The German shepherd dog is a herding breed known for its courage, loyalty and guarding instincts. This breed makes an excellent guard dog, police dog, military dog, guide dog for the blind and search and rescue dog. For many families, the German shepherd is also a treasured family pet German Shepherd‘s .
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 German Shepherd‘s .
With their courageous, intelligent, and gentle demeanor, it’s no wonder the German shepherd is so popular. This multifaceted working dog is eager to please and quick to learn. While they can be dominant dogs, German shepherds who have consistent training and obedience sessions will be loyal companions their entire lives.
Though German shepherds were bred to work—and are eager for tasks to complete—they make for great family dogs as long as owners can dedicate time to consistent obedience training and an hour or more daily to vigorous exercise. This breed isn’t one to laze on the couch and needs regular activity to be their happiest.
In the United Kingdom, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) recommends two hours of exercise daily. That can mean long walks or runs, or signing them up for agility training competitions to channel their herding instincts. Just don’t judge them based on their serious looks—German shepherds are playful dogs who enjoy spending plenty of quality time with their owners. In fact, German shepherds are Velcro dogs, rarely letting their owners out of sight. For this reason, these dogs aren’t meant to be left alone for too long, since their separation anxiety can become destructive if left alone for long periods of time.
As with any breed, it’s important to properly socialize your German shepherd from a young age. A well-adjusted German shepherd will be patient and gentle, the AKC says. Though German shepherds are not outright aggressive, by nature they are very protective of their people. Their guarding tendencies make them natural watch dogs who will protect their territory and alert you to intruders.
Though they may initially have been bred to work hard jobs for long hours—in the trenches on the front lines, or sniffing out contraband on a K-9 unit—the German shepherd today is just as much a family dog as he is a hard worker. While these dogs are able to adapt to various living situations, their high energy and large size makes them a better fit for a house with a physically fenced-in yard. German shepherds can do well in apartments so long as they receive enough daily exercise. These loving dogs can manage in homes with other pets—if properly trained and introduced—but prefer to be the only dog of the home.
German shepherds are extremely loyal to their humans and will put everything on the line for those they love. But their size, energy, and power can be too much dog for some people to handle. “People want a dog that’s going to be protective, so they go out and get a German shepherd,” says Brian Kilcommons, founder of The Great Pets Resort, a boutique training facility in Connecticut. “Yes, they’re protective, but when you really look at the German shepherd, they are also very specific…They like things in order. You need a high degree of control and training for a well-behaved German shepherd. What was bought for protection, when not properly trained can and often does become a legal and financial liability.”
German shepherds have thick, double-layered coats that require weekly brushing to combat frequent shedding, according to the AKC. Consistent training through positive-reinforcement techniques will help mold your pup into a well-mannered adult. Dogs are family members.
he German shepherd is considered a generally healthy breed with a lifespan of 7–10 years. Like all breeds, the German shepherd is prone to certain diseases. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, the official breed club, strongly recommends breeders test for elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. German shepherds should also receive temperament tests and annual heart exams. It’s important to purchase all dogs from reputable breeders who will introduce you to the dog’s parents and siblings. If adopting, ask the rescue for all available health history.
German shepherds may be one of the most famous and recognizable breeds in history. The German shepherd originates from—you guessed it—Germany in the late 1800s. According to the GSDCA, German cavalry officer Capt. Many German shepherds served in both world wars as messengers, search and rescue dogs, supply carriers, and sentries.
According to the GSDCA, German shepherds first came to the U.S. in the early 1900s. Their popularity boomed after World War I, when returning soldiers brought them stateside. It wasn’t until 1931 that the AKC reverted to the original breed name. After World War II, a schism formed between American-bred and German-bred German shepherds.