German Shepherd DogGermany often used dogs to help shepherd its animals and to keep the predators of the area - bears and wolves - at bay. Farmers markets would often have lively debates over what types of dogs were best used in different situations. There were no real breeds at the time - just different "types".
The first German Shepherd club was founded in 1899 by Captain Max von Stephanitz of Germany, who decided what he felt was the ideal shape for a shepherd and, finding a dog of that shape and size, promptly named it a German Shepherd. Its personal name was Hektor Linksrhein. Soon they were breeding this dog with others and settling on a set of characteristics.
German Shepherds were promptly loved by European farmers for their strength, their thick coats, their intelligence and their ability to learn commands quickly. The two main aims of the breeding program became intelligence and ability. These were not lap dogs - they were dogs to stand beside a man and be his full partner.
The dog is best suited to situations where its strength and intelligence are not wasted in boredom. They love being able to run daily, to go swimming, boating, fishing and hiking. They work well with animals and enjoy being on farms or other animal-rich areas.
When the need for shepherd dogs began to decline, the breeders saw quickly that the dog's great intelligence would be useful in many other situations. By World War I, the dog was loved as a companion, messenger and guard dog by many in the military. Its fame instantly became world wide.
By World War II, the German Shepherd was being trained for a variety of military tasks, as well as police dogs and guide dogs for the blind. Various movies have celebrated the intelligent dog, including Rin Tin Tin.
The German Shepherd is around 25" at the shoulder and has tan fur with a black saddle area. It has a mostly black nose.
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