Loved for their black and tan coats and guarding instincts, the German Shepherd Dog – GSD for short – is definitely a popular breed. If you’re looking for a loyal dog who will be a good companion and guard your house while you’re away, this Shepherd might be an ideal dog for you.
German Shepherds Dogs came from – you guessed it! – Germany. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, Captian von Stephanitz was watching a dog show in 1889 when he saw a dog that he liked. It resembled a wolf with yellow and gray markings and was powerful and intelligent. Von Stephanitz bought the dog, who became the first registered German Shepherd Dog. Thanks to him, we now have the GSD that we know and love today.
The height for the males is approximately 24-26 inches at the shoulder. For females, it is 22-24 inches. Weight ranges from about 49-88 pounds.
No matter what anyone tells you, German Shepherds DO shed! By simply raking your hand through their fur you will see many hairs float up. So, if you have allergies to dog hair, this might not be the best choice for you. If you are planning to bring a GSD into your family, prepare with proper grooming tools, and be ready to vacuum regularly. Also, make sure that you have your dog’s nails cut regularly by your groomer, vet, or, if you have the knowledge and experience, yourself.
German Shepherd Dogs are working dogs and require a good amount of exercise. They are not “couch potatoes” and need daily walks, games of fetch, and training to keep them healthy and content. If you don’t exercise your Shepherd, he/she will develop unwanted behavior problems like digging, barking, or chewing.
Training is essential if you want a well-behaved GSD. If not taught proper manners, your Shepherd, though no fault of his own, will be rude to visitors and in public, causing you embarrassment, and perhaps have behavior issues, such as aggression or wanting to be the pack leader. Thankfully, these shepherds are easily trained and really enjoy it. Because of this, GSDs have been famous on the screen, like the dogs Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin. You can teach your dog some really cool tricks too, so go ahead and start this wonderful journey with your dog by reading the Tricks Page. Please be responsible and train your dog!
Oftentimes, you will hear people say that they don’t like German Shepherds because “they are aggressive.” While this is not true, many people get scares from an untrained and unsocialized Shepherd who growls, snaps at, or bites them. It is a sad fact that many people buy German Shepherds merely for yard decorations or on the spur of the moment because the puppy was so cute. Now that they think the dog has lost its charm in adulthood, they ignore him in the house or chain him outside, making the dog three times more likely to bite someone. Or perhaps these owners even encouraged aggression in their German Shepherd, thinking it would mold them into the perfect guard dog. It didn’t, though, and the dog bit an innocent person. NEVER encourage aggression in your dog, even when he’s a puppy. Correct biting and nipping and, if your dog ever shows even the slightest sign of aggression (behaviors such as low growls, angry barks, humping, etc.), consult a professional trainer immediately. By buying your dog from a reputable breeder or rescue, socializing your puppy, taking him to training classes, and correcting unwanted behaviors such as nipping, you will be an ambassador for this amazing breed, showing what good dogs they can be when raised right.
The average lifespan of the German Shepherd Dog is about 9-13 years. Feed your dog healthy meals and exercise him often to help him live the longest he can. Parting with a German Shepherd is truly sweet sorrow, but you do get to enjoy many years with an affectionate, loyal, and special breed.
Traditionally, German Shepherds come in tan/brown and black. Other colors, such as pure black or white, are disqualified by the American Kennel Club, but they still appear. Just because a kennel club deems a certain color not right, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t make splendid companions.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent, which makes them fun to train and even compete in dog sports with. They love to go back to their roots and herd (have you noticed the word herd in Shepherd?) but also enjoy dog agility, conformation, obedience, rally, flyball, dock jumping, disc dog, and much, much more. Because of their loyalty and guarding instincts, they are also popular dogs for the police and military.
German Shepherds are a nice combination of guardian, goofball, and love bug, making them a favorite among many. Loyal to the end, they make wonderful companions for those who can meet their needs, and they are always there for you with a wagging tail and licking tongue.