From being seen as only herding dogs, to being loving pets, German Shepherds have come a long way since they were bred by Captain Max Von Stephanitz. As one of the most beloved breeds out there, German Shepherd puppies and dogs can be pets, service dogs, emotional support animals and so much more! If you want to know more about German Shepherds, keep on reading!
German Shepherds Among the Top Lists of Most Popular Dog Breeds
The American Kennel Club says that German Shepherds are the second most popular breed in the country. And for good reason! These dogs are incredibly versatile and play all kinds of roles in society. Their temperament is confident, courageous and smart, which explains why so many people love them.
When Captain Max Von Stephanitz bred the first German Shepherd, he wanted to create working dogs who were loyal. The goal of the German Shepherd was for them to be dedicated, persistent, strong, and enthusiastic about their work. To this day, the German Shepherd breed is still used as a working dog.
A very popular example is the K9 sector of thousands of police departments. These police dogs are in charge of helping with numerous tasks, from detecting narcotics to finding missing persons. Their confidence and intelligence make them the perfect dogs for these jobs.
Because of their popularity with the police, there are plenty of TV shows and movies starring German Shepherd dogs. To see one on TV, all you need to do is watch a crime show.
Do you remember the story of Rin Tin Tin? “Rinty,” as he’s also known, is one of the biggest animal stars on the big screen.
German Shepherds are also known to be tremendous service dogs. Because they’re so smart and loyal, they’re a common pick for people with disabilities. They make for an outstanding guide dog. To become one, they must go through intensive obedience training.
They can also be fantastic pets at home! German Shepherd owners say that this breed makes a great companion and is particularly good with children. They’re also usually really good with strangers and generally don’t tend to be aggressive or hostile.
The Appearance of the Beautiful German Shepherd Dog (GSD)
German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) are notorious for looking majestic.
They are strong and have quite a lot of muscle on them. Their bodies are longer than they are tall and have a good ratio between their forequarter and their hindquarter.
Because of this, their body doesn’t have very pronounced angles. It flows well, giving the appearance of smooth movement even when they’re resting.
Their nose sticks out of their face and their ears are sharp, upright, and pointy. One of the most remarkable features is their almond-shaped eyes. German Shepherd puppies are particularly adorable and grow to become stunning adults.
GSDs come can have a variety of coats, both in color and in type. The first dogs were bred to have a double medium-length coat. This would keep them warm in the cold German climate. The outer coat is usually thick and straight, but at times wavy or curly.
A German Shepherd can have a black; black and cream; black and red; black and tan; black and silver; blue; gray; sable; or white coat. The American Kennel Club and breeders don’t consider white Shepherd dogs as part of the GSD breed. This is due to the fact that white is not seen as a breed standard. Instead of straight, medium-length coats, German Shepherd puppies can also have longer coats.
Grooming is a Must for Long-Haired German Shepherds!
This breed is also jokingly known as “German Shedders,” and it’s no secret as to why. They shed their hair year-round and once a year they shed in a particularly intense way. German Shepherd owners know too well what it’s like to have a house full of dog hair.
The only way to minimize the shedding is by grooming them regularly. This is particularly true for long-haired German Shepherds!
Owners should brush their dog’s coat two to three times a week. Doing this will leave most of the hairs on a brush instead of on black pants, couches, and furniture.
Baths also help somewhat with this shedding problem. However, bathing a dog too much washes away essential oils that they have on their skin. A bath should never be seen as the substitute for a good brushing session! Only bathe your German Shepherd puppy if you really need to.
Average German Shepherd Weight and Size
Like most dogs, the males are typically heavier and larger than the females. When fully grown, males tend to be between 24 and 26 inches tall. Females are usually around 22 inches or 24 inches tall. As far as weight goes, they’re not the heaviest breed out there. Males clock in at around 65 and 90 pounds, while females weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.
The Miniature German Shepherd
There’s a variation of the German Shepherd breed out there for lovers of all things small. They are much smaller than the purebred German Shepherds. A full-grown German Shepherd can weigh 80 pounds, but a Miniature German Shepherd only weighs 30 pounds, at the most.
