German Shepherd Dog Breed

german shepherd dog laying on the grass

Are you interested in adopting a German Shepherd dog and expanding your family? German Shepherds are generally known to be good family dogs due to their protective and loyal nature. Curious to find out more? This article lays out the basics to get familiar with the German dog breed.

Read further and discover if the German Shepherd dog is the right option for you.

German Shepherd Dog Breed Basics

  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 22-40kg
  • Life expectancy: 9-13 years
  • Shedding: Medium
  • Classification: Herding
  • Good with other dogs: yes
  • Good with kids: yes
  • Good with cats: yes

History & Origin

German Shepherds (also known as Deutsche Schäferhunds) find their origins in Germany in the early 20th century. After WWI, several kennel clubs renamed the breed as ‘Alsatian Wolf Dog’ up until 1977. The name changed back to German Shepherd since then.

The German Shepherd dog would originally guard and herd sheep under extremely cold weather. The desire to work and serve still runs strong in the breed. As a result, the Shepherd Dog became known for providing duties such as service, security, search and rescue operations.


The German Shepherd is a large canine with a long body which allows them strength and agility. They typically have long, black muzzles, pointy ears, angled back and hind legs and long, bushy tails. In addition, they have a double coat that consists of a thick undercoat and a slightly wavy or straight outer coat. Their hair is usually tan and black, but they also come in solid black, solid sable, hues of red, and other variations on rare occasions.

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German Shepherds are generally very intelligent, curious, and confident dogs. They enjoy using their brain for learning, playing and performing tasks. Moreover, they can be very stubborn but obedient nonetheless. In addition, they are extremely loyal, watchful, and courageous. For this reason, a German Shepherd dog can make a great guard. At first, they can exhibit shyness with strangers. However, when they get to know someone, they can be sweet and playful around them.


German Shepherds are the kind of breed that requires a lot of attention, training and proper socialization. If you’re an active person who loves the outdoors, this breed is the perfect choice for you. Get your daily dose of exercise with your GSD through long walks, runs, and play. In addition, proper socialization and training from a young age are most important. This helps make your GSD friendlier and approachable when meeting new people and dogs.

If you aren’t home much or don’t have enough time to look after them, a German Shepherd dog might not be for you. Leaving them alone for long periods can cause a lot of problematic behaviors from lack of attention such as chewing and barking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are German Shepherds an aggressive breed?

German Shepherds may exhibit aggressive behavior with strangers. However, this depends on the amount of training and socialization they have been exposed to. Some German Shepherds may starts to exhibit aggressiveness at around 3 to 6 months old. Such behavior escalates during the adolescent stage from six months to two years old due to sexual maturity and hormones. Hence (like any dog), you must train them at a young age.

Why do police use German Shepherds?

German Shepherds are famous for their service in both the police force as well as military units due to their loyalty and intelligence. Moreover, they tend to remain calm under pressure, which makes them suitable for working in high-stress environments. German Shepherds have been part of police work for more than 100 years!

Is a German Shepherd a good family dog?

German Shepherds are ideal protectors as well as companions for the family. With proper training and socialization, they are your ideal breed to keep your family safe, especially if you have young children.

What’s the difference between Alsatian Dog and German Shepherd?

The Alsatian Wolf Dog is the breed’s alternative English language name after WWI. At the time, due to a strong anti-German sentiment, it was believed that having the word “German” in the name would harm the reputation of the breed. Thus, the UK Kennel Club renamed it “Alsatian Wolf Dog” after the French region of Alsace that borders Germany. The name was changed back to German Shepherd after 1977.

Now you’re up to date on the German Shepherd! Still got questions? Then book a video consultation with one of our qualified veterinarians to get advice on your pet questions within minutes.

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