The German Shepherd Dog was created by the cross breeding of working sheep dogs from rural Germany, by an ex-cavalry officer called Max von Stephanitz, whose aim was to create a working dog for herding that could trot for long periods. A breed standard was drawn up subsequently and the first breed show took place in 1899 following which the GSD became firmly established across Germany. In 1906, the first dogs were exported to the USA. The breed has since grown enormously in popularity and is now one of the most popular pedigree breeds in the UK, not only as a pet but also as the favourite working breed for many forces, especially the police. They are widely used for security purposes because of their strong protective instincts. Many people in the UK still call these dogs Alsatians. This is partly owing to the breed’s popularity when first bred, in the Alsace region of France, which was part of Germany at the time.
12-15 years
58-63 cms (23-25 inches)
30-40 kgs (66-88 lbs)
This breed’s coat, of which there are two layers, consists of staight, hard and close lying hair with a thick undercoat. The German Shepherd’s other noticeable feature is its big bushy tail, which should reach at least to the dog’s hock and at rest, hang in a ‘sabre-like’ curve.
A German Shepherd Dog is slightly long in comparison to height and it’s lean and well muscled. Its eyes are medium-sized with a lively and intelligent expression. German Shepherd Dogs also have long, strong muzzles that run almost parallel to the forehead.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and will show undying devotion to their owner, but they are dogs that need company and stimulation to be at their best. This breed is steady, loyal, self assured, courageous and willing. German Shepherds make wonderful family pets and are very sociable dogs that bond strongly with their family. However, they do require a lot of time, training and exercise.
This breed has a distinctive black saddle with tan, or gold to light grey markings. All black, all grey with lighter or brown markings are called sables. There are also white GSDs.
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