German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog


Scott Lipe

The German Shepherd dog is a well known dog that can either be black and tan or red and tan. There are a few other colors but these are either rare, such as the solid black color, or not allowed by show standards, such as white, liver or blue. They are large and solid dogs with a muscular appearance. They should have a dark nose, almond shaped eyes, a big bushy tail and ears that stand upright. There are three varieties of German Shepherd’s and these are the rough-coated, the long rough-coated and the long-haired. They can be as tall as 26 inches and weigh between 49 to 88 lbs. They should all have a black ‘mask’ around their muzzle and have black markings on their body such as a saddle mark.

History: A relatively new breed the German Shepherd can trace its history back to a man named Max Von Stephanitz, throughout Europe during the 1800’s attempts were being made to standardize breeds, and many attempts had failed. In 1899, Max Von Stephanitz bought a dog, which to him displayed the look and the characteristics he thought the breed should show. After buying the dog, he founded the ‘Society for the German Shepherd Dog’ and his dog, ‘Horand Von Grafrath’ was declared the first German Shepherd. Through careful breeding the dog we know today was created, and they can all be traced back to the original dog Horand Von Grafrath and his original offspring. They have been bred to be work dogs and make excellent guard dogs, they are well known for being police dogs, military dogs and they are also used for scent-work such as search and rescue, narcotic detection and explosives detection. They are also used as guide dogs.


Temperament: Despite their reputation for being aggressive dogs, the German Shepherd is actually a very loving dog. They are a confident dog that can be cheerful, faithful and extremely brave. They would do anything to protect their family, for this reason it’s important to train them well from a young age and to socialize them well, or they can take their protection instincts too far. They are highly intelligent dogs and are easily trained, however, if the dog thinks that he is the one in control then training can be an issue, they respond best to an owner who is calm and mild mannered and yet can still have an air of authority about them so that the dog knows who’s boss. Due to the fact they are one of the smartest dogs they have a high drive to be busy working or doing something so they need plenty of mental stimulation and exercise.

Health Issues: The German Shepherd, due to the fact that it was severely inbred at the beginning, is prone to quite a few health issues. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, spinal stenosis, ear infections, digestive problems including bloat, epilepsy, chronic eczema, blood disorders such as Willebrand’s, keratitis (and inflammation of the cornea), dwarfism and DM which is a neurological disease. Their average lifespan can vary between 7-13 years.

Grooming: The German shepherd is a regular shedder who also then sheds heavily again seasonally. For this reason they need to be brushed daily to remove the dead and loose hairs. They should only be bathed when it’s necessary as it can cause them skin problems and can affect their natural oils.

Living Conditions: Although they can appear inactive while indoors the German Shepherd needs plenty of exercise. They can live in an apartment as long as their owners can provide them enough walks and exercise. However, they are best suited to a large garden where they can run around and keep themselves amused. They do not take well to being kept in a kennel or a cage or to being shut in the house all day.

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