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What Are The Characteristics Of A German Shepherd

Here Are Some Of My Favorite German Shepherd Supplies

German Shepherd Dog Breed Characteristics || Its Pets Life

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that Ill earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.

How Sociable Are German Shepherds

Are they friendly with strangers?

Most German Shepherds are reserved with strangers. As the breed’s national club says, a good German Shepherd has:

“a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them.”

As you might imagine, this can be a fine line to walk. Without proper guidance from the owner, a German Shepherd’s natural aloofness can morph over the line to suspiciousness, distrust, and even aggression or fearfulness.

When you own an aloof breed, you need to socialize the dog thoroughly. This means a careful program of teaching him to pay attention to you and mind you in the presence of other people and other dogs. He doesn’t have to like them, but he must accept them.

One thing I should mention: many German Shepherds who bark and lunge at strangers or other dogs aren’t being either protective or aggressive. Rather, this kind of reactivity can be the dog’s attempt to hide his own insecurities behind a blustering facade.

There are also legal liabilities to consider when you acquire a German Shepherd. For example, your homeowner insurance policy might be cancelled or the rates hiked, because people are often quicker to sue if a “guard dog breed” does anything even remotely questionable.

Are German Shepherds good with children?

Are German Shepherds good with other pets?

Purposes And Jobs For Active Dogs

The first German Shepherds were bred as working dogs, and that is still what most want to do today. While not every dog has to get a job outside of the homelike working with police or search and rescue unitsit may be worthwhile to find your dog a job inside the home.

This could be as simple as keeping an eye on children as they play outside , or as complicated as learning how to open doors, turn off lights, fetch the mail, and complete a number of other tasks around the house.

These dogs love to work. They love to have a purpose and feel like they are fulfilling their masters expectations. Make sure he has something to do, and you will never have to worry about him acting out because of boredom or as a play for attention.

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Adopting A Dog From A German Shepherd Rescue Or Shelter

There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.

1. Use the Web

Sites like and can have you searching for a German Shepherd in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests or very general . AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have pets looking for homes sections you can review.

Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.

2. Reach Out to Local Experts

Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a German Shepherd. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.

3. Talk to Breed Rescue

Most people who love German Shepherds love all German Shepherds. Thats why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The German Shepherd Dog Club of Americas Rescue Network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other German Shepherd rescues in your area.

4. Key Questions to Ask

What is his energy level?

How is he around other animals?

What is his personality like?

What is his age?

Different Types Of German Shepherd Temperament

German Shepherd Breed Characteristics

There are many cases where a German shepherds traits differ. For example, your dog may have different traits than your friends.

To give you a better idea, take a look at the following comparisons of German shepherd temperament.

  • Breed Line: In the past, German shepherds were only used as working dogs. However, as they became more and more popular, people saw them as potential high-quality materials for show events.In response, breeders created German shepherds in two ways. The first type is the usual, working dogs, while the latest type is what we call show dogs.
  • Working Line: Those in the working line are fierce and intense. They possess the basic personality, but they are more hard-headed. They are loyal to a fault. This is the reason why they often become destructive when you leave them alone for some time.
  • Show Line: German shepherds belonging in the show line are much more soft-tempered than those in the working line.They are more family-oriented and elegant than working dogs. However, they may be too sophisticated for owners that want simple dogs.Since they are solely for dog shows, the German shepherds physical traits in this breed line are more refined.

These factors affect a German shepherds temperament. While some may assume that they cant do anything about it, you actually can.

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Grooming: Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot Are They Easy To Groom

About shedding….

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that German Shepherds have only one shedding period a year.

The bad news is…. their shedding period lasts for 365 days. In other words, German Shepherds shed constantly.

How is this different from most breeds?

Most breeds shed a few hairs here and there throughout the year. But the vast bulk of their shedding occurs only twice a year for three weeks in the spring as their thicker winter coat switches over to a cooler summer coat, and for three weeks in the fall as the summer coat switches over to a winter coat.

Not German Shepherds. They shed a TON during those spring and fall coat-switching seasons. Plus they shed moderately the rest of the year.

So year-round, you’ll find hair on your clothing, on your carpets, and under your refrigerator. Frequent vaccuming will become a way of life.

You might be wondering, “How can a shorthaired dog shed so much?” The answer is that German Shepherds have a double coat. They have a short outer coat , plus a woolly undercoat . Breeds with a double coat always shed more than breeds who simply have an outer coat but no undercoat.

