When today we see a German shepherd dog, few stop to think that it was bred to guide and protect herds: most people see a police dog, a friend of children, dogs capable of giving their lives for their family , assistance dogs for blind people, rescuers who risk their lives for people they do not know and in short, the canine hero par excellence.
Although the origins of the German Shepherd are associated with herding, this breed has shown so much versatility and intelligence that today they cannot be classified only as sheepdogs. Although they continue to be sheepdogs in certain places, it would be more appropriate to say that the German Shepherd is a “4×4” dog.
In addition, this dog of wolf morphology is one of the most beautiful representatives of the canine species. Would you like to know him a little more? Pay attention to the information we offer you.
The origin of the German Shepherd
The history of the German Shepherd dates back to the year 1890, when the cavalry captain Max Emil Frederick von Stephanitz began to pursue his dream of developing a more noble-looking but working breed than those of the time. In 1899, this cavalry captain found Hector at a dog show, the dog that would become the founder of the breed.
Later, with the help of Artur Meyer, von Stephanitz founded the first German Shepherd Dog Club. Hector was the first registered dog, albeit with the new name Horand von Grafrath. The German Shepherd gained great notoriety for his performance in both world wars. The impression they made was so great that even the enemy armies admired them.
Perhaps the most famous German Shepherd of all time was Rin Tin Tin, a puppy rescued by an American corporal after a bombing raid. Does it sound familiar to you? Rin Tin Tin starred in several movies and catapulted the German Shepherd to world fame.
Today the German Shepherd is used for many activities, from the search and rescue of lost people to the more common tasks of police dogs. His qualities as his companion have not been ignored and, therefore, he is one of the most popular dogs worldwide.
Physical aspects of the German Shepherd
His majestic appearance, incomparable character, and great intelligence have led the German Shepherd to be possibly the most popular dog of all time.
They stand out for having a wide, wedge-shaped head, their most distinctive feature and the one that attracts the most attention. On the top of the head are its medium-sized, erect and pointed ears, which give the German Shepherd that famous wolf-like appearance. His eyes, set obliquely over the skull, express security and confidence, and they are always dark.
Its strong, healthy teeth (42 pieces) allow the German Shepherd to have a strong scissor bite.
The body of the German Shepherd is longer than it is tall and the upper line is sloping, descending slightly from a raised withers to the lower rump. The back is broad and muscular, and the croup is long and slightly sloping.
According to the official standard of the German Shepherd, the coat corresponds to a double coat with undercoat. The length of the coat varies slightly in different parts of the body, but the German Shepherd is not a long-haired dog.
The German Shepherd standard accepts various colors for the breed. Among the colors of the German shepherd we find dark black, brown and tan, yellowish and even gray in various shades. The nose must be black.
Its height at the withers is 60 to 65 centimeters for males and 55 to 60 centimeters for females; males weigh between 30 and 40 kilograms. Females weigh between 22 and 32 kilograms.
What is the German Shepherd character like?
The character of the German Shepherd is balanced and confident. The courage of these dogs is legendary, as is their defense instinct. This is why the German Shepherd is one of the most sought after dogs for guarding and protection purposes, as it has a natural predisposition for these tasks.
But courage and defense are not the same as aggressiveness and danger. Although the German Shepherd tends to be a bit suspicious of strangers, he is not an aggressive dog by nature. On the contrary, they are usually alert, but do not attack without reason. Of course, the socialization of the puppy is essential to avoid problems in the future, since no dog has the character assured only through the genes. The German Shepherd is an easy dog to train and that adapts very well to any training technique. However, they reach their full potential when you train them with positive reinforcement.
Due to its versatility and adaptability, this breed has managed to perform successfully in different activities. The German Shepherd stands out as: sports dog, search and rescue dog, guide dog, police dog, and service or therapy dog. They are also excellent companions for any family that takes good care of them.
How to take care of the German shepherd?
The German Shepherd can be perfectly adapted to living in an apartment, but he needs a lot of exercise and long walks. They are agile and active and need to exercise their muscles outdoors. A small garden can help, but you should never replace the walks and play sessions that it should have.
The practice of any type of dog sport, such as agility, can help maintain the health of the dog (both physical and mental).
It is not very difficult to keep German shepherd hair in good condition, as it does not require special cuts. However, this breed sheds constantly, so daily brushing will be important. The bath should not be very frequent because it damages the natural protection of their fur. Every month and a half or every two months will be enough.
Educating a German Shepherd
German Shepherds are an excellent dog to work with in training and obedience. His natural predisposition and great intelligence make it inevitable that we will want to discover and explore all his abilities.
As with all existing dog breeds, the education of the puppy will have a great impact on the future adult German Shepherd. That is why it will be essential to work quickly on the development of the dog: socialization, stimulation of the senses and intelligence games. A good education will help us avoid the appearance of behavior problems.
In the adult stage, it will be essential to work obedience and tricks on a very regular basis to keep the dog mentally healthy. It is very important to consider this point before adopting a German Shepherd. This is a very intelligent dog that should be able to enjoy a healthy life. The physical exercise of the German Shepherd here also plays an important role in the prevention of stress. In his education and training we must include many sessions of environmental enrichment, all of them based on positive reinforcement.
German Shepherd Health
Unfortunately, the great popularity of the breed has led to the indiscriminate breeding of German Shepherds, purely for commercial purposes. This indiscriminate breeding has had a negative impact on the health of the breed. Therefore, the German Shepherd is prone to some inherited diseases such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) and dwarfism.
Despite offering good care to this great dog, visiting the vet every 6 months, deworming him and following his vaccination schedule will ensure that we can enjoy him for a long time. His current life expectancy is around 13 years.