German Shepherd Dog Breed
- General Appearance:
- The German Shepherd or Alsatian is a large and strong breed of dog often associated with the police force. They have an outer coat and an under coat, the outer coat often being of medium length although no coat length rule applies to the breed. They often have longer hair down the back of their legs.The outer coat is harsh, straight, and thick. The under coat is dense and soft. The coat comes in a variety of colors such as black and tan, black and cream, black and silver, solid black, and sable. The German Shepherd comes in three varieties: rough coat, long hair, and long rough coat. This breed is a continuous shedder with seasonal heavy shedding. Their appearance should be of a muscular, alert dog with a noble and aloof attitude. The dogs are agile and well balanced in the fore and hindquarters and carry themselves with pride. Although substantially built, these dogs are not square but made up of smooth curves, the length being greater than the height
- Other Names:Alsation, GSD, Deutsche Schaferhund
- Country Of Origin:Germany
- Dog Group Kennel Club:Pastoral
- Many colours are available although not all are desirable. The most common are black and tan and black.
- Generally German Shepherds are obedient and loyal. They form great bonds with their owners and should not be aggressive or shy. Some dogs have high energy levels but can also make good family pets although they do have a reputation of being dangerous. As in most cases where dogs are tarred with this brush, this only applies to a small number of dogs and they have usually been brought up in this manner. A member of the herding group, the German Shepherd is fearless, bold, hard working, and alert. They are esteemed for their loyalty, deep devotion, and courage. This breed thrives on human interaction from their family and does not like to be left alone for extended periods of time. It is a highly intelligent breed and as such, needs a great deal of mental stimulation. The GSD will develop a very close bond with his handler and will want to be with him/her as much as possible. They will accept children if the children give them respect and do not torment them. Although this breed of dog does need a lot of attention, he will give back one hundred fold with loyalty and incorruptible guarding skills.
- German Shepherds have a far reaching and enduring stride.
- Care and training:
- Grooming should also be done every day, with a vigourous brushing to remove any dead or loose hairs. If it is a longhaired GSD, combing will also be necessary. No trimming is required and bathing should only be done as needed. This is a shedding dog but the more you groom it,
the less it will shed.
The German Shepherd requires early intensive and extensive socialization and obedience training. They will not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. This breed is obedient and quick to learn. Training must be done with respect, firmness, fairness, reward, and consistency.The German Shepherd is often used in police work, search and rescue, as a guide for the blind, and military work. This dog is eager to learn and very responsive to training, especially voice commands given with the appropriate intonation. It is best to work with reward-method training as beating an already timid dog into submission is likely to backfire. They require strenuous exercise and enjoy securely leashed walks, family play sessions, and a large safely fenced area to romp and run freely in. The German Shepherd will do okay in an apartment or condominium dwelling provided they are given sufficient exercise, stimulation, and attention.
- Overall Exercise:
- 2 hours per day.
The young pup should be exercised with some discretion to avoid long-term damage to still soft and forming joints. As the dog ages, it will require longer walks but must first have the solid bone structure established.
- Feeding Requirements:
- As puppies, ensure you follow the breeder's recommended diet sheet because problems can arise with their bones and joints.
- Personal Protection:High
- Suitability As Guard Dog:High
- Level of Aggression:High
- Compatibility With Other Animals:Low
- Suitability for Children:Medium
- Often Docked?No
- Average Litter Size:5-10
- Life Expectancy (yrs):10-13
- Health issues:
- This breed is usually quite hardy. They do have the potential to develop hip dysplasia (abnormal development of hip joints), elbow dysplasia, skin disease, congenital heart disease, Von Willebrand's disease (high bleeding tendency), exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, epilepsy, nervous condition, panosteitis (an inflammation of long bones in the legs), and bloat (gastric torsion; twisted stomach). Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but German Shepherds can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests. German Shepherd Dogs have been so popular over the years that people sometimes inbreed them and do not check family lines simply to make a profit on puppies. Therefore, certain lines of German Shepherds are sometimes squirrelly, nervous, fearful, timid, or aggressive when they shouldn't be. Be sure to check the Dam and Sire's pedigree and watch for these symptoms in the parents when choosing a German Shepherd puppy.
- The German Shepherd's roots are in the mountain sheepdog of Germany. German Shepherds date back to as early as the 7th Century, A.D. It is said that the breed descended from the Bronze Age wolf. In the 7th century, there was a German dog similar to the Shepherd, but lighter in coat. By the 16th century, however, the same breed had darkened in coat color. About 1880 the German army modified this breed for work as a military dog. The first German Shepherd exhibit was in 1882 in Hanover. Credit for the formation of the modern breed is given to fancier Rittmeister von Stephanitz. In 1899 German von Stephanitz began a breeding program to produce a stable, reliable shepherd dog. He combined long-haired, short-haired and wire-haired dogs from Wurtemberg, Thurginia, and Bavaria. His friend Herr Artur Meyer also helped in the breeding process, and from 1899 to 1935 Stephanitz oversaw the group that promoted the German Shepherd. Until 1915 the breed was split up into three separate versions: the long haired, the short haired, and the wire haired. Later, the wire haired became practically extinct, and these days the long haired is disqualified from the show ring. 48,000 of these dogs served in the First World War, and thus became hugely popular. They have been used for search and rescue, police, army and sentry, scent discrimination and as a guide dog. At the time, it was insulting to call anything by the name of "German", with the war and discrimination. But English sheep herders did not want to get rid of the useful dogs, therefore they called them Alsatians, because they originated in Alsace. Finally after 40 years, in 1971, the British Kennel Club allowed the name to be German Shepherd Dog again. Two German Shepherds named Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart acted in films and generated even more popularity. German Shepherds were popular for their agility, obedience, and friendly attitude. One German Shepherd was said to have scaled a wall 11 feet, 8 inches tall! Today they are still among the most popular dogs.