German Shepherd History and Characteristics

The German Shepherd dog is a popular breed in the dog community often used in police work and security. This breed originated in Germany in 1899. Initially, the owners kept the dogs for guarding and herding sheep. Over time, their popularity rose due to their strength, intelligence, and other capabilities.

The introduction of the German Shepherd breed dates back to the 1850s. During that time in Europe, there were attempts to standardize dog breeds. The idea was to preserve the traits that could assist in herding sheep and protecting the flock from predators.

Therefore, shepherds in local communities in Germany collected breeds that had the skills they believed could help in herding such as intelligence, speed, strength, and an acute sense of smell. This selection brought dogs that could meet such requirements. Consequently, that is how the German Shepherd dog came into existence.

Characteristics of the German Shepherd Dog

The German shepherd breed embraces various traits, but the most outstanding are:

General appearance

A good German Shepherd embraces a strong, agile, and well-muscled physique. The breed is alert and full of life, balanced, with pleasant development of forequarter and hindquarter. It is longer than tall, with a deep body that displays smooth curves instead of angles.

The dog is sizeable and not spindly, to give the impression of muscular fitness and alertness whether at rest or in motion. Importantly, this breed is stamped with a look of quality and nobility, usually unmistakable when present. It embraces secondary sex characteristics, which are strongly marked according to the sex of the animal.


The German Shepherd breed has a noble, cleanly chiseled head with no coarseness, and in proportion to the body. The male displays a distinctly masculine head while the bitch adorns a distinctly feminine head. They express themselves in a keen, intelligent, and composed manner.

Their eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, a little slanted in position but not protruding. They adorn a dark color—as dark as possible, with moderately pointed ears set in proportion to the skull and open toward the front. The ears usually stand pointed when at attention.


The German Shepherd embraces a strong and muscular neck, which is clean-cut and relatively long. The neck is well set in proportion to the head and has no loose folds of skin. The dog raises its neck and holds the head when excited or at attention. It has a well-built straight back with no sag or roach and relatively short.


The German Shepherd breed has long, oblique-angled shoulder blades that lie flat and not placed forward. The upper arm meets the shoulder blade at almost a right angle. Both the shoulder blade and the upper arm are well muscled. The forelegs are straight with oval bone rather than round. This is visible from all sides.

Fur coat

The ideal German Shepherd dog wears a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be denser with straight, harsh hair lying close to the body. However, some dogs have a slightly wavy outer coat with a wiry texture. Short hair is noticeable on the legs and paws, the head, the inner ear, and the forehead.

The neck usually has longer, thicker hair. The back of the forelegs and hind legs contain somewhat longer hair that extends to the pastern and hock.  

Final word

German Shepherds are the darling of many homes and security organizations, including the military. This is because they exhibit a wide range of spectacular attributes such as loyalty, confidence, courage, and the ability to learn commands for many activities. Importantly, German Shepherds can defend their loved ones to their last breath. At Von Wa-Bo German Shepherds, we breed, sell, and even do stud services. Contact us to learn more.