The breed of German Shepherd Dogs or also called German Shepherd (German: Deutscher Schäferhund) is a canine breed that comes from Germany. The breed is relatively new because its origin goes back to the year 1899. They are part of the group of shepherds because they were dogs very developed mainly to gather and to watch sheep.
Since then, however, thanks to their great intelligence, strength, training ability and obedience, German shepherds from all over the planet are often the preferred breed for many other types of work, such as guard dog, guide of the blind, rescue animal, police dog ; Due to the use of the security forces and the army, in various countries they even have specific units called K-9.
Although the ancestors of the German Shepherd dog are associated with grazing, this breed has undoubtedly demonstrated a great deal of versatility and intelligence that today can not be classified simply as a sheepdog. Even though it continues to perform its grazing functions in various places, it would be far more appropriate to say that the German shepherd is an all-terrain dog.
It is necessary to emphasize that this lipid morphology dog is one of the most beautiful representatives of the canine species. As we well know, it is not simply a dog that adapts perfectly well to different jobs, but a living work of art which is capable of fulfilling the most difficult and demanding jobs.
His magnificent appearance, his incomparable personality, and his great intelligence have led the German shepherd to be one of the most popular dogs of all time.
A very true phrase says that the German Shepherd Dog “is not the first best dog at all, but it is the second best in everything. “ It is not exact, like all generalizations, but it is quite close to the real. In fact, you can find other breeds that outperform the German shepherd in some specific aspect (some have a better sense of smell, some may be a bit more resistant, and so on), but certainly no breed has such a high level of versatility or ability To do in such an excellent way all the things a German Sheepdog is capable of doing. And if the above sentence is not accurate, it is because the German shepherd is actually the first best dog in some things. Few are the races that can boast of being so versatile.
The German Shepherd breed is the most popular breed in Argentina and one of the most popular in the world. Its fame is due to several factors. One of them is that the German shepherd breed has an enormous capacity for learning and responds perfectly to obedience training. Another is related to guard dog behavior because this particular breed has one of the highest scores in terms of territorial defense and barking in the face of possible invasions of its territory.
However, the factor that possibly explains its great popularity already know, and is the one that constitutes its enormous versatility. As we named above, the German Shepherd dog is used to perform different functions, among which we can highlight the guard, blind guide, drug and explosives detector, rescue and his unequaled ability as a family member.
Therefore, if you want to acquire a copy of German Shepherd breed you must first thoroughly study the hereditary line to which the potential candidates belong to the family, in order to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Another characteristic that we must emphasize is their emotional stability. In general, they are very balanced dogs, although unfortunately, their great popularity is leading to an indiscriminate breeding that brings about the appearance of very unstable individuals. This instability on the part of the dog is characterized mainly by excessive fear or excessive aggressiveness, or worse, a combination of both behaviors.
For these reasons, it is indispensable not only a deep and perfect evaluation of the pedigree but also of the puppy in question before its acquisition.
The original German shepherd, and in this case ideal, is agile, powerful, resistant, reliable, alert and very intelligent.
What are the most outstanding qualities of the breed of German Shepherd dogs?
1. History of the German Sheepdog
The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed, the origins of this dog go back to the end of the nineteenth century when in Germany began a breeding program for protection and guard of sheep herds against wolves. The cavalry captain of the German army, Maximilian von Stephanitz, is considered the father of the race. Years later, after the appearance of the association of Friends of the German Shepherd in the year 1899, a selection of copies was initiated whose crosses improved both the psychic aspect and the physical aspect of the animal.
They used short-haired, long-haired dogs and hard hair from Wurtenberg, Thuringia and Bavaria, Von Stephanitz and other dedicated breeders, created the elegant, obedient, enthusiastic and handsome German Shepherd dog. Until 1915, they exhibited both the long hair variety and the hard hair variety. Nowadays in several countries, only the short-haired variety is recognized for exhibition competitions.
Horand von Grafath, who was the first inscribed specimen, was a vigorous animal, of firm character, grayish and wolfish appearance which proved to be a stallion with the features that Von Stephanitz sought. In the first encounter, these desirable qualities were transmitted to all successor dogs, and then reinforced by the careful rules of selective crossing between members of the same lineage of this first breeder; A work that sought to highlight and enhance the particularities desirable through a specific genetic management.
