Being one of America’s most popular dog breeds, the German Shepherd is an intelligent, loyal, courageous, and capable working dog. Whether they’re conducting assistance work for the handicap, helping a search and rescue mission, working in police service, or simply a faithful family companion, there’s a variety of benefits that comes from caring for a German Shepherd.
German Shepherd History
The first evidence of German Shepherds were seen in 19th Century Germany when they were bred as guard dogs, to herd sheep, and to overall be productive working companions. During World War 1, the American Kennel Club (AKC) changed the breed’s name to Alsatian Wolfdog in an attempt to dissociate the dog from its German roots. However, due to public fear of the Wolfdog name, the AKC restored the breed’s name back to German Shepherd in 1931.
Thanks to favorable perceptions in films such as Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, German Shepherd’s became popular in America during the early 1900s. Today, the German Shepherd is the preferred breed for police and military units both in America and around the world. This breed’s versatility has been put to work in such a myriad of tasks that it’s easy to forget that German Shepherds were originally bred to simply herd sheep.
German Shepherd’s are entirely faithful, intelligent, and devoted to their goals; so much so that they’re virtually unsurpassed by any other breed when it comes to their work versatility. While they can have a domineering personality and are highly protective of their home, German Shepherds are also generally friendly to people and other animals/pets. A well-socialized German Shepherd will be patient and gentle towards the people they trust, although they can be suspicious and aloof towards strangers.
As they have been bred to work, German Shepherds rarely lay around on the couch all day. This breed is eager to please, quick to learn, and devoted to completing their task at hand (whatever that may be). It’s important to note that German Shepherd’s enjoy spending plenty of time with their owners and can experience separation anxiety if left on their own for too long.
Weighing between 50 and 90 pounds, the German Shepherd has an unmistakable presence. Standing as high as 26-inches, this breed sports a smooth graceful outline when compared to other canines. The coat types of German Shepherds are as varied as their color. Some have long coats while others have medium coats, all of which come in a variety of colors and patterns consisting of black, cream, red, silver, blue, gray, white, and more. All German Shepherds have a double coat, in which the outer coat is dense straight hair, and second coat is wiry and lies close to their body. Additionally, German Shepherd owners must accept that these dogs will shed all over the place, although brushing your canine companion three times a week will help with this.
German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 7-10 years and are considered generally health breeds when compared to other large dogs. However, they are prone to some unique health problems which are often caused as a result of inbreeding. Common health conditions associated with German Shepherds includes elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, degenerative spinal stenosis, degenerative myelopathy, and Von Willebrand disease. A responsible breeder will screen their canines for many of these common health issues before they are adopted into a home. Additionally, German Shepherds can experience bloat, which is a sudden and often life-threatening swelling of their abdomen. If bloat occurs in your German Shepherd, make sure to bring your canine companion into a veterinarian immediately.
Interesting Facts About German Shepherds
- Rin Tin Tin was a real dog who was rescued from a WW1 battlefield and starred in many films during the 1920s.
- A German Shepherd named Buddy, who lived with his owner Morris Frank in 1928, was the first recorded seeing eye dog in the United States.
- German Shepherds are known as a mouthy breed. Whether they’re being vocal or chewing on something, these breeds enjoy using their mouths.
- Originally bred as a herding breed, German Shepherds still commonly herd and lead humans out of instinct.
- They are often humorously referred to as “German Shedders” due to their year-round shedding.
- They were involved in the search and rescue team at the World Trade Center after 9/11.
- German Shepherds were the first guide dogs formally trained in Switzerland during the 1920s.
Caring for German Shepherds
The correct amount and type of food you should feed a German Shepherd depends primarily on their age, weight, and activity level. Originally formulated to help performance dogs reach their maximum potential, Canine Ultimate Fitness & Health is a delicious, concentrated nutritional powder, providing a balanced blend of 55 nutrients your German Shepherd needs for better health, increased activity, maximized performance, the prevention of age-related diseases, and ultimately a longer, healthier, and more enjoyable life.
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