German shepherd, the loyal protector

It is believed that the German Shepherd breed was developed by “Captain Max” von Stephanitz in the late nineteenth century and originally developed for herding sheep, hence their name. Over the years, their roles have changed somewhat, but by selective breeding; they have been bred for specific tasks or working environments such as protection, tracking and obedience.

According to Kennel Club figures from 2006, German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the UK and also one of the most popular breeds in the United States. German Shepherds have proven to be very versatile in their working roles, working as guide dogs for the blind, for police and detective work, guarding people, possessions or properties, part of search and rescue teams, any kind of therapy and working in the military. Even though they are well bred and very capable of all of these lines of work, they are also very loving, loyal and devoted pets inside the home. Early socialization is a must for younger puppies so that they do not become aggressive and exhibit dangerous, menacing or threatening behavior when they are adults. Otherwise, German Shepherds are very social, as they enjoy being around people and other animals.

The German Shepherd is a strong, sturdy breed, standing twenty-two to twenty-six inches at the shoulder and weighing anywhere between sixty and one hundred and ten pounds. His muscular, strong body is covered by a beautiful medium length, coarse shedding coat. It has a softer undercoat, which needs to be brushed daily, as they can shed quite a bit. The color of the German Shepherd may vary but can be black, black-and-tan, golden with black-tipped hairs, or gray with black-tipped hairs.

This breed’s personality is marked with an inherent direct willingness and fearless instinct to protect what it considers its “den” or territory (i.e. house, car, and property in a home situation) and “pack” (i.e. human family in a home situation). The German Shepherds temperament is usually poised, calm and fairly even keeled, however when the circumstance demands, they quickly can become very alert, ready to protect or guard and eager to perform the task at hand. They can immediately “shift gears” from loyal companion to being fit and willing to serve and perform as a watchdog, guide dog for people who are blind, herding dog, or guardian or whatever the circumstances demand, no matter how rapid the change.

German Shepherds should be fed anywhere from one and a half to two and a half cans of a high-quality meaty product with a biscuit added in equal part or five cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food with vitamins and minerals.

This breed is considered the most keen, aware and perceptive of his surroundings, atmosphere and person’s attitudes, moods and dispositions. Because of this he must be socialized to cover as many differences in atmosphere and disposition as possible. If this is not done and trained as a puppy, they may exhibit an unexpected aggression or be afraid of certain surroundings or people.