It’s no wonder that the noble German Shepherd is the AKC’s second most loved dog. The German Shepherd’s intelligence, courage, and loyalty have made them great military and police dog breeds, service dogs, and safe pets for families. We appreciate them for many reasons.
Excellent facts about German Shepherds
1. German Shepherds are natural herders.
The German Shepherds of the past were assigned the responsibility of monitoring flocks of sheep and guiding their communities from fields to fields. This job required quick reactions and the ability to run at high speed whenever needed. This breed is ideal for the task.
German Shepherds can run at speeds that can reach 32 miles per hour when they are at full speed. But when they are herding sheep, they trot instead of run and average about 20 miles per hour. They were the preferred dog for sheep herding. However, there was much more that this breed could become a master at.
A German Cavalry officer was able to spot the impressive working dog and the wolf-like appearance. He bought a dog for himself, and officially, the breed’s story was born.
2. This is the father breed of the German Shepherd breed
in 1895, Max Von Schlephanitz bought one of the original Shepherd dogs at a dog show. He named the dog Horand Von Griffith. Holland is the genealogical foundation of this German Shepherd breed.
After a few months and hoping to develop a distinctive dog that incorporated German breeds, Max created the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde the first German Shepherd Dog Club. The club was registered by Horand with the SZ1 number and made Horand the first official German Shepherd.
3. European as well as American Breeders use different approaches
The breed has evolved since Max started his breeding program, based on where you live.
American breeders created breed standards, which were formulated through the American Kennel Club (AKC). These standards concentrate on body structure and elegant moves, making German Shepherds desirable for performance and show dogs.
European breeders adhere to Max Von Stephanitz’s breed guidelines that emphasize the health of the dog, its temperament, and agility. The German Shepherd Club of Germany is responsible for these standards, and they require dogs to go through a variety of tests. American breed standards don’t have the same tests.
4. German Shepherds living in the United States
German Shepherds first came into the United States in the early 1900s. The American Kennel Club first recognized the German Shepherd breed in 1908. The year 1913 announced their first champion and founded The German Shepherd Dog Club. German Shepherds were regarded as wolf-like dogs that could perform any task they requested.
It was World War I – and it brought the displays of courage and versatility that have set the German Shepherds out from the rest of the pack.
5. German Shepherds were a part of the soldiers during WW1 and WW11
Max von Stephanitz was devoted to advancing his German Shepherd as a versatile breed. With the advent of urbanization, the need for dogs to herd introduced this intelligent and easy-to-train dog to the military and police.
When they were in WW1, German Shepherds demonstrated their courage alongside their German soldiers in battle, serving in Red Cross dogs, rescuers, guard dogs, messengers, guard dogs, and sentries. (They also carried weapons.) They also escorted blind and wounded soldiers to medical facilities. In 1917 one canine named Filax in Lewanno was presented at Westminster as a hero of war after taking 54 soldiers to safety.
The soldiers on both sides of the conflict were impressed by the ability of these dogs to work under difficult and hazardous circumstances. They were especially adept at guiding soldiers who had visually impaired soldiers to security.
WW2 In WW2, the Germans used German Shepherds once more, But this time, they were employed by the United States employed them as well. The US military established German Shepherd dog training centers and deployed them into their so-called War Dog Platoons to assist troops on battlefields. There were 15 platoons like this, seven in Europe and eight within the Pacific.
Then, during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the US military continued to use German Shepherds on the battlefield and at military installations.
6. The German Shepherds are the very first Guide Dogs
On June 28, 1928, Morris Frank brought his dog, Buddy, to the United States from Switzerland, where dogs were being taught to help soldiers who had been blinded during World War 1. Buddy was a female dog whose original title was Kiss. After changing her name, Morris proved her capabilities by allowing her to lead her across a busy New York street in front of a crowd of reporters.
Buddy’s accomplishments in walking on the street resulted in a growing enthusiasm for using German Shepherd dogs to assist those with visual impairment. Nowadays, most dogs who help with visual impairments comprise Labs or Retrievers. German Shepherds aren’t the most popular breed used for this job – these times, they’re generally regarded as the best breed for military and police jobs.
