10 Surprising Facts About German Shepherds

 Thursday Jul 19,2018
By  Lancaster Puppies

German Shepherds are amazing. They watch TV, have a history of heroism, and have been in the Guinness Book of World Records. Discover 10 interesting facts about German Shepherds you never knew.

1. They Watch TV

According to Science Daily, German Shepherds, like all dogs, are able to distinguish faces of other pure bred dogs on TV. Science suggests animals from the same species interact socially and when they gather, they notice the similarities between group members. Turns out dogs can distinguish a dog from another animal. This may be why German Shepherds enjoy watching TV with you, especially when you put on dog shows.

2. They View You as Part of Their Pack

German Shepherd puppy

German Shepherds—and many other dogs—may be eager to snuggle, nuzzle, and lay their heads on you. Dogs view you as part of their pack and want to stay safe and close to you. This behavior also releases a chemical called oxytocin in humans, a bonding hormone, which makes you feel connected to the dog. 

3. They Love Car Rides

German Shepherds enjoy riding in cars because they may feel as though they’re on the hunt with you. According to Natural Dog Training, people perceive hunting as chasing, stalking, or killing prey whereas dogs may feel a state of “emotional suspension” and feel weightless. Riding in the car produces the same feeling. Since you’re in the car with the dog, the dog may view you as being on the hunt with him.

4. They Skydive!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first dog to ever go anti-poaching skydiving was a 2-year-old German Shepherd. His name is Arrow and his owner’s name is Henry Holsthyzen. The duo tandem-jumps out of planes in the thorny, subtropical South African Busveld to hunt down poachers. Arrow then tracks animal poachers and ignores the wildlife. He’s also trained to sniff out contraband at ports and patrol his area. 

5. They All Share the Same Ancestor

A dog named Horand von Grafrath is the genetic basis for all German Shepherds. The dog was thought to be a well-rounded example of what a German Shepherd ought to look like and so Captain Max von Stephanitz sired the dog. His most notable offspring were named Beowolf, Pilot, and Starkenburg. These dogs are the ancestors of all German Shepherds today.

6. A German Shepherd Was the First Seeing-Eye Dog

Morris Frank was the first person to get a seeing-eye dog named Buddy in 1927. The female German Shepherd was named Kiss before Morris changed his name to Buddy. Morris got Buddy from Dorothy Harris Eustis who trained GSDs to work as police dogs before shifting her work to training them to lead people who lost their sight.

7. They Save Lives

Close up of a German Shepherd wearing a red collar

According to ABC News, a 7-year-old named Molly Deluca was saved from an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake bite when her German Shepherd named Haus refused to leave her side. The duo was playing in their Hillsborough County, Florida yard when the rattler struck the dog three times on his right leg after he stepped in between the girl and the snake. The situation seemed grim, but Haus was given round-the-clock treatment with anti-venom at a Tampa veterinary clinic, Blue Pearl Pet Hospital. The bill racked up quickly. A family friend of the DeLucas created a GoFundMe page to help pay for the bills. The fundraiser netted $52,000.  Haus made a full recovery and was released back to the Deluca family. The remainder of the funds were donated to a local animal shelter.

8. They're Soldiers

SSgt. Julian McDonald, a dog trainer and 75th Ranger Regiment in the U.S. Army, used Layka, a military combat dog to save the lives of his team. SSgt. McDonald was serving in Afghanistan when his German Shepherd was shot four times at point-blank range after she was put in a building. She was shot instead of the members of his platoon. After extensive surgery, and a leg amputation, Ssgt. McDonald adopted the Layka because he felt like she was one of his combat brothers. After adopting her, he continued to take her to work, allow her to sniff out bombs, and do bite work. Most of the time the three-legged GSD enjoys retirement in his home.

9. They're in the Military

A U.S. Marine turned mercenary dog trainer, Alex Dunbar operates independently to train German Shepherds for the military, private military, and the police force. One of his dogs has a titanium tooth embedded in his mouth for a devasting bite. He uses his war dogs to find terrorist leaders.

10. They're Heroes

German Shepherds were used in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 and worked 16 to 18 hours a day, for 7 to 14 days at a time to search for the deceased and injured. One of the search and rescue dogs was a German Shepherd named Apollo. He and his handler Peter Davis were the first to arrive after the collapse of the second tower to look for victims. He was a member of NYPD’s K-9 team and was also trained in urban search and rescue. 

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