Weight: 66 – 88 lbs (male); 49 – 71 lbs (female)
Height: 24- 26 in (male); 22 – 24 in (female)
Coat: Double-coat in either medium (most common) or long lengths
Color: Tan/Black and Red/Black are most common. Also come in: All-Black, Sable, All-White, Liver, and Blue. Liver and Blue considered serious faults, and All-White grounds for instant disqualification in some standards.
German Shepherds are a large-breed dog with a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle and a black nose. Their jaws are strong and possess a scissor-like bite that serves them well as police dogs or for working their way through dog treats like bully sticks. Their medium-sized brown eyes are lively, intelligent, and self-assured. The ears are large and stand erect with the openings facing to the front. Their tail is bushy for the entire length.
The outer coat of the German Shepherd is shed all year long. The medium coat is the dominant and generally accepted version, with the long coat being recessive, rare, and considered a fault by the American Kennel Club.
A highly active dog, German Shepherds are typically described as self-assured in breed standards. Possessing a willingness to learn, Shepherds are often trained as work dogs. Shepherds have a loyal nature and bond with people they know. That being said, they can become over-protective of their family and territory and will require correct socialization to curb this.
Shepherds do have a reputation for aggression, and have been banned in some areas because of this. In the US, German Shepherds are responsible for more random bitings than any other breed, but experts are quick to point out this number is partially due to the higher proportion of German Shepherds in the country than other breeds.
Shepherds are highly obedient, leading to their extensive use as work dogs in law enforcement and military use, but with their strong wills, they do require a firm hand when being trained.
The most common ailments for German Shepherds are hip and elbow dysplasia, which can lead to arthritis later in life. Also, due to the large and open design of their ears, they are also prone to ear infections. Like all large dogs, they are also prone to bloat, a stomach condition. The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is 7 – 10 years, which is normal for dogs of their size.
Famous German Shepherds
Strongheart – Early canine film star
Rin Tin Tin – Canine film star
Sam the Dog – portrayed by Abbey and Kona in the 2007 film I Am Legend