German Shepherds are one of the top 5 most popular dogs in the United States.
These dogs are one of the most recognizable breeds due to their striking markings. Although German Shepherds have a variety of colors, the most common are red, tan, brown, black, tan/black or red/black. These varieties have black masks and black body markings referred to as the classic “saddle” marking to the overall “blanket” marking.
Rarer colors for Shepherds are all black, white or sable. For show, the all black and sable are accepted, according to standards. The blue or liver are consider faulted and the white shepherds never qualify.
German Shepherds are bred specifically for their high intelligence which they are famous for. They are considered the third most intelligent breed of dog, passed only by Border Collies and Poodles. Stanley Coren, author of “The Intelligence of Dogs”, found they have the ability to learn simple tasks after only 5 repetitions and obey first commands 95% of the time.
This ability combined with their great strength, make this breed extremely desirable as guard dogs, police guards and search and rescue.
In the United States, one source suggests that German Shepherd dogs are responsible for more reported bitings than any other breed. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states “There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, a consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite then others.”
These dogs bond well with children they are familiar with and are usually very protective. They are extremely loyal and bond with the people they know. They are highly active and self-assured. They have a great willingness to learn and need to have a purpose.
If they are not socialized properly, they can become overly protective of the family and territory. They do not warm up to strangers quickly but are very obedient when trained properly.
The most common malady is through inbreeding causing hip and elbow dysplasia that can cause a great deal of pain later on in life. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals found that 19.1% of Shepherds are affected by hip dysplasia. Also, due to their rather large, open ears, they are prone to ear infections. Like other large-bodied dogs, they are also prone to bloating.
Average Size and Life-Span:
Weigh between 66 – 88 pounds (30 – 40 kilograms). Their height is between 24 – 26 inches (60 – 65 centimeters)
Weigh between 49 – 71 pounds (22 – 32 kilograms). Their height is between 21 – 24 inches (53 – 60 centimeters).
Their most common color is Black and Tan and their litter sizes are between 5 to 10.
Their average life span is 9.7 years which is normal for a large breed dog. German Shepherds also have a higher than normal incident of Von Willebrand Disease, an inherited bleeding disorder.
This is an extremely versatile breed of dog, they excel as working dogs due to their strong sense of duty, their mental abilities, their fearlessness and attachment to their owners.
German Shepherds have been featured in many films and other medias over the years. Strongheart was one of the earliest canine film stars followed by Rin Tin Tin. Rin Tin Tin is considered to be the most famous German Shepherd of all time. Both these dogs are credited with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.