German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog or Alsatian are eager to please, they are
easily trained in obedience and protection. German Shepherd Dogs are often used
as working dogs, search and rescue (SAR), military, police and guard dogs. As
assistance dogs (guide dogs) though not as much as Labrador Retrievers and
Comment "my favorite dog is a german shepard because they are beautiful"
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The German Shepherd Dog is a big, strong, good-looking dog. Their fur is a
double-coat, either short or long haired.
They vary in colour, in many different shades, mostly cream (tan) and brown
but also solid black or white. Dogs with coats that have tricolored hair (black
and white with either brown or red) are called sable or agouti. There are
different standards for various kennel clubs based on size, weight, coat colour,
and structure of the dog.
Picture of Chaos sent in by Anna - Many thanks
This is my LC, Chaos. He'll be 2 years old on
May 8th. He's my only male and my only show dog. I have other
GSD's, but Chaos for some reason seems more special. He is not
only a CH. show dog, he is also a therapy dog through TDI. He
and I have a bond like I've never had with one of my dogs. We
will be putting him through the temperament test through the
ATTS on May 4th. I can't wait to see how he does with the
test. He's one special boy. - Anna and Complete Chaos Von
There are several types or lines of GSD and the behaviour, abilities,
and appearance of each is quite different. The major lines are the international
working line, the international
and the North American show line.
FCI-recognised international working lines are bred primarily for
traits involving their working ability rather than appearance, so their
appearance can be somewhat varied.
The FCI-recognized international show lines differ in that emphasis is
given more to the appearance of the dog when breeding, so they are very
consistent in type or appearance.
The North American show lines have also been bred primarily for their
looks, but have a markedly different appearance from the international dogs,
featuring a noticeably sloped back and sharp angulation of the hock joint. There
is a current debate over whether the American show lines still represent the
original German Shepherd Dog, or whether the line has become distinct enough
that it should be considered a separate breed. Critics of the American line
argue that the working ability of these dogs has been lost, and that the angled
back is detrimental to the health of the animal. Proponents of the line believe
that the altered bone structure of their dogs represents an improvement to the
herding ability of the animals.
In the erstwhile GDR,
the German Shepherds more closely adhered to the old pre-war standard marked by
straighter back, longer and denser coat and darker colour. These dogs are now
praised for breeding working dogs as they are less prone to
dysplasia. Attempts to preserve this distinct line and raise it to the
status of an officially recognized breed ("East
German Shepherd Dog") are stalled.
Variant sizes and coats
Some groups or breeders have focused on variants or mutations of the breed
that are not recognized by most kennel clubs as acceptable
but that might eventually become breeds on their own.
- White coat
A white (or very light), but not
version of the German Shepherd has also always occurred, but was designated a
disqualifying fault in the AKC in the late 1960s. The white coat is considered a
fault by International (FCI)
Fédération Cynologique Internationale breed standards in most parts of the
The white coat, however, does not prevent the white-coated German Shepherd
Dog from being registered in the AKC as a German Shepherd Dog. White Shepherds
hold champion titles in the UKC (United Kennel Club). Now, some breeders
selectively breed White Shepherds for their beautiful snowy white coats and
physical stature, striving for a Shepherd that closely resembles the original
dog; less angular than today's German Shepherd breed. See the
American White Shepherd Association for more detail. However, the white
German Shepherd has been recognised by some organisations under the name
Berger Blanc Suisse (or
White Shepherd Dog)
- The so-called "long-haired German Shepherd" is considered a "fault" in the
German Shepherd Dog breed according to American Kennel Club standards as well as
the International (FCI) breed standard. The long hair
Dogs with this coat look somewhat like the
Tervueren type of
Belgian Shepherd Dog. An example with pictures can be found
here. Popular myth holds that long-haired GSDs ("fuzzies") are more
affectionate, but there is little evidence for this. Long coats usually have no
or little undercoat, thus they can be rather sensitive to extreme weather.
- Giant shepherd
- Some organizations recognize a deliberately bred, larger variation of the
breed as the
Shiloh Shepherd Dog or other names.
Well-bred GSDs have powerful jaws and strong teeth, can develop a strong
sense of loyalty and obedience, and can be trained to attack and release on
command. Poorly bred GSDs such as those from
can be fearful, overly aggressive, or both. GSDs (like
Dobermanns), are often perceived as inherently dangerous, and are the target
Breed Specific Legislation in several countries. If a GSD is violent or
aggressive, it is often due to the combination of poor breeding (bad nerves) and
the owner's lack of control or training. GSDs are often used as guard, attack
and police dogs, which further contributes to the perception of being a
dangerous breed. However, many GSDs function perfectly well as search dogs and
family pets, roles where aggressive behaviour is unsuitable.
GSDs' sense of loyalty and emotional bond with their owners is almost
impossible to overstate. Separation trauma is one reason they are now used less
often in guide dog roles, since guide dogs are typically trained from puppyhood
by one owner prior to final placement with their employer.
Temperament differences among lines
The different types or lines of GSD display differences not only in
appearance but also in ability and temperament.
