German Shepherds are working dogs originally bred in Germany to herd sheep. They
require a considerable amount of exercise and need a healthy diet to maintain a level
of fitness. The German Shepherd was bred specifically for herding sheep so will have
been exposed to small mammals and hillside vegetation.
The amount and type of food will depend on the individual dog. A complete and balanced
diet is recommended to include raw meaty bones. If not exercised they can quickly
put on weight.
German Shepherd Temperament
German shepherds are highly intelligent with a willingness to learn and obey. They
have a natural tendency to bond firmly with people they know, but can become overly-protective.
They are alert and wary of strangers, but once accepted they are playful and affectionate.
A German shepherd’s intelligence needs to be harnessed and developed to make the
most out of the relationship with the dog. Their strong will meant that some trainers
adopted a ‘firm hand’ when training, however further studies have shown that German
Shepherds perform just as well through reward based training.
German Shepherd Appearance
The German shepherd has a strong sturdy physique with a long body, muscular legs
and a smooth, short straight-haired coat (the long-haired variety is much rarer).
The UK Kennel Club standards ideal height is 63 cms for a male and 58 cms for a female.
Weight from 22-40 kgs.
German shepherds can be a variety of colours. The classic is the black and tan, but
there are many variants including all-black and even all-white.
A German shepherd has an outer coat of hard weather resistant dense, thick hair which
sheds all year round. Their undercoat is thick, dense and warm. The tail is bushy
and hangs with a slight curve.
Generally athletic in appearance, German Shepherds should look strong and muscular
and care should be paid to their diet so as not to encourage obesity.
A long snout, black nose and broad face are key characteristics which make the German
shepherd one of the most popular dogs in the UK.
German Shepherd (Alsatian) Facts
German Shepherd History
German shepherds originated in Germany and were bred specifically for herding duties
because of their intelligence, obedience and agility. Dogs with specific traits considered
important for herding duties (intelligence, obedience, smell) were bred together
to achieve the breed seen today.
After the first world war, the breed suffered in popularity and was renamed ‘Alsatian
(wolf dog)’ after the province bordering Germany – Alsace-Lorraine. The shortened
‘Alsatian’ lasted for over fifty years until 1977 when the British Kennel Club reinstated
the registered breed as German shepherd.
German shepherds are now commonly used by the police, military and rescue services.
German Shepherd Known Disorders
German shepherds are prone to suffer from hip dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems
and blood disorders.