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German Shepherd

Excellent watch and guard dog (other names: Alsatian; Deutscher Schaferhund)

German Shepherd
origin:Germany
life expectancy:12-13 years
classification:Working dog
height:55 to 65 cm
weight:35 to 40 kg
exercise: Demandingtraining: Easygrooming: Needs groomingfeeding: Mediumsize: Large
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History [ edit ]

The German Shepherd Dog, also known as Alsatian, was developed in Germany by Captain Max von Stephanitz in the late 1800s and early 1900s by crossing short-haired, long-haired and wire-haired shepherd dogs from Bavaria, Thurginia and Wurtemberg. Captain von Stephanitz’s intention was to breed an all-purpose working dog and the result of his attempts is a handsome, well proportioned and very strong animal that follows its instincts, rather than sight, to perform the many tasks it is trained for: herding, guard and police dog, leader of the blind, search and rescue and military service, among others.

The German Shepherd is considered one of the most intelligent and versatile breeds and is very trainable, often competing and excelling in obedience trials and tracking, obedience, agility, flyball, and ring sport competitions. This breed is often wrongly percived as inherently dangerous. An aggressive  German Shepherd is normally a combination of poor breeding and lack socialization. Otherwise, they are totally reliable dogs that make excellent guardians and companions.

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General Appearance [ edit ]

The German Shepherd Dog is a large, well-balanced, proud and handsome dog that comes in three varieties: rough-coated, long rough-coated, and the long-haired. The slightly elongated body, higher at shoulder blade than at the back, is well-muscled, sturdy, agile and powerful, without looking bulky and with a light but solid bone structure. The withers slope down in a smooth line to a straight back. The chest is deep with ample room for lungs and heart. The loin is relatively short with only a slight tuck up. The ribs are well-sprung and long, allowing the dog's elbows to move freely when the animal trots. The noble and cleanly chiseled head, is proportional to the body and narrows gradually from the eyes to the nose. The forehead is a little convex. The skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without sharp stop. The long and strong muzzle has a predominantly black nose that extends to a flat tip. The eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped, somewhat slanting and dark in colour, with a lively, intelligent expression. The medium-sized, pointed, ears, wide at the base, are erect (in the adult dog), very mobile and turned forward. Puppies under six months have ears that may droop a little.  The tail is densely feathered, reaching almost to the dog’s hocks and hanging down when the dog is at rest. When in motion, the tail is never held above horizontal, although it may curl more tightly. The shining fur is a double-coat, the top coat being harsh and dense, covering a light grey undercoat, which is invisible through the top coat. The hair is slightly longer and coarser on the neck and the back-sides of the legs. The colour comes in many different shades, the basic colors being black with tan, sable or solid black with a black mask. The tricoloured dogs (black and white and either brown or red) are called sable or agouti.
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Temperament [ edit ]

German Shepherds are lively and alert, courageous, cheerful, and obedient. When properly bred they are loyal and affectionate, never fearful or overly aggressive. German Shepherds are quick learners and can be easily trained to attack and release on command, drug search, farm dog, house guardian, assistance for the disabled and competition activities. As a family pet this breed is excellent with children and other pets but because of its very strong protective instinct it should be socialised and trained at an early age. However, handlers should be aware that German Shepherds do not respond well to harsh training. Love, firmness and patience are the ingredients of a good training programme. This breed develops a strong emotional bond with its human family and is prone to separation trauma reason why these dogs should not be left isolated for long periods of time. German Shepherds have a sharp sense of  humor and enjoy playful games. Because they are widely used as police dogs and guardians they got a reputation of being fierce and, in fact, they can become frightening but only in defense of those who care for them or of their property. Well-bred German Shepherds have a pleasant, loyal disposition and although they are very wary of strangers, they will accept and love them once they recognize those strangers as family friends. They can fit into a flat but they will be unhappy if not exercised daily or trained to do a job of some sort.
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Dog trivia [ edit ]

The German Shepherd Dog has starred many series.  Rin Tin Tin, Littlest Hobo, Strongheart, K9, Komissar Rex and Kelly are just a few.
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