The origin of the German Shepherd starts in the late 1800’s. The dog was breed to herd sheep and was intelligent at operating with little to no training in accomplishing the tasks.
Captain Max von Stephanitz is someone who has to be mentioned when talking about German Shepherds. After retirement from his first career the captain saw this dog and wanted to standardize the breed.
Reason for standardization is because the dog was a mixture of different breeds. The breeds that are in association with the German Shepherd are Berger Picard, Pastore d’Oropa, Lupino del Gigante, Cane Paratore, and the Bergamasco.
German Shepherds in the 1800’s had the job of herding sheep and were so good at it they became legendary in the herding business. They built a strong reputation for protection from other animals. That was another popular trait to carry because owners were losing money from predators killing sheep.
To put this plainly this dog was bred to be a working dog and to handle work loads on acres of land. Stephanitz made what he thought could become the perfect working dog to handle the dog to day duties as well as protection during the night time.
The breed hosts a set of skills for being brilliant with intelligence, big enough to provide strength, and have the speed to chase down stock or prey.
Shepherds got their introduction into America in the early 1900’s and there is record of them in dog shows in the 1910’s. Ever since they made the shift there has been a slight difference between German and American Shepherds, but only slight changes.
World War I
German Shepherds have a rich history, but none is richer than the infamous World War I. World War I began in 1914 and during this time Stephanitz thought the GSD he has been breeding would do a fantastic job in the military.
The most important task they did was provide sentry services. The services were key to keeping out people unless they were a part of the military that belong there. Freeing up manpower for different activities.
They were essential in communications sending messages from one station to another going without detection due to the route they can take that was off road.
Once the war broke out, he got the opportunity to see just how dominate this breed would become in the future. They would conduct many different tasks in the German military. They would help wounded soldiers with first aid kits and help guide soldiers with new wounds to medical facilities.
German Shepherds were impressive to not only the military they were serving, but the people who were fighting against them saw how much leverage Shepherds were providing.
World War II
World War II start date is 1939 and ended in 1945. At this point the Germans had already made use of the Shepherd and now the Americans had Shepherds in their country for at least 4 decades. Long story short both sides were using them for this second world war.
Again, they were excellent in sending messengers and enhancing the communication between soldiers. Providing sentry services still were happening as well.
This opened the gate for all dogs who have been able to join the military or police force and perform tasks.
The German Shepherd bloodline that is in Germany dogs are registered with the German Shepherd club of Germany. The dogs that come from overseas you can tell from their paperwork the names are in German.
There are a few different characteristics that differ from American German Shepherds. The main one is that these dogs are still close to how they were bred in the first place. Emphasis is put on the way that they are working dogs.
Heads are larger but the biggest physical difference is the hindlegs. The German Shepherd hindlegs don’t give as much as a downward line from head to toe. The back is a little more even in comparison with the American German Shepherd line.
American German Shepherds are bred in America. They get their papers from the American Kennel Club and that is the body that recognizing them as full blood. The difference in the paperwork can be seen when you look at the American names that are easy for Americans to pronounce.
American German Shepherds are larger dogs with smaller heads. These dogs are bred to compete in dog shows and have lost their sense of working dog origin. They have been bred differently in appearance to make them look better at the show. These changes have been happening gradually over a century.
The hind legs are notably lower than the upper legs. From the head to toe the dog begins to look shorter height wise. That makes them look fabulous at dog shows and helps them win. The changes have been subtle, but these are the main difference between the German and American Shepherd.
Dogs have been in use for police forces since the 5th century or 400 CE. London, France, and Germany began to experiment with the different abilities of dogs. Searching for elusive suspects made the police ineffective at times and they were beginning to use blood hound to find these criminals.
Dogs receive training in multiple areas including drug searches, searching for criminals, apprehension of suspects, and act as a deterrent in general to name a few important tasks. Having a K-9 can reduce the chances of someone running or interacting in a hostile manner due to the capabilities of a dog.
Dog handlers must undergo intense training and are members of a specialized unit that is tailored around the benefits of the working dog. Working conditions are better for the handlers because of the need to treat the dog in the best conditions.
German Shepherds have been instrumental in assisting people with disabilities. Old and young people benefit from having a trained Shepherd that can help them in their day to day activities.
They make great service dogs because of their high intelligence levels and work desire. These dogs want to work hard every day and historically have been in use for this cause. The breed is still around today and is popular due to these very characteristics.
