Get To Know the German Shepherd

 Thursday Feb 03,2022
By  Lancaster Puppies

The German Shepherd is a tremendously devoted and intelligent breed that has been long admired by dog owners around the world. If you’re - hoping to add one of these dogs to your family, read on to learn more about this beautiful, hardworking breed.

History of the German Shepherd

Lancaster Puppies' German Shepherd breed spotlight infographic: great watch dog, family dog, high energy, easy to train, devoted & loyalThe German Shepherd originated in Germany during the 19th century, and it was developed primarily by one man: Captain Max von Stephanitz. Von Stephanitz’s mission was to create a superior herding dog. The end result was a success, they’re of high intellect, brave, and athletic - all necessary attributes in a herding dog.

These dogs swiftly gained popularity in other nations, and the first German Shepherd is said to have arrived in the United States in 1906. The breed’s appeal declined during World War I, however, because it was associated with the enemy. Nevertheless, partially thanks to Rin Tin Tin, a renowned German Shepherd who starred in a series of films, the breed regained its popularity after the war. Today, the GSD ranks among the most popular dog breeds in America.

German Shepherd Characteristics

Appearance and Coat

This breed is powerful and sturdy, typically weighing anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds. They are around 23 to 25 inches tall at the withers. The GSD’s coat consists of a medium-length outer coat and a dense undercoat and is usually black and tan or black and red in color. They have large ears that stand up straight, giving them an attentive appearance.


German Shepherds are regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds. They are calm, loving, and fiercely protective of their home and family. That said, the breed makes an excellent family dog and friend, as well as a vigilant watchdog. These dogs are usually reserved towards strangers, although they are rarely hostile. GSDs may take some time to warm up to new people, but once they do, they are extremely loyal and devoted. The majority of these pups get along well with other animals, especially if they were raised with them.


These dogs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. A few to be aware of are:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Often seen in larger dog breeds, hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit together properly, causing them to rub together and deteriorate over time.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, but the problem occurs in the elbows.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, GDV is a condition that occurs when a dog eats too quickly and then exercises vigorously after eating. This results in gas buildup and pressure in the dog’s stomach, making it difficult for them to breathe. GDV is a serious, life-threatening issue that requires immediate veterinary attention.

Caring for a German Shepherd

A German Shepherd’s Ideal Home

Did you know the German Shepherd breed has its own motto: "Utility and Intelligence"German Shepherds make wonderful family dogs and working dogs alike. While these pups can adapt to a variety of different living environments, a home with a fenced-in yard is most suitable for their high energy and large size. However, if given ample daily activity, this breed can live happily in apartments.

The ideal owner for a German Shepherd is an active individual or family looking for a companion to enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, GSDs do best in households where someone is home for a majority of the day.

Training Best Practices

The German Shepherd’s intelligence makes them highly trainable. With this breed, it’s very important to start training right away, especially due to their dominant nature. Above all, you must make sure to establish your status as “pack leader” as soon as possible. That way, your pup will know that you call the shots and that they should rely on you for guidance and commands.

Exercise Needs

These dogs enjoy being active and require at least an hour of daily physical activity. They love having a job to do, so be sure to keep them on their toes by giving them plenty of tasks throughout the day. Outdoors, these dogs should be kept on a leash at all times, as even the best-trained German Shepherds may become distracted by something they see and disobey orders.

Grooming and Hygiene

Nicknamed the “German Shedder,” this breed sheds heavily year-round, so you should anticipate brushing your GSD two or three times a week to keep shedding to a minimum. Additionally, Shepherds will require as-needed bathing. That said, if you are prone to dog allergies or don’t like dog fur on your furniture, this may not be the breed for you.

You should also trim your GSD’s nails on a monthly basis, and be sure to practice good oral hygiene by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly.

Is the German Shepherd the dog breed for you? Find the newest addition to your family on Lancaster Puppies today!