Von Stephanitz sought essentially the practical and working aspect of the race. From the outset, the form in the German shepherd should not divert him from his zootechnical functionality. Von Stephanitz earlier gave the first threat to the validity of the race as a working animal when human society was shifted from a primarily agricultural and livestock base to an industrialized economy. In a first aspect, it convinced the German Government to accept the race in police work. This was the beginning of the association of the race with the forces of law and military use. Soon the attributes of intelligence, reliability, and resistance of the animal, the primordial aspects of its character and its existence in history, guaranteed its usefulness in diverse important papers, being one of those noblest papers like a guide dog for the blind.
At present, this breed is not only one of the most admired and loved by dog-lovers, but its peculiarities have also allowed it to work in armies. This breed was used as a tracking dog during World War II by the German army and police. In fact, the services provided during the two world wars gave him a respect and admiration around the world.
2. Physical appearance of German shepherds
• General Appearance: The German Shepherd dog is a medium-sized dog, slightly stretched, strong, well muscled, with dry bones and a generally firm structure.
• Measures and important proportions: The height of the cross in males from 60 to 65 cm, and in females is 55 to 65 cm. The length of the body exceeds the measurement of the height of the cross about 10 to 17%.
• Head: The head is shaped like a wedge, and is in proportion to the length of the body (its length is approximately 40% of the height of the cross) without appearing neither rough nor elongated. In its general appearance, it should be dry and moderately wide in the middle of the ears. Viewed from the sides and front, the forehead is slightly arched and without or with a medium-sized cut.
The ratio between the facial and cranial region should be 50% to 50%. The width of the cranial region is almost the same as its length.
If viewed from above, the cranial region is diminishing evenly from the ears to the nose, thus leaving a notorious nasal frontal depression and bending over the wedge-shaped snout. The upper and lower jaws are strongly developed. The nasal cane is usually straight, any bulging or sagging is undesirable. The lips, of dark color, are firm and very well adhered.
• Nose: The nose is usually black; however, it may also be blue or liver colored, but it is considered a fault and can not occur in positions.
• Denture: The teeth must be healthy, strong and complete (there are 42 teeth corresponding to the teeth formula). The German Shepherd dog breed has a scissor bite so that the upper spikes cover the lower ones in close contact. A claw bite, upper or lower prognathism, as well as large spaces between the teeth (gaps), are considered as missing. Also defective is the straight alignment of all incisors. The mandibular bones and jaws must be strongly developed so that the teeth are deeply embedded in the dental arch.
• Eyes: The eyes of the German shepherd are of medium size, almond shaped, placed obliquely and never protruding. Usually, your color should be as dark as possible. Light penetrating eyes are not desirable because they affect the expression of the dog.
• Ears: The German Sheepdog has medium-sized ears, well erect, open to the front and evenly worn (neither turned over nor carried sideways). They are pointy with the auditory pavilion directed towards the front. Ears that are bent at the tip or dropped are defective. The ears are thrown back, that are in movement or at rest, are not taken as lacking.
If you accumulate a match you must remove it carefully, just like a person. But in this case, you have to do it with much more care, because the shape of the dog’s ears if they simply release the wax scales, will fall into the interior, which could damage the ear canal. If you are not sure how it is done, it is best left in the hands of a professional.
• Neck: The German Shepherd’s neck should be strong, well muscled and without a chin. Its angulation with the body (horizontally) is approximately 45 °.
• Body: The upper line runs without interruption from the implantation of the neck on the fully defined cross and, on the back very slightly inclined to the rump, also slightly inclined.The back is strong, firm and very well muscled. The loin is strongly developed, broad and well muscled.
• Croup: The croup should usually belong, sloping slightly (approximately 23 ° from the horizontal line) and continue towards the tail line without interrupting the top line.
• Chest: The chest is moderately broad with the sternum as long as possible and quite noticeable. The depth of the chest should be 45 to 48% of the height on the cross. The German Shepherd’s ribs should be rounded in moderation. The chest in the form of flat or barrel is considered as lack.
• Tail: The tail of this particular dog reaches at least up to the hock, but not exceeding half of the metatarsal. The hair is a little longer on the bottom. When it is at rest, it carries it hanging with a slight curve. When the dog is in movement or inattention, it takes the tail much higher, but without exceeding the horizontal line. Corrective operations are prohibited in this dog.