German Shepherds come in a long coat, as well as a short coat. Both coats shed heavily.

Now, about grooming….

How much grooming is required depends on whether a German Shepherd is shorthaired or longhaired.

Longhaired dogs need trimming

Along with brushing and combing, longhaired German Shepherds need trimming every few months.

Can A Blue German Shepherd Dog Be Registered With The Akc

Like white German Shepherd, the blue coat color is considered a fault, meaning that it cannot be shown with other purebred dogs. However, this does not mean that blue German Shepherd Dogs are no longer registered with the American Kennel Club .

The AKC still registers dogs of a disqualifying color by providing an exception. This means that according to the AKC, dogs of a disqualifying color may still be registered as long as both parents are AKC registered.

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German Shepherd Breed Standard


German Shepherd Dog is medium-sized, slightly elongated, strong and well-muscled, bones dry, and a total construction company.

The length of the body varies from 10 to 17% above the height at the withers.


Purpose and Use: Versatile Utility, Herding, Guard and Service Dog.

Head and skull:

The head is wedge-shaped, proportional to the body , coarse or very elongated, and the entire form is dry and moderate between the ears. The forehead has a slight dome when viewed from the front and side, and not the central furrow or slightly pointed.

The ratio of the muzzle to the skull ranges from 50% to 50%. The width of the skull is equal to its length. The skull is equally oblique from ear to nose, with a sharp undefined stop, into a wedge-shaped forearm . The upper and lower jaws develop strongly. The top of the muzzle is straightforward, and does not require a facing dish or convex curve. The lips are stiff, well-fitted, and dark.

The nose should be black.


Medium size eyes, almond shaped, slightly oblique and not protruding. The color of the eyes should be as dark as possible. Light piercing eyes are far from the dogs expression and are not desirable.


The German Shepherd Dog has erect ears of medium size that are upright and almost horizontal . They are reduced to a point and orbited to the front. Tip ears and drop ears are wrong. There is nothing wrong with putting back the ears, during the walk or when resting.



West German Working Lines

German Shepherd Breed Characteristics

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.

Also Check: How Much Do German Shepherds Weigh Full Grown

Vital Stats 2+ Hours A Day For Adult Dogs Life Span: Coatexercise2+ Hrslife Span10+years

German Shepherd Temperament & Personality

The German Shepherds temperament is intelligent, loyal and energetic.

  • Reserved but friendly.
  • Generally enjoy the company of their family and can struggle with separation anxiety.
  • German Shepherds are not naturally aggressive but their protective instinct means they can be hesitant when first meeting strangers.
  • Tend to be gentle with children and other animals, but behavioural problems such as aggression may arise if the dog is left alone for too long or doesnt get enough exercise.
  • A key German Shepherd trait is their loud bark but their tendency to be vocal can be reduced with proper socialisation.

My Experience With German Shepherd Temperament

Temperament and behavior stem from what the breed was designed for

To understand a breed’s temperament and behavior, ask, “What was he developed to do?” Whichever traits help him accomplish his intended work have likely been “hard-wired” into his genes not perfectly, but generally.

The German Shepherd was developed from various sheepherding dogs. So you would expect sheepherding traits such as athleticism, a compulsion to chase things that move, and swift responsiveness to their human shepherd/master.

German Shepherds were also developed as military messenger and sentry dogs, and as personal protection and police dogs. So expect traits such as aloofness toward strangers and protective/territorial instincts.

The breed also excels at search and rescue, bomb and drug detection, and guiding the blind. Certainly you would expect high intelligence, high self-confidence, trainability, and an ability to focus.

All of those traits are what you get in an ideal German Shepherd. One of the most capable and trainable breeds in all of dogdom, an ideal German Shepherd, when properly raised by a confident owner, can be a magnificent companion. There’s a good reason my first dogs were German Shepherds!

Unfortunately, it can be difficult today to find a German Shepherd with an ideal temperament. Or at least an ideal temperament to be a good family companion.

Different lines have different temperaments

My recommendation for a good family dog

I hope you can see….

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German Shepherd Dog History

The German Shepherd Dog is a relatively new breed, almost entirely developed in the 20th century. Attempting to create a standard herding dog for his country, German breeder Capt. Max von Stephanitz invented the Deutsche Schäferhunde in 1899 from a mix of early shepherd dogs having various coat lengths, textures, body types and colors. Stephanitzs aim was to develop a standard sheep-herding dog with the solid intelligence and work ethic to assist farm workers and laborers as well as police and soldiers. Standardized in Germany in 1901, the German Shepherd Dog came to America in 1907 and flourished with the help of organizations like the German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

Thumbnail: Photography by smikeymikey1 / Shutterstock.

