"German Shepherd dog is ranked 3rd in "The Intelligence of Dogs" by Stanley Coren."
Other names for this breed:Alsatian (UK) Alsatian Wolf Dog (UK) Berger Allemand Deutscher Schäferhund German Shepherd Schäferhund
Country of origin:Germany
Weight:Male 30–40 kg (66–88 lb), female 22–32 kg (49–71 lb)
Height:Male 60–65 cm (24–26 in), female 55–60 cm (22–24 in)
Color:Most commonly tan with black saddle
Litter size:4-9 pups
Life span:9-13 years
The German Shepherd is a large sized breed that was first presented in Germany in 1899. The German Shepherd is well known for their loyalty and their hard work as a guard companion. They were first bred as working dogs and are considered one of the most intelligent trainable dogs.
They are used as police dogs for search, rescue, apprehension and are also utilized by military organizations around the globe for similar activities. They are very hard workers, very trainable and make excellent companions.
The GSD (the acceptable abbreviation used for German Shepherd Dog) is a large dog that can weigh up to 90 lbs for a male and about 80lbs for a female. The males stand at about 26 inches high at the withers and the females are about 23 inches high at the withers. They have powerful jaws that bite in a scissor like motion.
Coat and Grooming Requirements
This breed is a double coated breed that sheds regularly. They require regularly grooming which can be done at home. A good brushing every few days can keep the shedding down to a minimum. The outer coat can be of medium or long length although the longer variety is rarer and not the usual length.
The long haired version of this breed requires more grooming care than the short haired variety for obvious reasons.
Temperament and Personality
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and easily trainable. They are not known for befriending strangers and are known for being very loyal to their families and very protective. They must be socialized with others to avoid and well meaning mishaps with people they do not know.
They are a very curious breed which enhances their ability to be trained. They were initially bred to be working dogs and they love to have a “mission” or a job. They want to please and they will go to great extents to do so.
Socialization is a Must
One of the biggest draw backs about owning a German Shepherd is that they love their families so much that they really go over the top to protect them which can lead to biting. A study published suggested that there were more GSD bites reported than any other animal bites. Largely what happens is the dog is not socialized or trained properly and winds up biting someone that they view as a threat to their home or their family.
This behavior can easily be avoided with the right socialization and training. A lot of proponents of the breed feel that the breed was just being targeted and that there is no breed more loyal or hard working than the GSD.
The GSD is most commonly found in the Tan and Black color combination but can come in a full range of colors from white (which is very vary rare) to all black, liver and blue. The all black is an acceptable color but the all white is not. The all white GSD is considered a genetic anomaly and is prohibited by the AKC from breeding.
This is a hearty dog that can spend a great deal of time outdoors. It can be a well trained companion in both apartments and houses however given its size and its need for exercise it thrives the best in a house with room to roam.
They do require a moderate amount of exercise so housing in a house with a fenced backyard that they have access to at will is the ideal living arrangement for this breed. They like being outside because they are curious but should not be left out doors over night.
Overall this is a hearty breed and any genetic predispositions that they have are due to inbreeding practices when the breed was still relatively new. Some things of potential concern are hip dysplasia and elbow issues that may cause pain and develop into arthritis later in life. The life expectancy of the GSD is about 11 years although there are many anecdotal stories of this breed far surpassing the life expectancy by a full 9 years.
They have very low incidences of ear infection because they do not have any hair on their inner ear which prevents debris from building up and causing infection. There is some chance of myopathy that can be inherited but simple genetic testing of the parents can insure that the puppy will not suffer from this disease.
This is an excellent family dog that needs a purpose to be truly happy. With the right training and socialization you will have a life long companion that always has your best interest at heart. They are easy to care for dogs because they have few genetic issues and enjoy a reputation for being all around a basically healthy breed.