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Are German Shepherds Working Dogs

One Dog Different Jobs

THE GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG – Working line or Show?

Black Shepherds have traits that would make them fit to do work for the police, military, and search & rescue teams. Today, they are ranked the second most popular dog in the US.

In fact, you would often see German Shepherds being used by the army and the police as their K9 unit. These dogs are fearless, intelligent, and obedient, which makes them great candidates for these positions.

Even if this canine fits in the guns and the criminal world, they can also be trained to become a service dog.

The Black German Shepherd has a stable temperament, which means they can stand intense situations without panicking. It allows them to become a guardian, a blind leader, and a companion who assists people who have disabilities.

With their wolf-like appearance and protective nature, this is a breed you can rely on to be amazing guard dogs. Their courage and alertness allow them to look after their loved ones while being an excellent family companion.

Difference Between Show Line And Working Line German Shepherds

The working line German shepherd has a thicker and straight body structure relative to the show lines.

The German shepherd working lines have distinct characteristics that differentiate them from their counterparts, the show lines.

First, working line German shepherds are bred and trained specifically for work, which involves having the mindset to perform under pressure and the desire to work at all.

The working line German shepherd also has a thicker and straight body structure relative to the show lines, who have thinner and have slanted backs due to their hind legs being shorter than their front legs.

The hind legs of working line German shepherds are longer than those of show lines, and they also have a medium-length double coat for higher tolerance in adverse climatic conditions.

German Shepherds Will Explore Everything With Their Noses

Youll find evidence of their very thorough sniffing everywhere walls, doors, windows, and more. All dogs have a better sense of smell than humans 10,000 to 100,000 times better in fact thanks to having millions more scent receptors. But compared to other breeds, the GSD ranks near the top in scenting ability. Its no wonder they make such great police and detection dogs. Among many other jobs, GSDs are known for their bomb and drug sniffing work, tracking, and search and rescue.

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The Basic German Shepherd Temperament

Your dog can be characterized by different sets of temperaments. However, some cannot be changed.

The following are the most basic German shepherd temperament that we can say are always present to the breed.

  • Courageous and Fearless: German shepherds are courageous, which can be seen from the heroic deeds of dogs during World War I.They are also fearless, except of course when it comes to their trauma. Thats why they are suited to extreme tasks. This is also the reason why they were the perfect dogs for soldiers.
  • Strong and Energetic: German shepherds, are and will always be energetic dogs. However, its already given that their stamina might deteriorate as they age.Regardless, they are still stronger and more energetic than most breeds. This makes these dogs perfect for fitness-oriented people. After all, both the owner and dog will be energetic and eager to exercise.
  • Protective and Loyal: German shepherds are protective and loyal. Eight German shepherds reportedly performed heroic deeds in America along with their owners.However, they can be dominant sometimes. So a strict trainer is suitable for them so they wont develop poor behavior due to their alpha tendencies.

These German shepherd traits are pretty basic, even a kid knows about them.

However, as previously said, the advanced breeding method for dogs brought a change in the German shepherds personality. This led to several types of temperament.

The Difference Between German And American Bred German Shepherds

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One of the most common question ask is what is the difference between a German line and an American line German Shepherd. There is a vast difference between the two. Below I will explain some of the differences between the German Show lines, American Show lines and the European Working lines and I will show you a picture of all three.

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Amazing Facts About German Shepherds

Lynn is a writer and long-time Learning & Development Manager at a large PNW retailer. She’s also mom to 3 dogs & 2 cats!

Theres no wonder the noble German Shepherd is the AKCs second most popular dog. This breeds intelligence, bravery, and loyalty have made them excel as police and military dogs, service dogs, and protective family pets. Its clear we love them and for so many reasons.

Here are some amazing facts about the German Shepherd breed you may not know.

1. German Shepherds are natural herders

Originally, German Shepherds were tasked with watching over flocks of sheep and herding them from field to field. That job required lightning-fast reflexes and an ability to run at top speed when needed. This breed proved perfect for the job.

German Shepherds can reach speeds of up to 32 miles per hour at full sprint. However, when herding, they trot rather than run, clocking in at around 20 miles per hour. They became the go-to-dog for herding sheep but there was so much more this breed would come to excel at.

At some point, a German Cavalry officer noticed this impressive work dog and its wolflike appearance. He purchased a dog for himself and the official history of this breed began.

2. The father of the German Shepherd breed

In 1895, Max Von Shlephanitz purchased the first Shepherd Dog at a dog show, naming him Horand Von Grafath. Horand was the genetic basis for the German Shepherd breed.

