German Shepherd Dog

Other Names : Alsation, GSD, Deutsche Schaferhund

Country of Origin : Germany

Dog Group : Working Dog


Formed from a variety of different types of shepherd dogs, the German Shepherd Dog (or GSD) can trace its origins back to the 7th century. Its appearance, almost wolf-like, would suggest an even earlier ancestry. Originally bred for herding, this breed has been used more extensively in this century for guard and protection work. It is also used as a guide dog in the United States and has an honourable career with both police and armed forces. Finally, one cannot forget its frequent television and film appearances. At the end of the 19th century, Rittmeister Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz dedicated himself to the refinement and protection of the GSD. GSDs were first shown in 1882, and in 1899, the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, which is the German breed club for GSDs, was formed. It was through this club and the work of the Rittmeister that GSDs were developed for use with the police and armed forces, thus saving the breed from extinction during the difficult times at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War I the Germans used GSDs as messenger dogs and to locate the wounded. Allied soldiers admired the dogs’ intelligence and courage and brought many of them home after the war, thus establishing the breed in other countries. However, it is felt that the best GSDs still come from Germany.


GSD's are one of the most easily recognised breeds in the world. Their appearance should be of a muscular, alert dog with a noble and aloof attitude. The dogs are agile and well balanced in the fore and hindquarters and carry themselves with pride. Although substantially built, these dogs are not square but made up of smooth curves, the length being greater than the height. Their coats are impressive: the outer coat being hard, coarse and flat hair with a thick undercoat. They have a wonderful long reach with their front legs, covering the ground in a smooth, graceful manner.

Feeding & Ownership


As a pet, the GSD will demand a lot of your time. It is a highly intelligent breed and as such, needs a great deal of mental stimulation. The GSD will develop a very close bond with his handler and will want to be with him/her as much as possible. They will accept children if the children give them respect and do not torment them. Although this breed of dog does need a lot of attention, he will give back one hundred fold with loyalty and incorruptible guarding skills. On the other hand, if you do not take the time to socialize and train a GSD, there will be problems with self-confidence and unruliness.


Grooming should also be done every day, with a vigourous brushing to remove any dead or loose hairs. If it is a longhaired GSD, combing will also be necessary. No trimming is required and bathing should only be done as needed. This is a shedding dog but the more you groom it, the less it will shed.


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