Rated the second most popular dog breed, the German Shepherd is highly intelligent, easily trainable, confident, and trustworthy. These attributes make the breed perfect for service work. This includes but is not limited to search, rescue, police and military roles. True to its name, the herding class breed originated out of Germany in the year 1899. Lastly, the German Shepherd is a large sized dog with mid-energy level.
The German Shepherd is a strong, acrobatic, well built dog. Full of life, German Shepherds are well balanced due to their symmetrical front and back leg development. The canine is muscular, fit, and agile. This gives it a high quality, athletic look. The breed has a fluffy tail, large ears, a dome forehead, and strong jaws. It also sports a two layered coat, the dense top layer sheds year round protecting a thick under-layer. Coloration generally includes a black mask but varies widely. Although difficult to describe through words, the breed carries itself with presence and nobility.
German Shepherds aren’t the breed for you if you’re away from home often. Left alone, they become anxious and/or bored. This can lead to barking, chewing, and digging.
German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs. They do best when constantly learning. Constant mental and physical stimulation is a must for this breed.
Your optimal food formula will differ depending on how big your German Shepherd gets. Most dog food providers will have breed specific formulas.
The German Shepherd is a large breed. It has a life span of ten to twelve years. Your German Shepherd’s nutritional intake will be your best ally in increasing his or her lifespan.
German Shepherds must remain hydrated at all times. Provide lots of clean, fresh, cool water.
Due to the German Shepherds double coat, you should brush your dog often throughout shedding season. An occasional bath will bring out their high quality fur, keeping them clean and pristine. Trim their nails often in order to avoid overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Lastly, brush their teeth and keep their ears clean in order to prevent tartar/wax buildups.
Highly active and extremely intelligent, German Shepherds need constant stimulus to keep from getting bored. The breed loves being challenged. This means that extensive activity and training are the perfect combination for German Shepherds. GSDs make for fantastic running companions and should be taken on long walks daily.
If your German Shepherd isn’t getting the exercise it deserves it may express his boredom by barking, chewing, and getting into mischief. Get out ahead of the problem and keep your dog healthy and active.
Due to early accounts of inbreeding, German Shepherds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Often times this leads to arthritis, causing the canine pain as it gets older. The breeds lacks hair in the outer canal, eliminating moisture. This helps them prevent ear infections and diseases.
German Shepherds are thought to be predisposed to Degenerative Myelopathy (a disease involving the spinal chord). Lastly, the breed is lightly prone to Von Willebrand disease (bleeding disorder)
The German Shepherd was created in 1899. The breed owes its existence to Max von Stephanitz, a captain in the German cavalry that wanted to create an elite herding dog.
In 1898, Max began studying all the herding dog breeds, noting qualities he liked and disliked. He found many fantastic herding dogs but none were perfect.
Then at last, in 1899, Max was visiting a dog show when a wolf-like canine caught his eye. He immediately purchased the dog, naming it Hektor Linksrhein. He then formed a society and bred out of Hektors descendants.
Stephanitz foreshadowed that with Germanys industrialization, the need for herding dogs would dissipate. He believed that, in order to preserve “the perfect breed”, the dog’s future would have to lay within police work and military service.
Making good use of his military connections, Max convinced the German government to use the breed. During World War I the German Shepherd served as a Red Cross dog, messenger, rescuer, guard, supply carrier, and sentry.
Although German Shepherds were transported to the United States pre- war, it wasn’t until WWI itself that the breed became popular in America. US soldiers noticed the dog’s bravery and intelligence, and took the dogs home.
One of those dogs was a five-day-old puppy saved from a bomb-riddled kennel in France by an American corporal from Los Angeles. The corporal trained him, and turned him into one of Hollywood’s most recognizable movie-stars: Rin Tin Tin appeared in 26 movies and helped popularize the breed in America.
Last Minute Information
As the breed developed, Von Stephanitz noticed bad character traits and health problems beginning to show. He created a system to control breeding quality, requiring German Shepherds to pass intelligence, temperment, athleticism, and health tests before they were bred.
American bred German Shepherds weren’t so regulated. The United States put an emphasis on appearance. The two factions divided dramtically after World War II and US bred German Shepherds decreased in quality up until police departments began importing German Shepherds from Germany.
American breeders quickly began emphasizing characteristics again, adding imported GSDs to their breeding rosters. Nowadays it is possible to buy American- bred German Shepherds that live up the breeds personality standards.