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German Shepherd Dog


German Shepherd Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 22" - 26"
  • Weight
  • 70-90 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Can be trained for defense
    • Good with children
    • Guide dog for the blind
    • Ok outdoors
    • Rescue heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Alsatian, German Shepherd, GSD, Deutscher Schaferhund


The German Shepherd Dog originated in Karlsruhe, Germany

Date Of Origin

This breed was created in 1899.


The German Shepherd dog is descended from old farm and herding dogs. In 1899, Von Stephanitz was attending a dog show when he was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was the product of many generations of selective breeding and completely fulfilled what Von Stephanitz believed a working dog should be. He was pleased with the strength of the dog and was so taken by the animal's intelligence and loyalty, that he purchased it immediately. After purchasing the dog he changed its name to Horand von Grafrath and Von Stephanitz founded the Verein f?r Deutsche Sch?ferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog). Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and was the first dog added to the society's breed register.

Horand became the centre-point of the breeding programs and was bred with dogs belonging to other society members that displayed desirable traits. Although fathering many pups, Horand's most successful was Hektor von Schwaben. Hektor was inbred with another of Horand's offspring and produced Beowulf, who later fathered a total of eighty-four pups, mostly through being inbred with Hektor's other offspring. Beowulf's progeny also were inbred and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz's strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog.

The German Shepherd Dog has been in the public eye and media many times, recognizable as "Rin Tin Tin" and other canine characters.


The GSD is a large, muscular dog that is longer than it is tall. It has large, prick ears, a black nose; and dark, almond shaped eyes. The neck is long and strong and the back slopes to the tail. The tail is set low and curves up slightly. The double coat has a short dense undercoat, which may be slightly wavy. There is longer hair at the neck and thighs. The coat comes in a variety of colors.


The GSD is a self confident, even tempered dog. It is affectionate and playful with its friends and family but reserved with strangers, although it warms up quickly. It is intelligent and highly trainable. The GSD is good with children and most animals.


The breed came into being as a leader of the flocks.Due to its intelligence and its outstanding character, it has also been used in time of war (carrying messages under fire and across mine fields), as a rescue dog (in water, in the mountains and through fire), as a police dog (it can follow a trail several days old). The GSD is unbeatable as a guard dog where it can display its fine reflexes and its lightning quick attack. It always performs the work requested of it with good will and enthusiasm.

Health Concerns

Bloat, epilepsy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, hip and elbow dysplasia, panostetis.

Additional Information

The GSD can adapt to city, suburban, or rural life. It does best with an active family or individual who will provide it with ample exercise.
This breed will blow coat twice a year and will probably require professional grooming to reduce shedding.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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