The origin of the German Shepherd dates back to the year 1899. This German dog is a new dog, a working dog and it belongs to the herding group. It is originally designed for herding sheep. However, the characteristics of this dog have increased its usefulness today beyond being a mere working dog.
The standard height of this breed of dog is 60–65 cm (24–26 in) for the males and the height of the average female is put at 55–60 cm (22–24 in). The size of the eyes is medium and brown in color having an intelligent and lively self-assured look. For the ears, they are large and stand erect; they are pulled back when the dog is in motion. It has a long neck that is raised when they are excited and lowered when the dog is moving at a fast pace.The tail of this species is bushy and it comes with a two-layer coat.
This is the strongest selling point of this breed of dog. Their level of intelligence is the chief reason why they have become popular today the world over. They are ranked third in order of intelligence by Stanly Coren an author in his book: The intelligence of the dogs. They have the intelligence to master simple tasks only after five attempts at repeating such to them. Their strength compliments their intelligence and that is the chief reason why they are used today as police, guard and search and rescue dogs. They learn simple tasks very quickly and have the ability to interpret instructions better than other breeds of dog.
They are highly curious, this is why they are very good as and suitable for guard missions. They do not have the temperament to become immediate friends with strangers. They must be well socialized, or else they will pose issues for the strangers that come around their vicinity. The German Shepherd is known to be overprotective of its owner and the territory of the owner.
The life expectancy of this breed is put at between 9-13 years. Most of the health-related issues are caused because of the inbreeding practiced in the early days of the dog’s life. One of the common ailments is hip and elbow dysplasia. It leads to pains in the later life of the dog which results in arthritis. A study conducted by the University of Zurich has it that 45% of Police working dogs from a small group were affected by degenerative spinal stenosis.
The popularity soared to the high heavens after the decline of world war 1. Returning soldiers were full of praises for this breed. Their cause was further helped by Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart both of which are renowned animal actors. As at 2016, this breed is the second most popular breed in the US.
The German Shepherd has come a long way. The combinations of strength and high intelligence have made it become a dog of international repute.