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The saying ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’ is evident when it comes to keeping a German Shepherd. An exceptionally loyal breed, German Shepherd dogs or GSD, in short, are medium to large-sized dogs. The average height of an adult male GSD is 24 to 26 inches, whereas females range up to 22 to 24 inches. They have a life expectancy of approximately 7 to 10 years. The second most popular breed in the US, the German Shepherd breed, has a rich history and is an all-time favorite amongst dog lovers.
Today, Max Von Stephanitz is known as the ‘father of the GSD.’
In 1889 he was attending the Karlsruhe Dog Show in Western Germany when he saw a beautiful, medium-sized, yellow, and gray wolf-like dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Having a breeder’s eye, Stephanitz immediately pointed out many good dog qualities in him. The dog Stephanitz saw was supple, strong, steady, and intelligent. It was a sheepherder and had guarding instincts. Max purchased Hektor and renamed him Horand. Horand was the world’s first registered German Shepherd dog.
Here are nine things you did know about the German Shepherd.
After the industrial revolution, rural to urban migration became rampant. It seemed as if the demand for shepherding dogs was declining, so Stephanitz started reaching out to police departments, service workers, and the German army, to market the German Shepherd. This dog’s attributes such as loyalty, tirelessness, obedience, intelligence, and trainability soon became attractive. The breed started gaining recognition and was welcomed to such services.
In 1908, the American Kennel Club officially accepted the German Shepherd as a separate breed. In 1913, this breed was awarded its first champion status, and America’s first GSD club was formed.
Steady yet diverse traits of the German Shepherd make this breed the second most popular dog in the United States. These dogs are kept, both as house pets and working dogs. They are also popular as performing dogs, guard dogs, and show dogs. The police and the army also keep them due to their exceptional attributes.
German Shepherds were used in varying capacities during the First and the Second World War. They served the purpose of warning soldiers of traps and delivering messages. They also played the role of personal guard dogs and rescue dogs.
The German Shepherd, Filax of Lewanno, was a war hero in the First World War. In 1917, he bought 54 soldiers to safety during his service. He was also honored at Westminster for this. This was one of the most remarkable contributions that canines made during a war.
Hollywood has made many movies around the German Shepherd. One of the very first GSDs, who instantly gained fame due to its charm and intelligence, was Strongheart. Strongheart appeared in his first movie in 1921. The director Laurance Timble saw this dog’s capability and chose him for a screen appearance. Strongheart appeared in six films. His debut film was called ‘The Silent Call’ while his other extremely popular movie was ‘White Fang.’ Sadly, Strongheart died in 1929 after falling on a hot light while filming and burning himself. He was 12 years old at that time. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
This breed’s name has been changed quite a few times. During World War 2, it was common to change any name which contained the word ‘German,’ so in the US, the German Shepard dog breed was renamed the ‘Shepherd Dog.’ In the UK, the breed’s name was changed to ‘Alsatian.’ In 1930, the American Kennel Club changed the breed’s name back to the German Shepherd.
The first dog that guided a visually impaired person was also a German Shephard Dog. In 1929, the Seeing Eye Foundation was founded by Mrs. Eustis that trained dogs to guide the visually impaired people. This foundation chose to train German Shepard Dogs. Morris Frank was the first person who was given one of these dogs for help. Now Labradors and Retrievers are mostly used for this purpose as tests have shown their traits are more applicable. German Shepherds are more suitable as police dogs.
German Shepherds usually have black and tan coats. Sometimes there are black and white German Shepherds as well. The American Kennel Club has actually recognized eleven colors of the German Shepherd. Their coats can be different colors such as liver-colored, sable, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, gray and blue. However, some of these colors are extremely rare.
There is a unique color of a German Shepard called the Panda Shepherd. It is a unique piebald coloring and is present only in a single bloodline.
German Shepherds are quite well known for their high intelligence levels. This breed has been ranked 3rd in intelligence. This rank was awarded to them by Stanly Coren. Border Collies and Poodles ranked before German Shepherds in terms of brainpower. In his book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs,’ Coren writes that a German Shepherd will learn a simple task after only five repetitions. There is a 95% chance they obey commands, and this makes them one of the best worker dog breeds’.
by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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