Weight: 75 to 90 pounds (male); 55 to 70 (female).
Availability: Very popular.
An athletic, quick, muscular dog, length greater than height, with a smoothlyÂ angled silhouette. Ruggedly noble, with a great head and long muzzle. The ears are stiff, three-sided and open to the front. The nose is black. The dark eyes are almond-shaped and medium-sized. The teeth come together in a scissors bite. The long sword-like tail is hairy andÂ falls down at least to the hock. The fore legs are straight. Dewclaws on the front legs are generally left on while those on theÂ hind legs are removed. TheÂ thick double coat lies even and close. Any colors except white, liver or blue are satisfactory. It’s best if the colors are strong. The proper weight is notÂ portrayed in the standard.
One of the most compliant breeds, the German Shepherd probably originated by crossing several shepherd breeds in Germany. The breed is so smart and learns so quickly that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard-dog, in constable work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue duty and martial work. The German Shepherd also excels many other canine activities such as Schutzhund, tracking, obedience, dexterity, flyball, and ring play. His preciseÂ nose can sniff out narcotics and trespassers, and alert handlers to the proximity of underground mines in time to avoid explosions, or gas leaks in pipes buried in access of 10 feet underground. The German Shepherd is also a popular show dog and family friend.
The breedÂ is given to hip and elbow dysplasia (be sure both parents have had their hips certified at least OFA Good), chronic eczema, flea reactions and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). They have a high penchant for gastric disorders. Bathing required only once or twice a year to address skin oil depletion. German Shepherds haveÂ great protective instincts, so they should be thoroughly socialized to prevent over-guarding when adult. Aggression with people are mainly due to substandard breeding, handling and development. It is extremely important to purchase your German Shepherd from a reputable breeder. Some areÂ shy and skittish and may bite out of fear. Research a puppy’s lineage with a lot of care. To be successful pets, these dogs should be trained and socialized from an early age with a rigid andÂ caring hand. Coercive or aggressive training does not work well with this breed. The German Shepherd needs aÂ role to be truly happy. He also needs his people and should not be left isolated for long periods. The breed sheds repeatedly and a short daily brushing is best.
Tracking, hunting, retrieving, herding, watchdog, policing work, guarding, drug detection, military work, search and rescue, sledding, agility, competition, and Schutzhund.
Direct and not afraid, eager and alert. Bold, happy and obedient. Known for being extremely loyal and courageous. Serious. Calmly confident, but not hostile.Â Strangely human-like in intelligence.
Children: Excellent with children.
Friendliness: Reserved with strangers.
Trainability: Easy to train.
Independence: Needs people.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Not typically dog-aggressive.
Noise: Average barker.
Indoors: Relatively inactive indoors.
Owner: Not recommended for novice owners.
Grooming and Physical Needs:
Grooming: Occasional grooming needed.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Medium coat.
Shedding: Seasonally heavy shedder.
Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed.
Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment with enough exercise.
Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard or open space.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years).