Front members: Seen from all sides, the forelegs are straight, But seen from the front, are completely parallel. The shoulder blade and arm are the same length and are firmly attached to the body through a good musculature. The right angulation between the arm and the shoulder blade is 90° but is usually 110°. The elbows should not be turned in or out, so the dog is at rest or in motion. The forearms, seen from either side, are parallel and straight to each other, dry and well muscled. The metacarpal has a length of approximately 1/3 of the forearm and forms an angle of about 20 to 22°. A metacarpal that is very inclined (more than 22°) or too straight (less than 20°) impairs the working ability of the dog, especially its resistance. The front feet are rounded, compact and with arched fingers. The pads should usually be firm, but not fragile. The nails are dark and strong.
Hindquarters: The position of the hind legs of the German Shepherd, viewed from behind parallel to each other, should be slightly picked up.
The thigh and leg have almost the same length and form an angle of about 120 °. The thighs are strong and well muscled. The hocks are firm and very strong; The metatarsus is perpendicular to the lower part of the hock. The back feet are compact, slightly arched. The pads are usually hard and dark colored. The nails are strong, a little arched and also dark in color.
• Skin: German Sheepdog skin should normally be loosely trimmed, without forming any creases.
• Hair: The right and proper coat of the German Sheepdog is a double hair (Stockhaar) with internal wool. The outer hair should be as thick as possible, straight, hard and well attached to the dog’s body. The head and even the inside of the ears, the anterior parts of the extremities, the feet, and the fingers are assorted of shorter hairs; In the neck, the hair is slightly longer and dense.
• Color: German shepherd is accepted of black color with marks of reddish brown, brown, yellow and until light gray; Completely black or gray; The gray dogs are tinted in black, with a black cloak and mask. Moderate white patches on the chest, as well as very light colors on the inner parts, are acceptable but not desirable. In all types of German Shepherd color, the nose must be black. Unmasked dogs, clear, piercing eyes, clear or whitish spots on the chest and internal parts, as well as clear nails and a white-red color on the tip of the tail, is considered a lack of pigmentation. The internal lanyard has a light grayish tone. The white color in this breed is not allowed.
3. Character and temperament of a German Shepherd dog
The character of the German shepherd is safe, balanced and reliable. As a working breed, the German shepherd dog must have the firmness of nerves and the ability to react quickly and safely to possible threats.
German Shepherds are brave, enthusiastic dogs, they are always alert and never afraid. Cheerful, obedient and always eager to learn, these dogs are usually quiet, self-confident and certainly very intelligent. The German shepherd is an overly faithful and brave dog, he will not think twice before giving his life to the people around him. In addition, it has a high learning ability.
These peculiar dogs love to be close to their family, although, on certain occasions, they may be somewhat distrustful of strangers, it is a race that needs to be close to its people day by day and should not be left alone for long periods of time.
The German shepherd is the perfect dog for athletes and athletes who enjoy going to the mountain or mountain, cycling and doing physical activity in the company. It would also be the ideal dog for active families who love to walk or go out to the countryside, and even better if they have a garden.
The bravery of these dogs is legendary, as is their instinct for defense. That is why the German shepherd is usually one of the most requested dogs for guard and protection because it has a very natural predisposition for such tasks.
But bravery and defense are not the same as danger and aggression. Although the German shepherd tends to be a little wary of strangers, he is not usually an aggressive dog by nature. On the contrary, he tends to be very alert but does not attack for any reason. Of course, socialization of the dog is extremely important to avoid problems in the future, because no dog has the personality assured only by its genes.
Most of the time the problems arise when the owner allows the dog to be the leader of the herd and is on a ladder above humans, and besides this is not allowed to do enough mental exercise As a physicist in a quiet environment and in a firm, consistent and confident manner. A stable, well-balanced and educated German shepherd will always be good with other pets and an excellent dog to be with the children of the house.
We must always train him firmly in obedience since he is a puppy, if the owners are often passive, hesitant and frightened, German shepherds may become prone to bite and overdevelop their instinct for protection. That is why they should be trained and socialized from a very early age.
The German Sheepdog is a dog that is very easy to train and adapts perfectly to any training technique. However, it reaches all its good potential when it is trained by taking advantage of positive reinforcement. Although this breed usually suits very well to different methods of canine training, it is advisable to prioritize the training in positive.
As we all know, the German Sheepdog is one of the most available and intelligent breeds that exist, it is a great working dog that needs a place where to channel all its energy, both mental and physical through exercise.
Because of its great versatility and adaptability, this breed has been able to perform victoriously in different activities. The German shepherd stands out as a canine sportsman (particularly in Schutzhund), search and rescue dog, guide dog, police dog and assistance dog for people with special needs. In addition, his great smell allows him to track drugs, intruders and even can also alert the army of underground mines before they detonate or a leak of gas in the pipe up to 15 meters underground. But that’s not all, he is also usually an excellent companion and a very attractive exhibition dog.
