German Shepherd: Training and Temperament

The German Shepherd originally came from Thuringia and Wurttemberg in Germany. The breed is a result of selective breeding of several shepherding breeds. The aim was to create a dog that could withstand the rigors required to be good shepherd dogs along with the intelligence to be trained for complex tasks. Today, the German Shepherd is an excellent working dog.

German Shepherds are also used as companions and family pets. They are also common as watch dogs for individuals, and guard dogs for homes and businesses. The German Shepherd is sometimes known as Alsatian or the Dutch Shaferhund.

In the standard breed, the coat of these dogs are silver, black and cream, though some additional colors are also possible and are generally accepted by breeders. Solid white has normally been a disqualifying feature, but there is a movement by breeders and German Shepherd enthusiasts to recognize white German Shepherds as a separate breed.

German Shepherd Breed

There are three distinct types of German Shepherd, based on the type of coat – rough, long, and rough-long coats are individually recognized.

German Shepherds were bred to withstand the often cold and severe conditions of the German countryside. They have a thick double coat and shedding can be an issue. They may have serious shedding episodes at specific times of the year that cause skin allergies. Regular grooming is needed to keep their coats in good condition.

German Shepherd
Photo: German Shepherd “Zack” | Openverse

These dogs have a reputation for facing several serious health issues. In fact, the potential for those health problems depends largely on the breeding lines and some lines are quite healthy. If you are aware of the health of the parents, then you might know in advance any health problems the puppies might develop.

Good breeding practices can produce healthier pups, but you should be wary of purchasing German Shepherds from unprofessional puppy mills. When choosing a puppy, don’t mind if the ears don’t stand at attention. This is common in young dogs. At a later age, most learn to hold their ears at attention – something that is associated with a German Shepherd. No docking or other procedures are necessary to accomplish this.

German Shepherds have higher than average intelligence. They can learn new things quickly and do well when called on to use their natural instincts. This makes them a natural choice for tracking, guarding, obedience and agility trials.

German Shepherd
Photo: Openverse

Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. use Germand Shepherds. Both the U.S. Army and Marines use German Shepherds for explosive detection and patrol work. Police use the breed for suspect apprehension and drug detection in particular. At airport terminals, it’s common to see German Shepherds doing TSA and Customs and Border Protection work.

Above all, German Shepherds want new challenges. It is an essential part of their high-energy personality. They relish new tasks and will generally rise to meet the new challenge with an alertness and intelligence that some say approaches that of a person.

dogken Team
dogken Team

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