German Shepherd Dog: origin characteristics and care

Get to know the German Shepherd Dog, one of the most popular police and family dogs out there. All the details about this breed

Discover the German shepherd, the working dog par excellence

The German shepherd is probably one of the most well-known and beloved dogs in the world.

These dogs, which stand out for qualities such as obedienceintelligence and work capacity, have become over the years the police and work dogs par excellence, but also loyal and affectionate family dogs.

Versatile and dedicated, German shepherds have proven to be able to excel in all kinds of areas and environments beyond the world of pastoralism in which, as their name suggests, they saw their origin.

With its wolf-like appearance and classic color scheme of black and tan (although there are other variants, as you will see below), the German shepherd is also an aesthetically attractive dog and certainly easy to recognize.

If you also love German shepherds, read on: in this article we are going to tell you all about the origins and characteristics of this breed. We will also talk about the care and education they require. In short, everything you need to know about the German shepherd. Let’s go!

Pastor alemán

Origin of the German Shepherd

The German shepherd, whose original name is Deutscher Schäferhund, is a breed of dog from Germany that emerged in the late nineteenth century, around 1890.

Its creator was the cavalry captain of the German army Maximilian von Stephanitz, who was looking for a dog that had intelligence, great capacity for work and a noble and athletic appearance. The original purpose of these dogs would be the protection and driving of livestock.

In 1899 he created together with Artur Meyer the Association of Friends of the German Shepherd (Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde) and began the selection and crossing of different specimens from a dog called Hektor Linkrschein. This dog, later renamed Horand von Grafrath, was the first to be registered in the association.

Pastor alemán

German shepherds achieved great fame during both world wars, in which they served as guard dogs, messengers and mine detectors and wounded soldiers.

These animals, intelligent, tireless and loyal, made a deep impression on both the German soldiers and their enemies and earned the respect of all of them.

In fact, many Allied soldiers returned home with a German shepherd, which contributed to spreading and enhancing the popularity of the breed. One of these dogs was the famous Rin Tin Tin, rescued by an American soldier and later turned into a Hollywood star.

In the following decades, the German shepherd became, as we said at the beginning, the police dog par excellence, but it is also used as a rescue dog, tracking and to protect properties. Due to his skills and adaptability, the German shepherd has been able to perform all kinds of jobs and stand out in all of them.

Pastor alemán

What is the German shepherd like?

Physical characteristics of the German shepherd

The German shepherd is a dog of large size, with a strong and muscular body, but, at the same time, very elegant. These are its measurements:

  • Weight: between 30 and 40 kg for males and between 25 and 35 kg for females.
  • Height: about 63 cm for males and about 58 cm for females.

Pastor alemán

The head of the German shepherd is one of its most characteristic features: it is triangular in shape, with an elongated snout and is crowned by erect ears and also finished in point. These very marked traits give the dog a wolf-like appearance and an air of security and strength.

The eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped and usually dark in color. The German shepherd’s gaze is calm, serene and intelligent.

The body of the German shepherd is slightly longer than it is tall, with the rump normally at a height slightly less than the withers. The tail is quite long, with more hair at the bottom than at the top. The chest is of medium width, but robust and well proportioned.

Pastor alemán

German shepherds are not long-haired dogs, but the length of their mane varies markedly between specimens. In each dog, there are also clear differences in length between different parts of the body.

Altogether, we are facing a dog that combines physical power with a stylized appearance and a marked air of nobility, as its creators were looking for.

Pastor alemán

Colors of the German shepherd

The image of the German shepherd that most people have engraved in their minds is that of the dog with the fire-colored fur, with a black back, snout and part of the tail. However, the standard of the German shepherd accepts other different colors. Thus, we can also find German shepherds completely black, grayish yellow and light gray.

The standard does not accept the color white in the German shepherd, but is identified as a different breed. They are those that the International Cynological Federation (FCI) classifies as white German shepherds, white shepherds or Swiss shepherds, and that we include in our list of the most beautiful dogs in the world.

Pastor alemán

Character of the German Shepherd

The German shepherd is a dog of great courage, endurance and reliability. In addition, they are among the smartest dogs in the world (they occupy the third place in Stanley Coren’s ranking), which makes them balanced and easy to train.

For all these qualities, the German shepherd is, as we have already mentioned, one of the most requested dogs for work related to protection, even in police forces and in the army. They have a strong defense instinct and can be a little suspicious of strangers, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

Pastor alemán

However, this should not lead us to think that German shepherds are aggressive dogs, quite the opposite. It is a dog that is always alert, but that has nothing to do with danger.

In fact, and as we have already explained, they are dogs that stand out for their versatility and ability to work in different areas, which makes them also stand out as therapy dogs, guide dogs and, of course, affectionate family dogs.

It should be mentioned that, as with all dogs, the German shepherd needs to be socialized from a young age with different people and other dogs, animals and environments. That way the dog will be prevented from developing unwanted fears or behaviors.

Pastor alemán

Education of a German shepherd

The combination of natural intelligence, ability to work and desire to please make the German shepherd a dog that responds excellently to positive training and that stands out especially in obedience tests.

They are dogs with high capacities, so it is necessary to keep their mind occupied and regularly practice with them games of intelligenceobedience, tracking, etc.

The German shepherd is happy, in short, when he has work to do, so physical and mental stimulation is essential. Canine sports such as Agility are especially suitable for this dog.

Pastor alemán

It’s important to keep all of this in mind before adopting one of these dogs: they’re animals that definitely need time, attention, and constant challenges. In the absence of all this, a bored German shepherd can develop stress problems and destructive behaviors.

In addition to intelligence, German shepherds also have a large reserve of energy. They can live in medium-sized flats, but as long as they exercise every day, with at least two long walks and several moments of intense play. They are large and active dogs, so they may not be the most suitable pet for sedentary people.

Pastor alemán

German Shepherd Health

Due to indiscriminate and irresponsible breeding, German shepherds unfortunately have a propensity to suffer from certain diseases and health problems.

Hip dysplasia is a very common problem in these dogs, but it is not the only one: they can also suffer from gastrointestinal problems, stomach torsionepilepsy, keratitis, achondroplasia (dwarfism) and others.

If you plan to adopt a German shepherd (and indeed any other dog, regardless of breed), it is recommended that you take him to the veterinarian to assess his state of health. From there, remember to take him to regular checkups and strictly follow his vaccination schedule.

The German shepherd has an average – long life expectancy compared to other dogs, with a maximum of 13 years.

Related Posts

By Lee Chun Hei