Help Stop Puppy Mills   |   PetFinder   |   Rabies Challenge Fund   |   Dog Training Software   |   QR Code Dog Tags   |   Dog Breed DNA Testing
Breeds Home > Breed List > German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog Breed Information

German Shepherd Dog

Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CKC , CKC , FCI , GSDCA , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
AKA: Alsatian, Deutscher Schaferhund, GSD
Mispellings: Germen Shepard, German Sheapherd, German Shephard, German Sheeperd, German Shepperd, Germanshepard, German Sheperd

Living with a German Shepherd Dog

Temperament: The German Shepherd is a direct, fearless and self-confident dog tending not to form immediate and indiscriminate friendships. They must be approachable and never hostile. A German Shepherd should stand its ground quietly and confidently, poised, eager and alert. They should never show signs of shyness or nervousness.

Family Dog: German Shepherds are generally good with children and other pets.

Shedding: The German Shepherd is a constant shedder with periods of heavy shedding during the change of seasons.

Grooming: The German Shepherd should be given a quick daily brushing to keep shedding to a minimal. They should be bathed only once or twice a year unless otherwise necessary. Over bathing can deplete the oils in the skin.

Training: The German Shepherd has a high learning ability and is eager to learn. German Shepherds have a very strong protective instinct and need firm obedience training and socialization from an early age.

Barking: German Shepherds only bark when necessary.

Exercise: German Shepherd needs plenty of exercise. These dogs love physical activity, and training. They need long daily walks, jogs or runs.

Living Conditions: The German Shepherd can live in an apartment provided he is given ample time for exercise. German Shepherds are normally inactive inside and should have access to a large yard in which to run.

German Shepherd Dog Appearance

Appearance: The German Shepherd Dog is a strong, agile, muscular dog who is alert and full of life. The German Shepherd has a balanced appearance with the length of the body greater than its height. The outline of the body is shaped with smooth curves rather than sharp angles giving it a fit, nimble and noble appearance.

Size: The German Shepherd weighs around 77 to 85 pounds. The male German Shepherd is between 24 to 26 inches tall while the female is between 22 to 24 inches.

Companionship: German Shepherds love to be around people and should not be left alone for long periods of time. They are very wary of strangers.

Head: The head of a German Shepherd is strong and cleanly chiseled with an overall noble appearance. Its size should be proportionate to the body having a keen and intelligent expression. The forehead should be only moderately arched with the skull sloping into the muzzle without an abrupt stop. The head is typically carried forward just slightly higher than the top of the shoulders except When the dog is excited or at attention where the head is carried high. The head of male German Shepherd should be distinctly masculine, while the female's head is distinctly feminine.

Nose: The German Shepherd's nose should be black in color.

Eyes: The eyes of a German Shepherd should be medium-sized, almond-shaped and dark in color. They should be set obliquely in the skull and never protruding.

Ears: The German Shepherd's ears should be moderately pointed and proportionate to the size of the head. They should be set on the head in such a way that the center line of each ear appears parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.

Muzzle: The muzzle of the German Shepherd is long and strong forming a wedge-shape with firmly fitted lips. Its topline should be parallel to the topline of the skull.

Teeth/Bite: The German Shepherd's jaws are very strong, containing 42 very strong teeth that meet in a scissors bite.

Neck: The neck of a German Shepherd is long, clean-cut, strong and muscular free from any loose folds of skin.

Body: The body of the German Shepherd Dog is longer than it is tall, with the most desirable length to height ratio being 10 to 8½. The overall appearance of the body should give an impression of depth and solidity free from any bulkiness. The shoulders slope gently down into the level back which is straight, strong and short without sag or roach. The chest is full and extends down between the legs. The ribs are long and well-sprung. They should be neither barrel-shaped nor flat and extend down between the elbows but never impair the mobility of the dog. The abdomen should be firmly held and not paunchy. The bottom line has moderate tuck-up. The loin when Viewed from above should appear broad and strong.

Forequarters: The forequarters of the German Shepherd are muscular with long, angled shoulder blades meeting the upper arm at a right angle. The legs are straight and with oval rather than round bone. The pasterns are springy and strong forming approximately a 25-degree angle from the vertical.

Hindquarters: The German Shepherd's hindquarters are broad and muscular with the upper thigh forming almost a right angle with the lower thigh. The metatarsus is strong, short and tightly articulated.

Gait: The German Shepherd is a trotting dog with a long outreach and effortless stride allowing the dog to cover maximum ground with minimal effort. The gait of a German Shepherd should appear smooth and rhythmic with the hindquarters providing a powerful forward drive which slightly lifts the dog and drives the body forward.

Feet: The feet of the German Shepherd are short with well-arched, compact toes, thick pads and short, dark nails. The front dewclaws of the German Shepherd are typically not removed but can be. The rear dewclaws, if the dog has any, should be removed.

Tail: The bushy tail of a German Shepherd is set smoothly into the croup with the last vertebra extended past hock joint. When the dog is at rest, the tail should hang with a slight curve like a saber. When the dog is in motion, the tail is raised with a more pronounced curve. The tail should never curl forward beyond a vertical line.

Color: The coat of the German Shepherd Dog can vary in color the most common colors are Black & Tan, Sable or all Black. Strong, rich colors are preferred but most colors are permissible. The German Shepherd's coat should never be pale, blue or white. Note: There are some Breeds Clubs that recognize German Shepherd's with white coats as a separate breed known as the American White Shepherd.

Coat: A German Shepherd's coat should be a medium length double coat consisting of a straight, harsh, dense outer coat that lies close to the body and an undercoat. The outer coat may be slightly wavy with a wiry texture. The coat on the head, inner ear, foreface, legs and paws are covered with a short coat. The coat on the German Shepherd's neck is longer and thicker than that on the head. The back of the front legs and hind legs are covered in a slightly longer coat.

German Shepherd Dog Facts

Category: Herding, AKC Herding

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of a German Shepherd is around 13 years of age.

Characteristics: The German Shepherd is a wonderful companion. They are eager, alert, bold, cheerful and obedient dogs known for their courage and loyalty. They are working dogs and need a task to do in life; as such they make great herding dogs, watchdogs, guard dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs. The German Shepherd also excels in many other activities such as tracking, obedience, schutzhund, agility, flyball and ring sports.

German Shepherd Dog Health

Health: The German Shepherd is prone to hereditary diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, keratitis, dwarfism and flea allergies.

German Shepherd Dog History

History: The German Shepherd was originally bred by Capt. Max Von Stephanitz and other breeders using long-haired, short-haired and wire-haired local shepherd dogs from Wurtemberg, Thurginia and Bavaria. In April 1899, Von Stephanitz registered the first Deutsche Schäferhunde (English for German Shepherd). German Shepherds were exhibited in both the long and wire haired varieties until 1915. Today, only the short coat is recognized.

About | Contact | Help | Donate | Links
Advertising | Website Design

Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Scams

Sites We Love:
PetFinder | Rabies Challenge Fund