4. Problems related to the health of this breed of dogs
Given the care that respect and love for animals demand, the German shepherd is a healthy and hard breed. As we have already mentioned, the German shepherd was, from the beginning of his history, raised and selected as a working animal, and consequently, a usual and especially motivated activity is fundamental for his health. Without regular activities and without exercise, the race is primarily susceptible to rheumatism, whose symptoms are similar to that of humans: inflammation and stiffness of joints affect and pain in movement. Since some of the symptoms of this problem are shared by the much more severe hip dysplasia, professional attention is needed immediately when it manifests for the first time.
Skin problems are also very common in the breed. The slow and insistent scratching, as opposed to the small burst of scratching from the fleas, is a sign of dermal problems. If observed early, the vast majority of these problems can be rapidly reduced with veterinary care and diet.
Other illnesses that can present the German Shepherds are not usually exclusive of the race but are shared with others of different types. For example, because the German shepherd is a rather large breed, it is affected by panosteitis, osteochondritis dissecans, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, and myasthenia gravis, all of which are bone diseases.
Due to the nature of the German shepherd, it is susceptible to diseases of the eyes typical of this type of dogs, as they are: Collie eyes, pannus, cataracts and retinal dysplasia.
Epilepsy is usually another disease that affects German shepherd dogs. Blood diseases, such as Von Willebrand’s disease and hemophilia A, and cardiac problems, such as the patent ductus arteriosus and persistent right aortic arch, are problems that affect the vast majority of dogs, and The German shepherd is not excluded.
No examination related to the health of the German shepherd can end, however, without making clear reference to the hip dysplasia. German Shepherd dogs are said to have the highest percentage of hip dysplasia than any other breed, but today many specialists are inclined to give this first place to the various dog breeds. The argument that the most popular and enormously bred breed of dogs should also present more cases of this genetic disease, does not help in any way to improve that data.
Dogs suffering from dysplasia have developed hip joints incorrectly, and are more prone to arthritis and severe pain. These dogs are usually unable to work or even move without great difficulty. Veterinary surgeons and professional breeders continue to study the disease and protection against it, but it is the responsibility of every potential German shepherd owner to fully inquire whether the parents and grandparents of their animal had their hips rated as good or better.
Currently, cases of elbow dysplasia have also been seen, and the criteria for identifying it have been established. The best prevention of hereditary physical problems of the race is achieved with a correct planning and with the utmost care in the selection and selection of the breeder and the animal.
Although the series of congenital diseases to which the German shepherds are prone is a little frightening, the truth is that the great majority of the representatives of the breed are healthy. Many German shepherd dogs can live to perfection more than ten years, and some cases are known to have exceeded that age remarkably.
5. Care of a German Shepherd
Like the vast majority of dogs, the German shepherd will be fine if we live in a flat, as long as you exercise outside enough, when you are inside the house are fairly quiet, but will be much better if we have a good yard big.
German Shepherd dogs love the activity, preferably if accompanied by some kind of training because they are a pretty intelligent breed and like good challenges. So they need a good daily activity, a light stroll, a long walk, jogging or accompanying us to jog or to cycling.
It is necessary to emphasize that when we take the dog for a walk he must always go to our side or behind us, we should not allow in any way that the dog’s head guides us because the leader will believe and that it is he who has the power over the US.
The vast majority of these dogs love to play with a ball. Spending 10 to 15 minutes throwing things to fetch them will tire you quite a bit, and playing this way will also have a purpose for running. Whether it’s running a ball or catching a Frisbey. Obedience training and participation in dog play should always be practiced in a constructive way, ie the dog always needs to learn something and feel that he or she is exercising for something, the German shepherd usually will always feel much happier if he has something to do.
To be honest, the German shepherd loses hair continuously and when it is in the molting season even more. We will have to brush it daily if we do not want to have hair all over the house. The German shepherd only needs to bathe when strictly necessary, during the bath can cause some irritation on the skin, because we remove the natural oils from it.
Also, it is also necessary to mention that we should often check their ears and cut their nails frequently.
German shepherd dogs usually give birth to large layers. Their adult personality depends on the genes they inherit, how they are treated by the mother and by the people, and by any other experience they may have.
You can also read about: Why are German Shepherds Predisposed to Hip Dysplasia?