Test-Driving the “SUV of Dogs”
Julianna Crozier had never owned a dog before last year. Living an active, outdoorsy life in Phoenix, Arizona, she finally decided that a dog would make an ideal addition. After some extensive breed research, Julianna determined that a German Shepherd Dog was the perfect pup for her.
“I wanted a hiking and running buddy first and foremost, and I was interested in potentially competing in some dog sports,” says Julianna. “I had heard that the German Shepherd was the ‘SUV of dogs’ because of how versatile they are. After I met my friend’s new GSD, I fell in love.”
Soon enough, Julianna located a responsible breeder of German Shepherd Dogs in California. Before long, she was heading back to Phoenix with a 9-week-old GSD puppy in tow. The dog was christened Hemingway, after the iconic American author and animal aficionado Ernest Hemingway.
Got a GSD? Get a CGC
The breed standard for the German Shepherd Dog describes them as “strong, agile, well-muscled animals, alert and full of life.” Such a breed might seem daunting for first-time dog owners, but Julianna welcomed the challenge with open arms. She recognized Hemingway’s raw talent, intelligence, and athleticism right away. However, a solid training foundation was essential before the pair proceeded into dog sports. That’s where the AKC Canine Good Citizen program came in.
“The CGC was a great way to develop certain areas of Hemi’s obedience training, but also to hone skills that were essential to our everyday lives,” says Julianna. “CGC is also a good measure of social responsibility and behavior for a dog. It shows that they can make the right decisions in real life, and not just a trial or training environment.”
After successfully earning their CGC, Julianna and Hemingway followed it up with an Urban CGC title, proving that the pup was well-equipped for crowded public settings. In short order, Hemingway proved to Julianna that a confident, well-trained dog is a joy for owners of any experience level. The next logical step for this dynamic duo: dog sports domination.
Becoming a Multi-Sport Marvel
As a particularly athletic member of the Herding Group, Hemingway’s physical prowess, willingness to work, and trainability made him destined to be a dog sport star. Though just a year-and-a-half old, Hemingway has already earned titles in Trick Dog (TKN) and Barn Hunt (RATN), with additional ribbons in dock diving and coursing ability, and a bright future in Herding, Scent Work, and Disc Dog. The precocious pup has helped affirm the AKC’s categorization of German Shepherd Dogs as “one of the most versatile four-legged animals on the planet.”
“Hemingway has turned into quite a resilient dog,” beams Juliana. “Whenever he tries something new, he brings his 100% to the table. It’s amazing to see him light up and get excited about all sorts of activities.”
Hard work, practice, and innate athleticism have all contributed to Hemingway’s dog sports success. A top-notch nose, a sharp mind, and powerful legs don’t hurt, either. That said, Julianna is quick to highlight the importance that the CGC program has had in helping to develop him into such a dynamic and well-trained dog.
“Earning our CGC was a huge milestone in my ongoing goals with Hemingway,” she says. “GSDs are such amazing workers, and expectations of their abilities are often set too low. It’s nice to have an objective measure of my dog that speaks for itself. And to feel the pride and accomplishment that comes with achieving goals beyond the basics of dog ownership.”
Hemingway is already an accomplished canine athlete, and his career has only just begun. Interested in following along with Hemingway and Julianna’s adventures in dog sports and living life to the fullest? Check them out on Instagram.
Earning Your CGC
If Julianna and Hemingway have inspired you to try to take the Canine Good Citizen test, you can get started right away by finding a CGC class and evaluator. The Canine Good Citizen program is open to all dogs. If you have a special CGC story to share, be sure to tag any photos posted with #ThisisAKC #CGC on Instagram.
The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program has been the gold standard of dog behavior since 1989. Thirty years later, more than 1 million dogs have passed their CGC test. In honor of over a million Canine Good Citizens, we’ve launched a monthly “CGC & Me” series, highlighting the amazing stories of AKC CGC dogs and their owners.