German Shepherd

Herding Group

German Shepherd adult and puppy lying down in front of white background

Height at Shoulders

Females 22-24 in, Males 24-26 in

Weight

Females 50-70 lbs, Males 65-90 lbs

Life Expectancy

7-10 yrs

History

The German Shepherd originated in Germany in the late 1800's when a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, sought to develop the perfect breed of herding dog. Using German herding dogs that were already established, he produced the German Shepherd, who, although initially bred for herding, is seen as one of the most versatile working breeds. In addition to herding, German Shepherds have found work over the years as police dogs, military dogs, guide dogs, and more.

Breed Characteristics

While not all German Shepherds will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★☆

★★☆☆☆

★★★★★

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆

★☆

Intelligence

★★★★★


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★★☆


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★☆☆☆


Exercise Needs

★★★★★


Energy Level


Sensitivity

★★


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive

★☆


Shedding

★★

Common Traits

Highly intelligent and are happiest with a job to perform, such as military, police, search-and-rescue, and guide dogs

Make great guard dogs as they have a strong protective instinct and are initially suspicious of strangers but will take cues from family members as to who is trustworthy

Can become destructive if bored, underexercised, or left alone for long periods of time (they also are prone to separation anxiety)

Highly intelligent and are happiest with a job to perform; German Shepherds commonly find work as military, police, search-and-rescue, and guide dogs

German Shepherds bred in Germany tend to be more energetic with better working abilities than dogs bred in the United States