German Shepherd Dog
One of the most popular breeds worldwide, this intelligent and versatile herding dog makes a faithful companion
This breed was developed by a German cavalry captain, Max von Stephanitz, from dogs used to guard and herd livestock. The first examples appeared in the 1880s, and the breed was registered in Germany as the Deutsche Schäferhund (German Shepherd Dog) in 1899; the first registered individual dog was a male named Horand von Grafrath.
During World War I the dog’s name was changed in the UK to Alsatian. This new name was chosen because the first dogs were brought back from Alsace-Lorraine by soldiers that had served there, and also because the name avoided reference to Germany; for the same reason, in the US its name was changed to Shepherd Dog.
Soldiers from both countries were impressed by the breed’s abilities. and is used by police and armed forces worldwide.
It is also employed as a search and rescue dog and as a guide dog for blind people. The modern breed has a coat that can vary from long to short. The German Shepherd Dog has a reputation for being fierce, but dogs produced by reputable breeders usually have a steady temperament. These dogs need to be handled in a calm, authoritative way so that they will not become overly dominant, but they are brave and willing to learn.
They need plenty of exercise and do well at jobs such as protecting the home. If responsibly handled, they will become loyal, faithful members
Highly adaptable and obedient, the German Shepherd Dog has proved valuable as a guard of the family
His temperament and character are his most important traits. GSDs are loyal and courageous, and their ability to learn and retain their training is legendary. The GSD’s head is classic, with large upright ears; the eyes are almond-shaped, dark, and alert.
Longer than tall, the body is strong and muscular. The front legs are straight, the back legs well- angled. The tail is bushy and hangs in a sickle shape. The coat has a straight outer coat and a dense undercoat. The most recognizable color pattern is the tan to rust base color with a black saddle, black muzzle, and black on the ears.
Grooming a GSD is not difficult but does require time. The coat is not prone to matting but sheds year-round, with the heaviest shedding in the spring and fall. During shedding seasons, the undercoat comes out in handfuls, and, if not brushed daily, the interior of your home will be covered in puffs of soft undercoat. The large upright ears work like radar, catching every sound, but also seem to scoop up dirt, so the ears need to be cleaned twice a week.
The German Shepherd Dog needs vigorous daily exercise. The breed is known for its effortless flying trot, so running alongside your bicycle is great natural exercise. The breed is usually a natural retriever, so games of tennis ball, catch, or flying disc are also great ways to burn off excess energy.
GSDs are naturally watchful, protective, and reserved with strangers. Early puppy socialization is very important. GSDs need to meet people of all ages, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds.
An under- socialized GSD can be worried, fearful, and shy. Training should also begin early. An intelligent breed, the GSD needs the mental challenge of training long past basic obedience.
They are very responsive to training. Their owner must structure the training, provide guidelines for the dog, and then enforce them.” A German Shepherd Dog is intelligent enough to get into trouble and can be entirely too much dog for a first-time dog owner.
This breed’s owner must keep the dog active and busy, maintain ongoing training, and be able to channel the dog’s desire to work.
A well-trained GSD can be very good with children, although puppies can be quite rambunctious. These dogs are also good with other pets. The breed does, however, have some major health concerns, including bloat, torsion, hip and elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, problems with the pancreas, and allergies.
Type: working dog, companion
Size: 22 to 26 in tall; 70 to 90 lbs Longevity: 9 to 11 years
Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise Training: Easy; difficult to keep challenged