German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherd dogs are strong, agile and substantial, with an outline of smooth curves. Because of their protective nature, they make excellent guard dogs.

Origin and History

The breed dates back to German breeders in the 1800s. Bred through a conscious effort to produce, through selective breeding, the perfect shepherd -- for guarding and herding sheep.

Physical Features


Strong, chiseled head with medium-sized eyes and moderately pointed ears that are carried erect.


The breed has a regal appearance with a frame that is well proportioned, but longer than it is tall. The back slopes down slightly with a tail that hangs loosely past the hocks.


They have a double coat -- medium length hair lying close to the body and an outer coat of thick, straight or slightly wavy hair.


Black, brownish-black, or tan and black are all acceptable. White is not usually seen.


Males: 23 - 26 inches; Females: 22 - 24 inches


Males: 75 - 85 pounds; Females: 70 - 80 pounds


Primary Traits

Affection, courage, confidence, devotion, energy, intelligence, protective and obedience. While the breed has the reputation for being aggressive, proper training can eliminate this concern.


Energy level

Exercise needs


Affection level

Friendly toward dogs

Friendly toward other pets

Friendly toward strangers

Easy to train

Watchdog material

Protection ability

Grooming needs

Tolerates Cold

Tolerates Heat


Medium - High

Low - Medium




Low - Medium




Low - Medium



Living Conditions

The breed is well suited to living indoors or outdoors. If living in small confined spaces, however, these dogs will require more exercise to keep them from becoming inactive.

Exercise Needs

With a high energy-level, the breed can endure strenuous exercise for long periods of time. The dogs require daily physical activity.

Grooming Needs

Unlike many breeds, German Shepherd dogs shed year round. They shed heavily twice a year and lightly the rest of the year. To keep your dog looking its best, daily brushing is really a must as is an occasional bath.

Life Expectancy

Individual members of the breed typically live between 10 and 13 years.

Health Concerns

The breed is very susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. The breed may also develop skin allergies, panosteitis, hot spots, and von Willebrand’s disease.

Where to Find Dogs


To find a list of breeders, go to (the German Shepherd Dog Club of America). In other countries, use your favorite search engine to search for dog clubs in your country.

Rescued Dogs

To find a list of rescues in America, go to (American German Shepherd Rescue Association). Outside the United States, search Google (or your favorite search engine) for “German Shepherd Rescue” plus the name of your country to find rescue organizations near you.

Gifts for German Shepherd Lovers

T-Shirts (numerous designs available)

iPhone Covers (numerous designs available)

Mugs (numerous designs available)


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