German Shepherd breed – Facts and traits

With noble and good looks the German Shepherd was the original canine movie star, and from the silver screen to silver stars, German Shepherds lead the way as police dogs. Experts estimate that the breed accounts for over eight thousand deputy dogs.

German Shepherds are fearless and would be the first dog to take a bullet for you. To members of the military and police force, German Shepherds are more than just a dog. To them, the German Shepherd is considered a police officer, part of the force who put themselves in great danger.

German army captain, Max von Stephanitz, first registered a German Shepherd in Germany in 1899. The dog was the result of careful breeding in developing an ideal service dog. The captain’s motto was utility and intelligence. The German Shepherd is arguably the most versatile of all working breeds. The German Shepherd was almost immediately put to wide use, serving the German army in World Wars I and II. They were one of Hitler’s dogs of war. Returning American GI’s brought back tales of the breed’s prowess and were very impressed with the dog’s bravery. They also brought a few German Shepherds back home with them.

Hollywood fell in love with the handsome breed, and so the German Shepherd pawed their way to the silver screen. Just think of Rin Tin Tin, who was extremely intelligent. When Rin Tin Tin first premiered in silent films in the 1920’s, he received over ten thousand letters a week and so saved Warner Brothers from financial ruin.

German Shepherds are very athletic and extremely intelligent and can be trained to do almost anything. The versatility of the German Shepherd breed begins with a double layer coat, of which the very dense undercoat helps them to be a very good, all weather type of dog. Colour varieties include the standard black and tan, all black, and in recent years, even white.

This breed has very alert pointed ears, but as puppies, their ears are floppy, which is very close to the wolf, whose puppies are born with floppy ears. They also have a slightly curved, bushy tail. Police are thankful for the German Shepherd’s long muzzle… the better to track you with.

With the capability to exert 108 kg’s of pressure, the German Shepherd has a bite second only to the Rottweiler in power. When their jaws snaps shut, the six upper incisors meet the six lower incisors in a devastating scissor grip, but the real utility to the police work is not the fierce bite, but the discipline to stop when told. This gives the police officers a chance to use force without using his gun.

Like most amazing working dogs the German Shepherd is a BIG softy at heart. Every German Shepherd is unique, but in general, the German Shepherd is a healthy dog, although the breed’s body does wear down over the years. German Shepherds are well-known for having hip dysplasia. They need to be groomed often since you will find clumps of fur everywhere.

The German Shepherd heads the canine list as the number one biter, so early training is important. But with proper guidance, love and attention, these dogs make loyal pets. German Shepherds want to please, and if you give them the least bit of encouragement, they’ll be all over you, making you a delighted person.

The German Shepherd is a wonderful, loyal family dog, but outsiders must be aware: they are very protective of what they consider their pack or their family. The German Shepherd is very adaptable and generally healthy, but be careful of bad breeding. They shed heavily but is one of the easiest breeds to train and makes a great family dog.

BreedGerman Shepherd
Average Adult HeightMale: 60 – 65 cm, Female: 55 – 60 cm
Average Adult WeightMale: 30 – 40 kg, Female: 22 – 32 kg
Life Expectancy9 -13 Years
Exercise requirementsDaily exercise
Similar BreedsBelgian Shepherd, King Shepherd
Rescues in South Africa

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