The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most recognized breeds in the world.
In the United States, it’s the second most popular dog breed registered by the American Kennel Club. The breed originated in Germany in 1899, and was bred to herd and guard sheep. Created to work, the German shepherd is intelligent, strong, and athletic.
It was intended to be a medium size dog but due to breeding, seeing both medium and large sized dogs is common. The breed standard is 60 – 90 pounds for males and 50 – 75 pounds for females. Since German shepherds are so intelligent, they are notably easy to train and enjoy an active lifestyle.
They do well at both work and in active family homes. They are often seen working alongside law enforcement and the military. They excel in protection, drug and explosives detection, search and rescue, and as service dogs. They also enjoy training, obedience, dog sports, and hanging out with their owners.
They have tons of energy and as family pets, love to play, run, hike, go on walks, do jobs around the house, and protect their families. German shepherds have also been known as Alastians. During the world war, they began calling them the Alsatian, after the German French border area of Alsace-Lorraine.
In 1977, breeders campaigned to change the name of the breed back to German Shepherd Dog. Today, there are two common lines of German shepherd dogs – the working line and the show line.
All German shepherds originated from the original German line but over the years have developed into two distinct types of dogs differing in appearance and temperament due to breeding. The show line has a sloped/roached back, broader body, angled hindquarters, and possibly weaker hips.
The show line has a sloped/roached back, broader body, angled hindquarters, and possibly weaker hips.
Temperament The working line is very high energy, high drive, fearless, has a strong work ethic, extremely intelligent, confident in all they do, and have nerves of steel so they do not back down to threats.
The show line is lower energy, less intense, very smart, and friendlier. Coats The coat of the working line is often seen in sable and their coats are shorter and coarse, although there are long coat working line German shepherds. The show line is most often seen in the classic tan and black or red and black saddle or blanket.
Health The working line German shepherd is more rugged and typically healthier and less prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. The show line is bred for appearance and more prone to hip and elbow problems due to their sloped backs and shorter hind legs.