Limitations And Implications For Further Studies

German Shepherd Dog Breed Information &  Characteristics ...

The limited number of genome-wide significant associations found in this study indicates the challenges in the genetic dissection of complex traits like behaviour, which derive from the small effects of genetic variants on phenotypic variation, substantial environmental effects and difficulties in defining clear phenotypes. Although ours is one of the largest genomic studies of dog behaviour so far, it has been shown in human studies that much larger sample sizes are required for robust genetic dissection of complex traits, e.g., height . The use of C-BARQ, a standardised owner-derived questionnaire, to measure behaviour phenotypes, which has been successfully applied in many studies and records a range of behaviours in everyday situations, opens the possibility of meta-analysis across studies and thus ultimately achieving a larger sample size. However, a limitation of using questionnaire-based phenotypes is that the recorded traits are influenced by the subjectivity of the participants, which might be even more pronounced when participants originate from different countries and thus show cultural differences as in this study. While we attempted to correct for this in the statistical analysis, we may not have been completely successful.

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History Of Blue German Shepherds

We all know that German Shepherds have a history that stretches back many centuries. We know for certain is that they were created by Max von Stephanitz around the year 1899 to be one of the first recognized working dogs for herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators.

But what is the story with Blue German Shepherds? Not much has been documented about the history of blue-colored German Shepherd dogs. Its unknown when the first blue German Shepherd appeared.

What we do know is that the blue color in German Shepherds comes as a result of an underlying genetic condition.

Male German Shepherd Temperament

The male German Shepherds are very protective of his family. Male German Shepherd Dog should be trained and raised from puppies to be firm yet kind. If not, he will run rough on your home and he will not respect or respond to orders given by the owner.

Your GSD boy, although lovingly and protective, is more likely to attach himself to one family member. It is usually someone who is a dominant leader, and who spends the most quality time with the male German Shepherd.

Male German Shepherds are more aggressive and prouder than females. They are very territorial and very much possessive of their family. Even though they are good family dogs, the males can hand handle the kids due to their heavy body and also their nature. If this is the case, then they are still childish and protective and act as a baby sitter if they feel that the children are their best companions from raised from the puppyhood.

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What Owning A German Shepherd Says About You

German shepherds are sometimes shy around strangers but warm up once they get to know you. Owners of German shepherds would do anything for their friends and make extremely loyal companions that are protective of those that they love.

Dominant And Recessive Genes

German Shepherd Puppies & Dogs | Breed Facts & Information | Petplan

Genes can be either dominant or recessive, meaning they control whether other genes are active or not. The gene determines how much pigment cells make by on or off switches. One or both genes in a pair may be dominant or recessive. Both parents pass on one of their two genes to each pup, and the pups will have a pairing of one gene from the mother and one from the father, inheriting two copies of every gene they receive.

What does all this mean? Well, when dominant genes are paired together, there is no effect or change in appearance. If the pup inherits one dominant and one recessive gene, the recessive gene is not active and therefore has no effect they will look black and tan like the standard German Shepherd. For the offspring to have a blue coat color, the pups need to inherit recessive genes from both parents.

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My Personal Experience With German Shepherds

As with any breed, theres the whole range of different personalities and characters and temperaments that you can come across. But today, I want to share what my general experiences with German shepherds has been like.

I can confidently say that the breed description given to German shepherds is pretty accurate. I have encountered many German shepherds who are physically and mentally strong, courageous, and often have a hard time backing down.

Of course, not all German shepherds fit this description. Ive come across many who are very fearful and nervous. But mostly, Ive seen the confident, strong-willed shepherds.

Whats fascinating to me with German shepherds is that, despite a strong personality, they do seem to want to work alongside you. They all seem to have a deep desire to connect with you, work for you, and do a great job.

Its almost like they want to be your partner rather than work independently. However, this means, if youre not sure what youre doing, they will very quickly step into the driving seat, which is a problem. You really dont want your German shepherd in charge of making the decisions!

Thats where theyre not a dog for everyone, because German shepherds play this game of Whos in charge, me or you? at a very high level. I call it the dog code.

Since then, Ive fallen in love with German shepherds. I could certainly see myself ending up with one in the future. And yes, I would fully trust this breed around my kids, my wife, and my other dogs.


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