All About the German Shepherd Dog Breed

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 01/09/21 •  6 min read
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An In-Depth Breed Guide on the German Shepherd Dog

Why are German Shepherds the most popular breed of dog in America? What makes these canines so special? We’ll answer these questions and more in our comprehensive German Shepherd Guide!

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German Shepherds are beautiful working group dogs with a rich and noble history. They’ve been a popular choice among dog owners for decades and have a reputation for being hard-working, loyal, intelligent, and brave.

The German Shepherd dog breed certainly has a distinguished reputation! Determined and athletic, they’re known for their versatile capability and popularity around the world. Originally bred to help farmers with herding and protection jobs, this is a large and muscular dog. German Shepherds have a noble look, keen mind, and loads of stamina.

This bright and driven canine is ideal for those who have a good understanding of the breed. German Shepherds do well with people who are ready to invest plenty of time and energy into working with them. Below, we’ll discuss everything to know about German Shepherd dogs!

The German Shepherd Dog Breed at a Glance

At a glance, this is a big dog with a lean muscular body. These dogs can have coats of different lengths and thicknesses and come in many colors as well. In behavior, German Shepherds tend to display the tendencies that have been trained into them.

German Shepherds are very versatile breeds and can do many jobs. You may see them working on farms, ranches, police forces, in the military, or even at airports. German Shepherds can also be service dogs or family pets. It’s all in how they’ve been trained!

German Shepherd’s Have a Stunning Appearance

With their statuesque stance, heavy frames, wolf-like muzzles, and large heads, these dogs can be stunning to look at. Their coats come in a range of colors, including black, brown, saddle-patten, sable, and even rare colors like white and Panda.

German Shepherds grow to be between 22 and 26 inches tall, and according to the AKC, they will usually weigh anywhere from 50-90 pounds. There are many German Shepherd bloodlines, and the breeding history of an individual dog will impact its overall adult size.

These Pups Have Strong Personalities and Unique Characteristics

Intelligent, devoted, loving, and bold are a few of the words often used to describe German Shepherds. However, when not trained, other adjectives include hyper, destructive, and aggressive. It will all come down to how well each German Shepherd is trained.

Breed temperament does impact this dog, and in most cases, all German Shepherds are eager to please, quick to learn new behaviors, and protective of their families. These traits have been carefully fostered in the breed since its earliest beginnings.

The History and Heritage of the German Shepherd Dog

With roots that stretch back in history over 161 years, the German Shepherd breed originated in the mid-1850s. It’s noted that Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz is often credited for founding the German Shepherd Dog breed.

Through carefully breeding a range of powerful herding dogs like the French Berger Picard, Bergamasco Shepherd, Lupino del Gigante, and Pastore di Oropa, the original German Shepherd was created. Over the years, these dogs were carefully tweaked and improved.

Today, German Shepherds are very popular. They’re recognized worldwide as a capable working breed. In the United States, they’re used as guard dogs, herding helpers, sniffing canines, and can make devoted companions.

In the military and on the police force, German Shepherds are carefully selected and trained for duty. They’re known to track, sniff out target objects, and protect their handlers. German Shepherds are also a popular service and therapy dog breed.

Who should own a German Shepherd?

Even though German Shepherds are hard-working and intellectually gifted, they’re not for everyone. The thing about smart dogs like this is, if their minds are not occupied, they can get bored, anxious, and possibly even depressed.

Alternatively, with adequate effort, training, love, and proper care, this breed can be one of the most amazing dogs to own. A properly trained, socialized and exercised German Shepherd can make a wonderful companion. It’ll all come down to how much work you put in.

German Shepherds can be gentle family companions and protectors with plenty of training and socialization. They’re ideal for active households.

Is a German Shepherd hard to train?

If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, you probably want to be ready to start working with them right away. German Shepherds can be easy to train or difficult to teach. It will all depend on each dog’s age, previous training, and your approach.

It’s a well-known fact that German Shepherds are smart and learn quickly. Then again, once they’ve learned certain behaviors, those behaviors are hardwired into their brains. So, a poorly trained adult German Shepherd can be pretty tough to work with.

In addition to this, it’s best to start training your German Shepherd in puppyhood. This will ensure that your dog learns how to behave correctly from a young age. The earlier a dog begins learning, the more deeply ingrained behaviors will be.

It’s Smart to Start Training a German Shepherd at a Young Age

As research suggests that German Shepherds are some of the easiest dogs to train, but every dog is unique. Some German shepherds have been bred to be better at specific tasks, and individual dogs have key differences.

In some cases, a German Shepherd puppy might be ready to start learning new commands from the minute they walk in the door. Also, an adult dog who is still young or an older dog in the hands of an expert can learn an array of new behaviors and complex tricks.

There are lots of amazing YouTube videos that can walk you through how to work with and train a German Shepherd. Generally, obedience training will be the first thing to teach your new German Shepherd. From there, a range of training possibilities will open up.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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