If you want to find out interesting facts about German Shepherds, you can count on us. We’ve put these facts together to show you how fascinating German Shepherds are.
Some information may surprise you, but most will make you fall in love.
So let’s go!
Fascinating facts about the history of the German Shepherd
German Shepherds have a long history of being awesome. They were the stars of the 20th century, both in cinema and on the battlefield.
Read on to find out how these fantastic dogs made history.
1. The German Shepherd was introduced in the early 1900s.
The first German Shepherd was actually a Thuringian Shepherd, used to develop the breed by being mated with other sheepdogs.
Captain Max von Stephanitz is the man who bought and named the first German Shepherd in 1899. He wanted a dog that was loyal, easy to train, intelligent and capable of many tasks. He found it all in one dog and used it to create many more.
2. During World War I and World War II, German Shepherds served in the military.
German Shepherds were very helpful during wars.
During World War I, they served only in the German army. However, during WWII other armies, including the US military, also used them.
They primarily served as messengers, but also acted as guards, ammunition carriers, and rescue dogs.
3. German Shepherds trained by American and Canadian police assisted in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
They worked on the search team among other search and rescue dogs. The number of German Shepherds who were on the team is unknown, but some sources say there were around 100 in New York after the attacks.
Additionally, a German Shepherd named Trakr was the only dog to find a survivor in the rubble. Its DNA was then used for cloning and five Trakr clones were born in 2009.
4. German Shepherds were among the most famous stars of the silent movie era.
German Shepherds have been popular stars of Hollywood movies. A German Shepherd, Rin Tin, appeared in over 25 films during the 1920s and 1930s. He earned more than some human stars of that time, over $6,000 a week (around $80,000 today).
However, Hollywood’s most lucrative star at the time was actually another German Shepherd – Strongheart. He eventually became a multimillionaire and was generally considered better known.
5. A German Shepherd was the very first guide dog in America.
In 1928, the first guide dog, a German Shepherd called Buddy, arrived from Switzerland with its new owner, Frank Morris. Many were skeptical, but helping her new owner cross a busy New York street proved her skills very quickly.
Interestingly, this dog’s trainer was also an American (living in Switzerland), Dorothy Eustis.
Characteristics of the German Shepherd
We all know what German Shepherds look like, but this breed has so much more to offer. Read on for more fascinating facts about the German Shepherd.
6. The breed has a lot of predispositions to different health problems.
Some of the more common illnesses they can have are degenerative myelopathy, epilepsy, bloating, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, and hip dysplasia.
They also often suffer from thyroid disease, skin allergies, and many other issues depending on their genetics and lifestyle.
7. Some of the best assistance dogs are German Shepherds.
They are excellent assistance dogs due to their loyalty, intelligence, and ease of training.
They work as guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, medical alert dogs for people with epilepsy, mobility aids for people with disabilities and finally, as psychiatric assistance dogs.
8. It is one of the most active dog breeds.
German Shepherds are among the most energetic dog breeds.
They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Adult German Shepherds need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy.
Puppies and seniors need a little less. Puppies should only exercise for five minutes for each month of their age. If they exercise too much, they may start to develop hip dysplasia earlier than normal.
9. German Shepherds belong to the group of sheepdogs.
They were created from different breeding breeds and were first used for breeding sheep. Today, many of them are used for custody, protection and policing.
Like other herding dogs, they have a strong herding instinct which they could also use on their owners, especially children.
10. There are both mini and giant German Shepherds.
Mini German Shepherds are a cross between a German Shepherd and a Poodle, Corgi or other small breed. Giant German Shepherds, also known as Royal Shepherds, are also a hybrid breed.
Besides these two, there are also Dwarf German Shepherds, which are purebred German Shepherds who suffer from pituitary dwarfism.
11. German Shepherds are the third most intelligent dog breed in terms of obedience and working ability.
This means that they understand new commands after they have been repeated less than five times.
German Shepherds obey first orders 95% of the time. The only breeds considered to be smarter than German Shepherds are border collies and poodles.
12. The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is between 9 and 13 years.
Unfortunately, German Shepherds do not live long. Due to their size and potential health issues, the average age they reach is 10 years old.
When they turn 13, they can be compared to an 80-year-old human. In rare cases, they can reach the age of 18 to 20, but no more.
13. The German Shepherd’s nose must be black in order for him to compete in breed shows.
Regardless of the color of the fur, the tip of the nose cannot be any other color. In other words, if a German Shepherd was born with a nose of a different color, he would be disqualified from a purebred dog show.
However, he could still compete in agility events, work as a service dog, and be an amazing pet.
Fun facts about German Shepherds
It’s not hard to see why German Shepherds are so popular today. However, if you’re still not convinced, here are a few more fun facts to highlight why they are famous.
14. There are two lines of German Shepherds.
The line can be active or on display, and dogs are usually bred to fit the line.
Show dogs are bred to have a more sloping back, wider shoulders, and lower energy levels. They are also friendlier and less intense. However, some of the physical demands also make them suffer from more illnesses.
German Shepherds of the working line are bred to be healthy, strong, active, fearless and enduring.
15. There is a kennel club for old German Shepherds.
When German Shepherds are 12 years old, they are eligible for the thirteen (13) German Shepherd Clubs. These clubs celebrate dogs that turn 13 years old. Their recognition and that of their owner are honored by a certificate. It is also published on web pages and in Shepherd news.
16. The official English name for the breed is the German Shepherd.
First of all, he was only known as the German Shepherd in English. After WWI, England and Ireland changed the name to Alsatian, while America changed the name to Sheepdog.
While in England and Ireland, the dog, is still sometimes referred to as Alsatian, in America it was changed in 1930.
Since 1977, their official name in English is German Shepherd dog, not just German Shepherd!
17. German Shepherds are the third most popular dog breed in the United States in 2020.
Of the 344 different officially recognized dog breeds, German Shepherds are still in the top three in the United States. In 2020, they moved from second to third place but are still loved so much.
18. There are eleven standard colors of German Shepherds.
Although the most famous German Shepherds belong to the two-tone group, there are more standard colors to choose from. They can be:
Black with red, beige, cream or silver, Blue Liver White Sable
Keep in mind that not all colors are acceptable for breeding shows. For example, liver, blue, fawn, speckled black, pure red, and white are considered faults and cannot compete in breed shows.
19. German Shepherds of certain colors can cost over $ 2,000!
Some colors, like a black, panda, or Isabella, are extremely rare. This means that you will probably have to wait for your puppy and pay quite a bit of money.
Black German Shepherds, for example, can cost up to $2,000, while panda puppies range from $1,500 to $3,000. Isabella-colored colored puppies are also priced at $1,500, at least. However, since the price depends on the breeder and the location, it can also be much higher.
Buying from a reliable breeder is also a must, as German Shepherds can change color from puppy age to adulthood.
20. Schutzhund is a sport created especially for German Shepherds.
This sport/competition tests how well each German Shepherd is bred. It tests the following features:
Endurance Intelligence Training Scent capacity Mental state Work capacity Efficiency Courage
21. German Shepherds are raised differently in Europe and America.
American and European breeders do not use the same standards for breeding German Shepherds. This is why the dogs of America and Europe are never the same.
For example, the American German Shepherd is taller, lives a shorter life, but is generally a better pet.
22. Some German Shepherds have been trained to recognize COVID-19.
Due to their fantastic sense of smell, they have been trained to recognize COVID-19 in the sweat of those affected. Their average accuracy was 85-88%, which is higher than that of some antigenic tests.