It is very likely that, if you are a dog lover, at some point you have seriously considered acquiring a German shepherd; or even you already have a dog of this breed, since it is a beautiful animal, extremely intelligent and big-hearted. Whatever your case, we want you to know more about this amazing and versatile breed. For that reason, here we present the curiosities of the German shepherd.
Origin of the German shepherd
It is believed that the ancestors of this breed of dog, already lived in Germany in the seventh century. At that time they already had a wide range of tasks, the main one was to shepherd the flock. However, they were also required to protect their owner’s property.
However, the history of the German shepherd, as it is known today, officially begins in the late nineteenth century. In the year 1871, the captain of the Prussian court, Max von Stephanitz, considered today as the founder of this breed, began with the controlled breeding of these versatile dogs. Stephanitz acquired a male dog named Horand von Grafrath. This dog was the first animal registered in the newly founded association of German shepherds. Subsequently, he acquired two other dogs, a male named Vereins für Deutsche Schäferhunde and a female named Mari von Grafrath. These three specimens are considered to be the progenitors of the current German shepherds.
Stephanitz’s intention was to obtain a versatile working dog that had characteristics such as bravery, loyalty, obedience, endurance and solidity. Qualities that made this breed famous all over the world.
These characteristics were stylized as “German virtues” during the First and Second World Wars. The German shepherd was used as a symbol of the National Socialist ideal. In the wake of anti-German sentiment abroad, the Brithish Kennel Club changed the breed’s name to Alsatian Wolf Dog, thus removing the word “German” from the name. It was not until 1977 when the name of German shepherd was taken up again.
Physical characteristics of the German shepherd
Continuing with the curiosities of the German shepherd; it was time to mention his physical characteristics. This dog stands out for having a proportionate body; he is strong, muscular, agile and athletic. It is classified as a large-sized dog; the male has an average height between 60 and 65 cm and can weigh between 30 to 40 kilograms. While the height of the female can be about 55 to 60 centimeters, and its weight ranges between 22 and 32 kilograms.
Its head is wedge-shaped, and makes a good combination with its body; a straight-nosed bridge and a black nose. His forty-two-toothed denture imposes on his enemies. His ears are upright and point forward, and the eyes, slightly inclined, give him an expression of always being attentive and alert.
With regard to the fur of the German shepherd, we can say that the predominant color is black, with brown, yellow or grayish spots. It has two layers of hair, an outer layer that is long and thick and an inner layer that is short and soft. Both layers protect the dog from the weather of the weather, (snow, rain, excess heat, etc.). We are very used to seeing German shepherds with very short fur and stuck to the body. However, in recent years, many owners are deciding not to cut their dog’s fur and allow them to walk around with long mane. The long and soft coat, no longer sticks to the body, forms a kind of fringes or long tufts on the ears, neck, legs and tail.
White German Shepherd
Believe it or not, another of the curiosities of the German shepherd, is that when a female gets to have a litter of puppies; on some occasions an all-white puppy appears. However, the current official canine associations do not recognize this dog as part of that breed. The FCI even includes the White German Shepherd as an independent breed under the name Berger Blanc Suisse (Swiss White Shepherd).
Character of the German Shepherd
The character of the German shepherd is balanced, safe and reliable. This is why the German shepherd is one of the most requested dogs for guard and protection, as it has a natural predisposition for these tasks.
Although the German Shepherd tends to be somewhat suspicious of strangers, it is not an aggressive dog by nature. On the contrary, it tends to be alert but does not attack without reason. But the socialization of the puppy is essential to avoid problems in the future, since no dog has the character assured only by its genes.
The German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog easy to train; it adapts very well to any training technique. However, it reaches its full potential when trained using positive reinforcement.
Due to its versatility and adaptability, this breed has been able to perform successfully in different activities. The German shepherd stands out as: canine athlete, search and rescue dog, guide dog, police dog and therapy dog.
His loyalty and obedience to humans have made the German Shepherd also a very popular family dog. Indeed, as long as he is well educated and gets enough exercise, this dog is a great companion and very suitable to live as a family. Well-socialized German shepherds like children and get along well with other pets. However, we must bear in mind that this dog is very active and needs to be stimulated physically and mentally. Dogs that do not receive enough entertainment develop bad habits; they get nervous and can be destructive.
Thanks to its versatility, this breed is ideal for almost all dog sports; excels in agility, dog dancing and obedience. In addition, it has a very developed sense of smell, which allows it to perform search tasks with great success. Whatever sports and mental occupation you choose to do with your dog, the important thing is that a close union will be created between the two. Dogs that train enough body and mind not only enjoy periods of tranquility and recovery more, but are more receptive to education.
Common diseases of the German Shepherd
With the increasing spread of the German shepherd breed, typical diseases also increased. For example, hip dysplasia, which is seen today in many breeds of dogs. Another disease that this dog can suffer from is elbow dysplasia and degenerative lumbosacral stenosis (which causes paralysis). They may also have eye problems and allergies.
Food and care.
Another of the Curiosities of the German Shepherd is the good diet that this dog must receive. The degree of activity of the dog is decisive to define the type of feeding it needs. It is obvious that dogs that spend hours working and in continuous movement need more energy than family dogs that, in general, have many breaks throughout the day.
For a healthy development, regardless of the tasks they perform, no dog can lack proteins, minerals and vitamins. The dog’s most important source of protein is meat, and it should make up 70 percent of its diet, which you can offer in the form of prepared, homemade or raw food. A 20-30 percent vegetable and fruit is recommended to provide your dog with other necessary minerals and vitamins. Sugar and too many cereals are not part of a healthy dog diet.
On the other hand, it is important to mention that the German Shepherd is a dog that does not require very special care. In order for this pet to have a healthy life, good nutrition is necessary; be brushed frequently, at least once a week and be bathed once a month. Also, it is necessary to clean your ear and nails every week to avoid any infection. You should never forget the periodic visits with the veterinarian and to get all your vaccinations. Finally, remember that the German Shepherd is a dog with a lot of energy, it will need physical activity every day, therefore, it must go for a walk and play, at least two hours a day. And you can even practice some sport for dogs.
Almost no other breed is as moldable as the German Shepherd. At first it was bred as a shepherd dog, which cared for and protected the sheep. However, today, German Shepherds are employed in a wide range of tasks, such as service and protection dogs in the police, in the army and in customs. They are also used as search and rescue dogs. They are also used by health professionals as therapy or assistance dogs. Or as guard dogs to take care of the house of their owner and his family. The German shepherd is a loyal, reliable and loving dog, which will not hesitate for a second to defend you from any danger. These were the curiosities of the German shepherd.