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German Shepherd Information



The German Shepherd dog is known around the world for its role as police dog and guard dog. It is a very muscular, athletic medium to large sized dog that is slightly longer in the body than it is at the shoulders, giving a look of speed and agility. The German Shepherd has a curved tail, slightly compact or lowered hips and a strong, muscular neck that leads into a distinctive head. The ears are very large, triangular and kept erect, and the muzzle is long and slightly tapering. The eyes are usually dark brown or dark hazel, and are very intelligent looking. The feet are rounded and very compact and the legs are muscular and strong. The coat can be one of three varieties, long haired, rough coated or long rough coated. Typical colors are black, black and sable, black and tan and other rich colors. White German Shepherds are not recognized in many registries but the AKC now recognizes them as a separate breed, the American White Shepherd.


A well trained and properly socialized German Shepherd is a wonderful, loyal and loving dog, excellent with families including those with small children. The breed is a natural watch and guard dog so can become aggressive and protective when strangers are near. German Shepherds typically stay aloof when strangers are around but will quickly learn to adjust to family friends. The German Shepherd is considered one of the most intelligent breeds and therefore has been used in law enforcement, search and rescue and in guard dog positions for many years. Some male and female Shepherds tend to be somewhat dog-aggressive but neutered males and spayed females make excellent companion dogs and can easily learn to live with other dogs and pets.

Grooming & Shedding

Regardless of the type of coat German Shepherds will need regular grooming to keep looking in top shape. They have a thick, double coat that will completely shed out twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Regular grooming with a sturdy pin brush is needed to remove the dead hair and minimize hair loss throughout the house. The long haired and rough long coat require more care to prevent tangles and matting but all varieties are considered heavy shedders. The breed should only be bathed when absolutely necessary to prevent drying out the coat.


The German Shepherd was bred from a variety of wire and long haired shepherd dogs used in Bavaria and other counties in the 1800's. The breed was developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz both for the traditional saddle pattern of on the coat as well as their versatility as a guard and herding animal. The first short coated German Shepherd was shown in Berlin in 1889.

Health Issues                                      

  • Major Concerns: canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia
  • Minor Concerns: cardiomopathy, cataracts, gastric torsion, panosteitis, vWD (von Willebrand's Disease), progressive posterior paresis, cauda equina, pyotraumatic dermatitis, skin allergies, malignant neoplasms, flea allergies
  • Occasionally seen: pancreatic problems, fatal Aspergillus infections
  • Suggested tests: hip, eye, blood, elbow




Males 24-26 inches (60-65cm)

Females 22-24 inches (55-60cm)


77-85 pounds (35-40kg)


13 years


Med – inactive indoors but need regular walks and play


Yes – with regular exercise



Young Children


Need exercise space

Yes – room to run on a regular basis

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