THE GERMAN SHEPHERD
Generally considered dogkind’s finest all-purpose worker, the German Shepherd Dog is a large, agile, muscular dog of noble character and high intelligence. Loyal, confident, courageous, and steady, the German Shepherd is truly a dog lover’s delight.
German Shepherd Dogs can stand as high as 26 inches at the shoulder and, when viewed in outline, presents a picture of smooth, graceful curves rather than angles. The natural gait is a free-and-easy trot, but they can turn it up a notch or two and reach great speeds.
There are many reasons why German Shepherds stand in the front rank of canine royalty, but experts say their defining attribute is character: loyalty, courage, confidence, the ability to learn commands for many tasks, and the willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones. German Shepherds will be gentle family pets and steadfast guardians, but, the breed standard says, there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”
• Confident, Courageous, Smart
• AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 2 of 193
• Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
• Weight: 65-90 pounds (male), 50-70 pounds (female)
• Life Expectancy: 7-10 years
HISTORY OF THE GSD
• The German Shepherd Dog (Deutshe Schäferhund) descends from the family of German herding dogs that, until the late 19th century, varied in type from district to district.
• In the waning years of the 1800s, a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, made it his mission to develop the ideal German herder. Von Stephanitz and like-minded breeders crossed various strains from the northern and central districts of Germany, resulting in the ancestors of today’s German Shepherd Dog (GSD).
• Von Stephanitz co-founded the world’s first club devoted to GSDs and spent 35 years promoting and refining the breed. Today, the GSD’s versatility is so thoroughly deployed in the performance of myriad tasks that it is easy to forget that the breed was originally created to herd sheep. The GSD’s now-famous qualities—intelligence, agility, speed, stealth, and the overall air of firm authority—were forged not in the police academy but in the sheep pasture.
• GSDs became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, thanks in part to the adventures of canine movie stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart. The GSD is among those German breeds, the Dachshund is another, that suffered from anti-German sentiment during and after the world wars. In World War I–era Britain, the breed was referred to as the Alsatian, a name many British dog lovers still prefer.
• With the rise of modern livestock management and the decline of herding as a canine occupation, von Stephanitz shrewdly promoted his breed as an ideal K-9 worker. The GSD is today the preferred dog for police and military units the world over.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE GSD
1. Out Of 100 Popular Dog Breeds, Studies Have Shown That German Shepherds Are The 3rd Most Intelligent
2. They Are Hugely Popular. In Fact, The 2nd Most Popular In The Usa Behind Only The Labrador!
3. They Are Incredibly Smart And Learn Simple Tasks After Only Five Repetitions; They Obey The First Given Command 95% Of The Time.
4. When Formal Guide Dog Training Began In Switzerland In The 1920s, All Of The Dogs Trained Were German Shepherds.
5. The Breed Was Standardized In Germany In The Mid-1800s, Where They Were Working As Sheep-herders And Protecting Them From Predators.
6. The Average Life Expectancy Of A German Shepherd Is 10.95 Years.
7. Some Amazing German Shepherds Have Very Unusual Coloring. They Are Known As “Panda Shepherds!
8. ‘strongheart’ Is One Of Only Two German Shepherd Dogs To Grace The Hollywood Walk Of Fame With A Star. Strongheart Was Something Of A Celebrity, Appearing In A Variety Of Black-and-white Films In The 1920s.
9. A German Shepherd Named Capitan Ran Away From Home After The Death Of His Parent, Argentinian Miguel Guzman, In 2006. A Week Later, Mr Guzman’s Family Went To Pay Their Respects And Found The Heartbroken Pet Sitting By His Father’s Grave, Wailing. He Has Stayed There For 6 Years.
10. They Have A Double Coat. The Outer Coat Sheds All Year Around.