Seeing eye dogs get training in facilities that specialize in teaching them how to assist owners. Once they are done with training and have their certification, they can have assignments to different people helping them in their daily lives.
Male Height: 24-26 inches
Female Height: 22-24 inches
Male Weight: 65-90 pounds
Female Weight: 50-70 pounds
German Shepherds are known as mid-size and large size dogs. Males are taller than females. Males are also heavier in terms of weight in comparison to the female who is smaller.
Herding group dog breeds like the Shepherds are in need of a lot of exercise. The bred was made to work and have stamina to last a long time. With that in mind in addition to the intelligence you may want to have a job for a dog like this.
We would look at the following schedule minimum for this type of dog.
- Hour runs
- Hour walks or treadmill
- Once per morning
- Once per night
That may seem like a lot of exercise but when these dogs are young up to three or four years old, I would give them around two hours of exercise per day.
Any time the dog is advancing in age around 3 to 5 years old you should look to scale back when the dog is giving the right behavior. That can take a few years but always look at how good your dog is behaving when making changes to increase or decrease.
For example, if you start exercising one times a day and you notice the dog is chewing up things they shouldn’t or excessively barking you should take action. Add another session or add on to the hour in the morning. It is best to break it up to keep the dog in a great mindset at all times.
For dogs displaying behavior problems I would try to add a third hour on weekends to really drain them out. If you have not done this for a long time it will take a while before you get the dog to act normal.
The best way to make these dogs into house dogs with excellent behavior will be to give them a great job to do. When you let these dogs go bored, they will find a job to do. That job may be destruction most likely.
Either get ahead of the behavior or make sure you make the changes right away.
German Shepherds are excellent dogs to train. They are very energetic and have an eagerness to please their owner. They catch on to commands within a couple days and have a great ability to remember previous training sessions.
Most people love that these dogs are trainable. Remember you need to train the basic commands as well as training behavior training. The dog should never invade your personal space or bite/nip the owner.
Socialization is very important at all life stages. The most impressionable stage is in the youth, but any dog can be reintroduced to their own kind and discover the power of other dogs’ company.
Lastly, take the time to really teach leash training so that the dog isn’t pulling. This powerful breed will grow up to be around 60 to 100 pounds and on four legs can pull with great strength. The wife and kids should be able to walk THEIR dog without any strength training.
Being from a freezing climate the Shepherds have a double coat to protect them in the cold harsh winters. The outer layer falls off during the summer time and grows back during the winter time when it is most needed.
Dogs with medium coats need to be combed and brushed on a regular basis. You can help your dog’s coat fall off easily by giving them brushing, combing, and bathing on a regular schedule. The best way to keep the dog up to date is to have a schedule where either you or a grooming service does it weekly.
Nails, ears, and other areas should be clipped and cleaned continuously to make sure the dog is clean as much as possible.
You will have to deal with a lot of shedding with the dog’s coat. The coat will have dog hair in the car, house, couch, and any other area you can think of so grooming will serve you in the end.
They live somewhere between 9 and 13 years but the dog will have a much shorter life if they’re police or military dogs. They tend to live until 8-10 years and will pass away much sooner than the dogs without much wear and tear.
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Cherry Eye
- Skin Problems
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
These are the normal health issues that are happening with German Shepherds.
The herding grouping is the group that German Shepherds belong. The herding group are dogs that are known to control other animals. They’re known for working very hard and being intelligent.
Many of these dogs are being used for military and police department for their abilities to help with different situations.
These are some of the dogs in this group.
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Cane Corso
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- Doberman Pinscher
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- German Shepherd
- Giant Schnauzer
- Great Pyrenees
- All Dogs Go to Heaven
- Cats and Dogs
- Rin Tin Tin
German Shepherd Aggression
Any dog is going to be aggressive if you conduct terrible dog training. Owners fully must take responsibility and train their dog. Taking accountability and exercising our dogs daily will decrease the narrative that any dog is aggressive.
Being negligent in your duties as an owner will result in the aggression of any dog breed. The sad reality is that an ankle biter doesn’t cause the type of damage a large breed can, but they suffer from the same ownership.
Blaming a dog or their personality will not move the needle.
German Shepherds are one of the brightest dogs you can find. Getting one will result in a high energy exercise program until they become much older in age. Take the time to teach commands and behavior before tricks and other nonessential methods.
Any dog can become aggressive and it is the owner’s responsibility to do right by their dog and the dog will do right by the world.
Thanks for reading!