Long known for its herding and working skills, the German Shepherd has been aiding human companions for centuries. Once known as the Alsatian and bred from an unknown mix of farm dogs, the breed developed its modern traits in Germany around the turn of the 20th century. Given its practical service, these dogs have been bred for temperament, training and physical talent, rather than for a particular appearance. They are obedient, loyal, calm and alert, able to learn a wide variety of new skills. Their jobs once included herding and guarding farms, but today encompass search and rescue, guide, tracking, police and war service. The majority of dogs in a Schutzhund training class will likely be German Shepherds. The German Shepherd body is ideally suited for work. It is medium-sized and compact, with great speed and agility. Strong enough to handle physical challenges, but capable of great delicacy, the dogs can traverse difficult obstacles or cover open spaces with ease. They possess a keen sense of smell and strong protective instinct. Although often seen in competitive show rings, these dogs are never physically altered and have changed little in appearance. German Shepherds are popular pets and companions. Generally calm and reserved, they bond deeply to family members but require socialization and training to become accustomed to strangers. Historically used for intense work, they also need physical and mental stimulation.
Size: Males 24 to 26 inches, Females 22 to 24 inches (at the withers).
Appearance: Agile, powerful body with effortless, smooth motion.
Coat: Medium-length, straight, rough, flat coat. Many acceptable colors (including mixed colors), but rich coloring preferred; faded color, solid blue, liver or white colors are unacceptable.
Head: Sloping skull with a long, wedged muzzle; medium-sized, almond shaped, dark eyes; slightly pointed ears open to the front.
Tail: Long and slightly curved.