Disregarding size and weight, Miniature German Shepherd dogs are just as strong and as loyal as their larger counterparts. They still have the athletic build and ingrained desire to please, but they come in a smaller size.
White German Shepherd, Black German Shepherd, and More! The Colors!
German Shepherd Dogs come in a wide variety of colors. Not only do they look different, but some people claim they also act and behave differently.
- Black German Shepherd: These dogs are usually bigger than other GSDs and have a solid coat — all black. They tend to have a straighter back and a mane around their neck. They can also have longer sections of their coat between their front legs and on the extremities (ears, tail etc.). A Black German Shepherd usually makes a great guard dog.
- Sable German Shepherd: If a GSDs’ coat has speckles of tan or red, they’re a Sable German Shepherd. The breeding program in place in Eastern Europe — namely in Czechia, and in Germany — is what made them look like this. They’re just as friendly and hardworking as any other German Shepherd.
- Blue German Shepherd: Their coat usually has only one color, ranging between blue and gray. They are also more likely to have blue eyes. Blue Shepherds can also have speckles of tan, black, or sable hairs. While still accepted into dog showing competitions, they’re looked down upon by the American Kennel Club for aesthetic reasons.
- Panda German Shepherd: Panda Shepherds are the most unusual-looking ones. They don’t have a dark coat with some hairs in different colors. They are around 35% white and the remainder of the coloring is black and tan. The name “Panda” comes from their coat’s similarity to that of pandas with the white and black spots.
- White German Shepherd: White Shepherds were bred to be, we, all white. Their coat’s color is not due to a genetic flaw, unlike what some people believe. A White German Shepherd Dog is not allowed to compete in dog shows. However, they’re just as loyal, playful, and dedicated as all other GSDs.
German Shepherd Mixes Are Beautiful Dogs!
Over the decades, a lot of breeders have tried to combine the attractive traits of the German Shepherd with other breeds. This has led to the creation of many new, fantastic breeds! Although sometimes seen as “impure,” they’re just as adorable and “good dogs” as a purebred German Shepherd.
German Shepherd Husky Mix Puppies!
Who doesn’t love a Husky? Their similarity to a wolf is uncanny, but their family-oriented temperament is what makes this breed so attractive. When you take that and mix it with a German Shepherd, you end up with a dazzling puppy. The German Shepherd Husky Mix, also known as the Gerberian Shepsky, is a new American favorite.
Bred at first in the 1980s, these puppies when fully grown can be 26 inches tall and weigh almost 90 pounds! They have a strong muzzle and a very athletic body. The Husky and the GSD temperament mixture created a children-loving and playful pup.
Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherds: A Brief Comparison
These two dogs are competitors when it comes to the K9 section of the police forces. They are both very good at chasing suspects, sniffing illicit substances, and at aiding the military. However, the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd are, indeed, different in some ways.
They were both first bred in Europe during the late 19th century. Their original purpose was for them to be working dogs. They were responsible for the herding of cattle and sheep in the European mountains and prairies.
While a German Shepherd’s coat is medium or even long, a Belgian Malinois’s is short. Also, the former comes in a variety of coats, the latter is usually fawn-colored with few variations. Because of this, Belgian Malinois are much easier to groom and don’t shed nearly as much as German Shepherds.
Temperament-wise, they’re both very similar. The German Shepherd breed and the Belgian Malinois breed are friendly, hardworking, and persistent. Their loyalty and perseverance are what makes them perfect to be in the military and in the police forces.
Belgian Malinois dogs are usually healthier than German Shepherds since they have fewer genetic predispositions to health issues. However, they’re both susceptible to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems.
German Shepherd Temperament and Personality: What to Expect!
As we’ve mentioned, German Shepherd dogs are a great company and amazing working dogs. They are friendly, but also hardworking and dedicated. They’re not aggressive but can come across as shy when meeting strangers. Once they’ve acclimated though, they’re easy-going and very playful with owners and other dogs.
Their protective nature is what makes them such good guard dogs. Their bark when coupled with their majestic looks is enough to scare off any intruders! German Shepherds are the happiest when given a task to focus on and dedicate themselves to.
