The German Shepherd dog is a well-known breed that is widely desired by households. This breed is praised for its high intellect and unwavering loyalty. The German Shepherd makes an excellent family pet because they are extremely obedient and enjoy being trained.
Many families find the breed a good fit due to his extraordinary versatility, bravery, and sharp intelligence. The German Shepherd has earned a legendary reputation as the perfect working dog.
German shepherds have excelled in each canine sport, such as obedience, flexibility, rally, surveillance, and herding. It demonstrates that their skills go far beyond their origins as herding breeds. Families with young children who enjoy the outdoors should consider getting one of these protective and admiring dogs.
So, if you want to know everything from behavior and health to history about this breed, this article is a must-read for you.[wpdatatable id=82]
History of German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a new breed that first appeared in 1899. Captain Max von Stephanitz, a career captain in the German cavalry, set out to develop a German breed that would be unrivaled as a herding dog.
German and other European farmers used dogs to guard their herds for centuries. Sheepherders had to travel for days to breed the female dogs to a famous sire because some dogs were renowned for their prowess. Von Stephanitz observed that no one had created a distinct breed from the local herding dogs.
To develop an ideal German herding dog, he began dog breeding experiments in 1898. Stephanitz traveled all over Germany to attend dog shows and observe German-style herding dogs. He also studied the breeding practices of the British, who are renowned for their exceptional herding dogs.
Von Stephanitz observed a lot of excellent herding dogs, including many talented, intelligent, and athletic ones. But he didn’t see the dog that possessed all those qualities.
One day in 1899, he was at a dog show. There, he noticed a dog with a wolf-like appearance. His name was Hektor Linksrhein, and he bought it right away. The dog, later given the name Horand von Grafrath, impressed von Stephanitz so much that he established the Verein fur deutsche Schäferhunde to create a breed out of Horand’s puppies.
Von Stephanitz observed that as Germany grew more industrialized, the desire for herding dogs diminished, even though he had designed his breed to serve that purpose. He decided that the dog would work for the military and police because he was adamant that his breed would remain a working dog.
Von Stephanitz successfully persuaded the German government to employ the breed by utilizing his military connections. The German Shepherd performed various roles during World War I, including sentry, rescuer, messenger, guard, and supply carrier.
More about German Shepheard
German Shepherds are a breed of working dogs that were developed in Germany from traditional herding and farm dogs. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and courage, making them popular as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and family pets. German Shepherds are strongly built and relatively long-bodied dogs, standing 22 to 26 inches tall at the withers and weighing 75 to 95 pounds.
Let us delve deeper into the traits of the German Shepherd breed.
The German Shepherd is one of the world’s most easily recognizable dog breeds. The breed comes with its aura of nobility. They may range in color from brown to black to even blue and grow up to occupy a muscular framework. They have bushy and slightly curved tails with a slight hook.
German Shepherds are initially born with ears that are soft and floppy. As they age to around five months, the ears gradually become more pointy. They are usually erect when the German Shepherd stands at attention. Its eyes are dark, with an almond-like color, whereas the nose is typically black, of square shape, and in the form of a long but straight muzzle.
The dogs usually have a double coat of medium length, with the outer coat being dense and water-resistant. The colors of the coat can be of various hues.
The size of a German Shepherd varies more than you might believe.
They are huge in comparison to other breeds, but not as gigantic as you might expect.
German Shepherd pups weigh about 1 pound when they are born and will weigh about 15 pounds when they are 8 weeks old. An adult German Shepherd will stand roughly 24 inches tall and weigh 80 pounds. On average, females are slightly shorter and lighter than males.
Although there are variations in the personality of various types of German Shepherds, there are some common traits that most of them share. These include:
Remember that the German Shepherd has been historically bred to be a working dog. Subsequently, it has also been used as a police or a military dog. As a result of this historical process, trainability is something that comes naturally to the breed.
They thrive in an environment where they are trained afresh for new tasks and are given challenging exercises. They will be motivated if the owner is as committed to their training as they are. They can be trained in various activities, such as drug detection, rescue operations, service activity, etc.
According to researchers, the German Shepherd belongs among one of the smartest dog breeds. This is because the dog has a good grasping power, whereby it is able to obey a command with the least number of repetitions required.
Also, it has excellent adaptive as well as instinctive intelligence. The dog can give an appropriate response in the event of unexpected situations. Its instincts regarding whether to guard or to search, etc., are fairly accurate.
They are incredibly agile dogs, muscular, and able to sustain high speeds irrespective of their size. They come with a lot of energy. Hence they require an owner who will constantly keep them engaged with physical activities. It is believed that their athleticism is partly genetic, coming from their wolf ancestors, who also required a lot of speed and stamina to survive in the jungle.
This is not a dog breed that does well when left alone in the backyard. It requires much attention from the owner, with whom it forges a lifelong bond. It quickly integrates into the family setting and stays loyal to its owners. They do well with companionship and when left alone.
German Shepherd dogs are often lively and playful. Although generalizations concerning dog breeds are well established and widely accepted, individual dogs may behave differently than others of their breed. The majority, but not all, are excellent companions for children and the elderly.
They are devoted, vigilant, and protective family members, and the breed is ideal for watchdog or protection work.
Military and police agencies frequently train German Shepherd dogs to locate fugitives, assist in search and rescue, and identify illegal narcotics.
German Shepherds usually perform excellently in obedience training. With their exceptional aptitude and zeal to learn, they can be trained in various roles. These include service roles, search and rescue dogs, watchdogs, and guard dogs. They can also be trained to perform in sporting activities.
