The German Shepherd is a type of athlete and it is not easy to keep up with him. It will cope in almost every field of work and sport, so its owner should be energetic and willing to cooperate. The dog of this breed is devoted to the owner and loyal to all family members.
The German Shepherd has a great temperament, he should be balanced, confident, calm and gentle, unless provoked. Nervousness, aggression or cowardice are considered character defects and dogs with such traits should not be used inbreeding. The representative of this breed willingly surrenders to the owner, while males usually have stronger characters, and bitches are more submissive.
The dog of this breed is devoted to the owner and loyal to all family members. He gets along well with children, is a cheerful and tolerant companion of their games, but due to the size and strength of the quadruped, you need to supervise these contacts. Children should not give him orders or take him for a walk. In addition, you should know that an animal can treat foreign toddlers as intruders, especially if it’s guarding the land or the owner’s belongings.
The German Shepherd does not tolerate loneliness, he needs constant contact with people for proper development. He may live in a playpen, but he should spend as much time as possible with his family and have something to do.
Brave, alert and distrustful of strangers, he is a great, though noisy guardian. Accept other dogs and small pets at home, but may show dominance towards foreign kins (mainly males).
The German Shepherd is a type of athlete and it is not easy to keep up with him. Active and exuberant requires a lot of movement and mental exercises. At a young age, however, he should not be subjected to strenuous training.
Originally German Shepherds were used to helping herds grazing. Then they went to the police and army, they also took part in both world wars as reporting and sanitary dogs.
Currently, it is the most versatile breed in terms of utility. These dogs are excellent trackers, so they work well when detecting drugs, explosives, flammable substances or finding missing people. They also work as service, avalanche, rubble dogs, lifeguards, blind guides or helpers for the disabled.
They are great at training PT (companion dog), IPO (guard dog), PTT (companion-tracking dog). They can also grow, among others obedience, agility, flyball, canicross, dogtrekking, mondioring and sport tracking (IPO-FH).
Training and education
German Shepherd is a dog created for work. He is distinguished by high intelligence, perceptiveness and ease of learning, making communing with him a real pleasure. However, the same features mean that the owner must also devote time to training.
In Poland, one of the basic breeding requirements is training a minimum of PT 1 and IPO-V (males only), while the license requires a performance diploma from both sexes. In the breed’s homeland, all breeding dogs must pass a working exam.
The owner should have authority, be consistent and positively motivate the dog. A representative of this breed cannot be left alone or disappointed. It requires rigor for proper mental development, which should not be confused with brutality. Poorly brought up and treated can become embarrassing for the household and the surrounding area.
Puppies should be socialized thoroughly before the age of four months. Teach appropriate behavior towards people, other dogs, and also get used to different sounds and situations. Puppies can get to know basic commands in dog kindergarten. We practice with the dog a few minutes a few times a day.
Do not expose your puppy to prolonged, exhausting physical activity (e.g. running by bicycle). Avoid stairs and slippery surfaces and do not allow him to play intensively with his friends so that he does not get injured.
Who is this race for?
The German Shepherd is not suitable for everyone due to high training requirements and high physical activity. Its owner must be consistent, balanced, have basic knowledge of dogs and the athlete’s fishing line.
German shepherd. Advantages and disadvantages
- quite noisy
- molts abundantly
- males may dominate same-sex brethren
- attached to the family
- learns quickly
- suitable for comprehensive training
- you can do dog sports with him
- great guardian and defender
- surrenders to the owner
- gets along well with children
- can share the house with other dogs and pets
- easy to care for
The German Shepherd is a hardy dog, perfectly tolerates low temperatures, which is not disturbed by either snow or rain. It also does well in hot weather, but it cannot stay in full sun and it must be given access to water.
Like most large dogs, it is prone to hip dysplasia. In Poland, x-rays are required to obtain breeding rights – acceptable results are A (normal hip joints) or B (almost normal hip joints). Although X-ray of elbow joints is not necessary, many owners also decide to do this test.
Representatives of this breed tend to be susceptible to ear, conjunctivitis and gastrointestinal problems. Sometimes stomach enlargement and torsion occur. OCD (osteochondrosis), enostosis (juvenile osteitis), pancreatic problems and hypothyroidism occur occasionally. At an older age, back problems and cancer may occur.
The German Shepherd’s diet should be well-balanced, rich in nutrients and vitamins. You can give him high-quality dry foods for large breeds with the addition of glucosamine and chondroitin adapted to his age and lifestyle, or you can prepare meals supplemented with calcium-vitamin preparations and protecting joints.
Due to the sensitive gastrointestinal tract of these dogs, it is better to stick to a proven diet and make changes to the menu gradually. You should also avoid foods that can contribute to the formation of gas in the stomach and intestines. It is worth giving probiotics regulating the bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract.
German Shepherd puppies should be thin and cannot be overfed, but their needs should be fully met, therefore high-quality dry food will work best for them.
The daily portion for an adult dog must be divided into at least two meals and provide rest after eating.
The German Shepherd’s coat does not require complicated care. In the case of short-haired dogs it is thick, hard and close-fitting. The coat is short on the head, ears, front of the limbs and paws. Slightly longer and more abundant hair occurs on the neck, back of the front legs above the wrist and on the back of the thighs, where it forms trousers.
The coat of long-haired sheepdogs is longer, soft and does not stick to the body. Longer hair grows on the ears, but inside the turbinate it should be short. There are orifices on the neck, feathers on the back of the forelegs above the wrist, generous pants and a tail with hanging hair. The head, forelegs and feet are covered with short fur.
