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The Reliable Versatile German Shepherd dog (GSD) is one of the most popular breeds, and also one of the easiest to identify at a glance. The breed is known to be a versatile, intelligent, and devoted member of any household, equipped with good physical traits and adaptability.
But did you know that the breed has only “officially” existed for about 100 years, despite its popularity? They descended from German dogs that worked as shepherd and farm dogs in the 19th century. This “new breed” was the result of constant breeding by sheepherders and breeding groups to get a breed that best suited their field of work.
The dogs came to the United States in about 1908. Their popularity went sky high after the First World War, when the public discovered the details of their working side-by-side with the Red Cross, giving aid to wounded soldiers. Their reputation also grew as guard or watch dogs due to their work with the police.
Other notable Shepherds were Rin Tin Tin (“Rinty”) and Strongheart, who both starred for silent films and gained many fans and supporters throughout the country, and made canine history as film stars. The 12th generation grandson of Rinty is alive today, still appearing and performing in public (see article here).
The breed is used today for many military and police services because of their loyalty and courage, as well as strength, intelligence, and hardiness. They are frequently used as seeing eye dogs, guard dogs, drug detection dogs, and even help out on search and rescue operations. But countless thousands of the breed are simply a loyal household buddy.
German Shepherd Dogs are usually about 75 to 95 pounds in weight, with males being heavier. Males measure about 24 to 26 inches in length and height, and female ones are about 22 to 24 inches. There are also variants that are larger in size, but average sized ones are more preferred.
Typical colors are the following: black and tan, black and cream, solid black, white, sable, black and red, and black and silver. However, the white-coated GSDs are not allowed in US standard shepherding or breed shows. They also come in either short or long haired versions, but again, the long haired are considered a fault and not allowed in shows.
Owning a German Shepherd Dog can be very rewarding for your family and entire household. But be aware that the breed has high energy levels. They have a long puppyhood and mature more slowly than most dogs, so a lot of patience, effort, and understanding are what they need to ensure a good and healthy life. German Shepherds are also socially oriented and very friendly, so they should not be isolated. They should be freely exposed to other dogs and animals so they will socialize properly. They are very intelligent and love to play games, so obedience training is usually easy and successful, especially if it is made playful for them.