Information on the breed of the German Shepherd: one of the most versatile and intelligent dog breeds
German Shepherds are among the most popular and intelligent dog breeds in the United States, and for good reason. Not only are they extremely intelligent, but they make excellent working and family dogs. They are versatile enough to be protective and extremely loyal. They can be fierce while working as K9 cops, helping to catch criminals. And yet a working GSD will come home to play with the children in his family, instinctively intuiting when and how to act in each situation.
The history of the German Shepherd breed dates back to 1889 at a dog show in Germany. Even then, the dog that became the first GSD displayed the grace, power, endurance and strength that are still an integral part of the breed. The first German Shepherd was named Horand Von Grafrath (renamed from his original name, Hektor Linksrhein). Back then, the dog’s beauty was secondary to traits such as intelligence and the ability to be a good working dog or a servant to its owners.
While the breed’s founder, Captain Max von Stephanitz, did not place great emphasis on appearance, today’s German Shepherds are considered among the most attractive dogs in the world. In addition to their innately intelligent eyes, their bodies are distinguished by their muscular front legs and shoulders, thick thighs, and shapely legs topped by strong breasts. The thickness of the coat can vary greatly, including coarse or long fur, as well as long-haired. Coat color is often mixed, including blends of black, tan, and sable.
There are also completely black German Shepherds, always a stunning sight. Some coat colors are considered defective, according to the German Shepherd breed standard. These include blue, white, and liver colors, although White German Shepherds are now considered a separate breed (the American White Shepherd).
If you are considering adding a German Shepherd to your family, you need to know the needs of the dog, as well as the ideal environment for home or work. They grow very fast, so a small puppy can grow into a large dog in a relatively short time. They can live between 10 and 13 years, so owners must be committed to a dog that will be part of the family for a decade or more. It is not ideal to leave a GSD alone for a long period of time, as they love being around their owners, whether at work or at home. Be very careful when putting this breed in an apartment as it may be prohibited by the landlord and may result in increased insurance rates.
Because they consider their families to be part of their pack, they have a strong protective instinct. This means that they can be suspicious of strangers. While this makes them excellent for protection and as watchdogs, obedience training is vital to making sure your dog can be controlled when necessary. Proper breed training depends on positive reinforcement. They are very sensitive to improper training and angry words or other methods can have negative results. Respect the dog’s innate intelligence and desire to please, and be aware that the German Shepherd may be sensitive to other methods.
When buying a German Shepherd, always avoid puppy mills. Make sure the breeder has a solid reputation among breed lovers. Buying from puppy mills or backyard breeders can result in dogs that have been traumatized, shy and prone to fear of biting. Pet stores are also undesirable when choosing where to buy this breed. However, shelters and rescue groups may have quality dogs that need good homes and may be able to match you with the right German Shepherd for you.
The breed’s popularity appears to be increasing year by year, especially after a GSD was named Best in Show at Westminster. Their winning personalities seem to charm those who see them. If you want a loyal, loving and versatile dog, a German Shepherd could be the ideal choice.