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Breed Profiles
Dog Breeds

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German Shepherd Dog

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German Shepherd Dog

General
OtherNames Alsation, GSD, Deutsche Schaferhund
Dog Group Kennel Club Pastoral
Breed Classification German Shepherd Dogs belong to the pastoral group and are used as companions, guard dogs, sniffer dogs, police dogs, guide dogs and, of course, sheepdogs. They are also popular in the show-ring.
Cost of Ownership
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Average Food Cost
£4-7.50
Feeding Requirements
As puppies, ensure you follow the breeder's recommended diet sheet because problems can arise with their bones and joints.
Other Expenses
After the initial purchse price of a puppy, around £500+, GSD's should not be too expensive to keep as long as you have followed the recommended feeding programme as puppies. Failure to do so could result in excessive veterinary fees.
Average Puppy Price
£500-800
Lifespan
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
9
General Physical Description
GSD's are one of the most easily recognised breeds in the world. Their appearance should be of a muscular, alert dog with a noble and aloof attitude. The dogs are agile and well balanced in the fore and hindquarters and carry themselves with pride. Although substantially built, these dogs are not square but made up of smooth curves, the length being greater than the height. Their coats are impressive: the outer coat being hard, coarse and flat hair with a thick undercoat. They have a wonderful long reach with their front legs, covering the ground in a smooth, graceful manner.
Height Min Max
Bitch 55cm 60cm
Dog 60cm 65cm
Weight Min Max
Bitch 34kg 43kg
Dog 34kg 43kg
Size Category Large
Weight Height Range Ideally dogs measure between 60-65cms at the withers and bitches measure beween 55-60cms. They weigh in the region of 34-43kgs.
Ailments As stated earlier, irresponsible breeding has led to some health problems. The most prevalent of these is Hip Dysplasia. To overcome this problem, the Kennel Club instituted a hip-scoring scheme in 1983. Another bone disease that can affect fast growing, large dogs, as GSDs are, is panosteitis, males are affected more often than females. Bloat is a disease of deep-chested dogs but can often be prevented with careful husbandry. Cutaneous vasculopathy affects GSD puppies causing crusty ears, tail and swollen, cracked pads. Congenital heart problems have also been found in German Shepherd Dogs.
Common Ailments
Susceptibility To Illness
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History Formed from a variety of different types of shepherd dogs, the German Shepherd Dog (or GSD) can trace its origins back to the 7th century. Its appearance, almost wolf-like, would suggest an even earlier ancestry. Originally bred for herding, this breed has been used more extensively in this century for guard and protection work. It is also used as a guide dog in the United States and has an honourable career with both police and armed forces. Finally, one cannot forget its frequent television and film appearances. At the end of the 19th century, Rittmeister Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz dedicated himself to the refinement and protection of the GSD. GSDs were first shown in 1882 and in 1899, the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, which is the German breed club for GSDs, was formed. It was through this club and the work of the Rittmeister that GSDs were developed for use with the police and armed forces, thus saving the breed from extinction during the difficult times at the beginning of the 20th century. During World WarI the Germans used GSDs as messenger dogs and to locate the wounded. Allied soldiers admired the dogs’ intelligence and courage and brought many of them home after the war, thus establishing the breed in other countries. However, it is felt that the best GSDs still come from Germany.
Intelligence It is a highly intelligent breed and as such, needs a great deal of mental stimulation. Obedience classes will be enjoyed by the GSD and he should prove to be a stellar pupil. This dog is eager to learn and very responsive to training, especially voice commands given with the appropriate intonation. It is best to work with reward-method training as beating an already timid dog into submission is likely to backfire. From basic obedience, the GSD can go onto learn agility, tracking, rescue work or personal protection work; he excels at all these skills.
Show Characteristics The height is measured at the high withers, which extend into a flat topline. The back itself is relatively short and there is a gradual slope from the croup to the rump. This particular structure is to allow exceptional reach in the fore and rear legs. The head of the GSD should sport clean lines, with a long, strong muzzle. Fitted lips close over the scissor bite, needed for a powerful grip, which can detain a criminal if needed. The forehead is moderately arched and the stop is subtle rather than abrupt. Erect ears are open to the front and moderately pointed. A drooping or folded ear is a fault. Medium sized, almond shaped eyes should be set at a slightly oblique angle and be as dark as possible. The chest is deep and will reach well down between the legs. The bone of the leg is strong but not too solid and is of an oval, rather than round shape. It is the long shoulder blade that contributes to the height of the withers. In the hind leg, you will find defined muscle in both the upper and lower leg and a clean hock joint. Dewclaws should be removed and the feet should be rather short, well arched and have very thick, hard pads. A bushy tail, of length to reach the hock joint, is set low and curves like a sabre. A GSD has a double c
Country Of Origin Germany
Famous Examples Rin Tin Tin
Records Held
Characteristics
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Energy High
Overall Exercise > 2 hours
Distress Caused if Left Alone
Personal Protection High
Suitability As Guard Dog High
Risk of Sheep Worrying High
Tendency to Bark High
Ease of Transportation Low
Level of Aggression High
Compatibility With Other Animals Low
Suitable For Children
Medium
General Character And Temperament As a pet, the GSD will demand a lot of your time. It is a highly intelligent breed and as such, needs a great deal of mental stimulation. The GSD will develop a very close bond with his handler and will want to be with him/her as much as possible. They will accept children if the children give them respect and do not torment them. Although this breed of dog does need a lot of attention, he will give back one hundred fold with loyalty and incorruptible guarding skills. On the other hand, if you do not take the time to socialize and train a GSD, there will be problems with self-confidence and unruliness.
Grooming
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Coat Length Short/Medium
Grooming Requirement Once a week
Trimming None
Requires Professional Groomer
Grooming Grooming should also be done every day, with a vigourous brushing to remove any dead or loose hairs. If it is a longhaired GSD, combing will also be necessary. No trimming is required and bathing should only be done as needed. This is a shedding dog but the more you groom it, the less it will shed.
Colour The colours the GSD comes in are are black, ash and iron gray with brown, yellow or light brown markings. Black is the most common major coat colour. White GSDs do occur but are not accepted in the show ring.
Shedding Heavy
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies

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