert and lover of our national Shepherd Dog C.A. Kruis, I would have liked to have ended this chapter. However ... the shorthair and the roughhair are at a much higher level than in 1959, both in character and conformation. But the longhair has again declined. Most bitches don't come into heat, or only rarely. If they do come in heat and they are mated, then they usually don't become pregnant. If they do, then they have dead pups or pups that die in the first few months of their lives. With the reconstruction of this variety - a reconstruction that was done by one man and under great secrecy - a grave mistake has been made, a mistake that might be irreparable. In 1971 the register for Dutch Shepherd dogs was closed, meaning that no dogs of unknown parentage can be registered. In order to enlarge the breeding basis of the longhair, the possibility exists to breed shorthairs to longhairs, combination dogs. Their descendents can be registered in the special bijlage of the NHSB. I hope sincerely that they will succeed." And there ends Van Rheenen's writing on the Dutch Shepherd Dog in his book "De Hollandse en Belgische herder". The sharp tone of Van Rheenen is in great contrast to the understanding that C.A. Kruis had for the attempts of Dr. v.d. Akker to re-establish a unique longhaired variety that bred true with the little material he had during the hard war years and post war years. I hope that after reading the preceding, the reader will judge Dr. v.d. Akker and the longhair differently than Van Rheenen did.

Extending the breeding basis
Of course the problems that Van Rheenen describes occurred, but certainly not everywhere. It seems to be a normal stadium in building up a breed or variety after some often necessary and long inbreeding. But the basis was extremely small to start with. Ir. J. Voskens, at that time the president of the NHC, writes a letter about this to the Dutch Kennel Club on February 22, 1966, of which the content is summarised in the first part: "In a recent annual general meeting of the NHC, further breeding of the longhaired variety of our breed had the meeting's special attention. It was noted that the basis of this variety has become too small. It is deemed necessary to introduce new blood. Since it is impossible obtain unrelated longhaired dogs from the areas in which this variety originally come from, another solution had to be found. In general the meeting was of the opinion that bringing in the blood of one of the other varieties of the Dutch Shepherd Dog is an obvious solution. Especially the longhair is an option, since much material for this purpose is available there..." In a letter of June 10, 1966, the Dutch Kennel Club gives it permission under certain administrative conditions. It was obviously assumed that this permission would be given, since the first litter from such a combination was born on February 5, 1966. The sire was the shorthair Albert van het Kootwijkse Zand and the dam was the longhair Delorus van de Hamelakker. The second litter was by the shorthair bitch Petra van Zuidloorn and the longhair dog Arvensis' Arjen on November 5, 1967. From now on the combinations of full-blooded longhairs with descendents of these combinations are repeated. In a letter of March 20, 1973, from the Dutch Kennel Club to the secretary of the NHC permission was again granted to cross the shorthair and the longhair.

Epilogue
In the year of 1979 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the re-establishment of the longhair. Dr. v.d. Akker deserves praise for laying the basis for this despite opposition. Many have continued and expanded on his work. Let us hold on to his idea, a longhaired Dutch Shepherd Dog that is good in conformation and character. It has turned out to be a good goal. But we must remain vigilant that enough dogs are used in breeding; the current number of longhairs is 200 and that is not much, the breeding basis still remains small.Sometimes it is referred to as "re-construction", but that sounds artificial. Dr. v.d. Akker has never used "by-products", but authentic longhairs; re-establishment is better I believe. Dr. v.d. Akker felt the longhair had to have specific character traits: calm, full of confidence, sober, loyal and intelligent. It can be that way, I know from experience, then and now. May it long remain this way and may we guard his legacy.

Nijmegen
September 23 1978 - January 29 1979, Dr. L.F. Triebels


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