For many decades the German Shepherd has held the top place in the world of Police and Working Dogs. It is justly called the Blind Man’s seeing eyes, the protector of home and property, the guardian of the Herds, the Police-Man’s true companion, the long arm of the plain-clothes man, the four legged shelter from the avalanches – in short, man’s friend and helper. Through their performances, their intelligence, their trustworthiness and fidelity as well as their unadulterated “full of life” general appearance, they have won the hearts and sympathies of people from all social strata.

German Sheperd

Temperament and Personality

The German Shepherd Dog is intelligent, agile, loyal, self-confident, protective of his home and property. They are fearless, but not hostile. These dogs are active, quick to learn and fond of training and challenges. German Shepherds should be trained and socialized from an early age. They are very sociable and need attention. The German Shepherd does well in an apartment living provided they have a plenty of exercise.

Size and Appearance

The German Shepherd Dog is of middle size, strong, well muscled and elegant looking. Height is 22-26 inches, weight is 75-95 pounds. Colors are black and tan, black and red, black and cream, black and silver, solid black, sable, and white. White is considered to be a fault in the US and white shepherds cannot enter breed classes at shows.

Coat

The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.

Color

The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.

Health

As is common of many large breeds, German Shepherds are susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia. Other health problems sometimes occurring in the breed are von Willebrand`s disease, skin allergies and canine degenerative myelopathy. It is also prudent to check the eye and ear health as GSD tend to have problems with these as well. German Shepherds, like all large bodied dogs, are also prone to bloat. They have an average lifespan of 10-15 years.

Did You Know?

  • The German Shepherd Dog is distinguished for loyalty, courage, and the ability to assimilate and retain training for a number of special services; he is not pugnacious, as his reputation posits him to be, but a bold and punishing fighter if need be.
  • The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most popular and recognizable breeds of the AKC.
  • German Shepherd Dogs are utilized often as police dogs, service dogs, agility dogs, conformation animals, obedience dogs, and sentinels. Their high trainability and extreme loyalty and commitment make them an excellent choice for any agenda.
  • In terms of show presentation, the German Shepherd Dog has a unique stack or “pose”, featuring one rear leg under the body and one extended, as opposed to conventional “square” stacks (parallel front and rear) or extended stacks.
  • The German Shepherd Dog has been in the public eye and media many times, recognizable as “Rin Tin Tin” and other canine characters.
  • The German Shepherd Dog does not give affection lightly and is known for his dignity and stature; it is also known as a “one-man” breed for its tendency to display serious loyalty and fidelity, especially to its owner or main caretaker.

Male or female?

This is an almost strictly a matter of preference. Some people will say that German Shepherd males are more “location” protective while females are more “pack” protective. Males are generally more territorial, so unless training steps are consistent, marking could be a problem. (Neutering may help alleviate this problem. Any dog not intended for a breeding program should be neutered or spayed. Besides eliminating the possibility of unwanted puppies and reducing some undesirable behaviors, it’s considerably healthier for your dog since it eliminates or severely reduces the chance of testicular or mammary cancers.)

Life Expectancy

Most lines of GSDs will live to between 10-13 years of age. 11-12 years is probably a very reasonable expectation. A GSD becomes “middle-aged” between 5-7 years old, and is generally considered “geriatric” at about 10. Their food intake and exercise and nutrition needs may change over this period of time. They may begin to develop stiffness in their joints (much like people do as they get older). Healthy teeth are important as bacteria from decaying teeth can affect the health of the dog.

Sources: AKC, Just Shepherds, Starzhy Narod

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