The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is well proportioned and very strong. The GSD has a sturdy, muscular, slightly elongated body with a light, solid bone structure. The head should be in proportion to its body, and the forehead a little rounded. The nose is most often black, however, blue or liver still do sometimes occur, but are considered a fault and cannot be shown. The teeth meet in a strong scissors bite. The dark eyes are almond-shaped, and never protruding. The ears are wide at the base, pointed, upright and turned forward. The ears of puppies under six months may drop slightly. The bushy tail reaches below the hocks and hangs down when the dog is at rest. The front legs and shoulders are muscular and the thighs are thick and sturdy. The round feet have very hard soles. There are three varieties of the German Shepherd: double coat, plush coat and longhaired coat. The coat most often comes in black with tan, sable or all black, but also can come in blue, liver and white, but those colors are considered a fault according to most standards. White is not an acceptable color for the German Shepherd.
Often used as working dogs, German Shepherds are courageous, keen, alert and fearless. Cheerful, obedient and always eager to learn. Tranquil, confident, serious and clever. GSDs are extremely faithful, and brave. They will not think twice about giving their lives for their master (owner). They have a high learning ability. German Shepherds love to be close to their families, but can be wary of strangers. This breed needs his people and should not be isolated for long period of time. They only bark when they feel it is necessary. Often used as police dogs, the German Shepherd has a very strong protective instinct, and is extremely loyal to its handler.
Socialize this breed well starting at puppy hood. Aggression and attacks on people are due to poor handling and training. Problems arise when an owner allows the dog to believe he is pack leader over humans and/or does not give the dog the mental and physical daily exercise it needs to be stable. This breed needs owners who are naturally authoritative over the dog in a calm, but firm, confident and consistent way. A stable, well-adjusted, and trained dog is for the most part generally good with other pets and excellent with children in the family.
They must be firmly trained in obedience from an early age. German Shepherds with passive owners and/or whose instincts are not being met can become timid, skittish and may be prone to fear biting and develop a guarding issue. They should be trained and socialized from an early age. German Shepherds will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. German Shepherds are one of the smartest and most trainable breeds. The breed is so intelligent and learns so readily that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service, and in the military. The German Shepherd also excels in many other dog activities including Schutzhund, tracking, obedience, agility, flyball and ring sport. His fine nose can sniff out drugs and intruders, and can alert handlers to the presence of underground mines in time to avoid detonation, or gas leaks in a pipe buried 15 feet underground. The German Shepherd is also a popular show and family companion.
Height: Males 24 – 26 inches (60 – 65 cm) Females 22 – 24 inches (55 – 60 cm)
Weight: 77 – 85 pounds (35 – 40 kg)
Indiscriminate breeding has led to hereditary diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, digestive problems, bloat, epilepsy, chronic eczema, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), dwarfism and flea allergies. Also prone to splenic tumors (tumors on the spleen), DM (degenerative myelitis), EPI (endocrine pancreatic insufficiency), and perianal fistulas and Von Willebrand’s disease.
The German Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least a large yard.
This breed sheds bits of hair constantly and is a seasonally heavy shedder. They should be brushed daily or you will have hair all over your home. Bathe only when necessary; over bathing can cause skin irritation from oil depletion. Check ears and trim claws regularly.
Herding, AKC Herding
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, GSDCA, APRI, ACR, DRA, NAPR