The German Shepherd Dog

Our GSD, Gucci, at TWO Years Old Nov. 2005                    photo by Isabella Giuliano

In the 1890s, Captain Max von Stephanitz, a young German cavalry officer, decided to develop a national breed of shepherd dogs. Max von Stephanitz was a very educated man, fond of shepherd dogs and appreciated very high their working abilities. He is known as the father of the breed. April 3, 1899 is considered to be the birthday of The German Shepherd Dog. On that day Max von Stephanitz purchased a herding dog on a dog show. The dog's name was Hektor Linksrhein (later named Horand von Grafrath) and it became a forefather for present German Shepherd Dogs and the first registered GSDs. Horand von Grafrath won the first German Shepherd Dog show that was held by Max von Stephanitz. He founded the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, the German Shepherd Dog breeders' organization and was named its first president. His efforts were not in vain. The German Shepherd Dog quickly became popular. They proved to be very diversified dogs. GSDs are widely used in police and military work. They earned the reputation as good family companion as well. The German Shepherd Dog became the first dogs used as Guide Dogs for the blind.

Temperament and Personality The German Shepherd Dog is intelligent, agile, loyal, self-confident, protective of his home and property. They are fearless, but not hostile. These dogs are active, quick to learn and fond of training and challenges. German Shepherds should be trained and socialized from an early age. They are very sociable and need attention. The German Shepherd does well in an apartment living provided they have a plenty of exercise.

Size and Appearance The German Shepherd Dog is of middle size, strong, well muscled and elegant looking. Height is 22-26 inches, weight is 75-95 pounds. Colors are black and tan, black and red, black and cream, black and silver, solid black, sable, and white. White is considered to be a fault in the US and white shepherds cannot enter breed classes at shows.

Care The German Shepherd Dog needs require regular combing and occasional baths. The life expectancy is around 13 years.

A Bit of GSD History By Martin Wahl

The German Shepherd is not only one of the world’s most popular companion dogs, but also probably the most widely used breed for service work.  The development of the German Shepherd Dog, along with a number of existing breeds, helped pioneer the modern use of dogs for service and community work that we can see today.  For a breed of dog that has only been officially recognized for just over 100 years, it has made an outstanding contribution to mankind worldwide.

  More on the GSD



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