Home >> Write >> Pets >> Types of Pets >> Dogs >> Breeds >> German Shepherd
German Shepherd - Man's Best Friend
There is very little that is negative that can be said about the German Shepherd and so much to be said that is positive. A handsome and noble looking dog that is intellectually the peer of any other breed if from good stock. This is a breed of dog that exemplifies how important proper breeding is when looking for the best. A popular and ideal working dog as it is easy to train and a hard worker. The Shepherd is considered the most widely-spread breed in the world. It is said that there is no breed better fitted for all of the various but specific utilitarian purposes that it performs and this may be why it is one of the most loved and popular dog breeds in the world.
Although it is questionable as to whether or not the more modern German Shepherd Dog has some wolf blood in it, being the closest resemblance to a wolf of all breeds, it is said to be a blend of at least three types of Sheep dog the come from Germany. There are those who believe that the original sheep dog came from Asia, arriving in Europe with merchants who used them as a means of exchange, but inarguable the mist work done with the breed took place in Germany. Near the end of the 19th century, a German cavalry officer by the name of Rittmeister Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz who greatly admired the breed, made it his own. Forming the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, the German breed club and put his time into further developing and refining the breed, His goal was an ideal working dog. As the world changed and civilization began to take over the pasture lands that the Shepherd worked, the native dog's job and need became threatened with extinction. A lover of the breed, von Stephanitz worked diligently, selecting within the breed for highly developed protective instinct and found the Shepherd a new calling.
Now an amazing guard dog, Von Stephanitz convinced politicians and industrialists alike to accept the German Shepherd Dog for work in the areas of Police, war and protection. The breed club that von Stephanitz created remains one of the largest clubs of its kind in the world. The Shepherd was first shown in dog shows in 1882. The German Shepherd Dog was first used for herding, guarding and farm work. he was trained to protect the sheep from wolves and other wild animals, to chase them off, to pursue them if they caught livestock and to force the wolf to release the animal so that the Shepherd could regain possession of it and thus bring it back to its master. This dog was to be given many more jobs with time.
During the First World War, the Shepherd was used as an army dog. In written documentation, it is stated that this breed's valor and versatility impressed Allied soldiers greatly and this praisal is perhaps why the Shepherd made its way in vast numbers to Britain and the Commonwealth Countries in the 1920's, despite strict quarantines. Until the 1970's the dog was called an Alsatian or Alsatian Wolf Dog within Britain, as it originated in Alsace. This new naming was to avoid any anti-German sentiment that may have been present during this time period. It was with some pushing that at this time that the British Kennel Club relented and its original as The German Shepherd was restored, although it is still common today to hear the other name used. The extreme popularity of the Shepherd is also partly due to exposure on the silver screen and then later the TV screen. "The Littlest Hobo", a show about a German Shepherd Dog who travels the Country helping people while at the same time tries to find his own family, was a huge hit. Shepherds being so easy to train and able to do so much made great dogs to use in this business.
All this popularity though, did damage to this dogs breeding. Indiscriminating breeders acted as uncaring opportunists as they tried to fill the high demand for the dog. Subsequently puppies not of the purest breed were bought and sold. Thankfully though there are still those breeders who have continued to breed only the best and the Shepherd has achieved uniformity and a basic breed solidity, at least in Germany. It is interesting that while there are so many more advantages in America, better feeding, advanced medical care and more financial resources to purchase the finest of this breed, they are not able to produce quality animals in the numbers that Germany can. This is most likely due to the fact that the German breed club exercises complete control over its members. Insistence on adaptability to training and strict selection for these animals guarantees the quality of the dogs being sold. In Germany a Shepherd cannot be shown in adult classes unless it has attained at least one training degree. Police, guard and even herding dogs must also pass important testing.
A German Shepherd must have a working degree (Scgutzhund degree) to work in its homeland to be eligible to compete in a dog show. This is to keep the breed a working one with the intelligence, character, strength and aptitudes necessary to perform its hereditary tasks. The German Shepherd is naturally graceful. It is a beautiful dog that needs no cropping or docking and Its body is muscular and agile. A dog that is slightly elongated and considered a large dog, he is dignified looking and holds his head high. He has watchful and soulful eyes that penetrate deep into whomever he looks at and his eyes are medium sized and are almond shaped and slightly slanted. The eyes are dark and alert. While his ears may hang when he is a puppy, by the sixth month they will be erect and should be handled delicately so as not to break the cartilage. This dog has a stiff and flat coat with course hair. The hair is thick all over the body except the head and legs.
The most common colors of a Shepherd's coat are black with shades of golden brown markings or shades of grey. Puppies will change color until they get their adult coat. This type of dog needs daily brushing and only a couple of baths every year. Exercise is very important and he needs a great deal of it. Above all though, this dog needs a job to do, even if it is basic obedience training. A life of boredom is a terrible and unwise waste of this type of dog and will no doubt cause depression within it. Found a great deal like the Belgian Sheepdog in Europe tending flocks of sheep even today, its strength, resourcefulness and intelligence makes it a good worker. Those who admire the breed and hold it in high regard do so by reflecting on its many contributions within the human society. It is a sheep dog, a companion dog, drug dog, guard dog, life-saver, sentry, tracker, arm or police dog, rescue dog and seeing eye dog. It is a dog of exceptional character and has an array of skills and is trainable in so many areas due to its intelligence and highly developed senses.
The Shepherd is one of four dogs that are considered completely fit for police work. The Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler and the Airedale are the other three breeds used. Those who are not in favor of this breed would fault it due to attacks perpetrated by Shepherds. There is the belief that it can misread a sign given to it by its owner. This type of behavior is due to impure breeding and inept handling of this dog, particularly in Britain in the 20's. In most cases of attacks reported to have been caused by Shepherds, it was the fault of the dog's master having not properly controlling the dog's aggressiveness. If correctly trained and cared for from a puppy until adulthood, this breed will be gentle, loyal and obedient when an adult, as is the case with most dog breeds. The Shepherd can be trained for any job including home life and not only fits into any family, but becomes a main part of it. He is respectful of both his family and strangers and is amazing with children. "Charger", was a German Shepherd that never let the children in his family out of his sight, nor any of the children playing with them. So protective was he, that every time any of the kids went swimming in the lake, he would be right in after them, sure that they were drowning. Shepherds are strong swimmers, but their claws can really heart if they catch a swimmer.
Whenever Charger would storm the lake, children tried to swim away from least they get scratched by the big protective dog. Into eh end it was Charger's hips that prevented him from his life reducing ways. Hip problems such as arthritis are a common problem in Shepherds and a terrible thing to have to watch happen to your pet. Chronic eczema, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) and his displasia (malformation of the hip joint) are all things that this breed suffers from. If a dog is suffering from any of these mentioned problems it will be apparent around the fourth month. By using a reputable breeder, these should all be avoided. The German Shepherd is truly a working dog that likes to work. He has stood at the side of man performing as his protector and partner for many years and will continue to do so as long as man is on the earth. This is a breed that clearly merits the title of "mans best friend".