The German Shepherd Dog or GSD is also known by the name Alsatian or Deutscher Schaferhund. It is considered as somewhat a new breed since its origin can be traced back to 1899. It is under the Herding Group of the American Kennel Club, while The Kennel Club of United Kingdom lists it under the Pastoral Group. As you may take from its name, the GSD originated from Germany.

General Description

The German Shepherd dog is known for its very strong and well proportioned physique. It has a muscular, sturdy, and slightly elongated body composed of a light yet solid bone structure. Normally, its head is proportionate to its body with a slightly rounded forehead. Its nose is normally black in color. However, some may have blue and liver-colored noses which are considered a fault in the development of the dog. Its teeth typically meet in a strong scissors bite. They have dark, almond-shaped eyes that are never supposed to protrude. The ears, on the other hand, are upright and pointed, wide at the base, turned forward. It has a bushy tail that may reach up to its hocks but when at rest, hangs down low. The shoulders and front legs are muscular while the thighs are sturdy and thick. Its round feet are protected with hard soles.

Coat and Color

A German shepherd dog may have one of the three varieties of GSD coats: rough, long rough, and long haired. It normally comes in the color of black with tan, all black or sable. Moreover, it can also come in liver, blue and white, but these colors are all considered a fault depending on various standards. In fact, white is not acceptable and White German Shepherds are considered as a wholly separate breed. Another breed derived from the GSD is the Panda Shepherd, which has a piebald color.


German shepherds have lovable character and temperament. They are known to be keen, courageous, fearless, and alert. They can also be very obedient, cheerful, and are highly eager to be trained. These dogs even sport the characteristics of being confident, clever, serious, tranquil, brave, protective, and faithful. They are willing to give their life just so they can save their their master and his family. GSDs have a high learning capability. A GSD would love to be close to his family but may be distrustful of strangers. They do not bark often and just do it when necessary. They need adequate exercise which means they need to be taken out for walks regularly

Socializing this breed must start from puppyhood as aggression and attacks in adulthood may be attributed to poor handling and training. Like other dogs, the German shepherd must understand that he is not the pack leader. However, a GSD is known to not respond to harsh discipline. Thus, the master must be firm, yet calm.

Common health problems

Improper breeding and care have known to lead into hereditary diseases like elbow and hip dysplasia, digestive problems, bloating, blood disorders, chronic eczema, epilepsy, dwarfism, keratitis or the inflammation of the cornea, and flea allergies.


GSDs shed constantly bits of hair and there are even seasons when shedding would heavily occur. Daily brushing is necessary to help prevent this. Bathing must be done only when needed as it can cause skin irritation as body oil depletes. Ears must always be checked and cleaned when needed and the claws must also be regularly trimmed.

Other Basic German Shepherd information

  • Normal height and weight: Height: 24-26 inches or 60-65 cm (DOG); 22-24 inches or 55-60 cm (BITCH); Weight: 77-85 pounds or 35-40 Kg
  • Life expectancy: 10-13 years
  • Litter size: 5-10 puppies