The German Shepherd Dog, sometimes abbreviated GSD is originally from Germany and originally called "Deutscher Schäferhund" also DSH.
German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty an biddability. The are curious, loyal, confident and great companions for the right person.
Even though there are several different types of German Shepherds, all stem back to Max Von Stephanitz who is credited with founding the German Shepherd Dog in the late 1800's. Max's belief was that the dog should be bred for working. He started the SV Schäeferhund Verein / The Society for the German Shepherd which today still stands for the proper breeding and continuation of the GSD. The SV has been in operation since 1899.
German Shepherds are and have been one of the most popular breeds for many years. As a breed standard they are
7095lbs and 6065cm 2426" for males 5574lbs and 5560cm 2224" for females German Shepherds have an average lifespan of 914 years
Common health problems German Shepherds face are: hip and elbow displasia bloat epilepsy cataracts degenerative disc disease
German Shepherds are classified in the herding group by kennel clubs but are commonly used in obedience and protection sports, SAR as well as military and police work. They are best known for the sport of Schutzhund, IPO / IGP. It is a sport that was made for German Shepherds to harness their 3 primary skills OBEDIENCE, TRACKING and PROTECTION.
We classify German Shepherds into 3 lines: 1.Working Lines 2.Show Lines 3.Pet Lines
Show lines differ slightly from AKC/ UKC to the Sieger Show lines. Mainly the conformation structure of the dogs, the work ability and the size. There has been much controversy over this in recent years.
Sieger line German Shepherds are bred for temperament and looks as they need to show courage and working ability to be titled and compete. These ratings are critical to potential breeders, especially to GSD aficionados, particularly in Germany where there are strict regulations.
The pure working line dogs are not considered as beautiful by some, but are those that most closely resemble the look and temperament of Max Von Stephanitz. Working line German Shepherds are usually not a good fit for everyday pet homes. They require, training, structure and activity or they can become very destructive.
All German Shepherds will require training and a fair, but firm handler. They must be properly socialized at an early age to prevent aggressive behaviors.
Pet line dogs are usually the spill off from show line and working line dogs that wouldn't or didn't make the cut. They can still be fantastic pets for the right owner. It's never a good idea to buy a dog from a puppy mill or pet store. Choose where your dog comes from carefully. Check local dog clubs, national clubs, rescues and IPO / Schutzhund clubs.
German Shepherds come in various colors. Their coats generally range from short to long.
The most popular German Shepherd is the Black and Tan / Red Saddle. These dogs resemble Rin Tin Tin and most German Shepherds in ads and TV / movies.
Bi Color is a mostly black dog with brown legs and underside.
Solid Black is exactly that, a solid black dog.
and lastly the Sable, my favorite. Sable is a mix of silver, gray and tan hairs tipped with black. The sable is considered the original dog sharing its DNA with their wolf ancestors. It is the ONLY color that didn't stray from Max Von Stephanitz's ideology.
White German Shepherds are banned from registration in Germany. The AKC will register White German Shepherds but they are disqualified from the show ring.
German Shepherds make great companions, but it is important to get the right one. Unless you're inteding on participating in serious competitive sports, don't get a high drive working line dog. Get a nice quality pet that you can live with. A good breeder can steer you in the right direction.
Remember a German Shepherd will need good training, socialization (early on) and structure and leadership its entire life.
Be extremely careful when choosing your German Shepherd and remember that the puppy you take home today means a 10PLUS year commitment to that dog.