The German Shepherd originated from Germany and is also known as the Alsatian Wolf Dog, although the Wolf Dog part has been dropped over recent years. It is a newer breed that was not commonly seen until the later 1800s. It was originally bred as a working dog to herd and protect flocks of sheep.
This is a large, strong breed with a sturdy body and a long, square, black snout. Eyes are dark and alert, and the dog has large upright ears that are open to the front although these may lie flat during running or jumping. There are several different colours exhibited by these dogs. These are usually black and tan or black and red. However all black and all white variants have been seen. The German Shepherd has a double coat. The outer coat is dense and this is shed all year round. The coat beneath is thick and warm. Longhaired variants of this breed can be found infrequently.
This is a breed renowned for intelligence and obedience. They can be trained with huge success and to such extent that some dogs working in the military can parachute from aircraft. Unfortunately, they also have a reputation for aggression and are considered the breed most likely to attack a human. Certainly significantly more bites to humans and other animals are reported with respect to the German Shepherd than with most other breeds. This is a fiercely loyal breed of dog that can strongly bond to humans when kept as family pets. They can easily become over protective.
The disposition of this breed lends itself extremely well to many working situations. The German Shepherd is a popular guard dog due to its reputation for aggression, positive response to training, its large size and fierce appearance. They are able to intercept and hold intruders in place of human guards. They are also widely seen in the police and the armed forces. They perform a number of important tasks, such as location of drugs, explosives and firearms. The can be trained to go ahead of troops and identify enemy troops and booby traps. Their keen sense of smell also makes them highly successful in search and rescue, as well as the search for cadavers in the aftermath of disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist attacks.
This breed traditionally lives around 12 or 13 years, which is common. Ailments such as ear infections and arthritis are widely seen, but many traits are thought to be the result of careless breeding and over time can be eliminated. These include weak temperament, missing teeth and colour paling. Like all large breeds, the German shepherd is susceptible to bloating because of age and decreased exercise.
In conclusion, this is a highly intelligent and trainable dog. It can be seen extensively working across the police and military and in situations where guard dogs are required. They can make loyal family pets, but their natural predisposition for aggression can result in problems in this area.