German Shepherd Dog

With smooth curves and powerful, well developed features, the German Shepherd Dog is like the sports car of canines. The head is evenly proportioned, with no one feature standing out as exaggerated or out of place. Ears are pointed and carried erect, eyes are dark and almond shaped, with an alert and intelligent expression. The muzzle is strong, long and wedge shaped, and houses a jaw that meets in a scissors bite. The long forequarters accentuate the chest and shoulders, and give the dog a look of proud confidence. The body is well muscled and athletic, and the tail is bushy and hangs in a slight curve. The dog has a medium length double coat, with the outer coat being dense and somewhat harsh to the touch. The coat can be of most any color (other than white), and a dark saddle is common. There is a white variation of the GSD known as the White German Shepherd Dog, but this breed is only recognized by the UKC and FCI.

FIND A BREEDER

Fast Facts

Herding
10 - 12 years
Germany
19th century
75 - 90 lb
65 - 75 lb
24 - 26"
22 - 24"
German Sheperd Dog, Germen Shepherd Dog, or German Shepurd Dog.
Alsatian, Deutscher Schaferhund

German Shepherd Dog Temperament

The German Shepherd Dog is a perfectionist, and tackles any task with unrelenting tenacity....

This singleness of purpose has made the breed an unequaled servant of man, but it also creates certain challenges that potential owners should be aware of. GSDs are extremely loyal to and protective of their family. As such, proper socialization and training of this breed is imperative, since it has both the means and the inclination to attack those it sees as a threat to its people. German Shepherds are not particularly friendly toward other dogs or strangers, but they usually get along with children and other pets. The breed is uniquely intelligent and eager to learn and perform new tasks; give the dog a task to complete and it will love you for it.

Caring For a German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog needs regular physical and mental exercise....

A vigorous run or challenging game is ideal. Do not let your GSD become bored or inactive, as this is a sure way for aggressive and antisocial tendencies to develop. Depending on length, the coat should be brushed once or twice a week to keep the dog looking clean and handsome. The German Shepherd Dog can live outside, but it is much happier to live inside with its family. Obedience training and socialization with other dogs must begin at a young age in order to ensure that your German Shepherd will be friendly and well adjusted. Widespread inbreeding during the early 20th century has created a variety of hereditary health conditions in the German Shepherd Dog, though no condition is so serious as to make the breed pervasively unhealthy. These conditions include canine hip and elbow dysplasia, hemangiosarcoma, cradiomyopathy, malignant neoplasms, cataracts, pannus, perianal fistulas, gastric torsion, allergies, myelopathy and cauda equina.

German Shepherd Dog History

A Brief History of the German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog is the end result of a concerted effort to create the perfect shepherd and working dog, and is perhaps the most meticulously designed breed in existence today....

The German Shepherd is among the newest of breeds, and owes its existence primarily to a man by the name of Captain Max von Stephanitz and the Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde, a society formed by von Stephanitz in 1899 to propagate the breed. Von Stephanitz was a great admirer of the native German herding breeds, but he felt that no one breed embodied all of the desirable traits of the group. With that in mind, von Stephanitz began with the best herder he could find, a dog named Horand v Grafet, and from there developed what would become the German Shepherd Dog. These dogs excelled not only at herding but at a number of other task as well, including police and military work. As a result, it was not long before they had spread throughout Europe and North America. The German Shepherd Dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908. During World War I the German Shepherd saw action on both sides, but due to increasing animosity toward Germany, the breedÂ’s named changed several times during this period. At one time or another, the breed was called the Alsatian (after the Alsace-Lorraine region on the border of France and Germany), Alsatian Wolfdog, Shepherd Dog, or simply Wolfdog. None of these named proved particularly popular, and the AKC and other organizations eventually changed the name back to German Shepherd Dog. The German Shepherd Dog held the coveted title of most popular dog in American for many years during the 20th century. This popularity came largely from film and TV stars Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin, as well as the breedÂ’s inherent desirable traits. Though no longer top dog in the US, the German Shepherd is still in the top five in terms of AKC registration, and also serves in a myriad of working roles including shepherd, police dog, guard dog, narcotics and/or bomb sniffing dog, search and rescue, and seeing eye dog.