The German Shepherd Dog is a relatively young breed, developed almost single-handedly in the first half of the twentieth century by a German cavalry officer, Max von Stephanitz, president of the Verein far Deutsche Schaferhunde S.V. Using a variety of German sheepdogs as his foundation stock, von Stephanitz developed a distinctive breed in a very short period of time, due in large part to the authoritarian practices of the German dog fancy at that time. Von Stephanitz emphasized utility and intelligence in his breeding program, enabling the German Shepherd Dog to switch easily from herding duties to other fields of work, particularly military and police work. The breed was just gaining notice in the United States when World War I broke out. All things German were shunned and popularity slumped. After the war, however, movie star Rin-tin-tin stimulated interest in the breed again. The striking good looks of this breed, combined with its remarkable intelligence and loyalty, have made it a favorite working and companion dog.
The German Shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs, well-balanced, muscular dog, slightly longer than tall, with a medium length coat, erect ears, and a low-set natural tail that normally reaches to the hock and is carried in a slight curve like a saber. The outline of the German Shepherd Dog is made up of smooth curves rather than angles. The head is in proportion to the size of the body, strong without appearing coarse or fine. Gender differences are readily apparent. The German Shepherd Dog should be evaluated as an all-around working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.
The German Shepherd Dog is confident and fearless, willing to be approached, yet a certain level of aloofness towards strangers is acceptable. When working, the German Shepherd is alert and eager, adapting well to new tasks. Lack of confidence is a serious defect in the character of a German Shepherd. The structure of this breed was designed for efficient locomotion, particularly at the trot, so poor movement is another serious fault.
Features of German Shepherd Puppies
The German Shepherd isn’t the breed for you if you’re away from home frequently or for long periods of time. When left alone, they can become anxious or bored and are likely to express their worry in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging.
German Shepherds are active and intelligent dogs. They must be kept busy learning, playing, and working. Daily exercise, both physical (such as jogging and Frisbee) and mental (such as training sessions), is a must.
German Shepherds can be aloof and suspicious of strangers. To raise a social and well-behaved dog, expose your German Shepherd puppy to many experiences, places, and people. Obedience training, beginning with puppy classes, is important for getting them used to other people and dogs, as well as teaching them basic canine manners.
These dogs shed, shed, shed. In fact, their nickname is the “German shedder.” Brush them several times a week and buy a good vacuum. You’ll need it.
Crate training is not only a wonderful way to housetrain a puppy, it helps teach them to be calm and happy when separated from their owner. This is especially important for the German Shepherd, who sometimes suffers separation anxiety, or extreme anxiety when left alone.
They’ve got a reputation for being a great watchdog—and they are—but the German Shepherd should never be chained or tethered just to stand guard. No dog should; it leads to frustration and aggression. The German Shepherd is happiest living indoors with the family, but with access to a large, fenced yard, where they can burn off some of their natural energy.
You can find dogs of almost any breed, including German Shepherds, from your local shelter or breed specific rescue. Consider adopting before you shop for a breeder.
Specification of German Shepherd Puppies
Alsatian (UK), Alsatian wolf dog (UK), Berger Allemand, Deutscher Schäferhund, Schäferhund