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Few dogs have the same combination of poise, agility, and alertness as German shepherds. Learn more about this impressive breed that can seemingly do it all.
01/17/2023 | Sniff & Bark
The German shepherd dog (GSD) has a solid, muscular frame with intelligent-looking dark eyes and pointed ears. With a coarse and short coat, fans of large breeds admire its poise, loyalty, and courage.
This stately dog has consistently and rightly earned its place as one of the most popular breeds in America and the world. The history of the breed dates back to 1899 when German officer Max von Stephanitz used different herding dogs in Germany to custom-build a dog that was primarily designed to herd sheep. Today, the gorgeous and noble German shepherd is capable of several tasks and is used as a service animal for people with disabilities, for police work, as well as search-and-rescue operations.
Also referred to as Alsatian dogs, there are countless varieties of German shepherds from the typical black and tan German shepherd colors to more unusual colors and coat lengths like the white German shepherd, black German shepherd, blue German shepherd, sable German shepherd, golden shepherd, panda German shepherd, and long-haired German shepherd.
Regardless of which type of German shepherd you prefer, there’s no denying that the German shepherd is a powerful dog that leaves a remarkable impression with its appearance, intelligence, and dignity.
Here are five interesting and sometimes weird facts about this unforgettable breed:
1. German Shepherds Are Impressively Multi-talented
You’ve heard of people who are jack-of-all-trades and good at almost anything you throw at them. The German shepherd is their canine equivalent. With their exceptional scenting abilities, muscular and agile frames, high intelligence, and unwavering loyalty, trust a GSD to do it all.
Whether as part of bomb detection units, helping the elderly, or guarding their human owners, the breed can pull off any role with ease and elegance. They are as adept at these tasks as they are at home where they deftly take on their jobs as beloved family dogs.
2. They Are Naturally Aloof
Are you trying to win a German shepherd’s heart? If it doesn’t warm up to you instantly, don’t take it personally. Part of this breed’s charm and intelligent nature is they take a while to get to know you. Once you break through their aloof shells and prove yourselves to them, they will use their initial distrust of strangers to protect you with their life and be fiercely loyal to you.
A great example of the breed’s loyalty was Capitan from Cordoba, Argentina. When his owner died in 2006, the dog somehow found its way to the cemetery, eventually finding the tombstone where his human was buried. For the next ten years, Capitan stayed in the graveyard with the remains of his owner until he finally died in 2016.
3. The First Seeing Eye Dog in North America Was a German Shepherd
In 1928 when service animals were mostly an unknown concept, a young man from New Jersey named Morris Frank brought his German shepherd dog, Buddy, to New York to show the public that GSDs could function as seeing eye dogs.
Morris began losing his sight at six and was completely blind by 16. Though he had the means to hire attendants to help him with his blindness, he found them unreliable and insufficient for his needs. This prompted him to seek the assistance of Buddy. In front of several amazed reporters, Morris allowed Buddy to guide him through a busy street in New York.
His demonstration led him to campaign for the capabilities of GSDs as guide dogs. He eventually became the first Vice President of The Seeing Eye organization. Today, Morris and Buddy’s hometown continue to pay tribute to this impressive duo by having a bronze statue of the two in Morristown, New Jersey.
4. The Rarest German Shepherd in the World: Isabella-colored GSDs
Sure, there are tons of color variations when it comes to German shepherds. Aside from the colors we mentioned before, there are also black sable German shepherds, black and silver German shepherds, silver German shepherds, and several German shepherd mixes.
But the rarest GSD in the world is the Isabella-colored German shepherd. They have pale fur that looks lilac-colored under a certain light. Their genes prevent them from manifesting any black pigments on the rims of their eyes and paw pads. They also have unusually light-colored hazel or blue eyes.
Though it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find german shepherd adoption for this particular type in shelters, you can buy an Isabella-colored german shepherd puppy for around $1,500.
5. The GSD Has One of the Strongest Bite Forces Among Canines
The German shepherd bite force exerts 238 to 291 pounds per square inch (psi) — a staggering amount of pressure that is potentially deadly. Owing to their powerful jaws and muscular frames, their astounding bite has earned them a place as one of the breeds with the strongest bite forces.
No wonder they’re used for military, law enforcement, and protection!
Despite their strength and reserved demeanors, German shepherds can be incredibly gentle, protective, and alert toward the needs of their owners. While the breed may be too rough for small children, it can be the perfect companion for senior citizens who are looking for a good guard dog and companionship.
German shepherd puppies are initially very playful but they soon acquire the quiet dignity that the breed is commonly associated with. Rarely aggressive, the breed is calm, low maintenance, and isn’t prone to many health issues.
While you can find male and female German shepherd puppies for sale between $1,500 and $3,000, it doesn’t hurt to look around for German shepherd rescue organizations that may have GSDs ready for adoption.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a German shepherd a good pet?
German shepherds make good family dogs, especially if you have an active household. Though they may be too rowdy for small children, they can be wonderful pets with the right German shepherd training and socialization.
They can be reserved at first but once you gain their trust, they are loyal, courageous, and protective.
Why are German shepherds so special?
In addition to their intelligence, loyalty, and protective natures, German shepherds are hardworking and easy to train. They are considered by many as good all-around dogs with stable temperaments that work well in a variety of environments and scenarios.
What are 3 interesting facts about German shepherds?
We have more than three interesting facts about German shepherds! These noble dogs are impressively multi-talented, aloof among strangers, make great service dogs, and have unusually strong bite forces. Despite their strength and agility, they are quiet, dignified, and loyal to their owners.
What are German shepherds’ weaknesses?
Unless specifically trained, German shepherds may not be the best choice for families with small children. Though they’re rarely aggressive, they may engage in rough play which can accidentally hurt people.
In terms of health, the breed is generally healthy though they are more susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia, ear infections, and degenerative spinal stenosis.