Breed of The Week: German Shepard

The German Shepherd Dog is one of America’s most popular dog breeds—for good reason.

They’re intelligent and capable working dogs. Their devotion and courage are unmatched. And they’re amazingly versatile, excelling at most anything they’re trained to do: guide and assistance work for the handicapped, police and military service, herding, search and rescue, drug detection, competitive obedience, and–last but not least–faithful companion.

General Characteristics

The German shepherd is a large, strong, robust and muscular dog breed. Its appearance is a little longer than tall, and generally, its front half is straighter than the rear. Its structure is firm and balanced, very proportionate and qualified to perform various jobs due to its strength. Balance is the main characteristic of these animals both physically and psychologically, although it must always be consistent with their education.

Its head is large and wedge-shaped, always alert and awake, ready for any activity. It also remains in perfect proportion with the rest of the body and looks wide in conjunction with the ears, which are quite large and always remain erect on the head. His eyes are quite large and deep, usually amber or caramel, but always with a tendency to be dark. Its snout is elongated and ends in a powerful jaw that closes in the form of scissors.

Also among its features are the legs, straight and elongated in the front and falls in the back. Its tail is elongated and usually shown to fall at rest. During the movement of the dog, it can rise slightly, but never above the horizontal line of its body. However, its movement is very fluid and athletic, being able to run at high speed and jump at a higher height than it might seem at first due to its anatomy.

Standard size

The German shepherd is a large animal as a whole, both in height and in the breadth of its body. As for the height, it can easily reach 65 centimeters to the cross, about 60 centimeters in the case of females. The approximate weight will be about 32 kilos, but it can be lower or higher depending on the size of the animal and its physical characteristics. It is an animal that, although it must be corpulent, should never be overweight, since this can also have many health problems in it.

Breed’s Fur

The breed standard marks that the German shepherd must have short, dense and rough hair to the touch. There may be long-haired specimens, but this variety is not admitted as a beauty contest dog. The dogs of color fire and black are habitual, although they can also be given lioness or tabby. Sometimes, German shepherds of black color can be seen completely, but this coloration is not admitted either in the dog shows nor enters the standard.

German Shepard History

Although today it is one of the best known and numerous races in the world, the truth is that the history of the German shepherd does not have a long journey. It is a breed of recent creation compared to others, since its origin is in Germany, in the year 1899. Its appearance took place to meet the very specific needs of the shepherds of the rural areas of Germany, such as surveillance of sheep flocks, and their protection. From this moment on, their qualities served for many other people to notice them, and soon the German shepherd became one of the most famous races worldwide, used as a companion animal, but also for countless jobs as a police dog, guide dog for the blind, guard dog, rescue, etc.

The beginning of other races had more to do with chance rather than with the search for certain characteristics by human beings. However, in the creation of the German shepherd, the hand of man is evident from the first moment. At the end of the 19th century, some areas of Germany required adequate protection measures to preserve their herds of rams from the ferocity of wolves. Then a breeding program was launched, of which large and strong dogs were the protagonists. Specifically, it was a German army cavalry captain, Maximilian von Stephanitz, who was responsible for making a series of crosses between other dogs to obtain the characteristics they were looking for, hence this man is considered the father of the race.

The first copies of German shepherd were animals with great capacities for work, since at the crossroads the practical aspect always prevailed and not so much the aesthetics of the specimens. In 1899 the Association of Friends of the German Shepherd was created, and then certain specimens for breeding began to be selected that, in addition to maintaining the characteristics for the work, had a certain aesthetic type. Thus, little by little the psychic and physical characteristics of the German shepherd was also defined.

When the base of the German economy went from being the livestock and agricultural to the industrialized, the German shepherd saw his survival threatened, since he was a dog conceived almost solely as a guardian of herds. Luckily, Von Stephanitz managed to introduce some copies into the ranks of the German police. In this work he proved to be also unique, so he became part of the army and won a place in many other jobs with great demands for intelligence, strength, resistance, and reliability.

Once in Germany, he established himself as one of the most important dog breeds at all levels, he made the leap to other countries, is one of the first United States. The first copies of German shepherd arrived in North America around 1906 at the hands of collectors and rich breeders who had noticed their characteristics. For some years, its popularity increased markedly, but it stagnated during the First World War because of its country of origin, just as it happened during the Second World War. The breed’s name was even changed to try to protect it, and in some places, it was known as Alsatian Wolf Dog, a name not too popular, but still used today in some very specific circles.

After all these moments of weakness of the breed, it was the animals themselves who, with their work and nobility, managed to conquer the hearts of the Americans and gain their admiration and trust. They soon regained the popularity they had always had and the upbringing began to increase exponentially to meet all the demand for copies. The problem with this was that animals were raised indiscriminately and without any control, so that for a time the good reputation of the breed was threatened by dogs that did not meet the characteristics of the original German shepherds, especially as regards his faithful and noble temperament and some hereditary diseases that had a high incidence for some years, such as hip dysplasia.

From 1960 onwards, precautions regarding the breeding of these animals by some veterinarians and other protectors of the breed were extreme. They joined forces to select the specimens trained for reproduction, trying to avoid the appearance of hip dysplasia and also behavioral problems that had appeared during this time of excessive and uncontrolled breeding. These precautions have come to the present, and today the most prestigious breeders carefully select the specimens they are going to cross, and all have a certificate of being free of this disease. Some even have a Merit Registration title for those animals that breed litters of great beauty and with all health guarantees.

