German Shepherd Dog Breed Profile

The German Shepherd is arguably one of the most well-known dog breeds in the world. Here in the profile, you will learn everything about the history, the character, and the attitude of the breed.

History of the German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in Germany. Since the 7th century, people in the Germanic region have been breeding shepherd dogs of various breeds. In addition to good herding qualities, the animals should also be able to concentrate, be robust, and be obedient. The uniform appearance of the breed was more in the background.

The breeding of the German Shepherd Dog as we know it today only began in 1871. The Prussian Hofrittmeister Max von Stephanitz made it his goal to breed a versatile working dog from the original Shepherd Dog.

As early as April 1899, a few enthusiasts founded the first association for German shepherd dogs. The dog’s enormous willingness to perform quickly made it a popular working dog with the military and the police. During the First World War, the Germans used more than 30,000 German shepherd dogs at the front, and in the Second World War even more than 200,000. In the Third Reich, the National Socialists used the German shepherd dog as a symbol of “German” virtues.

Because of this, other countries referred to the dog as “Alsatian” to avoid the unpopular term “German”. Today, the German shepherd dog is rarely used to herd livestock. It is the most used service dog in the world and is mainly found in the police or military and as a guard dog in private households. Internationally, the German shepherd dog is classified in FCI group 1 herding dogs.

Traits and Character Traits

The German Shepherd is a confident and smart dog that is loyal and affectionate to its family. He impresses with a high willingness to work and has a pronounced “will to please”. The breed is also very fond of children and gets along well with other pets. The dog tends to behave neutrally towards strangers but will intervene if it sees them as a threat. The character of the German Shepherd also varies depending on the purpose for which it was bred. The specimens from the performance breeding have a pronounced protective and prey drive as well as a very low stimulus threshold.

Is the German Shepherd Right for Me?

Before you buy a German Shepherd, you should realize that the breed was bred primarily as a working dog. With the appropriate workload and training, the German Shepherd can also become a good family dog. Since the character also partly depends on breeding, you should find the right breeder for your needs. Also because of the common joint deformity in some representatives of the breed, it is important to find a breeder who pays attention to the health of their puppies and breeds straight-backed dogs.

When buying from a breeder, you have the choice between different coat colors. The breed standard allows black with reddish-brown, tan, yellow to light gray markings, as well as solid black and gray or gray with darker markings, black saddle, and mask. Of course, you shouldn’t base your choice of puppy solely on color. There are also German Shepherds who are in need and are now waiting in an animal shelter for a new owner. With enough dog experience and sensitive treatment, an animal from an animal shelter can also become a wonderful partner for life.

How Do I Keep a German Shepherd?

Puppy education and development

The German shepherd is eager to engage in any form of collaboration but has a strong sense of self. The upbringing is not particularly difficult, but absolutely necessary. In order to promote his good-natured nature, you should train the dog with a lot of empathy and patience right from the start. With enough consistency and positive reinforcement, you will quickly achieve success and the dog will become an obedient companion. When working with the German Shepherd, you should always be focused on the task at hand so that you can give it clear instructions. If you want to train your shepherd dog to be a protection dog, you should take advantage of a dog school.

How Much Activity Does the German Shepherd Dog Need?

In general, every type of dog sport is suitable for the German Shepherd Dog. An active sport like agility is the ideal way to keep your dog mentally and physically fit. However, you should definitely have your shepherd x-rayed before participating in competitive sports to check for joint diseases such as hip dysplasia. Even with a healthy dog, you should not overdo the physically demanding tasks, especially in puppyhood. The protection dog sport offers the ideal utilization for the shepherd dog. The four-legged friends also show a lot of joy in all tasks where they can use their minds and senses. Shepherd dogs that are not properly utilized will look for a task that does not always correspond to the ideas of their two-legged friend.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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