German Shepherds are prized for their courage and loyalty to their owner. Their intelligence and eagerness to learn has made them a favorite choice for police work, dog shows, and as a family pet.
They make for ideal guard dogs and will only bark when necessary. However, German Shepherds require plenty of socialization and training when they are puppies, to ensure they don’t grow up overly protective or aggressive. Both of these traits are very uncharacteristic of the breed.
German Shepherds are an outstanding dog breed that gets along with other family pets and loves children. If you want a companion that will be devoted to you all the days of his life, the German Shepherd may be the dog for you to consider.
History of German Shepherds
The origins of German Shepherds date all the way back to the 7 th century. Shepherds where developed from a variety of different shepherd dogs, and their original purpose was for herding.
It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that an active interest was taken in the breed. The man that dedicated himself to refining and protecting the German Shepherd was Rittmeister Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz. The breed was first shown in 1882. However, it wasn’t until 1899 that the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (the German Shepherd breed club) was formed. This club, and the work of the Rittmeister, allowed German Shepherds to be developed for use in the police and armed forces. This development of the breed is what saved them from becoming extinct.
In the First World War, the Germans used German Shepherds for the purpose of delivering messages and locating wounded officers. The Shepherd was greatly admired for his courage and intelligence, and because of his quality traits, many of the allied soldiers brought the dogs home with them after the war. This allowed the German Shepherd to establish himself in other countries.
As his popularity grew in the United States, German Shepherds were used for police work, assisting the blind, as guard dogs, and as actors in TV and movies. Even today the breed has kept all of the above mentioned careers, and continues to be one of the most beloved family pets in the canine world.
German Shepherds Are Always On The Move
German Shepherds are a medium-large dog and are apart of the Herding Dog group. They weigh between 77-85 pounds and stand an average of up to 26 inches at the shoulders.
Shepherds are a dog with extreme confidence and intelligence. This makes them easy to train, as they catch on to lessons quickly. Nevertheless, they do require proper obedience training and will need to be well socialized when they are puppies. If a German Shepherd is not well socialized, he will become even more wary of strangers than is natural for the breed. Hence, although you may like the fact that the German Shepherd is by nature a guard dog, you won’t want him to become so protective of you that he begins to show aggression.
German Shepherds make ideal companions for both individuals and families. They enjoy the company of children and tolerate other family pets well. The German Shepherd is a devoted breed and will want to be with you as much as possible. They need human companionship and will not take well to being left alone all the time.
Shepherds thrive on strenuous activity and love exercise. That being the case, they are not good apartment dogs and will do better in a home with at least a small yard. These dogs will require at least 2 walks a day (20 minutes or more), as well as playtime. Since they enjoy vigorous exercise, you may want to think about getting them involved with fly ball and agility games, as this will not only allow them to burn energy, but also use their intelligence.
German Shepherds do not like to remain inactive. This breed is always on the move and loves to do things. They crave challenges, which is why they have made excellent police dogs, seeing-eye dogs and actors.
As far as grooming goes, German Shepherds are heavy shedders and will leave bits of their fur all around your home. It’s a good idea to give this breed a daily brushing to prevent excessive shedding.
This dog has an average live span of 13 years; however, they are prone to a number of different hereditary health problems due to years of poor breeding. The most common health defects that plague the German Shepherd include hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as digestive problems, flea allergies, eye issues and epilepsy. Therefore, German Shepherds need to be closely monitored by their vet.
If you are a first time dog owner and are interested in German Shepherds, this dog may be the ideal breed for you, as long as you are ready to take on a huge training commitment. Owning a German Shepherd will take up plenty of your time, as you will need to include your new friend in a large part of your life. If you are not ready for such a commitment, you may want to consider another pet.