Pet Profile: German Shepherd

By Valdette Muller| September 30, 2017 | Blog

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His devotion and courage are unmatched.

German Shepherds are working dogs originally bred for herding and guarding sheep in the hills and valleys of Germany.

The German Shepherd’s strength, intelligence and trainability is what makes them a preferred breed for many types of work, which includes disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles. They are known as a national hero in some parts of the world. The German Shepherds were the search and rescue dogs crawling through the ruins of the World Trade Centre after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking for survivors.

  • They are medium to large in size
  • Strong in build, athletic, and have stern and imposing looks
  • They have a 2 layer coat, with a dense thick undercoat. Very good all weather type of coat which comes in medium to long fur and is shed all year round.
  • Colour variations come in black, red or tan with body markings such as “black saddle” or “black mask”. Rare colour varieties come in pure white and pure black.
  • They are known for their pointed alert ears, but as puppies they start out with floppy ears.
  • The German Shepherd’s long muzzle is what police and military love about this dog. Similar to the wolf, this breed’s bite can place up to 108 kg of pressure. It has a bite second to the Rottweiler in power. For the police and military, the real utility of the German Shepherd is not only it’s bite, but it’s discipline when being told to stop.

History and Background20---picture-of-stephanitz

German army captain Max von Stephanitz, was the first official breeder of the German Shepherd and registered the breed in 1899.

Stephanitz was attracted to the shepherding dogs used by the German sheep herders and became fond of the German Shepherd’s wolfish appearance, it’s strong upper body and pricked ears, not to mention it’s sharp mind and willingness to work. The captain’s motto was “Utility and Intelligence.”

Hollywood loved the German Shepherd’s handsome good looks so the German Shepherd also became the original canine movie star! A German img_german-shepherd-rin-tin-tinShepherd known as Rin Tin Tin premiered on silent movies during the 1920s. As a movie star this dog was trained to do stunts, act alongside other members of the cast, and because of it’s popularity, it got over 10,000 fan letters. Rin Tin Tin saved the Warner Brothers from finical ruin.

Morris Frank and his first guide dog named Buddy, a German Shepherd, made history in 1928 when they arrived in New York City as the first guide dog team in the United States.

Personality

A versatile dog, with keen intelligence while being dutiful in performing tasks.

The German Shepherd is a moderately active dog breed and is described as very self-assured and eager to please. They are curious in nature which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions.

If they are not socialised or trained properly, the German Shepherd can become very suspicious and can have a aloof demeanour around strangers. This makes the German Shepherd breed one of the most dangerous dogs to have, as it can become territorial and over-protective in nature.

If they are well-trained and socialised, the German Shepherd has a reputation of being one of the safest and most loyal dogs in the world.

It can be dominating and assertive but very protective and devoted to it’s family and home.

Health and Welfare

German Shepherd’s live up to 10 -12 years of age.

A German Shepherd’s energy levels do vary from frisky to laid-back but they are also adaptable dogs. All German Shepherds maintain a athletic shape, but exercise is important and walking every day and running in a safe and enclosed area is a great way to maintain their energy levels. Without exercise they may express boredom and frustration by barking or chewing.

Senior German Shepherd’s are high on the list for hip displasia. Like most dogs, they need to be seen by a vet for routine checkups and tests, such as hip, elbow, blood and eye tests.

The German Shepherd hits the canine list for number 1 biter, so early training and socialisation is very important. With proper guidance, love and attention these dogs make the most loyal pets.

These dogs make great pets for any household, but outsiders beware. The German Shepherd is extremely protective of what they consider their pack or their family.

Sources: http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/germanshepherds.html

https://phz8.petinsurance.com/pet-breeds/dog-breeds/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-german-shepherd-dogs

https://assistancedogs.wordpress.com/category/dog-history/

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