Where do German Shepherd Dogs come from

7 facts about the German Shepherd Dog

1. The descent of the German Shepherd Dog

Shepherds probably existed in Germany as early as the 7th century. But it was only with the breeding efforts of the Prussian court cavalry master Max von Stepanitz in 1871 that the official career of this dog breed began. The two males "Horand von Grafrath" and his brother "Luchs von Sparwasser" are considered to be the progenitors of the German Shepherd Dog. The aim of breeding at that time was above all to breed a robust breed that leaves its old herding habits as far as possible and instead is used as an obedient watchdog and working dog.

The German Shepherd did its job so well that it achieved notoriety in the 20th century in the form of war dogs at the front, guard dogs in the concentration camp and as a companion of Adolf Hitler. This instrumentalization of the breed meant that it remained unpopular abroad for a long time. It was not until long after the end of the war that it was decided to withdraw the provisional designation of the "Alsatian Dog" (Alsatian dog) in favor of the "German Shepherd Dog". The typical German companion dog has meanwhile become a popular family friend.

2. The breeding of the German Shepherd Dog

Max Stepahnitz first established breed standards for the German Shepherd in 1891. Today the FCI lists him under the number 166 in the group of "herding dogs and cattle dogs". There are both black, gray, red and yellow, brown and white sheepdogs. The breed also differentiates between long-haired and stick-haired dogs.

The appearance of the German Shepherd has not been the focus of breeding efforts for a long time. Rather, it was about the character of the four-legged friends. During the division of Germany, however, breeders in the West paid more attention to external beauty, so it came to so-called high breeding compared to the performance breeding in the East.

If you are interested in buying a German Shepherd today, the "German Shepherd Dog Breeders Association of the VDH" or the SV can advise you. Puppies usually cost around 800 euros. Animal health has suffered as the breed became more widespread. Serious breeders try, however, to counteract the following problems by carefully selecting the parent animals:

Typical hereditary diseases of the German Shepherd

  • Lameness due to degenerative lumbosacral stenosis, elbow dysplasia, or hip dysplasia
  • Eye diseases
  • Inner ear disease, congenital vestibular syndrome
  • (Horn) skin diseases such as German Shepherd pyoderma and keratitis
  • Allergies
  • Spinal cord disease, degenerative myelopathy

3. The character of the German Shepherd Dog

No sheep in sight for a long time, but what does this pedigree dog like to guard today? And what else is the essence of the German Shepherd Dog?


This dog knows what he wants. German Shepherds are quick to grasp and learn.


The German Shepherd Dog lasts a long time and does its job carefully. He is bred to withstand loads and fortunately no longer has to be at the front today.


German shepherds are brave, robust dogs who love exercise. Extensive physical activity is an essential part of life with this four-legged friend. He still feels most comfortable in a yard or in a house with a large garden. Small city apartments require that you keep your German shepherd out in the great outdoors for many hours a day.

Work pathos

Obedience is burned deeply into the genetics of the German Shepherd. Therefore he is very suitable as a service and protection dog. He takes on tasks in rescue, customs, the police or the military. He is also used as a guide for the blind, avalanche detection dog and therapy companion.


The four-legged friend who once conquered television as Inspector Rex is very people-oriented. Families appreciate him as a loyal companion and play partner who loves children. This trait only turns into the opposite when the German Shepherd is neglected: Then these animals can tend to be aggressive.

4. The appearance of the German Shepherd Dog

The White Shepherd is now a breed of its own. Usually, however, animals of this species are brown, yellow, gray-black, or black. German shepherds can reach a height of 65 cm at the withers, the bitches are slightly smaller with a maximum of 60 cm. They weigh up to 32 kg, their male colleagues up to 40 kg. Their fur is robust and short. A dense undercoat ensures proper warmth. With long-stick hair types, the fur on the tail, legs and ears forms bushy flags and trousers. The stick-haired dogs have a tightly fitting coat.

The physique of the German Shepherd Dog is elongated and muscular, it looks very athletic. His head is wedge-shaped and his black nose happily stretches out towards the person opposite. The teeth of this pedigree dog are quite pronounced, its triangular ears protrude slightly forward, the eyes are dark.

5. The right food for German Shepherds

Although all German Shepherds should be adequately supplied with healthy dog ​​food, the working animals have an additional energy requirement. Depending on how active your four-legged friend is privately, you should adjust the amount of food. Obesity is a real problem for this dog, because he is already burdened by hereditary joint problems. You should also keep this in mind when buying a German Shepherd puppy. Make sure the small dog isn't growing excessively fast, as this also promotes joint problems. Your breeder as well as your vet can advise you on setting up a nutrition plan.

6. The keeping of a German Shepherd

A German Shepherd is moving in with you. But what does the former herding dog want today? Here are the tips for raising and caring for your new roommate:


"Need me!"

There is a working dog in the German Shepherd Dog. Accordingly, he also wants a job in the family. If you do not keep him busy with official activities such as police or rescue dog, you should give him a lot of attention. These dogs need to be used mentally and physically.

Sport is never murder

Cycling, long hikes, dog sports or tracking. The German Shepherd Dog will go along with everything you can offer him to exercise.


Relaxation yes, too much rest no

Busy dogs enjoy recovering from training. However, a German Shepherd does not just like lying around.

Educate as a beginner

The German Shepherd Dog may like to obey, but upbringing is still demanding. This is best done by an experienced dog owner. Then patience, consistency and workload are the key words.

No green in sight

This dog is not a city dweller. He needs large green areas and forest to feel comfortable. Of course, it's best to have your own garden, in which you can romp around yourself.

7. Grooming a German Shepherd

Whether stick-haired or long-haired German Shepherd - both need regular grooming. Parasites tend to get caught in longer hair, of course, while the short coat is rather easy to care for. You can use a brush to remove dirt and unwanted roommates from your four-legged friend. You should also check his claws, eyes, and ears regularly. Clean them up or shorten them if necessary. Then nothing stands in the way of keeping your four-legged friend in a species-appropriate manner.

When the German Shepherd causes a stir ...

Your four-legged friend had a very boring day today because you worked a lot. Now he storms off, knocks down the neighbors' clothesline and ruins an expensive silk dress. Even with the most amiable and loyal companion, accidents can sometimes occur. In the best case, you have taken precautions with liability insurance like Coya. In the event of damage, it assumes financial claims. So before you buy a German Shepherd, think about what security you need for a life with your new four-legged friend.

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