German Shepherd Dogs: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

German Shepherd Dog Breed Information

German Shepherd Dog
Level of Energy  
Exercise Needs     
Level of Affection    
Climate Tolerance    
Good With Children    
Tolerance of Animals      
Suitable as Guard Dog  

Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  2
  • AKC Breed Group:  Herding
  • Size of Male:  24-26 in., 70-100 lbs
  • Size of Female:  22-24 in., 60-80 lbs
  • Color:  Black and Tan, Black and Cream, Solid Black, and Black and Silver
  • Average Lifespan:  12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Germany
  • Purpose:  Guard Dog, Herding, Police Dog, Search Dog, Contraband Detection

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General Description

The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent of all breeds. It is a large, highly faithful, obedient and devoted dog. It is also one
of the most versatile working dogs.

German Shepherds make good guard dogs, police dogs, show dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, herding dogs and pets. No wonder it has
remained near the top of the AKC’s list of most popular American dog breeds for so long.

Origin and History

The origin of this breed is credited to Captain Max von Stephanitz.

In the late 1800s he established an organization called Verein fur Deutsche Scharferhunde SV, which was devoted to breeding these dogs. In fact, one cannot find another instance of such a concerted effort to improve dog breeding.

The German Shepherd breed became known for their courage, intelligence, athleticism and working capability. American and British soldiers were
highly impressed with this breed during World War I and brought them home. In 1908, this breed was officially recognized by the AKC.


German Shepherd dogs are loyal and highly intelligent. They are always eager to please their owner and will do anything to protect them. They
are independent, courageous, energetic and confident.

Although these dogs are very good with children, you should plan to be present with them if your children are still quite young. This breed is known to get along well with your other pets; however, if you are out and about, it is important to have them on
a leash as they can be aggressive with other dogs.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – The Shepherd is a family oriented dog and does best when there is constant interaction with family
members. Because they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time, you should avoid this breed if you do not have much time for them.

Grooming – If you have allergies, this breed is not for you because they shed heavily. To properly maintain their double coat they
should be groomed every couple of days.

Diet & Exercise – These working dogs require daily walks and regular runs to stay fit. Plus, their ideal environment would
provide enough room to roam and space to run. Not a dog for lazy people, these dogs are most happy when given constant physical and mental

Health – Like other breeds, this large dog breed is prone to certain diseases such as canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, flea allergies, eczema,
bloating, digestive problem and blood disorders. Even though they are prone to certain diseases, they can live 12 years or more with proper care,
diet and exercise.


The German Shepherd dog breed is known for its high intelligence and dog training is relatively easy, provided they are trained and socialized early.
Proper and effective training includes firmness, fairness and respect, with consistency and adequate rewards.

If you prefer heavy-handed methods,
choose another breed. Positive dog training methods work best (praise and rewards). In fact, choose another pet. Maybe a pet rock.