The German Shepherd is one of the most widely recognized and popular dog breeds in the world. Originally developed in Germany to herd and guard sheep, the German Shepherd has since taken on many other roles including police work, search and rescue, disability assistance, and faithful family companion.
Height: 24-26 inches
Life Span: 9-13 Years
The German Shepherd is a large, muscular dog with a noble, rugged appearance. The ideal height at the shoulder is 22-26 inches for males and 20-24 inches for females. They typically weigh 50 to 90 pounds as adults.
The German Shepherd has a long rectangular body, large erect ears, and a bushy tail. One of the most recognizable features is the long, powerful muzzle and strong jaws. The dark, almond-shaped eyes convey an intelligent and alert expression.
Coat colors come in different variations but the classic black and tan is the most common. All coats have an outer layer that sheds year round. German Shepherds do require regular brushing and grooming.
Their graceful, athletic physique enables the high energy and agility that makes them well-suited for demanding roles such as police work. The German Shepherd is a very strong and muscular breed.
As large, energetic working dogs, German Shepherds have higher nutritional requirements than many breeds. Their diet should contain adequate amounts of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to fuel their active lifestyle.
German Shepherd puppies need a nutritionally balanced, high-calorie puppy formula to support their rapid growth and development. Adult dogs require a maintenance diet with moderate protein, fat and calories to maintain muscle mass and optimal weight. Senior German Shepherds benefit from tailored nutrition with reduced calories, joint support and easily digestible ingredients. Whether feeding commercially prepared or homemade food, it’s important to provide a balanced diet appropriate for each life stage. Following proper nutritional guidelines will help keep your German Shepherd healthy and allow them to thrive in any working or family environment.
The German Shepherd is generally a healthy, hardy breed, but they are prone to certain health conditions. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common orthopedic problems seen in German Shepherds, which can lead to arthritis. They are also susceptible to some autoimmune diseases as well as eye problems like cataracts. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is another concern that prevents proper digestion.
Responsible breeding can help minimize disease risk by screening breeding dogs for genetic health conditions. Providing excellent nutrition, regular vet checkups, and proper exercise can also keep German Shepherds healthy. Catching issues early and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are key for managing any conditions. Overall, German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 9-13 years with diligent care. Their loyal and active nature rewards owners with a fun-loving companion when their healthcare needs are met.
The roots of the German Shepherd breed can be traced back to 1899 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Cavalry captain Max von Stephanitz admired the intelligence, strength and obedience of native sheepherding dogs in southern Germany. He acquired a dog named Hektor Linksrhein who became the first German Shepherd and the foundation for the breed.
Von Stephanitz went on to establish the Society for the German Shepherd Dog and created breed standards emphasizing working ability over appearance. He believed dogs should be bred for intelligence, athleticism, and character.
The German Shepherd quickly became popular as a guard, military and police dog. Their courage, trainability and obedience made them ideal working dogs. Even today, German Shepherds are valued by police and military forces around the world.
The German Shepherd is an extremely versatile breed that has many excellent qualities making them great working, service, and companion dogs. With proper training and socialization, they can thrive in a variety of roles and be wonderful pets.
Police Dogs German Shepherds are the breed most commonly used for police work such as tracking, apprehension, sniffing out drugs/bombs, and search and rescue. Their courage, intelligence and loyalty are perfectly suited for the demands of police work.
Military Working Dogs All branches of the military employ German Shepherd dogs in a wide variety of roles from sentry to locating mines. Their mental and physical abilities save the lives of countless soldiers around the world.
Service Dogs German Shepherds are one of the top breeds chosen to be guide dogs for the visually impaired. Their trainability, gentleness and protective nature are invaluable traits for guide work. They also excel at hearing and mobility assistance.
Herding Dogs While no longer used primarily for herding, German Shepherds can still excel at this task. Their intelligence and athleticism served the original sheepherding dogs von Stephanitz first encountered in Germany over a century ago.
Show Dogs Conformation showing provides an opportunity for German Shepherd breeders and owners to compete with their dogs. The AKC breed standard focuses on qualities for working ability, although controversy exists on breeding for exaggerated features.