(L-R) Rinty Tin Tin Brodsgaard, CD, Int. Ch. Odin von Buescker Schloss, PH, ROM, Bodyguards Rin Tin Tin II, CD

The History of The Bloodline
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The German Shepherd Dogs produced by the breeding program were developed by Lee Duncan and continued by the original Bodyguard Kennels and Jannettia Propps and continued by her granddaughter Daphne Hereford have been recognized in the German Shepherd Dog for over six decades and likewise is widely considered one of the oldest continuous bloodlines in the breeds 115-year history.

The auspicious beginnings would lead to two families dedicating their lives to the preservation of not only the legacy of the lineage, but also the quality dogs for which they have become known. The foundation of the criteria for the breeding program American Corporal Lee Duncan would establish began when he checked recently captured German airfield near the Lorraine border at Fluiry on Sept. 15, 1918.

The 24 year old Duncan found the field in bad condition with the hangars and installations destroyed. Duncan, while searching through the rubble of the remains of a German War Dog kennel, found all the dogs in the kennel to be dead; then heard the sound of puppies crying, which he found behind a nearby dugout with their very weak, but protective, mother named Betty des Flandres. She and the puppies had not been injured by the American shell blast that destroyed the kennel. Betty and her five puppies were taken back to the headquarters of the 135th squadron on the Mem La Tour Road near Toul. Research, including Duncan's interviews with the captured German Kennel Master, determined that the sire of that litter was Fritz de la Chasse royale. The German Shepherd Dog breed was young, only 19 years old at the time Duncan came upon the litter. Dogs from the lineage can be found in the Zuchtbuch fur deutsche Schaferhunde (SZ)(First Stud Book for the Breed).

He named the two pups he kept after tiny FRENCH PUPPETS the children gave to the American soldiers for good luck during World War I. The female died shortly after arriving in the United States following the war.

A New York breeder by the name of Mrs. Leo Wanner gave Duncan a female from one of her famous champions which he took back with him to California.

Ultimately it would only be the male that survived.
He died August 10, 1932.He was originally buired in Duncan's Rose Garden on Country Club Drive in Beverly Hills (left is the only know picture taken of the original gravesite) but later moved to Paris, his country of birth.

Duncan's original male was never registered with American Kennel Club but his lines have been traced to 1906/07 SGR Roland von Starkenburg (1903) SCHH3.

Duncan had fallen in love with the breed during his service in World War I and through his dedication became well-known in his own right in the dog show world. His dedication to the breed led his first wife to name his dog as co-respondent in the divorce case she filed against him.

In 1931 the first Rin Tin Tin sired Junior out of Ch. Asta of Linwood. In turn Junior sired Rin Tin Tin III

As owner of the female, Duncan was listed as breeder of Ch. Tasso of Villa Marina, ROM a well-known son of 1937 Int. Ch. Odin von Busecker Schloss, PH, ROM who sired Rin Tin Tin II. As did most breeders of the time, Duncan owned several white coated dogs who were part of the breeding program.

On October 15, 1954, "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin", made it's debut to Friday Night Television. The show was set in the Old West and featured a heroic German Shepherd Dog, "Rin-Tin-Tin" with a small boy as his companion, "Rusty." The boy had been orphaned in an Indian raid after which he and his dog "Rinty" were adopted by the Calvary soldiers of Fort Apache. Rinty and Rusty were made honorary soldiers and helped keep Law and Order on the Old Frontier. The series ran until August 28, 1959, a total of 164 episodes.

Three of Duncan's German Shepherd Dogs filled the roll in this TV series, Rin Tin Tin II, Rin Tin Tin IV and Hey You. An offspring of another canine star, "Flame" was also used in parts of the series. The dog, called J.R. was trained by Frank Barnes, who Duncan was mentoring.

According to Movie Dog Collector Dan Condon, there were only two movies starring "Rin-Tin-Tin. IV" that were made for the theater."Rin-Tin-Tin - Hero of the West" (1954) and "The Courage of Rin-Tin-Tin" (1954). Both were take-offs from the TV series.

There have been individuals who have suggested that Lee Duncan's dogs were not used in the filming of the series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. That misconception is easily proven to be not true by not only Executive Producer Herbert B. Leonard's own testimony in Federal Court, but by watching the various episodes and observing the four dogs who were used in the series, three of which Duncan owned. Photos show the major identifying factors, primarily head appearance and color, in the four dogs used; Rin Tin Tin II, Rin Tin Tin IV, Hey You and JR. Rin Tin Tin II and Rin Tin Tin IV were Silver Grey in color, Hey You and JR were Sable Grey in color.It is relatively easy to tell when the dogs were switched for various scenes and tasks.

This is a Link to YOU TUBE of The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin episodes. Watch them and you can clearly see when the dogs change, example, S1-EP1 on the You Tube page JR is used in the opening scene and in the sitting cute with the cavalry scene, while Rin Tin Tin IV is used jumping off the building onto the wagon, and Rin Tin Tin II in an attack scene and so on. See additional information on the Identification of the Dogs section.

