German Shepherd

A regal, supportive, and trusting companion and partner in crime

How much do you know about German shepherd dogs? The German shepherd dog breed is renowned for its fearless and versatile nature, and are classed as being part of the herding group. The dogs perform a variety of tasks such as leading blind people, detecting illegal drugs and tracking hardcore criminals.

Before you get insight into the origin, physical and physiological nature of this breed of high intelligence and noble spirit, try testing your knowledge! Can You Pass This Shepherd Shepherd Quiz?


Let’s Learn More About the German Shepherd

So how’d you do on the quiz? Pretty good? Not that great?

If you keep reading, you’ll get a quick rundown of some of the more important aspects you’ll need to know about the German Shepherd.

Feel like going old school? If you do, there are plenty of books about German Shepherds you can purchase at Amazon.



LATE 1800’S

In the 1850’s scientists attempted to standardize different dog breeds. They bred dogs to preserve distinct traits that helped them to herd sheep and protect them from an array of predators. In Germany, shepherds from different local communities chose and bred particular dogs. They recognized that ideal breeds had unique traits such as high intelligence, strength, speed and a sharp sense of smell.

However, the resultant breeds had slight variations based on their locality. In 1891, the Phylax Society was founded to formulate uniform development plans for German native dog breeds. However, it was disbanded after three years mainly due to internal conflicts concerning the dog traits which the society should promote.

In 1899, as Von Stephanitz was attending a dog show, he saw a unique dog called Hektor Linksrhein. The dog’s beauty, intelligence, and strength impressed him; therefore, he promptly purchased Hektor. Von changed Hektor’s name to Horand Von Grafrath and declared the dog as the first German shepherd.

Original Purposes for the Labrador Retriever

German Shepherds are favorite working dogs. Police use them in detecting illegal and harmful substances, in holding suspects and while patrolling volatile regions. The military has also handled numerous dogs. The dogs warn them about the presence of enemies or various hazards such as bombs.

In the Second World War, the breed worked as the messenger, personal guard and rescue dogs. Foreign members of the armed forces who were amazed by their intelligence adopted them. Due to their unique sense of smell, the dogs are also used in detecting accelerant and explosives, detecting cadaver and narcotics as well as search and rescue missions.



Most people train German shepherds due to their knowledge. In his book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” Stanley Coren ranked the Shepherd as the third most intelligent breed behind Poodles and Border Collies. He discovered that they could learn different tasks after just five repetitions. Also, the dogs obey the first command most of the time. German Shepherds also have great instructions interpretation ability.

Size: Height/Weight (both male and female)

Height: 24-26 inches; Weight: 65-90 lbs

Height: 22-24 inches; Weight: 50-70 lbs

German Shepherds are large and medium-sized dogs. Their standard height at adulthood is about 24-26 inches for males and 22-24 inches for females. A healthy adult male can weigh up to 90 lbs and a female can weigh up to 70 lbs.

Health Concerns and Regular Vet Care

Most of the breed’s ailments are due to inbreeding. Elbow and hip dysplasia may cause excruciating pain and arthritis to a dog as they age. Recent studies also reveal that almost 50% of police working German Shepherds have degenerative spinal stenosis. About 19% of the dogs suffer from hip dysplasia. However, there are various ways in which you can prevent your dog from getting the disease.

Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological disease common in German Shepherds. Due to advanced technology, it is currently possible for a dog owner to have inexpensive DNA saliva tests for their dogs. Since their outer ear canal is hairless, the dogs are not susceptible to ear infections. An ordinary German shepherd has a lifespan of ten years.

Moreover, the dogs are highly susceptible to the Von Willebrand disease. It is an inherited bleeding disorder. Besides, they are also prone to the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), a degenerative pancreatic disease. However, you can treat it by giving your pet pancreatic supplements.



German Shepherd Appearance/Standard

German Shepherds have a dome-shaped forehead, a black nose, strong jaws and an extended square-cut muzzle. Also, they have medium-sized eyes, a brown, intelligent and confident look. Their ears are large. They stand erect and open frontwards. However, the dogs usually pull back the ears when in motion.

Moreover, they have a long neck that they raise when excited and lower when running. They have a bushy tail that extends up to their hock. Most German Shepherds have a double layered coat with a dense and thick undercoat. There are long and medium coats. Customarily, the dogs are black/tan or black/red.

Many color breeds have distinct black masks and body markings that range from classic ‘saddle’ to ‘blanket.’ However, there are rare color variations including blue, pure black, pure white and dark varieties. Besides, they have precise sex characteristics.

If you are interested in showing your Shepherd, The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a very thorough description and standard, which can be viewed or downloaded here.


Maintenance: Grooming/Shedding

German Shepherds regularly shed their thick double coat. During the spring, they slowly shed their undercoat; therefore, Shepherds will require frequent baths and brushing to remove loose hair. However, for the rest of the year, a weekly brush is enough. Moreover, Shepherds need regular nail trimming after several weeks.

Common grooming equipment consists of a deshedder, slicker brush, and nail clippers similar to the ones below that can be easily found on amazon or any other well stocked store carrying pet supplies.

DeShedder – Amazon

Slicker Brush – Amazon

Nail Clippers – Amazon

Also, to maintain good dental hygiene, Shepherds require teeth brushing.


German Shepherds are active dogs know to protect family members. However, if you inadequately socialize them, they tend to be overprotective to their territory. Breed standards describe them as individual animals. They are always eager and willing to learn. Besides, they are highly intelligent and obedient.

Activity/Energy Level

Medium Energy

German Shepherds are a medium-active breed. They are most active in the early morning and late evening hours of the day.

Some behavior problems may result from boredom as German Shepherds crave running and exercising, both physically and mentally. Some of these problems may include excessive barking, chewing, and digging.

Therefore, Shepherds aren’t the best breed for those who work long hours or live in apartments.

Food Consumption

The recommended daily feeding amount is three to four cups of quality dry food per day. You should split it into two meals. A dog’s food consumption depends on their age, activity level, build, metabolism and size.

Stage of Life Awareness (as puppy, adult, and senior)

Young German shepherd puppies are highly active. They also need highly nutritious meals for proper growth.

However, as they develop to being adults, their food consumption increases. Also, they tend to like strenuous exercises.

Senior dogs are the least active. Moreover, they have a relatively low appetite.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Do German Shepherds Shed?

A:  German Shepherds are heavy shedders, especially during spring.

Q: Are German Shepherds Aggressive?

A: Most of them are overprotective of family members and their territory if you do not train them to be social.

Q: Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

A: German Shepherds are an ideal breed for any family. Besides offering quality security, it is fun playing with them.

Q: Are German Shepherds Smart?

A: Entirely yes, they are the third most intelligent dogs.

Q: Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

A: Entirely yes, they are the third most intelligent dogs.

Q: Are German Shepherds Good with Other Dogs?

A: German Shepherds interact well with other dogs especially the small breeds.

Q: Do German Shepherds like water?

A: German Shepherds like having frequent baths, and love swimming in the water.

Q: Do German Shepherds Howl?

A: In most instances, they’ll howl when they get bored or when their owners neglect them for long

Q: Are German Shepherds easy to train?

A: You can efficiently train a German shepherd dog if you treat them fondly. It is vital to always treat your German shepherd with love and respect. It helps in building trust between the two of you. Besides, it enables you to train the dog quickly.

Similar Breeds

Golden Retriever

German Short-haired Pointer

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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