German Shepherd Dog or Alsatian

The German Shepherd Dog, also known as an Alsatian in the United Kingdom and some parts of Europe, is amazingly versatile. They are a wonderful family dog and companion but are equally well suited for service work and herding. They are the best in a dog, a gentle family pet and faithful guardian.

They are a purposeful and practical worker. Weighty, lithe, and athletic, they are also highly intelligent. This makes them perfect for guide and assistance work, drug detection, police and military service, and search and rescue operations. German Shepherds are able to learn commands for many tasks which are required for these professions.

This German Shepherd Dog is jumping through an obstacle in a course as a military trainer looks on

History of the German Shepherd Dog

A German cavalry officer, in the late 1800s, Captain Max von Stephanitz, set out to breed the optimal herding dog. With like-minded breeders across Germany, they developed the ancestor of the German Shepherd Dog today. Von Stephanitz founded the first club devoted to German Shepherds and spent 35 years promoting the breed.

Accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1908, GSDs (German Shepherd Dogs) became popular in the United States due to movies like Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, but lost popularity during the World Wars. The “German” was dropped from the name and they were known as the shepherd dog. Today, German Shepherds are ranked number four on the American Kennels Club’s Most Popular Dog List of 2021.

German Shepherd Characteristics

The German Shepherd Dog stands 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder depending on sex and weighs between 75-95 pounds. They are known to have a life expectancy of 7-10 years. Although a protective, devoted family dog and very good with children, they are not good with other animals they were not raised with and should be watched around other pets.

Adult German Shepherd carrying a stick and German Shepherd puppy trotting towards the camera

German Shepherds have a coarse medium length double coat that sheds a lot. These are not hypo-allergenic dogs. The most well-known color combo for this shepherd is black and brown. However, other acceptable colorings include tricolor, black and tan, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, solid black, gray, and sable.

This breed’s coat is easy to maintain, requiring only a brushing every couple of days to keep shedding down and an occasional bath. Remember to trim or grind down toenails at least monthly. Also, keep up with regular teeth brushing.

Confident and courageous German Shepherd Dogs are highly trainable and do well in competitive obedience and herding. Start them out in basic obedience as puppies. As an active, athletic dog they need lots of exercise. They require more than a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. Good outlets for this energy may be agility, tracking, or dock diving.

German Shepherds may not make the best dogs for apartment living. Not only do they have high activity demands which is better served by a yard, but they have a high tendency to bark. However, with the right amount of physical and mental stimulation and training not to bark, anything can be worked out.

When in a home with a fenced in yard, consider giving your German Shepherd Dog the freedom of entering and exiting the house at will with a dog door. You no longer need to let the dog out with the addition of a PlexiDor Dog Door in a door, wall, glass house door or sliding glass door.  

The PlexiDor’s saloon-style doors are energy efficient and durable yet open and close with a gentle touch. The doors come in sizes small, medium, large, and extra-large perfect for dogs ranging in size from a Chihuahua to a Saint Bernard. There is a ninety-day money back guarantee and a five or a ten-year warranty on the dog door depending on the model.

For questions about the PlexiDor Dog Door please contact Customer Service or call 888-PET-DOOR.