Many people who wanted pups approached Duncan, but only one of those relationships would maintain the dedication necessary to continue the lineage.

It was in 1956 that Jannettia Brodsgaard Propps first contacted Duncan about a puppy for her breeding program. She and Duncan communicated frequently and finally on July 5, 1957 the first son of Rin Tin Tin IV she would purchase from him arrived at the airport in Houston, Texas. Rinty Tin Tin Brodsgaard, CD and his half brother Bodyguards Rin Tin Tin II, CD were both shown in obedience. Jannettia also showed their progeny including Rin Tin's Sable, CDX who accomplishd a near perfect score of 199 1/2 out of a possible 200 under Judge Harvey Richards. When she asked why she did not get a perfect score, Richards, a Weimer breeder, told her, "No German Shepherd is perfect."
She would ultimately acquire four dogs, including Rena, Daw-Gon , and Judo directly from Duncan as well as his endorsement for success in her breeding program.

Duncan died on September 20, 1960 and the breeding program and lineage continued with Ms. Propps and Bodyguard Kennels. Ms. Propps continued to breed and show the Line Dogs with help from her granddaughter, Daphne Hereford. Miss Hereford was raised by her grandmother from the time she was five years old, when she came to live with her grandmother in 1955, and quickly learned not only the qualities of the lineage, but also the aspects of participating at dog shows.

Most children of the late 1950s and early 1960s participated in school activities and sports, but Miss Hereford spent her weekends at dog class, in the kennel or at dog shows learning and being groomed to take the helm of the respected lineage.

On at least three separate occasions Miss Hereford owned a dog registered as Rin Tin Tin with the American Kennel Club.

Ms. Propps passed away December 17, 1988 and the legacy was passed to Miss Hereford who dedicated her life to maintaining the bloodline. For decades AKC Breeder of Merit, Daphne Hereford continues to be well known throughout the German Shepherd dog world as the breeder of the lineage.

Daphne Hereford managed the breeding program for several decades following the death of her Grandmother. She was a long-time member of The German Shepherd Dog Club of America. During her tenure with the lineage she participated in the American Kennel Club Canine Ambassador Program and served as an AKC Canine Ambassador for the Kansas City German Shepherd Dog Club. As such she presented Responsible Dog Ownership programs to more than 5,000 children in the Houston area.
Her line dogs were the subject of feature stories in two separate editions of Popular Dogs German Shepherd Editions in 2001 and 2006.

In addition she participated in a nationwide Responsible Dog Ownership Program tour sponsored by Gerry Nash and Animal Food Services with her gorgeous Silver male named RIN TIN TINS OOOH-AHHH between June 1999 and April 2000. California, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York and Texas were among the states included in the tour.

Miss Hereford authored two books, Rin Tin Tin's Legacy in 1998 ( Copyright) and RIN TIN TIN: The Lineage and Legacy in 2011 (ISBN-13:978-1468114980)( Copyright) See more about the book Here.

A representative of the bloodline was present in October 2011 to accept the First Legacy Award during The American Humane Association's First Hero Dog Awards Ceremony and was honored to participate in the Closing Bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept.7, 2011 and featured in Times Square that same day.

In June 2012 The Academy of Arts and Sciences invited a lineage representative to participate in a Dogs in Hollywood presentation highlighting dogs in film that included information regarding the nominations by Darryl Zannuck for the first ever Oscar for Best Actor that were originally intended to be humerous.

Following Miss Hereford's diagnosis in 2005 of COPD she began looking for a successor who could continue the bloodline in a manner acceptable to the criteria Lee Duncan had envisioned and she and her Grandmother had followed for their 60+ year stewardship of the lineage. Several individuals expressed interest and some produced litters that were placed on non-breeding agreements, a total of 10 litters were produced over the course of 14 years.

During her tenure, Jessica McRae did exhibit several of the dogs from the December 2015 litter and their mother, Rin Tin Tins Quella, in United Kennel Club dog shows with Quella earning a Best In Show award. A first for both McRae and the Linebred Descendants of Rin Tin Tin IV.

In December 2017 Joanne Bradley and Carrie Ragsdale were given three breeding females, one male and semen from Rin-Tin-Tin XXXVII. They maintain a website at Dogs of Distinction.

In 2018 Nancy Hibiscus Reed agreed to assist with the continued development of the Museum of Dogs and the promotion of the exhibition of German Shepherd collectibles in Public Venues. In addition, Hibiscus Reed participates in AKC and UKC performance venues with her male, Rin Tin Tins Independence.


More than 50 years separate these dogs The first is Grafmar's Odin of Rocky Reach from a 1950s copy of the Review and the bottom is RIN TIN TINS OOOH-AHHH taken in 2000. Compare those to the photos of today.
More than 50 years separate the two dogs in these photos. The Bloodline is also easily recognized by their unmistakable head. (Left) Rinty Tin Tin Brodsgaard, CD (Right) Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh
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Please enjoy this very informative article by John Ayotte about Color Genetics in the German Shepherd Dog. Published with permission.

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