What You Should Know Before Getting A German Shepherd

The German Shepherd, or now more correctly known as the German Shepherd Dog or GSD, is a very popular breed thats easy to recognize. Although the breed is often depicted as a police dog or a guard dog, the origins of the GSD was a farm dog that excelled in working with sheep as both a herding dog and a flock guardian.

The GSD was originally bred for performance and not for a breed standard. They were developed in Germany in the mid to late part of the 19th century. In 1899 a military officer, Max von Stephanitz, actually developed the breed as it is now recognized.

The German Shepherd was recognized as a dog breed in Germany and was used as a military dog in the World War l. At the same time, these dogs were also used by the Red Cross and the police throughout Europe. It was smart, highly trainable and fearless, even in combat situations. While there were some of these dogs in the USA in the early part of the 1900s, it was really the efforts of American soldiers to bring these dogs home that sparked the popularity of the breed.

The Characteristics

Todays GSDs are still the same loyal, courageous and highly intelligent dogs they have always been. While they are still used as police and military dogs, they are equally effective as guide and assistance dogs, bomb and drug dogs, as well as wonderful family pets, guard dogs and companions.


General Care

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A Great Addition To The Family

Black German Shepherds may look aggressive, but they are very loving and friendly. These loyal hounds are great family dogs and will fit in with different types of household.

They are known to be funny, which is a trait that helps them get along with children or teenagers. The Black Shepherd can also have a soft spot for cats or other pets when provided with socialization training during their puppyhood.

Look at this amusing YouTube video of a Black German Shepherd doing a head tilt at the sound of a crying baby:

However, these dogs are aloof, and because of their watchdog nature, they will be wary of people they dont know.

West German Working Lines


This German Shepherd type is the closest representation of the dogs produced by Max von Stephanitz.

Their main focus is on strong working drives, stable temperament, and excellent working ability.

They will excel at a variety of different sports and also real working jobs like search and rescue, guarding, or protecting.

Although this type has a strong work drive, it knows how to settle down when needed and will make a fantastic pet for an active family.

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Gsds Are Super Active

Therefore, so are you. Thinking of lounging on the couch? No way! German Shepherd owners know that wont happen until youve walked your dog, gone to the park, or provided some sort of exercise. This breed only thrives with enough regular exercise to burn off all that excess energy. If you dont give your GSD daily workouts, watch out. Your dog will get that energy out somehow, and most likely in ways you dont want. To be sure your German Shepherd is happy and a pleasure to live with, you will definitely get all the exercise you need too.

Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Excellent and loyal guard dogs, they make brilliant service pups

Each month we will be shining a light on different dog breeds in our series, Dog Breed of the Month. This month, we look at the loyal and courageous German Shepherds. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this gorgeous breed, including characteristics, temperament and personality traits.

“German Shepherd Dogs are versatile, intelligent and energetic dogs, known for their loyalty,” Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, tells Country Living. “They’re capable of learning many commands, which is why they are make good service, military and assistance dogs. Outside of ‘work’, German Shepherds are loving dogs that make a great companion, as well as an exercise or exploration buddy.”

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Experience Level For Owning A Black German Shepherd

We only recommend these dogs for experienced dog owners. Preferably, you should have owned at least one dog before. It is recommended that you have some experience with more active dogs, as well. A Shih Tzu isnt going to do much to prepare you for a German Shepherd.

These dogs are quite active and tend to be high-energy. Without the appropriate amount of exercise, they can easily become destructive. In fact, most of the destructive behavior associated with a German Shepherd is due to a lack of stimulation.

German Shepherds require extensive training as well, so it is best if they have a handler that has previously trained dogs. They are quite easy to train, so you dont have to be an expert by any means.

If youre interested in owning a German Shepherd, we highly recommend taking your time to consider just how much work these dogs require. They will take up a few hours a day as puppies and require as much as an hour or two of exercise alone. These arent dogs for the casual dog owner.

German Shepherds And Children

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Adult German Shepherds can range from being calm and patient to bouncy and boisterous, depending on their personality, training and socialisation. Some can make great family pets in homes with children of all ages, but dogs should always be supervised around young children.

Make sure you can recognise the signs of unhappiness or anxiety in your dog to help avoid any conflicts. German Shepherds can be nervous of strangers so make sure theyre never left unsupervised. Be careful if you are introducing a German Shepherd to younger children or adults unfamiliar with the breed as they often dont know their own strength.

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Lifespan Of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are usually very healthy dogs and will live a long life. However, they are prone to specific issues that are commonly found in the breed’s history.