Dogs from working lines have very high energy, and have been bred to have a
natural drive for protection, tracking, and obedience. They are bred primarily
for consistent temperament, working drive, and intelligence. These dogs can be
used as pets, but will be unhappy if not exercised daily or trained to do a job
of some sort. These dogs are more commonly seen in rescues in North America due
to their high prey drive and owner's inability to control or train them.
German and Eastern European lines tend to be stockier, with shorter snouts
and more muscular chests, and typify the working lines.
North American lines have a tendency towards a longer croup, longer back,
higher wither and temperament ideal for companionship. They do not require
constant stimulation to keep them from becoming bored and possibly demonstrating
These dogs can make excellent pets, provided that a responsible breeder has
not sacrificed consistent temperament or health in the quest for popular
standards for good looks.
As is common in many large breeds, German Shepherds are prone to
dysplasia. Other health problems sometimes occurring in the breed are
von Willebrand's disease and skin
German Shepherds are also prone to
bloat. They have
average lifespan of twelve years.
The breed was originated by
Captain Max von Stephanitz in the late
century and early
century. His goal was to breed an all-purpose
dog. The first registered GSD was Horand v. Grafrath
. Von Stephanitz admired the
dogs of his native
German Empire, and believed they had the potential to be all-purpose working
dogs. Additionally, he was aware of the declining need for herding dogs and
believed that the working abilities of the breed would decline unless it was put
to other uses. Von Stephanitz created the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde
, or SV as the official governing body for the breed.
The SV then created the
trial as a breed test for the German Shepherd Dog, and prohibited the breeding
of any dog which could not pass the trial. The schutzhund trial, along with the
SV's conviction that "German Shepherd breeding is working dog breeding, or it is
not German Shepherd breeding" led to a rapid development of the breed's
World War I, British and American soldiers, impressed by the abilities of
the dog, brought home examples to breed. The breed instantly became popular,
both as a family pet and as a working dog. To this day, the German Shepherd Dog
is considered one of the most, if not the most, intelligent and versatile breeds
Working German Shepherd Dogs
German Shepherds often compete and excel in
obedience trials and
competitions. German Shepherds are also often trained as
due to their trainability, size, work drive and look which commands respect, but
is not too scary.
The original purpose for the German Shepherd Dog was (not surprisingly) to
herd sheep, cattle, or any other animal that might require the assistance of a
shepherd. Even given the name "Shepherd", some people are surprised to hear that
these dogs were bred for herding, as the GSD is more often found working as a
companion pet than in the field working sheep.
The German Shepherd Dog does not have the "eye" that
Border Collies or some other similar breeds have. They are trained to follow
their instinct, which for the GSD is to "work the furrow", meaning that they
will patrol a boundary all day and restrict the animals being herded from
entering or leaving the designated area. It is this instinct that has made the
breed superb guarding dogs, protecting their flock (or family).
A German Shepherd Dog's instincts to herd might manifest themselves by the
dog closely watching or even nipping at members of its family as they go for
walks. The dog might attempt to lead people to what it perceives is the correct
location, even going so far as to gently take a hand in his teeth to lead the
person. With some training, this can become a trick, sometimes known as "walk
The proper English name for the breed is German Shepherd Dog (a
literal translation from the German "Deutscher Schäferhund") but they are
usually informally referred to as GSDs or simply German Shepherds.
In addition, the sobriquet police dog is used in many countries where the
GSD is the predominant or exclusive breed used in the canine police force.
Alsatian is also commonly used in the
United Kingdom and countries of the
Commonwealth of Nations. After World War I, a few dogs were taken to England
and the United States. At that time, the English owners renamed the dog as the
"Alsatian Shepherd", as it was feared that the breed's original name could be an
impediment due the anti-German feelings still present after the War. Only in
1930 did the British Kennel Club authorise the breed to be known again as German
Popularity in the U.S.
Based on 2005
American Kennel Club statistics, German Shepherd Dogs are the fourth most
popular breed of dog in the United States with approximately 45,000 new
registrations during the year
Famous Shepherd Dogs
Ace the Bat-Hound
- Beauty and Beast in the
2006 remake of
The Hills Have Eyes
- Blondi, pet
- Bullet, the Wonder Dog -
- Charlie, from
All Dogs Go to Heaven
- Clipper, pet of
John F. Kennedy
- Jerome from the
Ginga Legend Weed
- Jerry Lee,
sidekick in the films
- John from the
Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin
- Luks, pet of
Josip Broz Tito
- Major, pet of
Franklin D. Roosevelt
dog in the Russian TV serial
Mukhtar Returns and
Return of Mukhtar - 2
- Rebel, from
Champion the Wonder Horse
Rex (also known as Reginald von Ravenhorst) from
Rex the Wonder Dog;
Sadie, current star of Hollywood films
- Strongheart, the first canine movie star
The Littlest Hobo
- Tulip, of the book My dog Tulip by
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my favorite dog is a german shepard because they
My favourite dog breed is a German Shepherd!!!!!!!!!