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German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dogs are originally from Germany, and they were used originally for herding. Eventually these dogs became very popular due to the fact that they are so intelligent, obedient and watchful and also because they are very protective dogs.

They also became very involved in police work, military work and search and rescue operations due to these qualities that they possess.

Breed Characteristics

Loyal, protective, dutiful, intelligent, are all words to describe the German Shepherd Dog. They can be trained for any number of canine professions but are just as happy as house pets and family members. German Shepherds today are used throughout the world as police dogs, armed service dogs, guides for the blind, schutzhund sport dogs and search and rescue dogs. There is high demand for German Shepherds as family companions, obedience dogs, show dogs and even still as herding dogs. It is the extraordinary character and sound temperament, an incredible sense of smell and efficient working dog structure and size that makes the German Shepherd the most versatile dog today.

Adult GSDs are very loyal and protective, active and quite intelligent. The German Shepherd Dog can also be quite willful. The owner must be able to assert himself/herself as "alpha" or leader of the pack. Your GSD wants you to be the leader and wants to follow the rules. Without proper socialization, training and routine guidance, they can become rambunctious and difficult to handle. It is up to you to teach your dog how to fit into your family's lifestyle and a structured routine will be very beneficial to good dog behavior. Training the dog is not a job that ends after a six or eight week obedience course. The training is an ongoing process that will continue throughout the dog's life - much like raising children. Please also give this issue a great deal of thought as well!

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.

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

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