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German Shepherd Dog Appearance
One of the most recognizable dog breeds around, the German Shepherd is a strong and muscular dog breed with beautifully patterned coats. The most commonly seen coat is the tan and black combination, with deep black markings on the face. German Shepherd coats come in a variety of colors and combinations such as red and black combination and solid coats in sable, black, blue, and even pure white. These solid colorings are typically very rare in a litter and aren’t seen as often as the traditional image of the German Shepherd dog. This breed has a domed forehead and a long, squared muzzle complete with strong jaws. Their dark brown, lively eyes often express their high intelligence and confident characteristics of the breed. German Shepherds have long, bush tails that extends down to the hock and large, erect ears. They also have a long neck which is often raised when excited and lowered when running quickly. These powerful herders often stand between 22-26 inches tall and will weigh in around 75-95 lbs. They have an average lifespan of 10-14 years and are one of the most popular breeds in the United States and the United Kingdom. These great guardians are also known as the Alsatian and Alsatian Wolf Dog in Britain.
German Shepherd Dog Grooming
Like many other working dogs, German Shepherds were originally bred in harsh climates so they have a thick double-coat. This helps protect them both from the elements and to regulate body temperature. While their fur is typically short to medium length, German Shepherds shed year round. They will shed even more so when transition between seasonal coats and daily brushing will help reduce the amount of fur blowing. Choosing the right tools are very important to ensure proper care of their thick, dense coats. Weekly grooming with both a traditional pin brush as well as a slicker brush will help remove excess hair. German Shepherds only require an occasional bath to help keep them fresh since their double-layer coat helps prevent moisture from settling on their skin. This dynamic duo of fur means dogs of this breed are usually clean and odorless.
German Shepherd Dog Temperament
German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs who are very self-assured. They are usually aloof with strangers in the beginning, but will develop great social skills with proper introductions. They often become fiercely protective of their family and territory so it’s important to start obedience training early and socialize them often. They have a willingness to learn and love having a job to do which makes for great training sessions. German Shepherds also make excellent guard and watchdogs since they have an intimidating appearance and don’t immediately warm up to strangers. In addition to being commanding sentries, these dogs also make great family pets. They develop strong bonds of devotion to their family and will get along well with children and other pets with good socialization. Learning to get along with smaller creatures is easier when introduced in puppyhood; transitioning to sharing the territory can be challenging for an adult German Shepherd. They also enjoy companionship and will not be happy with being left alone for hours on end each day so be sure to engage them daily to avoid awakening their destructive behaviors.
German Shepherd Dog Training
Originally bred for their intelligence and ability to herd livestock daily, German Shepherds have a strong urge to work off their bouts of energy. They also have great attention spans and are able to retain many commands and training procedures. They are currently ranked third for intelligence in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren. Studies showed that German Shepherds have the amazing ability to learn tasks after just five repetitions and even obeyed the first command they were given 95% of the time. Unlike intelligent dogs with a strong stubborn streak such as the Akita, the German Shepherd doesn’t need much coaxing to obey during training. They are naturally curious and are eager to have a purpose as well as demonstrate their capabilities. Exercises that stimulate their minds and present a physical challenge are perfect for German Shepherds; they need to burn off their amounts of energy but can become bored with repetitive, simple tasks.
German Shepherd Dog History
The line of German Shepherds has been successfully traced to the efforts of one man; Captain Max von Stephanitz. He sought to help create a German breed of dog that would excel at herding as well as be athletic, intelligent, and capable. While other breeds of herding dogs had long been utilized by German farmers to help protect and herd their livestock, none quite met the high standards von Sephanitz was searching for. After much research and observation, von Sephanitz is credited with successfully breeding the German Shepherd dog in 1899. As Germany evolved into a more industrialized nation, von Sephanitz was dedicated to preserving his breed’s place as a working dog. He reached out to his old military connections and convinced the German government to utilize the German Shepherd as a rescuer, guard dog, supply carrier, and so much more. Today, these remarkable dogs are still present in many different government positions in several nations and still continue to be heroic family companions.
Alsatian (UK), Alsatian Wolf Dog (UK), Berger Allemand, Deutscher Schäferhund, German Shepherd, Schäferhund
Shepherd, GSD, DSH