German Shepherd Dog Breed
40 Amazing Facts
The German Shepherd is a strong majestic dog with a fascinating history. This amazing breed is known to be highly intelligent and trainable. They make excellent family dogs yet are equally popular as service dogs.
Would you like to know more?
Hopefully, popular questions will be answered like:
What sort of temperament do they have?
Do they shed fur?
How do I rescue a German Shepherd?
All the answers are here, I hope you find something interesting!
1. The breed is popular worldwide and is always included in the top ten most popular dogs in the US and UK.
2. They are extremely intelligent and loyal dogs
3. They need to know their place in the pack responding well to firm but gentle training.
4. GSD’s have a high prey drive but are easily trained not to chase.
5. Their calm, patient temperaments mean they are good family dogs.
6. They are quick to learn and need lots of mental stimulation.
The German Shepherd Name
7. They are also known as GSD or Alsations.
8. In 1914 the name was changed to Alsatian or Shepherd Dog because the German connection was unpopular at that time.
9. The name was changed back to German Shepherd in the 1930s.
German Shepherd Service Dogs
10. They make excellent watchdogs due to their protective nature.
11. They are widely used in the army and as police dogs.
12. The first-ever guide dogs were German Shepherds.
13. In war times the Germans trained the dogs to sit with severely wounded soldiers.
14. They make excellent sniffer dogs and are used to rescue people and to find drugs and bombs.
History of the GSD
15. GSDs were introduced to the United States by soldiers returning from World War I.
16. They originate from Germany and were originally bred for herding sheep.
17. Max von Stephanitz is one of the first breeders and set up The German Shepherd Dog Club.
18. The first officially registered German Shepherd was added in 1889.
19. He was originally called Hektor, his name was changed to Horand by owner Max von Stephanitz.
20 Horand was used to produce the breed standard.
21 The breed was introduced to America in 1907
Grooming A German Shepherd
22. There are two variations of coat, short and long which are both weather resilient.
23. They shed their coat, all year round.
24. They are quick to learn and need lots of mental stimulation.
25. The average lifespan of this breed is 10 – 12 years.
26. A male German Shepherd is expected to grow to 25 inches.
27. They weigh around 80 pounds.
28. Female GSDs are slightly shorter and weigh less than males.
29. They are known for their powerful bite.
Famous German Shepherds
30. Rin Tin Tin was a GSD rescued from the WWI battlefield, he went on to star in his own movies.
31. A GSD called Strongheart was a film star in black and white movies from the 1920s.
32. Strongheart has his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of fame.
33. Apollo was the first German Shepherd police K9 to respond to Ground Zero in 9/11
34. The first ‘seeing eye’ GSD was called Buddy, his owner Morris Frank helped to start a school to train service dogs for the blind.
35. John F. Kennedy had a German Shepherd called Clipper.
36. The breed is known to suffer from elbow and knee dysplasia.
37. They can have pituitary dwarfism, which means that they remain puppy like for life, however, they suffer from many health problems due to the condition.
38. For GSD Rescue contact All Shepherd Rescue in the United States
39. German Shepherd Dog Rescue is a rescue based in the UK. This site is packed full of information about the breed, along with lots of pictures and real-life stories.
Summary of German Shepherd Dogs
40. This is an intelligent, loyal dog and easily trainable. They make excellent service dogs. GSDs love children and will do anything to protect their family.
Use a good breeder because this breed is susceptible to genetic health problems. Be prepared for lots of shedding around the home and give lots of firm but fair training to keep your dog’s brain active.
We love to hear your stories, especially if you have owned a German Shepherd. Please leave a comment below and tell us about your experience with this loyal and intelligent breed.
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Lovely post, Louise! I knew a bit about this dog breed, mostly learned from first hand experience, like their high energy levels and year-round fur shedding… 🙂
This breed is one of the dog varieties used in Afghanistan as MWD (Military Working Dogs). They are trained to smell hidden explosives or the people (insurgents) who handled them, the chemical scent being carried by the human skin.
They are lovely dogs. Just look at hose chocolate eyes!!
I never realised how intelligent they are. Thank you, the military dogs are so brave. x
I have had dogs my whole life … I now have my 1st German Shepard his name is Javier he is by far the most intelligent loving dog I’ve ever owned he is his own person wants love on his terms and sooo very loyal to me … my daughter is a vet oncologist and someone brought him to her clinic when he was 11 weeks old they said will u kill him he had parvo she said no
And gave him to me … he has been trained not by me he is perfect hr once saved me one night I was in a dark trail
In colorado and I was jumped and he immediately came to my rescue he was not trained for that just hi nature !!! Perfect dog
So glad Javier found you Susie. He sounds very special. Thank you for sharing this.
The first family dog we had was a German Shepherd. Beautiful dog but I was so young I was kinda scared of her! I’d like to get another one day, maybe when our Husky goes. Great article 🙂
Thank you, I tried to do a good representation of the breed. I have only ever had small breeds and none have been particularly clever or easy to train. Thank you for stopping by. x
So very true, I grew up with them always In our home around baby’s, lil kids which were annoying them to play, my mum would always says every kid should have one an nobody would love you as much or protect you, so I got my first one an he’s nearly 1 an he makes us laugh so much an watchez over my son and his friend’s all the time bear is literally so soft, he’s hyper an we walk him so many miles a day, let him run and he thrives on it.. The hair is eveywhere an slot of brushing an cleaning so think that threw first.. Absolutely the best ❤️💯👍
Thank you so much for this insight Megan. It sounds like you love your dog so much and he has a wonderful home.
