German Shepherd: Dog Breed Profile

German shepherd

The German Shepherd, a faithful and docile dog, has long enjoyed worldwide success.

Most likely because It possesses this rare combination of intelligence, agility, strength, and courage. Very versatile, the German Shepherd is today both a rescue dog, an assistance dog, a guard dog … and an excellent companion dog!

Other names: Berger Alsacien, Deutscher Schäferhund, German Shepherd Dog

History of the breed

Methodical breeding started in 1889. This breed was created by Captain Max Fréderic Emile Von Stephanitz from the crossing of sheepdogs from central and southern Germany.

The goal was to create a very intelligent and physically strong utility dog ​​for herding herds.

It was not until the late 19 th century and the industrial revolution in Germany as the first German Shepherds became famous. A German Shepherd is essentially a working dog.

A versatile dog, the German Shepherd is useful in many areas. During the First World War, It accompanied the German army and in particular intended to help wounded soldiers.

As the herds disappeared, the evolution of the breed pushed men to use the faculties of the German Shepherd to make it a police dog, war dog, guide dog, or sanitary.

Physical features

  • Its coat: short and hard, is very dense. Lined with a supplied undercoat, the hair remains lying along the body.
  • Its color: the most common is black and tan. It can also have black with undertones of brown, reddish-brown or yellow to light gray.
  • Its head: well proportioned to the size of the dog with a reasonable width between the ears. It is not too heavy or too elongated. General in appearance, the head has a pronounced and powerful muzzle.
  • Its ears: are medium in size and wide at the base. Symmetrical, they are carried very straight and end in a point.
  • Its eyes: remain almond shaped and should be as dark as possible.
  • Its body: rather elongated and quite straight, giving way to a muscular and slightly plunging back. It has a slightly oblique rump. A pure trotter, he has a harmonious look with ample movements.
  • Its tail: must at least reach the hock. On its inner face, the hair is longer. It is carried drooping, but when it is in full action or excited it rises considerably without going above the horizontal.

Behavior With Others

Very cheerful and playful, It’s endowed with great intelligence. It remains faithful and attached to Its master. Patient and courageous, It’s also a protective dog with children.

With a fairly flexible temperament, It’s nonetheless lively and quite domineering. Affectionate and naturally peaceful, It needs to exercise every day.

It’s unfailingly devoted to Its owner. It is a very sensitive animal, who appreciates congratulations after a good deed.

It’s a very athletic and very playful dog. It is an easy dog on a daily basis as long as you are careful with it.

If It’s very grateful for the time spent with It and the love received, It may feel abandoned, if you don’t show care towards it.



The German Shepherd Dog perfectly embodies versatility. Working dog par excellence, it can be trained as a police dog, herd, tracker, and guide dog for the blind.

As a companion dog, Its suspicious nature towards strangers and Its past as a sheepdog make It a good guard since it naturally defends Its territory.

For education, It turns out to be very docile and very intelligent, even if It recognizes only one teacher. It is important to socialize It and get It used to strangers or public places because Its distrust of the unknown is important to take into account.

In addition, this breed can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety and you will often be required to do most of your travels with it.

Living Conditions

Very active, the German Shepherd Dog can stay outside in all seasons. It is more suited to country life.

However, life in the city and in an apartment is not impossible as long as you take it out frequently and offer it regular physical activities.

It’s also a dog who does not support loneliness. If It feels lonely, bored, or not exercised enough, It will show Its frustration by chewing everything It can or barking excessively.

Health & Maintenance

Robust by nature, the German Shepherd, like all medium and large dogs, is genetically prone to hip or elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand disease.

The screening and selection of animals during breeding greatly reduced the risks. Other than that, her life expectancy is good (12 years).

The German Shepherd is a dog made to live outdoors even if It likes to come and go freely in the house or in the garden.

Try to cut Its nails carefully regularly with a nail clipper, in fact, they know a very fast growth. The ears should be checked to rule out the risk of wax buildup or debris that can cause infection.

Teeth require regular brushing to prevent tartar build-up.

It undergoes a moult twice a year  (in spring and in autumn) in connection with the change of luminosity at these periods.

Dogs living indoors shed hair year-round with stronger periods in spring and fall. By its high density of hair, the German Shepherd Dog must be brushed every day during the moulting period.

Outside of this period, this dog can be satisfied with a good brushing twice a week to have a softer and shinier coat.

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Written by Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, canine behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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