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What Were German Shepherd Bred For Originally

Breed History: Where Did German Shepherds Come From

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As the name suggests, the German Shepherd originated in Germany in the late 1800s. The most intelligent, responsive and obedient local shepherd dogs in Germany were bred to create what is now known as the German Shepherd. This breed was responsible for herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. They were not considered pets or companions, but rather servants for farmers. Their intelligence, speed, strength and keen sense of smell, made them the perfect choice as sheep herders. Although German Shepherds were considered strictly workers, rather then household pets, farmers did provide food, protection and shelter to the breed.

Due to the breeds reputation for being couragous and easy-to-train, German Shepherds were welcomed as police dogs and sight dogs for the blind. Their superb sense of smell and couragous character made the German Shepherd an ideal police dog. Their faithful observance to what is going on around them, along with their patience, landed them the role as leader to the blind.

These outstanding qualities and characteristics make the German Shepherd a wonderful domestic companion, protector and friend. The breed is reserved with strangers at first, but warms up quickly. This characteristic makes them excellent watch dogs, especially for children. Its good to socialize them when they are young and to take them on long walks or runs all throughout their life.

Learn about every breed here.

What Is A German Shepherds Personality Like

German Shepherds are commonly identified for their protective attitude towards their homes as well as households. They are commonly called smart, dedicated canines.

They are additionally considered as extremely trainable and can be trained either to be outstanding pet dogs and also home buddies or for a variety of different working tasks.

German Shepherds are typically thought-about to be superb family pet dogs and are frequently very gentle around family pets and also youngsters.

However, they can be unsociable with complete strangers, as well as they might additionally be hostile in the direction of various other dogs if they consider them a danger to their region.

What German Shepherds Were Originally Bred For

It is all in their name. While some dog breeds might not give you any information about their origin or why they were originally bred, a German Shepherds identity is out in the open.

German Shepherds make it easy. As their name implies, they were originally bred in Germany for none other than shepherding . And while theyre not known for herding today, plenty of them still herd!

But of course, theres much more to these dogs than just herding on a farm. Unfortunately, many of the old German Shepherd herding lines were abandoned, as it became more profitable breeding for the new GSD show lines.

The true German herding lines were lost around the same time the split between the working and show lines became prominent.

Chip Blasiole

The German Shepherd of way back then may have been quite different from todays. In fact, many believe that these dogs were much smaller back then. Plus straight-backed dogs, for example, are much more sought after than before.

Though relatively new as a breed, they have a history filled with all manner of jobs and stories. Lets take a look.

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Behavior And Health Of The German Shepherd

German Shepherds can suffer separation anxiety and prefer to be with family. If left home alone frequently, he may develop . Keep him engaged with puzzle toys and consider crate training for longer periods alone to alleviate anxious behaviors.

This breed is suspicious of strangers and will not make visitors to you home feel welcome. Socialization and introduction to new people should be frequent and regular from the day you bring your German Shepherd home.

German Shepherds are prone to specific health issuesincluding elbow and hip dysplasia , degenerative myelopathy, and bloating.

German Shepherds As Service Dogs

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Following the first World War, German Shepherds saw their first stint as service dogs. Specifically, they began being trained as seeing-eye dogs for war veterans.

They quickly picked up on the training and proved themselves to be excellent at the job. However, with the unpopularity of anything German at that period it took some time for their popularity to spread.

But once it did, they took off. Now, German Shepherds are one of the best options for service dogs of all kinds, ranging from therapy animals to seeing-eye dogs.

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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.

German Shepherd Dogs In Police And Personal Protection Work

Yet another role that was a natural fit for German Shepherds after their stellar service record in military K-9 roles was police and personal protection work.

Today, German Shepherds are still a top pick to work in a wide variety of public police and private protection work for both institutions and individuals, as Anges Gardiens German Shepherd breeder explains.

