Arguably one of the most versatile dog breeds that exists, the German Shepherd wears many hats. From working as guard dogs, rescue mission dogs, herding dogs, to work force pups, actors, reliable service dog, to childhood playmates, these black-and-tan beauties bring much to the table. With their quick responses, tireless energy, and impressive stature, the German Shepherd breed created quite an impact on the canine world.
Facts About German Shepherds
- German Shepherds first came on the scene in 1899 when Max Von Stephanitz spotted a dog at a canine show that sparked his interest. With the goal of breeding an intelligent working dog in mind, he set his sights on a uniquely strong, wolf-like dog named Hektor Linksrhein. The aspiring breeder bought the dog, renamed him and declared him to be the first German Shepherd. Von Stephanitz helped create and define the breed standards of German Shepherds as we know them today.
- German Shepherds rank among the most intelligent dog breeds proving that they can learn a new command after only 5 repetitions, and will accurately respond to the first command nearly 95% of the time.
- The German Shepherd was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908, but they became popular when these mighty dogs were first brought to America during WWI, after soldiers witnessed their behavior on the battlefield. The Americans were impressed by the dogs who acted as messengers, and as a comforting companion to wounded soldiers during the war.
- In the midst the two World Wars, the name “German Shepherd” was highly unpalatable, inspiring a brief season of a name change to “Shepherd dogs” in America, while those in Great Britain called them “Alsatian wolf dogs” (after Alsace, an eastern region of France on the border of Germany).
- German Shepherds are typically black and tan colored, but sometimes come in all black, white, or silver and gray. A white German Shepherd would be disqualified from a dog show. There are three kinds of coats that are acceptable by breed standards of the German Shepherd, including: long stock, long haired, and normal stock coats.
- German Shepherds can, in rare cases have pituitary dwarfism. This means those noble-looking hounds stay perpetually puppy-sized all their lives. Unfortunately, dwarfism is generally accompanied by health problems, and though this syndrome does not occur often, it can happen.
- Of the war-time canine heroes , German Shepherds have proven one of the most celebrated and decorated dog breeds in the world.
- A group of six German Shepherds were once trained to act in a Dutch stage play in the 1980’s. Though the play entitled Going to the Dogs was unsuccessful, the German Shepherds proved that well-trained dogs can accomplish impressive feats.
- The famous film character Rin Tin Tin was played by Strongheart, the first canine actor on film in 1921. The dog was once rumored to have been considered for an academy award, and he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- German Shepherds are still considered one of the most popular breeds in the country. In cities like Nashville and Miami, they are the #1 breed of choice.