German Shepherd

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50-70 lbs
22-24"
Germany
Alsatian, Deutscher Schaferhund

The German Shepherd originated from Germany in 1899 as a herding dog. The German Shepherd would work on farms tending to the livestock and assisting with herding sheep. Since then, the German Shepherd has branched out to become the leading police and military working breed. The German Shepherd stands strong and mighty with his dark, gazing stare. The German Shepherd is considered a large breed with a medium-length double coat that is traditionally brown and black. His ears are erect and sit high on his head. He is known to be fearless and motivated to complete his mission of serving others. He continues to remain a favorite breed among people in the United States since the 1920s. The German Shepherd is loved due to his intelligence and obedient nature. The German Shepherd is always eager to serve you as a companion or to assist you with jobs such as working as a guide or as a search-and-rescue breed. This canine requires some grooming maintenance due to his shedding coat and should be brushed weekly to eliminate dead hair. The German Shepherd is happy as long as he is provided with enough activity to motivate him. 

Purpose
sheep herding, guarding, police dog
Date of Origin
1800s
Ancestry
shepherding dog, wolf-type dog

German Shepherd Health

Average Size
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 65-90 lbs
Height: 22-24 inches Weight: 50-70 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Congenital Heart Defect
Minor Concerns
  • Panosteitis
  • Pannus
  • Perianal Fistulas
  • Hemophilia
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Occasional Tests
  • Hip
  • Cardiac
  • Blood Test
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination
  • Dna For Vwd

German Shepherd Breed History

In the late 1800s, the German Shepherd originated from Germany which is where the breed retrieved its name from. The German Shepherd can be attributed to Captain Max von Stephanitz who helped develop the breed into a versatile working dog. The German Shepherd was developed due to a desire to create a breed who could lead a large flock of sheep and patrol them. While early documentation surrounding the German Shepherd is limited, it is believed that von Stephanitz bred local shepherd breeds of different hair varieties in order to create the breed. The German Shepherd's original purpose was to herd sheep in farms but was later modified to work for the military by the German army. During World War I, the German Shepherd supplied German soldiers with food deliveries as well as other supplies. In 1800, the Verein fur Deutsche Scharferhunde SV was developed to monitor the development of the breed and to create a herding dog capable of remaining athletic in the field. The first German Shepherd, Horan, was registered in 1899. The German Shepherd name went through a series of name changes, in part due to the unpopularity of being associated with Germany at the time. The German Shepherd was initially named the German sheepdog and was changed to shepherd dog by the AKC. At the same time, England changed its name to the Alsatian Wolf Dog, which instilled fear in people. In 1908, the German Shepherd was officially recognized by the AKC. In 1913, the German Shepherd Club of America was formed. In 1931, the AKC changed the name back to German Shepherd. The German Shepherd gained popularity after the war and has been featured throughout the decades in pop culture. Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd who was credited with keeping Warner Bros afloat. In the Batman comic world, Ace the Bat-Hound was a German Shepherd who showed up in 1955. The German Shepherd has also appeared in All Dogs Go to Heaven, 101 Dalmatians II, and I am Legend. 


German Shepherd Breed Appearance

The German Shepherd's appearance is that of a strong, versatile breed. His majestic stance is full of poise and agility. The German Shepherd's body is muscular and well-proportioned. His body is longer than tall, emphasizing his strong build. The German Shepherd's front legs are straight while his compact feet contain arched toes and firm pads. The nails are black and short. His head is in proportion to his body with average-sized, almond-shaped brown eyes. The German Shepherd's expression is that of intelligence. His ears are pointy and erect when he is alert. His muzzle is strong with a black nose. His neck leads to a powerful back. His tail is bushy with a slight curvature. When he is excited, his tail curves more distinctively. The German Shepherd's gait allows him to cover much ground with his strides. His coat consists of a medium-length, double coat with a thick undercoat. His breed color comes in 11 different color combinations.

German Shepherd Breed Maintenance

The German Shepherd has a medium-length, double coat with a dense undercoat that contains straight hair. This breed requires daily brushing to remove dead hair and to avoid more than usual shedding. Bathing a German Shepherd is recommended every 6-8 weeks to maintain his shedding at a minimal level and maintain his cleanliness. Special de-shedding shampoo can be used in conjunction with a de-shedding tool and firm bristle brush to maintain his shedding. The German Shepherd is a heavy shedder and is not recommended for people with allergies. His shedding can be maintained with regular grooming, however. The German Shepherd's ears should be wiped and cleaned weekly. His nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks to avoid overgrowth. The German Shepherd does not generally smell. The breed should be provided with much mental and physical stimulation daily and requires daily walks and engaging play sessions to keep him motivated. It is recommended that the German Shepherd be provided with running and retrieving activities as exercises. While apartment dwelling is discouraged, if there is sufficient exercise and space provided, the breed can still fare well in this environment. The German Shepherd is able to reside in many different climates and does not have any special diets.

German Shepherd Breed Activity Requirements