Examples include German Shepherds working in narcotics and bomb-sniffing, search and rescue and forensics, Secret Service, and on-site guard dog and protection dog duty.

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What Were German Shepherd Bred For Originally

The German Shepherd Dog is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany in 1899. As part of the Herding Group, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding and guarding sheep.

What was the first breed of German Shepherd? It was not long before people realised that this was a dog of extraordinary intelligence and that it had a suitability for working. In 1899 a breed society known as Der Verein fur Deutsch Schaferhunde was formed in Germany. The first registered dog in the stud book was Horand v Grafath.

What is the origin of the German Shepherd Dog? The Deutsche Schäferhund or German Shepherd Dog originated from herding breeds in Germany in the late 1800s under the guidance of Captain Max von Stephanitz. It was not long before people realised that this was a dog of extraordinary intelligence and that it had a suitability for working.

What was the german shepherd named for? The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund by von Stephanitz, literally translating to German Shepherd Dog. The breed was so named due to its original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep.

Should german shepherd be bred? The modern German Shepherd breed is criticized by some for straying away from Max von Stephanitzs original ideology that German Shepherds should be bred primarily as working dogs and that breeding should be strictly controlled to eliminate defects quickly.

History Of German Shepherd Breeding

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German Shepherds or the German Shepherd Dog came into being as a breed in the late 1800s. Max von Stephanitz of Germany had an interest in the working dogs in his native Germany. Here they were selectively bred to have those qualities that could do the job of herding and protecting a flock from predation. At the time, there was a disagreement among dog enthusiasts about whether a dog should be judged on its looks or on its ability to work.

Max von Stephanitz began looking for a working dog that had it all. At a dog show in 1899, von Stephanitz finally came upon what he considered to be the perfect specimen. He purchased him and named him Horand von Grafrath . This dog was the first dog registered in von Stephanitzs new breed club, The Society of German Shepherds. Horand von Grafrath sired many puppies including Hector von Schwaben.

One direct descendant of Horand von Grafrath, Beowulf, was the sire of over eighty puppies. The first German Shepherd dogs were the result of many inbreedings from Horand and his offspring. Several have stated that wolf crosses were among the dogs bred into this early closed gene pool. However, recent genetic testing would belie immediate wolf ancestry. While German Shepherds may appear more wolf-like than some other breeds, they do not appear to have the DNA to match.

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Rottweiler Vs German Shepherd: Size

The Rottweiler tends to be slightly taller and heavier than the German Shepherd in size. Rottweilers have a more square and stocky build, with males measuring around 24-27in at shoulder height and females around 22-25in . Males weigh around 95-135lb and females around 80-100lb . Male German Shepherds measure around 24-26in at shoulder height and females around 22-24in . Males weigh around 65-90lb and females around 50-70lb . Their bodies are longer and more athletic.

What Are The Characteristics Of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are confident, courageous, intelligent and gentle, although it can take them some time to make friends. Due to history of herding, they are incredibly noble and loyal both to the work they do and to their owners.

“German Shepherds are energetic, confident and highly intelligent dogs. They are strong and courageous, but also have a well-balanced nature and are considered one of the most versatile and trainable breeds,” Bill adds.

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Your German Shepherd Dog’s Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Shepherd. By knowing about health concerns specific to German Shepherd Dogs, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.

Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pets breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions weve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in German Shepherd Dogs to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we cant cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

Modern Utilization Of The German Shepherd

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German Shepherds are seen as working dogs everywhere. The breed is well known for its police work, mostly used for narcotics detection, tracking criminals, and other types of detection. The ability to handle these tasks also make the breed a good candidate for the military. German Shepherds in the military detect items such as mines and explosives.

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Bone And Joint Problems

A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in German Shepherd Dogs. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles, you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.

Working Attributes Of German Shepherds

As a dog breed, German Shepherds show an innate willingness to learn and have a purpose. Their uncanny ability to follow instructions has led them to be easy to train and create a man to dog relationship and reliance. These attributes especially make them inclined to be a working-dog as opposed to other dog breeds like dachshunds or dalmatians.

