According to the AKC, the German Shepherd has ranked as one of the most popular dogs in the United States for years. Shepherds are versatile enough to be a family pet and a police dog. Shepherds are sturdy, muscular, and very powerful. Their weight is between 77 and 85 pounds with a height of 22 to 26 inches. The eyes are almond shape and the ears stand upright. They have powerful legs, allowing them to jump great heights. There are three types of Shepherds: long-haired, rough-coated, and long rough-coated. Coat colors usually are black with tan, all black, or sable. White German Shepherds are a separate breed: American White Shepherd. Shepherds are double-coated and are heavy shedders. Daily brushing is needed to avoid matting.
German Shepherds love a good workout. They need to be taken for a brisk long walk daily. Due to their high intelligence, mental exercise also needs to be included. Shepherds are happiest when they have a job to do. Challenging tasks are craved by Shepherds. Their strong work ethic makes them suited to work in such fields as: police, military, and search and rescue. If not provided with adequate physical and mental exercise, they can become destructive.
German Shepherds make excellent family pets. They are friendly, obedient and eager to please. Shepherds are very protective of their families and are willing to put themselves in harms way to defend them. It is important for this breed to be with their owners, so they should not be isolated for long periods of time. Socialization should start while the dog is still a puppy so that they will be adjusted to dealing with strangers and other dogs. Shepherds have a strong prey instinct and will give chase without thought. A fenced yard is a must. The aggressive behaviors sometimes seen in Shepherds is not instinctive but rather a result of poor training. The AKC first recognized the German Shepherd in 1908 and the breed is listed in the Herding category.