7. Schutzhund is the German Shepherd’s official dog breed
The range that this dog breed has is well-known. To demonstrate their ability and versatility, German Shepherd lovers created an activity called Schutzhund, which means “protection dog, ” highlighting their inherent capabilities. The sport requires dogs to pass an array of rigorous tests, including evaluations as well as instruction in these categories:
- Want to be a part of the workforce
- Bond and trust their handler
- Instincts of protection
- The sense of smell
There are Schutzhund groups and trainers around the globe in which dogs be a part in a competition with their trainers.
8. Alternative names for German Shepherds.
Today, in America, in the United States, we call these dogs German Shepherds. However, they weren’t always known as this. Following WW1, several countries shied away from all things German, which is why in 1917, the AKC started calling the dogs Shepherd Dogs. The same thing happened in Europe, and they were renamed Alsatian Wolf Dogs. A few years later, the Americans, as well as Europeans, reinstated the original name. Today the official name of the breed will be German Shepherd.
9. 11 colors are recognized of the German Shepherd
The majority of us consider black and tan as the norm for German Shepherds. However, AKC recognizes 11 colors. AKC acknowledges eleven colors as the standard.
The undesirable or unqualified colors are white blue, and red. The AKC standards declare these colors as gravely flawed. The dogs with these colors can be registered, but they cannot take part in conformation classes in dog shows. Judges are permanently prohibited from disqualifying German Shepherds with white coats from classes for conformation. However, dogs with undesirable colors can compete in agility classes and obedience classes, as they don’t require conformity evaluations.
The colors of the breed are:
- Black and Tan
- Black and Red
- Black and Cream
- Steele Blue
10. Double-coated German Shepherds and SHED
German Shepherds have medium- to short-length as well as long-haired coats. All breeds are double-coated. The longest coat is the overcoat, which is comprised of hairs that are longer to guard. Their undercoat is soft and denser – it shields the skin against extreme temperatures and cold weather. Both coats shed lots that give their German Shepherd the name “German Shedder.”
They require regular and frequent brushing to keep their hair shed to an absolute minimum. If you don’t brush them regularly, dog hair can end up becoming a contaminant in your home. The dogs shed throughout the year. However, they typically shed the most often twice per year, in the months of spring and autumn.
11. They are the dogs with the third-highest intelligence
If you own one of the German Shepherd, then you’re aware of how smart they are. Did you know that they’re the smartest breed of dog? Poodle, as well as Border Collies, have them beat in the area of brains, But you’d never be aware that it was so.
Stanley Coren, author of the book “The Intelligent Dog,” states that German Shepherds learn an entirely new skill after just five times and will respond correctly to commands 95percent all the time. This is the reason they’ve become so well-known in the field of police. (I wish my dogs were this flexible!)
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12. Lifespan and size of German Shepherds.
It is believed that the German Shepherd is considered a large breed. Males can reach 24 to 26 inches in height and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds. Females are smaller, standing 22-24 inches tall and weighing 50-70 pounds.
In general, the German Shepherd is a healthy dog, but they may have genetic health issues. The lifespan of German Shepherds is between 7 and 13 years, and it is expected that they’ll receive regular vet health and exercise and eat balanced, healthy food.
13. German Shepherds aren’t couched potatoes.
Their levels of activity and intelligence are very high! Do not expect the German Shepherd to join you on the couch unless you’ve given them ample exercise every day as well as mental stimulation. Dogs who are bored or are left on their own for prolonged periods are more likely to be anxious and then engage in unacceptable behaviors, such as chewing up a cushion on your couch or damaging your shoes.
These dogs require extensive areas to run around as well as play. Training in obedience and trick training using positive reinforcement are ideal with this dog breed. Socialization is crucial. German Shepherds are highly cautious of their owners and often wary of strangers and other animals and dogs. Being socialized as pups helps them be more accepting when they meet a new person.