On the dog intelligence scale, German shepherds are ranked third, but their discipline is what sets them apart and makes them the dog of choice for the military, police, and service-dog positions.

Because of their innate intelligent nature, they are more attentive, and better able to observe then do. This allows for better, and shorter training times, and thus entrance into the work field sooner.

For all their good attributes, German shepherds do have faults. If not trained correctly, they can be overprotective, but this attribute is one that is desired if they are being trained as a guard or attack dog.

Historically, as a sheepdog, this protective nature allowed them to better watch over and look after their flock.

It is only natural that as the breeding of this dog progressed, this attribute was preserved during the breeding process.

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Is A German Shepherd Right For Your Family

A German Shepherd may not be the dog for you if he will be left home alone for long periods of time. Known as a one-man dog, the German Shepherd displays fierce loyalty and fidelity to his owner or main caretaker. However, the breed will bond with all of his people and makes an ideal family pet if they are properly trained and socialized as puppies.

Continued training ensures your German Shepherd will grow into a well-mannered and adaptable adult. Positive, consistent and reward-based training will produce a dog who responds well to commands and who will be able to adapt to either being a family pet or a hard-working highly trained service dog.

When getting a German Shepherd, look for a rescue organization or obtain one from a reputable breeder. Sign him up for training classes as soon as possible and make certain the entire family is involved in his care, training and daily exercise.

If youre looking for a dog your children can bond with and can act as a watchdog, the German Shepherd Dog may be ideal pet for your family!

Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.

Keeping A Working Dog Like The Gsd As A Companion Canine

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One of the foremost challenges for many pet dog owners today is understanding some of the unique needs of different dog breeds in a pet setting.

After all, there are no other species on the planet today that is so diverse as Canis lupus familiaris, the modern domestic dog.

The reason modern dogs are so diverse, as Live Science points out, is because different dog breeds have been deliberately developed for different reasons.

Dachshunds, with their dwarfed legs and stout bodies, were designed to hunt badgers and drag them out of their burrows.

German Shepherds were designed to tackle dangerous predators like bears, coyotes, and wolves on behalf of hundreds or even thousands of livestock animals.

Where it gets challenging to keep a working dog breed as a companion canine is to make sure your dog has the right daily enrichment to fulfill their urges and meet their daily needs.

For example, the German Shepherd has a lot of energy they need to burn off. As many owners attest, a bored or lonely German Shepherd can become a destructive dog, because these smart dogs will invent their own job if you dont give them one.

Taking your dog for walks or runs and scheduling several daily sessions of playtime can meet this need so that you dont experience behavioral issues from your dog. This way, your German Shepherd will be a healthy and happy companion canine to your family.

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Coat Color And Grooming

The German Shepherd was originally bred to herd flocks in harsh climates, and their medium-length double coat fits the job perfectly, acting as protection the dog from rain and snow and resistant to picking up burrs and dirt.

The coat types of the German Shepherd are as varied as their color. Some German Shepherds are longhaired. However, the “ideal” German Shepherd has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat is dense with straight hair that lies close to the body, and is sometimes wavy and wiry.

The coat comes in variety of colors and patterns including black black and cream black and red black and silver black and tan blue gray liver sable and white. The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize white as a color for this breed, however, and won’t let white German Shepherds compete in conformation shows, although they’re allowed in other competitions.

Sometimes jokingly called “German shedders,” the breed sheds year-round, and generally “blows”sheds a lot of hair at once, like a snowstormtwice a year. If you want a German Shepherd, be prepared for hair on your black pants, on your white couch, and pretty much all over the house.

There’s no magic solution to shedding, and we just have to accept it. However, brushing two to three times a week will help more of the hair come out in a brush, rather than on your furnishings. And a sturdy vacuum cleaner doesn’t hurt either.


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