German Shepherd Dog Breed

Country of Origin: Germany
Height: 21.5–26 inches
Weight: 48.5–88 pounds
Coat: Double coat with medium-length, straight, dense, harsh, close-lying outercoat and thick undercoat; may have neck ruff
Colors: Most colors allowed except white
Registries (with Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)

German Shepherd Personality Traits

German Shepherd Dogs are most known for their exceptional loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. They are by nature poised and unexcitable, with well-controlled nerves, making them excellent at performing a host of tasks and special services. They are often employed as police dogs because of their patience, quick-thinking, and keen observational skills. A well-bred German Shepherd Dog is capable of excelling at any number of things, including being a family companion and protector. He is gentle and kind with children of all ages and amazingly tuned in to the people around him.

Origin and History of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd Dog ("GSD") is one of the most widely recognized breeds in the world, known and favored in many countries for his intelligence, trainability, adaptability and fortitude. The origin of the German Shepherd begins with the work of Rittmeister Max bon Stephanitz, commonly referred to as the father of the breed. von Stephanitz spotted a working dog at a dog show whom he believed had all the essential qualities of the perfect German herder: strong, capable, and smart. He went on to cofound a club for GSDs from 1899-1935. His own German Shepherd, named Horand von Grafrath, was an original member of the club, called the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (translation: The Association for German Shepherd Dogs.)

As demand for herding decreased, von Stephanitz recognized the German Shepherd's potential for use by police and the military, and encouraged their role as public servants. During World War I, there were 48,000 Shepherds "enlisted" in the German Army. Today, GSDs maintain their positions of service, serving perhaps in more ways than any other breed—they excel at search and rescue, police work, army and sentry work, scent discrimination, as guide and assistance dogs, and of course, as companions.

How to Care for German Shepherds


The German Shepherd is very athletic and does best with regular and vigorous exercise. He can been trained to do just about everything, and performing work or engaging in sports and activities with people is what he is all about. As adaptable as he is, the GSD is not a dog who can sit inside all day waiting for the occasional outing. He must be stimulated both physically and mentally to reach his full potential.


The German Shepherd Dog has a dense undercoat and requires regular brushing to keep it under control. He is a seasonally heavy shedder. The GSD should not be bathed frequently because it depletes the skin and coat of essential oils. Otherwise, the coat serves its protective and insulating purposes and takes care of itself.

Life Span

The average life span of a German Shepherd Dog is 10 to 14 years.


German Shepherd Dogs are a very obedient breed, and thrive with training. Used for years as service dogs, they also excel in sports, such as competitive obedience, herding, agility, flyball, and many others. GSDs are quick learners who don't bore easily, although they do appreciate a quick-thinking trainer who will keep them challenged.

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