This is why they make such good guide dogs! They’re happy to lead blind people through the street and help them move with more ease at home.
If you have children, you have nothing to worry about. German Shepherds are great with kids. They like the attention and like playing with toddlers. They bond with humans pretty easily and often become a child’s best friend in their early years. German Shepherds are very family-oriented.
German Shepherd Training Requirements: These Dogs Need to Be Kept Busy!
As very athletic and muscly-built dogs, German Shepherds get bored and antsy if they don’t exercise regularly.
Their very enthusiastic and energetic nature makes them want to go for walks and runs frequently. To keep them happy, all you need to do is make sure you exercise them well.
Go to a dog park or to dog runs in your city! Let your German Shepherd play with other dogs, too!
Alternatively, you can also keep them busy by training them and teaching them commands. These dogs are incredibly fast learners and pick up tricks pretty easily.
You don’t need a big yard or house to teach them. All you need is a dog-training guide or manual, some treats, words of encouragement, and patience! Why not try to teach them how to sit?
Or perhaps some party tricks, such as “roll,” or even “give paw”?
Lifespan and Common Health Issues Among the GSD Breed
German Shepherds can live anywhere between 7 and 14 years. Their lifespan is most usually affected by genetic diseases. Unfortunately, German Shepherd dogs have a rather high risk of developing some kinds of genetic illnesses and health issues.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease a lot of German Shepherds have to face.
This means that they have a higher risk than other breeds of having a problem with their elbow and hip joints. It’s a rather painful condition for the dog, but there are some surgeries that can fix or, at least, ease the problem.
Elbow dysplasia happens when the three bones that make up the elbow don’t grow at the same rate. It’s a genetic condition common in large breed dogs including German Shepherds.
Lastly, GSDs may also have to fight against degenerative myelopathy. This is a problem in the spinal chord that affects the movement of the hind legs. It’s not too uncommon for German Shepherds to lose control over their back legs. Sadly, in most cases it’s untreatable.
6 Facts You Didn’t Know About GSDs aka American Alsatian Dogs
Here are six things you might not already know about German Shepherd Dogs:
- German Shepherds are also known as American Alsatian dogs. There is no difference between them and they’re not two different breeds.
- Because of the anti-German sentiment after the end of WWII, the English Kennel Club renamed the German Shepherd as “Alsatian.” This is why in the UK the breed is still known as Alsatian, a name that was only changed back in 1977.
- Because they’re so energetic and unique, German Shepherds must be fed a nutritious diet. Any old dog food won’t do. Ask your veterinary for which brands to buy and how much you should feed your puppy.
- Genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy are common in German Shepherds.
- The first German Shepherd’s name was Horand von Grafrath and he was crossed with other dogs by Captain Max von Stephanitz.
- If you are passionate about this breed, you can join the German Shepherd Dog Club.
German Shepherd Puppies for Sale!
If you’re looking for a purebred German Shepherd, you should look for a reputable breeder. You’ll be certain that the dog you’re getting has a pedigree and is, in fact, a purebred.
You’ll also be guaranteed that your dog has a good genetic background. This means they’re less likely to become ill from a genetic condition.
There are trusted companies and individual breeders selling German Shepherd puppies all over the world. One that is highly trusted is the Gunbil German Shepherd. You can look at their website for more information.
Why Not Contact a Local Shelter and Ask About German Shepherd Rescues?
We all know that far too many dogs are abandoned every year. This is true of German Shepherds as well. Kennels and shelters are usually bursting at the seams with dogs and have no more space for them.
By adopting, you’d be rehoming a pup or an adult dog and giving them another chance to be happy. Not only that, but you’ll also save a lot of money!
Give your local shelter a call and ask if they have any German Shepherds needing a home. You might find your new best friend this way!
German Shepherds are precious dogs. Not only are they very committed to the tasks they’re awarded, but they are also family-friendly and loving. They have an interesting history as herding dogs that have evolved into guide and even K9 dogs.
German Shepherds look majestic and are the perfect family dog!