With this short but also intense history, the German shepherd has come to the present day as one of the favorite races of homes around the world. Still today it is still used as a working dog performing many tasks, but it is also a pet with unique characteristics for families of all kinds.

General Behavior

The German shepherd is a dog sociable and trainable by nature, which can be the perfect pet or the perfect working animal if properly educated. It is very important to start your education and socialization at approximately 3 months since it will be much easier to get a balanced animal and able to behave correctly in all circumstances.

He also usually gets along with children and other animals, but you have to be careful with his games because sometimes he doesn’t control his strength. This is also relatively easy to control if given proper education, so it is really easy for the German shepherd to be a balanced dog at all levels.

Despite its robustness, it is an animal full of energy, active and athletic, eager to play and explore new territories. He is always willing to carry out new activities that put him to the test both physically and mentally. This means that long walks are not enough to get you to wear all that energy.

In general terms, it is an obedient, cheerful and affectionate dog, as well as very intelligent. She is brave and protective of her family and loves spending as much time as possible with her. He may be a little distrustful of strangers, but it is also because of his protective instinct and guard. With good socialization since childhood, you will learn to be calm in the presence of strangers and enjoy knowing other people and animals.

Good Family Dog?

You know that the German shepherd has an always alert temperament. But it also has many other features that make it unique work and guard dog. The German shepherd is of brave, obedient and intelligent temperament, so he is more than recommended as a family dog, regardless of the number of people in the family or their ages.

By now, the German shepherd information received should have been enough to give you a good idea of ​​the breed. You know the characteristics of a German shepherd and his character, so you should no longer have doubts about it. The qualities of the German shepherd can be counted by hundreds, but if you want more information about the German shepherd dog or a more direct type of German shepherd information, it is advisable to contact a breeder personally with a breeder who knows and understands the race.

Another characteristic of his temper is that he is easy to educate and obedient by nature. One more reason why it is a perfect choice as a family pet. Even children can teach you to do tricks, which will make them have fun together and strengthen their ties. The German shepherd is very protective of his family, and even more with the little ones in the house, so he will be a great friend, a good caretaker, and an exemplary pet at all times.

Main Diseases 

Although the breeding of the German shepherd is currently very controlled, the birth of specimens indiscriminately for many years caused the appearance of health problems of genetic origin that even today has a very high incidence in these animals. One of the most common diseases of the breed is hip dysplasia, and to avoid it as much as possible, the specimens for reproduction should be selected very carefully and through scrupulous health checks. In addition, any new owner of a German shepherd should demand to see the pedigree of his puppy to verify that his parents were really free of this disease.

It is also quite common for these animals to develop von Willebrand’s disease, a pancreatic deficiency that causes various health problems in the animal and that has no cure, although it can be controlled with a certain medication. Other diseases that may appear in this breed are panosteitis, cauda equina syndrome, or canine corneal pannus.

Basic Care

To ensure the best possible state of health for the German shepherd, it is best to follow specific daily guidelines and healthy habits. For example, it is advisable to go to the veterinarian frequently for a review as well as to keep your vaccinations and deworming up to date. It is an animal that adapts well to any type of housing and space, although it is recommended that you have the possibility of running freely in controlled areas to give out all your vitality.

Whether in its variety of short hair or long hair, this breed requires very specific care to keep its fur in the best conditions. The usual brushing is necessary, at least 3 times per week, more in the variety of long hair. It also requires complete baths once a month approximately, always with a suitable shampoo to prevent allergic reactions from appearing on your skin.

It is also necessary to control their diet because it is a dog that has a tendency to gain weight if it eats too much and that may have health problems associated with obesity, such as worsening of the symptoms of hip dysplasia. It is recommended to always opt for quality food and in adequate quantities, if possible in several doses per day, which will also prevent you from suffering the dangerous gastric torsion.

In order for the German shepherd to be healthy on a physical and mental level, the most important thing is to provide him with the right exercise and proper education from a puppy. If he feels useful and receives affection, he will be the perfect companion animal. Training in positive and adding new orders every day is the most appropriate will have a better effect and the dog will remain more active.

Curiosities

One of the reasons why this breed is so known throughout the world is because it has starred in series and movies, such as REX, or Rin Tin, where they showed all those characteristics that make them so valuable and esteemed dogs for both jobs and To be companions of any person. He has even starred in video games or animated films, such as Charlie, the German shepherd of the movie ‘All dogs go to heaven’.

Adolf Hitler had a copy of this breed, a female named Blondi whom he adored and from which photographs can be seen accompanying his owner.

If you think this breed is the most suitable for you, first of all, you must find a reputable and specialized breeder in the German shepherd, who can guarantee the puppy’s health through his pedigree.

Be careful with private sales or of doubtful origin, because these animals can present various diseases when there is no special control and care in their reproduction. In addition, only an experienced breeder can advise you on your temperament and the best habits so that you always stay in perfect condition. It is worth striving to get a unique travel companion with whom to forge the best possible relationship for many years.