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Breed Portrait - The German Shepard

In the realm of canine breeds, few garner as much admiration and respect as the German Shepherd. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, German Shepherds remain one of the most popular breeds worldwide.

German Shepard training advice, breed traits, police background and more
German Shepards are highly intelligent dogs

Origin of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd breed's roots trace back to the late 19th century in Germany. Created by Captain Max Von Stephanitz, the breed was initially designed for herding sheep. Stephanitz admired the intelligence, strength, and work ethic of native German sheepdogs and sought to standardise these qualities into one breed. Thus, the German Shepherd was born.


Breed Traits

German Shepherds are large dogs, typically weighing between 50-90 pounds. They are characterized by a robust and muscular build, a double coat of medium length, and a confident, alert expression that mirrors their keen intellect. Their natural protective instincts make them excellent guardians, while their high intelligence and eagerness to please make them highly trainable. The German Shepard is a late bloomer - physically and mentally often not fully developed until three years of age. In my experience, I have found them to be highly sensitive dogs, who can be emotional and easily stressed without the guidance of their owner.


Police Background

Their numerous positive traits have made German Shepherds a popular choice for police and military roles worldwide. Notably, the breed's keen sense of smell, intelligence, and trainability make them ideal for roles such as search and rescue, narcotics detection, and bomb disposal. Furthermore, their loyalty and protective nature make them effective in roles such as patrol and personal protection.


PLEASE NOTE: There is a significant difference between a show German Shepard and a working German Shepard. I do not recommend working German Shepards for first time dog owners as it is a huge commitment to fulfill the needs of this dog.


Training Advice

Training a German Shepherd should start, like all breeds, from a young age. A good breeder knows, how important it is to start early socialisation and a responsible dog owners will continue this training straight away. It is crucial to help these dogs to become well-adjusted adults. Given their high intelligence, German Shepherds excel in obedience training and enjoy tasks that challenge them mentally. Positive experiences, healthy boundaries, consistency, and patience are key when training this breed. Given their working background, they thrive when given jobs or tasks to fulfill. This is also true for show German Shepards!


Breed Fulfilment

To ensure a German Shepherd leads a happy and healthy life, ample physical exercise and mental stimulation are paramount. This can include daily walks, structured playtime, and participation in activities like obedience, agility, protection work or herding trials. Providing them with a job or task greatly contributes to their fulfillment.

German Shepards do have potential behavioural issues but with the right training they are incredible dogs
German Shepards can be great family dogs

Potential Behavioural Issues

Like any breed, German Shepherds can exhibit potential behavioural issues. Without adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they may resort to destructive behaviorus out of boredom or typically they become overprotective of the owner or another family dog. This is often shown as excessive barking at other people/dogs.


Additionally, their protective nature can occasionally manifest as aggression if not properly managed.


Early socialisation can help mitigate this. Separation anxiety can also be a concern, as German Shepherds form strong bonds with their families and may struggle when left alone.


Conclusion

The German Shepherd is a breed of many virtues. With proper training, socialisation, and care, they make loyal companions and exceptional working dogs. Their intelligence, versatility, and strength truly set them apart, making them a breed worthy of admiration and respect. Having owned a working German Shepard called Loki ourselves, we know how wonderful this breed is but further understand that they require great commitment and intense socialisation.

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