Breed Spotlight: German Shepherd Dogs GSD
German Shepherd Dogs are the second most registered dog in the U.S. according to the AKC (American Kennel Club). As the name suggests, it’s origins are from Germany. Though the German Shepherds most often seen in the U.S. have been majorly overbred, their original form and characteristics are still prevalent. GSD’s have played roles in military and police, farming and herding sheep, and as family guard dogs. The German Shepherd Dog breed has also been used to help disabled individuals with daily living. Some are seeing eye dogs while others are used to retrieve unreachable items or alert of a health concern.
German Shepherd Characteristics
GSD’s are intelligent, alert, protective and sensitive to stimuli. They have strong primal instincts based on what all their senses pick up. Their ears stand up naturally and give them “radar” for sounds. The eyes and muzzle senses give them keen interspective on sights and smells. These senses make them great guard dogs. They can be sketchy around strangers if not properly socialized. German Shepherds can do well in family homes as they were originally used to herd sheep. You may notice your GSD herding your children in the same manner. GSD’s will bond more strongly with one individual than the others in your home.
German Shepherds have a double coat that will shed heavily twice a year, in the Spring and Fall. This is due to losing and gaining the coat needed for the specific season. Regular brushing can help cut down the shedding in between the heavy shedding times. Beyond brushing, GSD’s are low maintenance where grooming is concerned. Most important grooming needs are regular nail trimming and ear cleanings.
The German Shepherd is a medium to large breed and will need space to get proper exercise and stimuli. A bored GSD can become aggressive and destructive. German Shepherds do best with a yard area to roam and protect. They are not good for apartment living unless you have a lot of time for daily walks to meet the exercise needs of the GSD.
They are normally black and tan with a wolf like mask and darker saddle markings. They can come in solid colors of black, white and grey shades. The AKC recognizes 11 colors for the German Shepherd Dog. They have a beauty mark on their jawl and large erect ears. They commonly have a downward angle from the shoulders to the rump. It may look like their back side sags lower than the front. They are prone to hip dysplasia in their elder years.
Little Known GSD Facts
1) Two of the 3 dogs that have stars on Hollywood Blvds “The Walk of Fame” are German Shepherds. Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart were both German Shepherds that starred in movies or TV. The other dog with a star is Lassie, a Collie.
2) War hero, Filax of Lewanno, was a German Shepherd honored at Westminster for saving over 50 wounded soldiers in World War I.
3) Only one GSD has ever won the coveted Best In Show at Westminster, Ch. Covy Tucker Hill’s Manhattan. It is also the only win from the herding group.