About Us

Urkraftig German Shepherds is a family run business located in the beautiful northwoods of Wisconsin, on the border with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Eric Ristau is the owner, who has decades of experience building successful breeding programs, studying canine genetics, earning certifications, and has logged thousands, upon thousands, and thousands of hours of training experience in extreme and varied conditions. Eric has been a monthly columnist for a world-wide published magazine and has published several books. Urkraftig K9 is credentialed for many working outlet venues.

Our kennel facility features very large chain link runs for the canines- 10’x 16′, concrete floors with geo-thermal water bowls, permanent feed bowls, dog houses better insulated than any human house, and shaded with louvers, allowing full shade and providing movable sun exposure for cleanliness and outstanding sanitation. We are currently capable of handling up to 70 German Shepherds. We have access to literally millions of acres of wild country to train in. Our indoor training includes permanent 7500 square feet of space, and we have access to tens of thousands of square feet of training areas scattered in various other locations near our kennel. Currently accommodations for sleeping quarters are located about 15 minutes away. Other lodging is a half of an hour drive. The nearest airport is a half of an hour away and the nearest International Airport is about 125 miles away.

The history of the German Shepherd dog is quite well known for the most part, and needs no formal replay here. It may be worth noting however, that both Eric and his wife Kelly are proud, happy Americans (God Bless the USA!) and have many family members who have served in the Military. Yet they do not forget their roots, their history- both of their families immigrated to United States from Germany, one side prior to 1871, the other in 1888. At any rate, it is not ironic that today’s kennel is nestled into a deep forest, in rolling hills, with cool streams, lakes and a similar altitude, and even attitude perhaps- that earlier founders of the breed kept dogs in. And our own relation even, near the forests of Thuringia, that area of Germany which was known for it’s tough, gritty dogs. So it is here, in the forests of Florence County Wisconsin as well. Being a part of that past irrevocably binds us to today’s duty of producing dogs of the soundest content, for the breed itself and for all of the people who employ our dogs in some manner or another. They can know we work hard and strive to make sound, quality crosses. It is our explicit intention to select and improve on natural traits we find indispensable to the best working German Shepherds, for severe duty situations and apply them to the welfare of mankind. Our kennel name is indeed a perfect fit for our dogs. Urkraftig German Shepherds. Our dogs are extremely strong! We produce some of the absolute toughest German Shepherd dogs available on earth, made right here in the U.S.A.!!! The Ristau family wishes you well, and may God Bless You!

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