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14. Famous German Shepherd firsts
We are familiar with Strongheart for being the first German Shepherd to appear in films. The real name of his dog was Etzel Von Oeringern. Strongheart is his stage title. In 1921, he made his debut on film in “The Silent Call” and “Brown of North” in the same year. Then, he made an appearance on screen in “The Loving Master” and “White Fang” in 1925.
Who doesn’t know about Rin Tin Tin? An American soldier saved him from the field during the war in France during WW1 and made Rin Tin Tin the first rescue dog. But he didn’t end there! He quickly became the most well-known German Shepherd of all time. Between 1922 and 1930, he appeared in 27 films and became the first non-human to receive a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Apollo is the first German Shepherd search-and-rescue dog to arrive at ground zero of the 9/11 attacks. He arrived just 15 minutes following the terrorist attack. Apollo and several other German Shepherds volunteered with their handlers at the scene despite the smoke, heat, and risk. The debris and fire almost caused him to die, but he survived and was awarded the highly coveted Dickin Medal for gallantry and commitment to duty.
Trakr Trakr, a second German Shepherd at ground zero, was able to locate the sole survivor who was in a coma for 27 hours underneath the rubble.
15. The brave German Shepherds are far removed from herding roots.
Police dogs function as full-time police officers, working with their handlers in fighting criminals. Because of their agility, ability to think for themselves, the ability to discern and smell, they’ve been gaining popularity with police forces.
They’re skilled in cadaver searching and tracking criminals, carrying out search and rescue missions, and identifying explosives and drugs, for example—a handful of their duties.
16. That cute head tilt has a purpose.
The AKC has identified a few reasons for the German Shepherd head tilt we all are enthralled with. They tilt their heads to be able to see and listen better. I’m sure they use this technique to comprehend our commands; however, watching Floppy-eared German Shepherd puppies tilt their heads is cute.
17. Coronavirus Detection Too
You are confronted with the coronavirus as you think that the German Shepherd has done every job you could imagine. German Shepherds are currently being taught to recognize the coronavirus among people. A program to teach the dogs was announced in Finland in September 2020.
18. German Shepherds’ health issues
As healthy and robust in its health and strength, as the German Shepherd breed is, every breed has genetic health problems. The most common of these genetic and inherited diseases include:
Degenerative Myelopathy, is a weakness that develops in the leg hindquarters. DNA tests can detect this disease on German Shepherd parents, allowing breeders to breed off the parental line.
Von Willebrand Disease is an inheritable bleeding disorder. It’s caused by the lack of Von Willebrand Protein Factor.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency can be a chronic condition that affects the pancreas.
Elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia are both genetic issues in German Shepherds. Reputable breeders can breed and certify out. Both cause joint pain that makes walking difficult.
Bloat is a condition that occurs as the dog’s stomach gets filled with gas, food and fluid. It’s a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention from a veterinarian. German Shepherds are among the breeds that are predisposed to the disease.
Before you buy a German Shepherd, find a trustworthy breeder that has tests and certifications for genetic predispositions that their breeding parents and pups.
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19. Utility and Intelligence
The principle for German Shepherds is “Utility and Intelligence.” German Shepherd breed is “Utility and Intelligence”, and they’ve been from herding sheep to serving in the army, police forces and as guide or service dog. They’ve been awarded numerous prizes for their dedication to their work.
All of this great work will ever diminish their value as members of the family. They are a joy to be around. German Shepherd is the second most loved breed of 193 AKC registered breeds and second in the world. 130,000 brand-new German Shepherd parents register their dogs and introduce them to their family members each year.
However, these dogs aren’t suitable for the weak of heart or first-time pet owners. They’re big dogs and require regular exercise and discipline. They’ll be guardians of their family and their coworkers, curl with their mates on the couch to watch an evening movie, look after their human children and show love to their family members. However, they must be socialized from the time they are puppies.
The perfect dog for a family or your best friend or a working dog, it’s hard to beat the charm of a German Shepherd. After you’ve learned all the fascinating information about these dogs, you can find more about this breed and decide if this is the dog for you here.