My first GSD died at age 9 in year 2019.
Her death was really devastating for the family. She is a complete. Presently we have 4 GSD. I watched them closely and I end up saying every dog is a limited edition.
They are great dog, and very loyal
So sorry for your loss x
I own one and everything you said is so true. She is only 5 months old but super smart. She’s my 3rd. Thanks for the facts.
Thank you for your feedback Liz, I really appreciate it.
I just got a gsd pup, her name is angel she’s 6 weeks old and full of life, and already has a wonderful personality. I can’t wait to work with her and make her life with the family more liveable than she could ever imagine.anyvtios on taking care of her are most welcome.
So pleased to hear you have a new puppy. GSDs are very loyal and intelligent dogs, make training fun, be patient and enjoy every minute!.
Had several German Shepherd ‘s. 5 in total. Between ages of 9 and 14 years old. Best dogs ever.
Everyone seems to share the love of German Shepherds.
Truly amazing creatures. I have a five year old from the pound. He’s got selective hearing and I’ve found he knows things that only come out for certain treats, so you need to be firm and show them who the leader is and not let them bully you. He’s a complete carnivore – absolutely no veggies (they have to be hidden). He’s a total goofball, VERY high energy (so much that my SO watched him for a week and was over it). Shedding? Get a really good vacuum or better yet just don’t have carpet because the fur imbeds itself into everything. Get used to fur in your mouth, your car (flying around too), dirty paws from running and playing in mud and water. They are very alert and protective but complete love bugs with their family. They really only bark when necessary. And they figure out those dog puzzles in no time (like 5 minutes without showing them how to work it) so they don’t start with beginner puzzles. I wish I had enough land to have 20 of them!
That’s really useful to know, from someone who understands and really loves the German Shepherd breed. Thank you for rescuing and sharing with us.
I found your post most interesting, I knew some about German Shepherd s, butt that helped!
Thank you Linda
I am 63 years old and we have our 6th and 7th German Shepherds since I have been 9 years old. They all have their own personalities just like people. Some can be over protective and some get along with everyone. Our current Breeder has taught us the most and she says that they are not supposed to be nice to strangers, only to their family or pack as I call us. They are very protective of their pack and property. This, in my opinion, does not have to be taught to them as well as other things. Two of our other GSD’s jumped through a friends electric fence, started chasing his goats around and I started to chase them in fear they would hurt his goats. I got the bright idea to try and get in front of the goats until a goat ran by me and brushed me with his horns. I got out of there quick. I watched my GSD’s herd the goats into a corner and walk back and forth to keep them there. I guess they know something about herding too.
That’s very interesting, thank you for the insight. They really are a fascinating breed. I’m glad you weren’t badly hurt by the goats! Thank you for stopping by.
My GSDs have been the great loves of my life. Loyal and kind they NEVER let you down. My life would be diminished greatly without them Jax is my current baby, I have had four — Brigand, Tucker, Trace and Jax. All blacks, all males, all big boys and great loves!
I can tell how much you love your GSDs. Such wonderful names too. Thank you for commenting, sending a hug to you and Jax.
They are great dogs, if you don’t mind the shedding
I’m sure they’re worth it!
As a child, now I am 76, we had 4 German Sheperds. Later I had 4 Great Danes. Since their diatheek we had GSD Eros, Shyla, Wengé, Wolf and now Wodan, 7 years old. A very social dog to people. This is important because disabled husband needs a lot of daily help at home.Wodan is super trained and my husband calls Wodan the sunshine in his life.
That is lovely Marcelle, they are such intelligent and loyal dogs.
Hello i have one mix gsd/rott and it’s more of the gsd
I never want to live without a German Shepherd. I have had one in my life since I was 13. Now I’m 64. On number 6. We got our first one because I begged my father. I had seen the soldiers from the Vietnam war bring them home and had to have. Every one of my dogs has saved me or a neighbor from an unfriendly foe. You never have to teach them who not to trust, they are born with an instinct and so very much intelligence. Thank you for the article I really enjoyed learning more about this awesome breed.
My daughter gave me my first GSD in 2019. She is precious. Stays by my side everywhere I go. We moved to northern Wisconsin last fall and she paces the yard incessantly. People mistake her for a male, as she is 95 lbs. and 25 inches tall. Her favorite toy is a 14 inch hard plastic ball that she and I kick around the yard. We have woods all around us, yet she never strays. I might mention that I am 68 years young, and I have never felt so safe in all my life. There are not bad GSD, only bad owners. You must exercise and challenge this breed consistently. Nanook loves my Grandkids and keeps very close tabs on them when they visit. Am I prejudice? Perhaps, but I have had many dogs, and I loved them all, however, none match the humor, loyalty, courage and downright love of a German
You can really tell how much you love your GSD. I’m so glad Nanook makes you feel safe and is such a great companion. They are clever, loyal dogs and deserve good owners just like yourself.
So adorable so intelligent so loyal that I ever found apart from these breed. Excellent breed I nurturing. He is male & named Don. I love him like my brother.
Don sounds like a great brother.
Thank you for your comment and Hi Don !
I’m going to get a GSD or Shiloh Shepherd for my families next dog. Anyone have experience with a Shiloh?
A Shiloh Shepherd is a new breed for me. I did some research online and they are stunning dogs. Best of luck with your new addition.