German Shepherd Dog Dog Breed
|Life Span:||13-15 years.|
|Litter Size:||7 - 8 puppies on average|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||German Shepherd Dogs come in various colors, with strong dark colors preferred. All colors are permissible except white, though a small white patch on the chest is allowed. Black and tan is the most popular and most common color.|
|Size:||Large, Extra Large|
|Male Height:||24-26 inches|
|Male Weight:||77-85 pounds|
|Female Height:||22-24 inches|
|Female Weight:||77-85 pounds|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Because they are fairly inactive indoors, German Shepherd Dogs are perfectly happy as indoor dogs, even in an apartment. These dogs are agile and can be in tight situations without appearing clumsy. However, they do need access to exercise, so if you live in a place where the dog does not have access to a yard, it\'s imperative that you walk or run with him.|
The German Shepherd Dog is a very strong and alert breed. They have a noble appearance with a strong and chiseled head. They have medium sized eyes that are dark and almond shaped. Their ears are somewhat pointed and open toward the front. They stand very erect when at attention. Their skulls are sloped into a long wedge shaped muzzle. Their noses are black and they have strongly developed jaws with teeth that meet in a scissors bite.
The German Shepherd dog has a strong neck that is muscular and long, but always in proportion to the rest of his body. Their chests are deep and filled out. Their legs are strong and muscular and their feet are short and compact.
German Shepherd Dogs should always be longer than he is tall. The most desirable proportion is 10 to 8 1/2 length in proportion to height. A female German Shepherd Dog should look decidedly female, and a male German Shepherd Dog should look decidedly male, particularly when you look at their heads.
Today, there are German lines of this breed and American lines. The German lines of the German Shepherd Dog tend to be larger dogs with a broader head and darker coat. Dogs with the American line are typically smaller and have less sloping in their hips, which is a traditional German Shepherd Dog characteristic. American lines also show more silver with black coat coloring, whereas the German lines are nearly always black and tan.
The German Shepherd Dog has a medium length double coat, which sheds constantly. During seasonal changes, shedding will be even heavier. The undercoat is typically a silvery gray and should not be visible through the outer coat. Their outer coat is very dense and has a somewhat coarse feeling to it. The hair is straight and lies close to the body. You\'ll sometimes find longer hair on the rear of the legs. Hair is thicker and longer around the neck.
White is considered an improper color in this breed because being colored white would prevent a German Shepherd Dog from excelling at tasks for which the dog was bred. The dogs were originally bred as mountain herding dogs - and a white coat would have been invisible in the snow. In addition, they were bred to be watchdogs, another task where the color white is inappropriate because it makes the dog too visible. However, there is a separate breed called the White German Shepherd. It is not recognized by the AKC, but is recognized by the UKC.
The German Shepherd Dog breed is an adaptation of the mountain sheepdog of Germany, altered for work as a military dog around 1880. Three regions of Germany became famous for breeding these dogs; Wurtemberg, Thurginia and Bavaria. The dogs from these areas, including long hair, short hair and wire haired herding dogs were used to produce the German shepherd we know today.
Captain Max Von Stephanitz is often referred to as the "Father of the German Shepherd". In April 1899, he registered a dog named Horan as the first Deutsche Schaferhunde, which means German Shepherd Dog, so the word "dog" is actually part of the breed\'s name. In 1925 he wrote a book, "The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture", which immortalized the breed. Von Stephanitz was a noted disciplinarian and headed the Society for the Promotion of the Breeding of German Shepherd dogs from its founding in 1899 until 1935. He guided and directed an intensive-breeding program to fix type and was adamant in his demands for utility and intelligence. Even today, this breed of dog is known for being one that is very reliable in terms of behaving and performing to type. After WWII, the popularity waned due to their association with Hitler and his reign of terror. It was during these post WWII years that the British changed the dog\'s name to Alsatian, and then later to Alsatian Wolf Dog, to remove the stigma of having the word German in their name.
In America the breed was well established before World War I. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America came into being in 1913 with 26 members. Today local clubs together with the Parent Club continue to guide the breeding of this dog. Until 1915, both long-haired and wire-haired varieties were exhibited. Today, in most countries, only the short coat is recognized for show purposes.
When you choose your own German Shepherd Dog, choosing a reputable breeder is paramount. These dogs have been consistently popular for many years, and there have been many suspect breeding programs created as a result. When dogs are poorly bred, they are subject to health problems like hip dysplasia and are often not representative of the true nature of the breed. For example, German Shepherd Dogs are occasionally prone to skittishness. This behavior is far from the norm of this typically steady and calm breed. Reputable breeders, if they had a skittish puppy, would never breed it, in an attempt to breed this behavior out, rather than in. Breeders looking just to make a quick buck, however, are not so careful about how their dogs are bred.
The German Shepherd Dog has a distinct personality. They are confident and strong in their behavior as well as in their appearance. They are typically fearless, but they are also fiercely loyal and protective. They are extremely eager to please, particularly once you\'ve established yourself as the "alpha dog". A German Shepherd Dog will fight to the death for the life of his owner and is strong enough that he may well win the battle.
They can appear somewhat aloof, particularly with strangers, and they take time to get to know new people before they let their guard down. This dog is incredibly alert - he never misses anything that goes on around him, which is one of the reasons this breed makes the perfect watchdog.
Once bonded to an owner, a German Shepherd Dog makes a wonderful companion. Many people think of this breed as simply a watchdog or police dog, but they actually make great family pets if they are properly trained. They are loyal and protective, but also sweet and loving with their families. They are very good with children and do quite well with other pets in the home. They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time, so they should be allowed to interact with their families on a regular basis. This breed has a very calm and steady temperament, so once trained, they can be relied on to behave appropriately wherever you take them.
The German Shepherd Dog\'s body and strength make it well suited for working and they have been used for years as working dogs. They are often used for police work, as security dogs, as herding dogs, as service dogs for the blind and hearing impaired and as military dogs. This dog\'s intelligence, sense of smell and work ethic make him suited to nearly any task you\'d choose to train him for.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The German Shepherd Dog ranks #68 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
German Shepherd Dogs are prone to hip dysplasia. This problem is mostly the result of indiscriminate breeding programs. Before purchasing a German Shepherd Dog puppy, be certain that both parents have their hips certified OFA good at the very least. They are also prone to blood disorders, digestive problems and chronic eczema. Overall, however, if you choose your dog from a reputable breeder, he should be healthy overall.