These include some of the most common:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common inherited condition where a joint deformity occurs during the growth and development of the dog. Some signs of hip dysplasia are balance issues, pain, and limping.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Another common inherited condition is elbow dysplasia, this condition is caused by the humerus, the radius, and the ulna not sitting perfectly in the joint socket. This causes wear and tear over years and can be recognized by lameness in the front legs of the dog.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Commonly known as bloat, is a life threatening condition and while not genetic, is more common in larger breeds such as the German Shepherd. This condition is caused by the stomach becoming stretched due to gas and then twisting. Some common symptoms are distress, swollen stomach, excessive drooling and pain. These symptoms should be addressed right away.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: Also known as DM is an inherited illness commonly found in German Shepherds. This disease is caused by deterioration of white matter in the spinal cord and results in the loss of control of the hind legs. The symptoms present similar to osteoarthritis such as loss of balance, excessive weakness, and pain.

Do Well In Almost Any Climate

From warm weather too cooler temperatures, these dogs can live and work in any climate. Their double coat keeps them warm in the winter but also protects them from the sun and extreme heat in the summer. Like any other breed you still want to ensure they have access to shelter when needed as extreme temperatures can increase the risk of things like frostbite and hypothermia or heat stroke.

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Getting A German Shepherd

Getting a German Shepherd is simple, but its important to be prepared. If youre buying a German Shepherd puppy, youll spend plenty of time discouraging biting and barking, socializing the puppy to other people and dogs, and teaching important skills like sleeping through the night and going to the bathroom outside.

Finding a German Shepherd puppy or adult dog can be as easy as an internet search, but be careful of puppy mills and internet scams. Do your research and ask around for a reputable breeder, visit before committing to payment, and trust your gut.

White Swiss Shepherd Dog

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The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is a variety of the German Shepherd bred in Switzerland. It descends from the American White Shepherds the first stud dog of what became the breed was an American dog born in 1966 and imported to Switzerland. The variety was recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale as a separate breed in 2003, and it is now recognised by a number of national kennel clubs.

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Where Can I Get A Black German Shepherd

To help you locate your puppy, we made a list of Black German Shepherd breeders you could check out.

Whether youre getting a Black Shepherd from a breeder or a rescue center, you must always ask about the health of your puppy and the parents. A responsible breeder will be able to provide you the details and will ask questions about you to ensure the puppy will fit in your life.

Also, when getting an older dog, ask whether it had training or not to prepare yourself or have a professional to train them.

If you plan to take over their training, it will help build your relationship since you will spend more time with your new canine.

Lets Start With How German Standards Began

The German shepherd breed was created in 1899 by Captain Max von Stephanitz, in Germany. The captain wished to create a single breed that could serve instead of the several different highly specialized breeds farmers were using to work their flocks of sheep. He dreamt of a single, multi-purposed dog that could herd sheep, protect boundaries, defend against predators, protect the shepherd, his property and his family and still lie down in the house to play with the children at the end of the day. He set out with determination to select the best dogs exhibiting the desired traits and started building his breeding program. He was a very methodical man with a plan, and he produced some very detailed documents to guide breeders in their efforts.

The standard and breed worthiness requirements are recognized internationally and most countries in the world abide by the German standards. So basically, the German shepherd dogs we find worldwide are pretty much the same and compete side by side in local shows and at the World Sieger Show in Germany once a year.

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Pointers For Handling German Shepherd Temperament Problems

German shepherds are sometimes difficult to deal with. We know that much.

Thats precisely why you should prepare for various problems that may arise from their behavior.

The following are common problems that youll encounter. Nevertheless, you dont have to worry because well discuss how to handle them.

History Of The Working Line German Shepherd


The history of the working line German shepherd can be traced back to the 1850s in Germany when the dogs’ breeding was standardized.

Dog breeding was introduced mainly to produce dogs that would help the shepherds protect the flock from predators.

Throughout this time, however, contentions existed on whether the bred dogs should be used for appearance only or whether they could perform working functions as well.

A German captain and former student of veterinary science, Max von Stephanitz, nonetheless, advocated for standardized breeding of working dogs.

This advocacy was inspired by the performance and abilities of the dog Hektor Linksrhein in a dog show.

Stephanitz purchased Hektor and changed its name to Horand von Grafrath, considered the first German shepherd dog.

The breeding of working line German shepherds became popular from then onwards.

Stephanitz’s efforts to formulate methodical breeding programs contributed significantly to the field of breeding working line German shepherds.

Horand’s abilities and genes became the core of the breeding system for working line German Shepherds and set the foundation for developing working line types of German shepherds.

Using Horand’s bloodline, Stephanitz continuously worked on inbreeding procedures to develop dogs that were purposefully for working.

The program proved successful when out of Horand came Schwaben and Beowulf, who became the origin of the existing German shepherd working lines.

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