The Dog Journal


German Sheperd Dog

When you bring a German Sheperd into your home you will have the one of most loyal and smartest breeds on the market aside from being one of the cutest that is. German Shepherds have worked their way up to the second most popular breed around the world and for good reasons!


The Dog Journal April/ May 2023

Story Credit: Writing by Raegan


German Shepherds originated in, you guessed it, Germany! In the late 1800s, they were developed into herding dogs that would herd and guard sheep. While many people believed that dogs should be bred for appearance, others believed that they should be bred to be working animals.

When the former student of Berlin veterinary college, Max von Stephanitz, caught a glimpse of a German Shepherd, he knew that he had found his working breed. He came across this breed while attending a dog show in Germany. Stephanitz soon realized that there was no breed standardization and felt that he could create his own while also creating an even better working dog that could be used throughout the country. German Shepherds are a type of dog that have a wolf-like appearance but are also intelligent, with a keen sense and willingness to work, this is what Stephanitz admired most.

Stephanitz ended up purchasing property in the 1890s and began using techniques that had been used by English dog breeders to experiment with breeding dogs of his own. When 1899 rolled around, he bought his first dog Hektor Linksrhein, who he ended up changing the name of, to Horand von Grafrath. Horand became the main breeding dog for Stephanitz and many others. Not only that, but Horand’s offspring throughout the next two generations were the primary breeders that played a role in the years to come of German Shepherds. Through this process and by using the knowledge he had gained in veterinary school, Stephanitz established the way that breeders should judge when breeding dogs. From the bone angle to the measurement of the dog, every aspect played an important role. Stephanitz went on to create a German Shepherd society with a breed registry. He made his dog the very first German Shepherd on this registry, and thus led to the breeding of many German Shepherds to come.

German Shepard Resting

Grooming Needs

With the German Shepherds having a thick double-coat, they sometimes require more grooming than others. It is necessary to brush them multiple times a week and maybe even daily. This will keep their fur from getting matted but will also help cut down on excess fur that they shed year-round. Like most dogs, German Shepherds only need to be bathed every few weeks or as needed so that their skin doesn’t dry out.

Working Dogs

As mentioned, German Shepherds are very smart and in turn they are one of the tops breeds in the field of working dogs. Over the years many German Shepherds have been trained to help the law enforcement and the military. Not only that, but they are also chosen many times to play a role in various movies. When a German Shepherd is helping the law enforcement, they can have a part in many areas. They are fully trained to be obedient and are helpful sniffing out drugs, bombs, and other weapons that may be in the area. 

If someone is a threat, the German Shepherd is trained to know when to take charge and take down any predators. Search and rescue (SAR) dogs are trained to help find missing people. The dog must be able to be trusted to do the job thoroughly and understand the commands that are being asked of them. German Shepherds are fast learners, quick to be obedient, and one of the most trustworthy breeds around.

On top of all these amazing roles that a German shepherd plays in our everyday lives, they are also known to be great therapy dogs and a great help to those who suffer from a medical condition! Many people suffer from anxiety but with this pooch nearby, the anxiousness the person feels will soon diminish.

Many dogs of this breed are trained to lead those who are blind and keep them out of danger. Some are even trained to help people who battle epilepsy and can be of service if they sense the person is going to have a seizure

Famous German Shepherds

became the most famous of his breed to become a movie star, played a key role in keeping Warner Brothers a float in the 1930’s when they anticipated having to file bankruptcy. He starred in 26 movies and was able to bring in $6,000 per week. That type of salary in today’s time would equate to over $78,000 and is enough to feed him plus thousands of other dogs. Rin Tin Tin didn’t start his journey in the movie field. He actually started out on the battlefield being trained by a soldier named Rinty. That is, until he was rescued by an American Soldier during WWI named Lee Duncan.

The German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin wasn’t the only dog to make a name for himself. Apollo, A German Shepherd born around 1992, was a well-known dog who served with the K-9 unit on the New York police department (NYPD). After becoming one of the first dogs to learn search and rescue, he graduated from his division in 1994.

Apollo and his handler, Peter Davis, were called in to assist with the rescue operations after the September 11 terror attacks. They arrived at the World Trade Center site fifteen minutes after the fall of the twin towers, making Apollo the first search and rescue dog to arrive at the site. At one point, Apollo was almost killed by flames and falling debris. However, he survived, having been drenched after falling into a pool of water just before this incident. Apollo started working again as soon as Davis had brushed the debris off him. Apollo died in November of 2006.


The German Shepherd breed is an active, athletic type of dog. They need at least two hours of exercise daily with plenty of playtime. Taking them on walks but also giving them their own space to run around will be beneficial for their health and well-being. German Shepherds have a lot of energy and will need a set time to burn it off.

When they have proper nutrition and exercise, they will be able to experience a well-balanced life at optimal health. In doing so, you can decrease the chances of them getting sick or contracting common illnesses found in dogs.

German Sheperds
German Shepherd Dog Training. Biting Dog. Alsatian Wolf Dog. Deutscher, Dog

In the Ring

Max von Stephanitz, the creator of the German Shepherd breed and their standardization, was able to make this standard based on the mental capacity and intelligence rather than beauty. “Utility and intelligence” was his motto with beauty and looks coming in second in terms of a dog’s worth. A dog without the intelligence, temperament, and structural efficiency that would make it a good servant of man, wasn’t worth as much in his eyes. Some American Show Line German Shepherd Champions do not have the ability to work or even pass a herding instinct test to be a “Shepherd” as the name of the breed implies. Stephanitz and many other breeders wanted to have breeding programs that would make the dog “complete.” The looks, the intelligence, and the drive to work would all become the standard quality of the German Shepherd that could pass the judgment test.

The breed is popular because of its strength, agility, athleticism, hardiness, intelligence, enhanced hearing and scent abilities, trainability and obedience.

AKC Conformation Titles are: CM – Certificate of Merit, CH – Champion, GCH – Grand Champion, GCHB – Grand Champion Bronze, GCHS – Grand Champion Silver, GCHG – Grand Champion Gold and GCHP – Grand Champion Platinum.

German Shepard silhouette photograph in the grass field low angle, leashed pet mouth open and tongue out enjoying the walk and the time with the master outdoors.

Wrap It Up

Deciding to bring a German Shepherd into the home can guarantee that you will have a home filled with lots of love and lots of laughs. They may be working dogs, but they are also goofy and will be a good protector.

Once you have a grooming schedule down pat everything else will come with ease. It is best to train them at an early age but with their intelligence, they are known to be fast learners and will know your commands in no time!

As you can see, the German Shepherd wears a coat of many responsibilities. You can be rest assured that if you need to train this breed in any way, they will not disappoint. They can be helpful in many ways and in turn, deserve all the love in the world!

Popular Names for the German Shepherd

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