German Shepherd: Dog Breed Facts & Information

Country of origin: Germany
Shoulder height: 55 – 65 cm
Weight: 22 – 40 kg
Age: 12 – 13 years
Color: black, black-brown, wolf gray
Use: companion dog, working dog, guard dog, service dog

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds and is valued worldwide as a service dog. However, it is a demanding dog that needs careful training and a lot of meaningful activity.

Origin and history

The German Shepherd was systematically bred from old Central German and southern German Shepherd breeds to create a working and utility dog that would be well suited for use by the police and military. The breeder Max von Stephanitz, who set up the first breed standard in 1891, is considered the founder of the breed. In both World War I and World War II, German Shepherds were drafted into military service around the world.

Even today, the German Shepherd is a recognized service dog breed and a widespread utility and family companion dog. It has held first place in the German puppy statistics for decades without being beaten.


The German Shepherd is medium-sized and strong without appearing ponderous. Overall, its body is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a wedge-shaped head and slightly pricked ears. The eyes are dark and slightly slanted. The tail is carried in a sickle shape and hanging down.

The German Shepherd’s coat is primarily functional. It is easy to maintain and weather resistant to snow, rain, cold, and heat. The German Shepherd dog is bred in the variants stick hair and long stick hair. With stick hair, the top coat is straight, close fitting, and as dense as possible and has a harsh structure. In the long-hair variant, the top coat is longer, softer, and not tight. In both variants, the fur on the neck, tail, and hind legs is slightly longer than on the rest of the body. Under the top coat – regardless of whether it is stuck hair or long stick hair – there is plenty of dense undercoats. The fur is easy to care for but sheds heavily when changing fur.

The best-known representative of the coat colors is the yellow or brown shepherd dog with a black saddle and black markings. But almost completely black shepherd dogs with yellow, brown, or white markings are also possible. It is also available in black. The gray Shepherd dogs have been enjoying increased popularity lately, although they are not monochromatic grey, but have a grey-black pattern.


The German Shepherd Dog is a very agile, hard-working, and strong dog with a lot of temperament. He is attentive, intelligent, docile, and also versatile. It does an excellent job as a service dog for authorities, as a rescue dog, herding dog, guard dog, or guide dog for the disabled.

The German Shepherd is very territorial, alert, and possesses a strong protective instinct. Therefore, it needs consistent and careful training from an early age as well as close contact with a fixed reference person, whom it recognizes as the leader of the pack.

As a born working dog, the talented shepherd longs for tasks and meaningful employment. It needs sufficient exercise and must be mentally challenged. As a pure companion dog, with which you walk a few rounds a day, the versatile professional dog is hopelessly under-challenged. It is suitable for all dog sports, for obedience and agility as well as for track work or mantrailing.

The German Shepherd Dog is only an ideal family companion dog when it is fully utilized and well trained and can then also be kept well in a city.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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