The German Shepherd is a herding dog in the early days but they have grown to include many different types of work. They are considered to be one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom and in the United States.
The German Shepherd is used in many capacities such as police dogs, cadaver dogs, therapy dogs, and military dogs. They are also often used as guide dogs for the blind.
Even with their working history, German Shepherds still make good family pets. They are loving and loyal and enjoy being around people. They also make great guard dogs because of their loyalty to the family.
German Shepherd puppies should be socialized to be around people, especially children. This can help prevent aggression and dangerous behavior when they become adults. The German Shepherd takes to obedience quite well but that obedience should start during puppy hood. German Shepherd puppies will not have the ears that stand erect until they are several months old.
German Shepherds are generally large and strong and will weigh between 74 to 110 pounds. Some of the larger ones have been know to reach as much as 150 pounds. They are a short haired dog with a double coat. They can be identified by their large head, ears, and a muzzle that is shaped like a wedge. The German Shepherd is also known to have a distinctive gait when walking.
German Shepherds can be found in many colors but the most common and well know colors are the black and tan or the black and red. Some may be all black but these are rare. Sometimes they will be solid white but this is not an accepted color in the United States. White is however, recognized in the UKC.
Along with the colors, there are also several color markings such as the saddle or the sable. Often the sable pattern dogs will have a coat that consists of three colors instead of two.
German Shepherds are very intelligent and have a strong drive to work and please their master. They tend to be fearless and will protect what they believe is theirs.
Since the German Shepherd is a large breed it is susceptible to elbow and hip disorders. When these disorders present, care should be taken to breed away from these disorders whenever possible. The adult dog may also experience allergies of the skin and may be prone to fluid retention. Their average life span is 10 to 12 years.