Dog Breeds > German Shepherd
|Alternate Names||Alsatian Shepherd, Deutscher Schäferhund, German Shepherd Dog|
|Group||Shepherd and Cattle Dog|
German Shepherd Profile
The German Shepherd is a slightly-larger-than-average size dog. It is rather long, robust and well muscled. The paws are harmonious and oriented in such a way as to allow a strong posterior thrust and a great extension from the anterior ones: the dog is built to be a pure runner. The head is proportionate to the body, lean, and slightly large in between the ears. It also has a powerful snout. The ears are of an average size, large at the base and worn erected. The eyes are slanted, slightly oblique, and must be as dark as possible. The tail should, at least, reach the hock.
Fur: short, hard, compact, straight and well implanted, with a rich undercoat. Long-haired dogs are not accepted by the standards and cannot participate in exhibitions.
Color: black and gray, unicolor with regular tan marks. White isn’t acceptable.
Size: 60 to 65 cm for the males and 55 to 60 cm for the females.
Weight: 30 to 40 kg for the males and 22 to 32 kg for the females.
Origins and History
As the Industrial Era was booming by the end of the 19th century, sheep herding was reaching an end. So, a group of dog lovers decided to preserve the precious genetic heritage of the shepherd breeds: the group created a dog full of the qualities that would result in a beautiful, docile, eclectic, robust, and easy to train and maintain pup. By the inter-breeding of a Württemberg Shepherd and Thuringia Shepherd, the group created a new race that, thanks to the dog lover intuitions of Colonel Von Stephanitz, quickly became one of the most loved and widespread breeds in the world. It was officially recognized in 1898.
Character and Abilities
The German Shepherd’s character is almost as responsible for its fame as its beauty; it is a joyful dog that loves to play, is easy to train, and is always eager to please its owner. It is suitable for almost everyone, even children (if they respect the dog). It can have any function from pet dog to guard or defense dog, to rescue dog. It is also used as a guide dog and represents probably the highest form of intelligence and docility of all the dogs.
If correctly bred, it is a very rustic and robust dog. A lot of people think that this breed is more likely to have hip dysplasia than other breeds, but, in reality, this genetic malformation can affect any medium-to-large size dog. German Shepherd related clubs were the first ones to ward off the condition, which led to an unfortunate amalgam linking the breed to the condition, but also allowed for the problem to be monitored. Today, the best breeding farms only use dogs that aren’t affected by the disease.
Average life expectancy: about 13 years.