Dogs living on the catwalk have very dense fur and usually molt profusely in spring and autumn. Mainly undercoat falls out, which clumps into clumps. It is difficult to comb it, but it is easy to pluck with your fingers. The coat of dogs living in homes is not so abundant. As a rule, they lose hair moderately, but all the time. Bitches can also replace the coat before and after the liquid, as well as after raising puppies.
Short-haired Sheepdog just needs to be combed once in a while, only during molting should be done more often. A metal comb, a comb with fairly dense teeth and a furminator (for molting) are used for this. We comb long-haired dogs twice a week, first from the skin with a metal comb with round, fairly wide apart teeth, and then with a powder brush.
Regularly check your ears, remove tartar and shorten claws if they do not wear themselves.
If necessary, we bathe German Shepherds in shampoos designed for their type of hair, thoroughly wipe with a towel and let the hair dry itself. In the summer you can take your pet for a stroll, in winter it is best to take a bath after the last walk and do not leave the house until it is completely dry.
The well-groomed coat does not require special treatment before the exhibition. Just brush it the day before. You can use gloss oil or foam that slightly lifts the hair. We present dogs of this breed in chains with wide links and on long, thin leashes.
Due to the specific way of displaying German Shepherds, a puppy should already be taught the appropriate exhibition position and to move with a free, smooth trot on a taut, drawn cord. Falling into a gallop, income or bouncing reduces the grade.
The dog must show temperament, interest and full attention, which is why in this breed the so-called double handling consisting in the fact that one person puts up a dog and the other (usually the owner) calls him from outside the ring. In addition, you need physical training (e.g. running by bike, swimming), which can be started when the dog is one year old.
We take this dog for walks in a strong collar or chain and on a solid leash; your puppy can wear braces. Shepherd is best taken by balls, darts, cotton cords and teethers.
According to one theory, the ancestors of the German shepherd were rural dogs living in the German Middle Ages called Hovawarts (“yard guardian”). They were used to guard their belongings.
Before the German Shepherd was bred, shepherd dogs in Germany represented different types. Those from the central and northern parts of the country (Saxony, Thuringia) were small, had erect ears and a wolf coat, and those from the southern lands were distinguished by their strong build, longer coat, darker coat and drooping ears. In the nineteenth century, when there were fewer and fewer pastures, shepherd dogs lost their occupation.
The first association of sheepdog lovers was Phylax, founded in Berlin in 1891 by Count C. Hahn, M. Buchelmann and Captain Riechelmann. Although this organization did not exist for long, it drew breeders’ attention to the utility potential inherent in shepherds and the possibility of using them as service dogs.
In April 1899, Captain Max von Stephanitz and Artur Meyer, recognized as the creator of the breed, founded the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (German Shepherd Club), abbreviated SV (Schäferhundverein), which is today the largest and most influential association of this breed in the world.
The club’s establishment was preceded by an exhibition in Karlsruhe, during which Max von Stephanitz noticed a medium-sized pale gray dog named Hektor Linksrhein, the embodiment of dreams of a perfect sheepdog. He bought it and gave him the name Horand von Grafrath from the name of his landed estate. Horand was the first dog registered in the breeding book and from him the history of the breed began; his appearance was also used to develop the first template.
The German Shepherd became more and more popular in the cynological world and proved to be an excellent service dog. In 1910, a police dog training center was established in Grünheide. Rearing in close kinship and the desire to obtain larger and larger individuals led to the loss of the original type.
A turning point in the history of the breed was the exhibition in Frankfurt am Main in 1925, when von Stephanitz decided about the victory of Klod von Boxberg, a dog significantly different from competitors. It was about restoring the sheep to the desired type of working dog represented by Horand.
Since January 2011, a new FCI standard has been in force, recognizing two varieties of German Shepherd – short-haired and long-haired. They cannot be crossed, they are also judged separately at shows.
In the earlier standard, only short-haired coat was considered to be correct, sheepdogs with longer hair were defective. However, they appeared in litters of short-haired dogs, which is why they had the right to birth records and pedigrees. They could also be exhibited, although they received below breeding grades.
German Shepherd – G rupee I FCI, section 1, reference number 166
- Country of origin: Germany
- Size: height at the withers of dogs 60-65 cm, bitches 55-60 cm
- Coat: short-haired – the coat is thick, hard and close-fitting; long-haired – covering coat longer, soft, non-sticking; undercoat required in both variants
- Color: black with tan in reddish, fawn, yellow or light gray; uniform black or gray, wolf-like, saddle pad, black mask occurs; a small, unobtrusive white spot on the chest and a lighter ointment on the inside of the legs acceptable but undesirable; light gray undercoat
- Maturity: 2.5 years – 3 years
- Lifespan: 11-13 years
- Weather resistance: high
- Cost of living: PLN 250-350 per month
- Price of a dog with a pedigree: 2000-3500 PLN
Despite their name, German shepherds are no longer commonly associated with sheep herding – in the homeland of the breed, they often devote themselves to this occupation. Like the Belgian or French Shepherds , they work in a different style than border collies and other herding dogs (borders are more often used on farms, in farms; the main task of herding dogs is to surround the herd on the pasture and move it to the next pasture or to the fold).
Dogs for grazing work in unfenced areas, often adjacent to sown fields – their task is to keep sheep away from them. German Shepherds do this instinctively, patrolling the field borders. Therefore, they work closer to the herd and move in straight lines, while the borders tend to surround the sheep in an arc, which is necessary for turning back grazing animals.
One dog needs two dogs working independently on both sides. The shepherd communicates with them by voice commands, hand signals and a shepherd’s stick.
However, not all German Shepherds are good shepherds dogs. Usually, specific lines work well. German Shepherd in inexperienced hands can even hurt sheep. However, if you find a good representative of this breed in grazing, you can’t compare it with any other.