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Characterized by its great adaptability and physical prowess, the German Shepherd Dog is respected, admired, and utilized throughout the world. One of the most easily recognized and one of the most popular of all breeds, it is acclaimed for its versatility, renowned for its intelligence, and beloved for its devotion and loyalty to its owner. This dog has been in existence as a distinct breed for only about 90 yrs. It traces its roots to a widely diverse group of sheepherding and farm dogs in Germany. The breed came to the US as early as 1908, but its popularity rose dramatically after WW I when returning soldiers told of the heroic dogs' work with the Red Cross, at the front, for the police, and on guard duty. In addition, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart, two beloved silent film stars, captured the hearts of the American public.
Today the German Shepherd is distinguished for his loyalty, courage, and ability to retain training for a number of special services. They are used as police dogs, members of the military, guide dogs, guardians, drug and detection dogs, search and rescue dogs, and most importantly, as devoted family members and protectors.
Popularity of the breed has led to a great deal of diversity. Colors are black and tan, black and red, black and cream, black and silver, solid black, sable, and white. White is considered a fault in the US.
Those considering a German Shepherd as a family addition should make sure that this breed is the best fit for the situation. The dogs are strong in body, spirit, and mind. They need much attention, love, and firm guidance as they grow---which they do quite quickly. This is a slowly maturing breed with a long puppyhood, so the new owner must be prepared to provide kind but firm discipline and a secure environment to help the dog develop into a well behaved adult. Lots of exercise should be provided. This can be provided by an active owner, another dog or two, or a fenced yard or dog run. Tying this dog to a dog house in unacceptable, as it will create boredom, and a potentially dangerous dog.
Schultz is ready for work.... but, he's always ready to play also.....
German Shepherds are very sociable dogs. They need attention and companionship. They do not do well in isolation from people and other companion animals. They make excellent family dogs, because, they relate well to all members of the household. If they are raised with children, they will develop an abundance of tolerance to the grabbing and poking of tiny fingers. Raising a puppy with young children takes extra patience and effort for parents. Often the fast-growing puppy will use his teeth in playing with children and their toys, sometimes resulting in scratches. Young children often excite puppies who want to wrestle and chase---like they did with their littermates!
This is a natural breed, meaning that it does not require clipping or unusual grooming. Only occasional baths are needed. They are double coated with a coarse, water resistant outer coat and a heavy, woolly undercoat. They are heavy shedders in the spring, so they will need regular combing during that time.
As with many breeds, popularity has had its drawbacks. Many dogs are of poor quality and unsound temperament. So if you buy a dog of this breed, choose a responsible breeder with a broad knowledge of the breed and with plenty of years of experience with the breed. Purchasing a fine dog from a responsible breeder costs very little more than buying a poor quality dog from a pet store or an unknowledgeable breeder. So don't cut corners with price, it may end up costing you thousands of dollars in vet bills in the long run. This is a 10-15 year commitment, so it is not a time get a "bargain!" It is also better to find the "right" breeder, even if it means a little travel, instead of just a breeder "close by".
Pat and Tom Holley
2216 Sylvania Road
Troy, Pennsylvania 16947
Tel: (570) 297-5136