- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: moderate
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Large
- Average Lifespan: 9-12 years
- Prey Drive: moderate
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: aca, akc
German Shepherd Breed Profile
The German Shepherd is one of the most versatile and well-recognized dog breeds in the world. German Shepherds were originally used as herders and to guard flocks against predators, both being jobs they are well suited for. The German Shepherd, named by the Queen of Switzerland, was first recognized as a member of the AKC herding group in 1908, although Max von Stephanitz and his colleague Arthur Meyer wrote the standard for the breed 9 years before in 1899. Some of the many uses for the German Shepherds today are K9 police dogs, military service, service dogs, and, of course, they are still awesome herding dogs!
The German Shepherd is a strong-willed and highly intelligent dog. They have a very playful spirit, which makes them a great family pet. German Shepherds can be a bit wary of strangers, so early socialization with people is vital to curbing their suspicious nature. A born protector, the German Shepherd will provide a great sense of security for its family, while its loving and lively personality will make it fit right in as your loving companion.
Being a dog that was bred to herd and work, the German Shepherd will not be fond of apartment living and it probably won’t work for this dog breed. They don’t like being alone, as they are happiest when they are with their family and being active. They can be very sensitive to their surroundings, so realize that they may be a little off during large gatherings, and people need to respect that. They have a longer coat, so hot temperatures will not be comfortable for the GSD. They prefer cooler climates if possible. Also, failure to show this breed the proper amount of attention in the family unit can lead to a misbehaved German Shepherd Dog.
While the German Shepherd is highly intelligent and trains fairly easily, they are no picnic for novice owners. If you do not have experience working with dogs, enroll in obedience classes and training, not just for the dog, but for yourself as well. This will help you to grow in experience, and build a strong bond between you and your German Shepherd puppy. Keep in mind, the GSD has a thirst for training and fulfillment, so continued training with your German shepherd throughout its life will be necessary.
The German Shepherd is a generally healthy breed, but there are some things to be aware of. As with many large breeds, proper screening for the health of this breed’s hips, elbows, and the dog’s general genetic history is important. Make sure you ask the breeder about the health of the parents to get a good understanding of the line’s history in regards to health.
The proper grooming of a German Shepherd Dog can appear to be a big job, but it isn’t. They will shed, but it can be controlled with daily brushings, and they will love you for it. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will help control tooth decay. Also, get your German Shepherd used to having their nails trimmed while young, as holding on to an 80-pound dog that is squirming is no fun.
The activity level of the German Shepherd is a high one. They are a herding breed that was made to run, guard, and observe, so they will love having a job to do. If you are looking for a lazy 80-pound couch potato, this is not that dog breed. This is the dog breed that runs around the yard with your kids, insists on daily games of fetch, and needs to run to be happy and balanced.
An adult German Shepherd should weigh between 55 and 90 pounds and stand between 22 and 26 inches at the withers.
The life span of the German Shepherd is between 9 and 12 years
The famous Rin-Tin-Tin was actually found by an American Corporal, Lee Duncan, in a bombed-out kennel in France during World War 1. He was brought back to the states and became one of the most famous dog actors in history. The emergence of Rin-Tin-Tin truly helped put the German Shepherd on the map in the USA.