German Shepherd Breed

The Breed Overview

German Shepherds are a ‘working dog’, originating from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, and have been employed in many capacities, including:  herding, personal protection, police and military work, and more recently, seeing  eye dogs.  Known for their intelligence and for their natural willingness and ability to be trained, German Shepherds also make an excellent family dog/guard dog when they have been well bred.  When looking for German Shepherd puppies, it is best to find out as much as you can about the parents, since the puppies will carry the traits of the parent dogs.

Character traits of the German Shepherd breed according to the Breed Standard as set forth by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and the AKC include but are not limited to:

  • Strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life.
  • The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility–difficult to define, but unmistakable when present.
  • The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.
  • The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them.
  • It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand.
  • Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character.
  • The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred.
  • A German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog, and its structure has been developed to meet the requirements of its work.
  • At a walk it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine.
  • The German Shepherd dog has the ability to assimilate and retain training for a number of special services.

What we like to look for in the parents is discernment, not hyper-active, willingness to please, and some suspicion of strangers, but no aggression unless necessary.

One more thing about discernment.  We have learned that you should pay attention if your dog doesn’t trust someone.  From a corrupt person who was supposed to be our friend, to an employee of ours, who stole some checks and committed forgery, we were warned by our dogs about these people.  (An Akita warned us on the first, a German Shepherd on the latter.)

Temperament and discernment are uppermost of importance in the qualities that we look for in a dog. We have lots of small children around and depend on our dogs to be gentle with and protective of them.