The German Shepherd is a large breed of dog that was officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1908, where it currently ranks as the second most popular breed of dog. However, the breed dates back to 1899. This breed of dog originated in Germany, and is often referred to as the Alsatian in other countries, such as in Britain. You might frequently see German Shepherd Dog abbreviated as GSD.
Since German Shepherds are a medium to larger breed of dog, their weight can vary. Male dogs are typically larger than females, weighing in between sixty-six to eighty-eight pounds and standing at about twenty-four to twenty-six inches. Females, slightly smaller, can stand at about twenty-two to twenty-four inches and weigh anywhere between fifty and seventy pounds.
German Shepherds have a bushy tail and a two-layer coat, which consists of the under layer and the top layer. The under layer is helpful for keeping the dog dry and warm, while the top coat will sheen and glisten when brushing and grooming are performed correctly. The German Shepherd can come in several colors, ranging from white to almost pure black. The markings on a German Shepherd coat can range from almost saddle-like, across the dog’s back and down his or her sides, and sometimes over the dog’s head and snout area.
The German Shepherd was originally bred to aid in sheep herding and work around farms, which explains its large stature, strength, and great amount of muscles. While the breed is kept more as a pet or companion animal now, it still has a medium to high exercise need and requires lots of room to run, play, and get exercise on a regular basis.
Due to the German Shepherd breed’s high intelligence levels, the fact that they are easily trained animals, and their ability to be obedient, German Shepherds are often used as police and service dogs, helping people with disabilities (for example, they are great seeing eye dogs!), and are also helpful in search and rescue situations.
German Shepherds can have a wonderful temperament if raised correctly – gentle, loyal, and loving. While the breed does face some scrutiny about being a fighter, if socialized and trained correctly by the right person, the dog can make a great family companion. While German Shepherd dogs do enjoy hunting and herding animals (often small children!) the breed can usually be trained with ease, due to its high intelligence level.
The German Shepherd has an average lifespan of eleven to thirteen years, and with proper care and treatment, some dogs have been known to live well over sixteen years. The German Shepherd breed is known to have a predisposition to several health problems, such as digestive issues and arthritis, commonly seen as the dog ages.
The German Shepherd breed makes a wonderful companion and friend, and can be a great addition to your family if you are looking to adopt a dog or have recently decided to share your home with one. They are an intelligent, loyal, and loving breed that makes for an excellent watchdog, especially if you lead a more active lifestyle and have plenty of time to devote to playtime and exercise!