The German Shepherd is a breed of medium to a large-sized working dog that originated in Germany. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. Since that time, however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles, and even acting. The German Shepherd is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club and fourth-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom.
They are fiercely loyal, and, if trained properly, will become an inseparable member of your family. They are also a strong animal, and they need and expect, strong, kind leadership from their masters. The most important aspect of training German Shepherds that you need to understand is that it is time-intensive. You can be reassured that it is time well spent.
Male 30–40 kg (66–88 lb)
Female 22–32 kg (49–71 lb)
Male 60–65 cm (24–26 in)
Female 55–60 cm (22–24 in)
Coat: Double coat
Colour: Most commonly tan with black saddlery
Litter size 4–9
Life span 9–13 years
History of German Shepherd
In the 1800s northwest Europe (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands) the most common dog used to herd sheep and protect the homes was the so-called “continental shepherd dog”. These dogs all looked very similar at that time, and it was around 1890 that the three breeds (Belgian Shepherd, German Shepherd, and Dutch Shepherd) went their separate ways. Of those breeds, the Dutch shepherd looks closest to the continental shepherd of that time. The breed was actually created by the cross-breeding of working sheepdogs from rural Germany by an ex cavalry officer called Max von Stephanitz whose aim was to create a working dog for herding which could trot for long periods. A breed standard was drawn up and the first breed show took place in 1899 following which the GSD became firmly established across Germany. In 1906 the first dogs were exported to the USA. Since then, the breed has grown enormously in popularity and is now one of the most popular pedigree breeds in the UK as a pet as well as being the favorite working breed for many forces, especially the police. They are widely used for security purposes because of their strong protective instincts.
Many people in the UK still call these dogs Alsatians which may partly be due to the fact that when they were first bred, the Alsace region of France was part of Germany where these dogs were very popular. In part, it may also be due to the first and second world wars that the name Alsatian stuck as the word ‘German’ had a negative connotation. I still get people who think that Alsatians are the traditional short coat black and tan dogs and that German Shepherds are the long-coated dogs that have become popular.
Temperament & Personality
The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is perhaps best known as the strong, courageous and obedient guide dog for the disabled and service dog of police K-9 and search-and-rescue units, valued for its tenacity, intelligence, loyalty, and focus. GSDs are often sought as guard dogs and protectors. However, while they are first and foremost a herding breed, GSDs can make outstanding, loving family companions. German Shepherds have a rather distinct personality marked by a direct and fearless expression, obvious self-confidence and reluctance to develop indiscriminate friendships. They tend to be indifferent to strangers and can be aloof; however, once they befriend you, their devotion is life-long.
What do you need to know about German Shepherd
German Shepherds Needs To Be Mentally Active
In other words, German Shepherds need some sort of activity that will keep their cerebral juices flowing at all times. They will need to be trained meticulously. This is not something to worry about though, as intelligence, obedience, and talent are available in abundance in German Shepherds. They just need to be nurtured the right way.
First Time Dog Owners May Have A Hard Time
If you are considering getting a German Shepherd as your first dog, then you might want to think again. Without prior experience with dogs and/or outside help, it can be extremely daunting to train a German Shepherd. Given the sheer size and power of German Shepherds, it would be in your best interest to ensure that it is adequately trained.
They Require A Lot Of Exercises
By nature, German Shepherds are very active. This being the case, they require lots of exercise and are very active. Be prepared to take responsibility and ensure that your German Shepherd gets the required amount of exercise if you are planning to get one.
Around. And if you are not sure what to feed him after a good workout, these 5 best dog foods for the German shepherd will do the trick.
They Are Rough
They are not like little poodles that you can carry around and pet all day. German Shepherds like to play it rough, whether affection or otherwise.
They Tend To Follow You Everywhere
Forget about any concept of privacy. These adorable creatures will make it a point to tag along wherever you go – even to the bathroom! On the plus side, it is unlikely that anyone will dare to attack you under the watchful eyes of the German Shepherd.
Pros of The German Shepherd
They Are Very Protective
German Shepherds are extremely watchful and protective. Their sheer size and brute strength is a massive deterrent for anyone who may wish to harm you.
They Are Sensitive To Human Emotions
They do not say dogs are man’s best friend without reason. This is especially true in the case of German Shepherds. They will pick up your emotions in an instant.
They Are Obedient
Their high level of obedience means they can be trained and used in combat.
Cons Of The German Shepherd:
They Shed A Lot Of Hair
German Shepherds have very thick coats and shed a lot of hair. You will find a lot of hair all over your house with a German Shepherd around. Be prepared for the long haul in terms of constantly cleaning up the hair.
They Might Demand Too Much Of Your Time
Sure, you may be an ardent dog lover and wish to spend 24 hours a day with your German Shepherd; but not everyone has that kind of luxury when it comes to time. Think carefully as to whether or not you will be able to spend a lot of time with your German Shepherd.
They Are Not Universally Liked
And if the German Shepherd is not your type, why not consider another type of almost the same breed?! Check out this detailed guide about German Shepherd’s brother from another mother, the Australian Shepherd.
Children and German Shepherds
German shepherds are great with kids for a number of reasons. While they are sometimes aloof with strangers, GSDs will usually bond with all members of the family, no matter their ages. This bonding brings out the dogs’ protective side, making the GSD a formidable guardian for young children.
Patience is another hallmark of the breed; when little fingers poke the GSD or pull his fur, he’s not likely to become upset or to snap. And because the German shepherd’s sharp mind helps him learn quickly, busy parents can train them into well-mannered, gentle animals.
Having a German shepherd and small children is not without challenges. The German shepherd grows rapidly to a large size, standing between 22 and 26 inches at the shoulder. Excited play can accidentally become harmful to a child. Puppies, especially, are ungainly and are unaware of their power — they can knock over little children in an instant.
Expect a long puppyhood; breeders say that most GSDs don’t mature until they are 3 or 4 years old. German shepherds, as well, are herding dogs and prone to mouthing or gently nipping to move animals and people, particularly small kids. This isn’t aggression, but it can still be dangerous to children who are not equipped to handle this behavior.
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