The German Shepherd Dog, also knows as the Alsatian in the UK and in most of Europe, is one of the most popular dog breeds in America and in Europe.
Its intelligence and ability to be a good working dog are some of its favorable characteristics. The German Shepherd is also known for its courage, devotion, versatility and excellence in doing what it has been trained to do. The German shepherd is ideal for guiding the handicapped, herding, drug detection, search and rescue and police and military work.
German Shepherd Dog History
The German Shepherds is a rather new dog breed, and they exist mainly because of one man, Captein Max von Stephanitz. In 1899, von Stephanitz attended a dog show when he was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein, a product of a few generations of selective breeding to produce a good working dog.
Captein Max von Stephanitz bought the dog, renamed it Horand von Grafrath and he also founded the society for German Shepherd Dog. Horand was declared the very first German Shepherd Dog.
This dog, Horand, was then bred with other shepherd dogs similar to him and with desirable traits. In the early years there is also four wolf crosses recorded.
This breed is characterized by a dome-shaped forehead, a black nose and a muzzle that is long and square cut. The jaws are strong with incisors shaped like scissors. The eyes are medium in size and brown in color. Their ears are large, long and always stand erect, open and parallel to each other. They have a bush tail that only reaches to the hock. The neck is long and always raised when excited but lowered when moving at a fast speed.
German Shepherd Dog Coat and Color
The German shepherd spots a double coat. It was originally bred for the purpose of herding sheep in harsh climates and its double coat came in handy. There are however other varieties that spot a plush coat or a long haired coat.
The double coat is of medium length and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most common is tan/black and red/black. Most of the variations have black masks and black body markings, ranging from the classic saddle to an over-all blanket. Generally the colors should be rich and not pale.
There are other color variants as well, sable, all-black, all-white, blue and liver. The all-black and sable is acceptable according to the breed standards, pale colors, blue and liver is considered to be serious faults and the all-white will even result in instant disqualification.
German Shepherds shed their outer coat all year round. Owning this breed of dog means that you are ready to tolerate hair all over the house.
German Shepherd Dog Height, Size and Weight
German Shepherds are generally very large dogs. The standard height for the males ranges from 60-65 cm (24-26 inches) while females stand at 55-60 cm (22-24 inches). Males weigh between 30 and 40 kilos (66-88 pounds) while females weight about 22-32 kg (42-71 pounds).
German Shepherd Dog Temperament
German Shepherd dogs is a very active breed, with a desire and eagerness to learn. Their curiosity is what makes them excellent for guarding and searching missions. If not socialized appropriately they can become quite over-protective of their family and territory and may a tendency to attack smaller breeds.
However, if the dog is well-trained and socialized, they are considered safe and stable and generally good with other pets and good as family dogs.
The German Shepherd is extremely loyal, courageous and fearless, and will not think twice about giving their lives for their human pack.
German Shepherd Dog Health
The inbreeding practiced in the early years of the breed, has led to some common issues. Such as hip and elbow dysplasia. However, they are generally a healthy breed, but when buying a German shepherd puppy, make sure you get health clearances from the following conditions: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia and allergies.