German Shepherd

Originally bred as a working dog to help in herding sheep, the German Shepherd Dog has because of its intelligence, trainability, strength and obedience, adapted to an extremely diverse set of requirements, from police work, search and rescue to acting in the movies. Formerly known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd Dog has a colourful history, and is ranked as the second most popular breed in the US.


German Shepherd Breed Information


History
The German Shepherd Dog came about as a result of standardisation of Germanic dog breeds. It was conceptualised and developed by Max von Stephanitz, himself an ex-member of a defunct organisation which had worked for creating breed standards, as a working class breed which was foremost in robustness, intelligence, strength and obedience. Von Stephanitz found a dog named Hektor Linksrhein, which satisfied his idea of a true working dog. A rigorous breeding programme was then followed, with the progeny being inbred to preserve characteristics, resulting in the German Shepherd Dog. However, the German Shepherd Dog has lately also had its fair share of controversies, as some critics claim the breed has migrated from von Stephanitz’s idea towards a more show dog appearance which has caused a few health conditions to crop up in the show dogs.
Personality
Highly active and self-assured, the German Shepherd Dog is characterised by its eagerness to have a purpose and a willingness to learn. It’s curious nature makes for an excellent guard dog and establishes its suitability as a search and rescue missions. They are also extremely intelligent, and are adept at learning tricks.
  • Activity level: 4/5 (very active)
  • Intelligence level: 5/5 (extremely intelligent)
  • Curiosity: 4/5 (very curious)
  • Friendliness: 3/5 (quite friendly)
  • Vocal: 3/5 (quite vocal)
Appearance
Large in size, the German Shepherd Dog appears as many European working dogs do – double coated fur, a straight back and a robust build. Known for its strength and health, the broad chest and well-muscled appearance of the German Shepherd Dog contributes heavily to its preference as a guard dog.
  • Fur: Double coated; outer coat is dense, whereas the undercoat is thick. Most common colours are tan/black and red/black.
  • Eyes: Medium sized brown eyes.
  • Body structure: Large, muscled physique. The structure is heavy boned and rectangular; bushy tail reaches to the hock.
  • Facial features: Domed forehead, black nose and long square-cut muzzle; large ears that generally stand erect.
  • Weight: Male of the breed can weigh between 66 to 88 lbs, whereas the female weighs between 49 to 71 lbs.
Health and Care
Due to the heavy inbreeding that occurred early in the breed’s lifetime, a few common ailments tend to affect the German Shepherd Dog. Amongst the most common are hip and elbow dysplasia which can lead to the development of arthritis later in life. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans are used for diagnosis of these conditions, as is arthroscopy; surgery remains the only option for treatment. Moreover, degenerative myelopathy is also common in the German Shepherd Dog, which can result in paralysis and death within a short span of time. Diagnosis for this condition is extremely tough, and is usually done by the process of eliminating other disorders which could cause symptoms by the means of myelography and MRI scans. Also common is a bleeding disorder called van Willebrand disease, which can be diagnosed through complete blood count and coagulation factor assays.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely. Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at help@pickapaw.com