The dog enjoys performing demanding tasks. They want to progress beyond the basic instructions and want to learn further. Training challenges improve their self-confidence. It is suggested that the basis of the training should always be positive reinforcement.
The training of the pup should start at an early age. It is crucial to deal with them carefully since the dog can have a strong bite, which may be problematic during the initial teething phase. The German Shepherd should always be kept occupied; if not, it can tend to develop aggressive or unruly behaviors.
In case you are planning to own a German Shepherd, there are some common hereditary problems that you should be aware of.
- Hip dysplasia: The symptoms include pain, limping, and joint degeneration. It affects the hip joints of several large breed dogs. This can eventually lead to arthritis.
- Elbow dysplasia: This is another orthopedic condition in which the front legs of the dog are affected.
- Elbow hygroma: In case of traumatic injury, this occurs in the form of a fluid swelling in the dog’s elbow.
- Anal furunculosis: This is a painful condition that causes ulcers to form around the bottom of the dog.
- Degenerative myelopathy: This is a neurological condition that affects the spinal cord. It may ultimately result in paralysis.
- Gastric dilation-volvulus: Also known as bloating, this can develop into a serious condition where the dog’s stomach expands with gas or food, and the abdominal cavities are then cut off.
Preventive care is the best recommended solution. You can take your pet regularly to the veterinarian to perform routine checkups, and to give you wellness and health-related feedback. It is advisable to make sure that the parents of the puppy have had the required health screening to determine whether the pup will get hereditary diseases.
Despite being large, adorable, and adaptable, these legendary dogs need a lot of care. German Shepherd care can seem like an extensive amount of work, but it will be simple for those who genuinely care about their dog. This breed requires much more work than the majority of dog breeds to raise from puppies or even to adopt as an adult. Before adopting one, make sure you’ve done your research regarding how to care for them.
German Shepherds enjoy chewing, and their strong jaws can crush many objects. If they choose the wrong item to chew on, they risk hurting their teeth, ingesting something unpleasant, or even choking. Give your dog safe chewing toys and bones to amuse themselves if you’re not playing with them to protect your belongings and your dog.
The diet of the German Shepherd is usually prescribed depending on its age. The routine should be to feed it two meals regularly. The usual standard is to feed it up to two cups of dry dog food. However, it would help if you refrained from giving the dog a large meal since German Shepherds are susceptible to stomach bloating. Fresh, clean water needs to be available at all times.
The proportion of treats should not be more than 10 % of the dog’s daily intake. If you are giving them treats, you should keep this in mind and reduce their intake during meals accordingly. There should be a time gap between the time of feeding and the time of exercise.
Coat Color and Grooming
The coat is for the original purpose for which the dog was built, and it also serves to protect the dog from rain and snow. The coat may be of three different sizes, i.e., a short stock coat, a medium coat, or a long one. It comes in various colors and patterns, such as black and cream, gray, white, and so on. The dog would require a brush or a comb down a few times a week. This should be sufficient to prevent the build-up of dead hair or matting.
Loose hair may be plucked out from the overcoat by hand.
If you decide to give your dog a bath, you must do this carefully. Too many baths can irritate their skin. Hence, it makes sense to take them to professionals for the same.
Children and Other Pets
In general, a German Shepherd is considered to be a good playmate for children. However, this depends on their socialization and their personality. They can tend to be highly loyal to the kids, and they tend to look after family out of their protective instincts. Moreover, the dogs are able to handle the rough manner in which children tend to play with them. Nevertheless, they should be constantly supervised, and parents should check the dogs for signs of anxiety or unhappiness.
If the German Shepherd has grown up with another pet, it will tend to be very friendly and docile around it. This is because it has been trained to behave in this manner. However, it might be a problem in case there is a cat or some other pet that has not been socialized. The dog might tend to chase it away.
To conclude we must say that The German Shepherd is an extremely popular breed in the world.. They are incredibly loyal and intelligent, making them perfect for service dogs. In addition to being great companions, they are also highly protective—especially when it comes to their family members.
This could be due to a variety of reasons, ranging from dental issues to their age.
Dental issues can affect the eating habits of the German Shepherd and cause weight loss over time. The dog requires around 1300 to 1500 calories per day, and health issues will occur if it does not get the necessary nutrition. The problem can also occur when there is too much exercise and insufficient food intake to replace the calories burnt.
The German Shepherd is good at running and can cover up to 30 miles per hour. Its speed makes it valuable as a dog for guarding purposes.
The majority of the growth occurs during the first 24 months. Males can continue growing up to two and a half years, even to the third year.
One traditional way of determining how much the pup has left to grow is to check the size of its paw. If it appears larger than the hands and the legs, it is a sign of adolescence, and the pup will likely grow further. If the pup was acquired from a breeder, they should be able to give you an expectation based on a comparison with the parents.
The sable German Shepherd is called this because of its distinctive color. The traditional German Shepherds usually have a coat that is tan brown with black markings. On the other hand, the sable will usually have gray fur, which transitions into a black color at its tip.
German Shepherds shed across the year. Moreover, they ‘blow’ their coats twice a year. This happens in the spring and autumn when a thinner undercoat or a warmer undercoat comes into place, respectively.
You can take them hiking, and they also can run for extended periods. Nor is the dog out of place in water, and it can safely swim in ponds and lakes. It can also involve more intense activities such as flyball and agility exercises.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
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