German shepherd dogs also commonly referred to as Alsatians are a sizable dog breed that traces its origins in Germany. The German Shepherd dog breed is a new breed that was discovered back in 1899 and it can be ranked as a fairly new breed.
Germans dating back in 1899 have been using German Shepherds for herding and guarding flocks of sheep. The German Shepherd became a popular herding and guard dog in Germany because of its ability to display intelligence, obedience and loyalty.
These attributes found in the German Shepherd dog have made it become one of the most outsourced breed of dog in police and military institutions all over the world. In the American Kennel Club Association, Alsatians account for about 5% of all the dogs registered within the association.
The German Shepherd dog is also a popular breed among dog owners due to its loyal and protective nature especially when dealing with members of its own family. The German Shepherd dog came up as a result of standard dog breeding that was being carried out in Europe way back in the 1800s.
Sheep herders were looking for a good dog breed that would be able to help them by herding and protecting their massive flocks of sheep from predators. Originally Germans back then would gather up in their communities where the Shepherds were tasked with the duty to try and breed dogs that possessed high intelligence, strength, keen sense of smell as well as speed.
The shepherds were able to come up with successful breeds that possessed all the skills they required. The only difference being that the new breeds possessed different abilities, appearances in the different areas they were being bred in.
After the Shepherds discovered that the differences would affect the dog’s ability to function properly, they ganged up and formed the Phylax society in 1891 with the whole intent of carrying out a standardized breeding that would help them come up with one breed that serves all their desired purposes.
While the society never came up with any significant results, it laid ground to what would later become the successful breed, German Shepherd which was discovered by one Von Stephanitz in 1899 who would later be branded as the father of the German Shepherd breed.
German Shepherd Breed Features
The most standard sized German Shepherd dogs that have been bred for over two centuries now possess the following features:
- The head of a standard sized German Shepherd is wedge- shaped, cleanly chiseled. The skull and the forehead share the same length. The muzzle is wedge shaped, the forehead is rectangular and it has strong teeth with close fitting lips.
- The eyes are almond- shaped they are slightly slanted and are of a darker shade.
- The ears are always pointed, erect and always facing forward, the center line of each ear is always parallel.
- The body of a standard German Shepherd is medium sized where its length is somehow greater than that its height. The body is also solid, well-muscled and contains solid bones. The back is very strong, broad and its hind legs are slightly angled back.
- A standard German Shepherd dog has a bushy tail that is supported by vertebra reaching at least the hocks and hangs in slight curve.
- The coat is double where it is lucky to have an under coat which is thick, straight and has harsh hair lying close to its body.
- Can be both black and grey, black and brown or solid black.
- Males: 60 to 65 cm (23.5-25.5 in)
- Females: 55 to 60 cm (22-23.5 in)
- Males: 30 to 40 kg (66.2-88.3 lb)
- Females: 22 to 32 kg (48.6-70.6 lb)
- The most standard life expectancy of a German Shepherd is between 8 and 15 years as long as they are disease free, healthy and its body is kept strong through physical activities.