German shepherd dog (German: Deutshe Schäferhund) is a strong, sturdy, courageous and loyal pet. This dog breed belongs to the group of herding dogs. German shepherd is among the most popular breeds in the United States. Currently, this dog breeds ranks second in the American Kennel Club
– the organization of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. German shepherd is steadfast, loyal companions, intelligent, easy to trained and ideal as family pet. Here are top 13 mind-blowing and interesting facts about German shepherd dog, you probably didn’t know before.
The history of German shepherd breed!!
The history of German shepherd dog breed dates back to era of World War I and II. It was in 1800s, that a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, decided to breed an ideal German herder. For the purpose, he exchanged several strains with dog breeders, across the northern and central districts of Germany. Luckily, he was able to breed the ancestors of German shepherd breed that we have today.
Von Stephanitz was also the cofounder of world’s first eve dog club dedicated German shepherd breed. Originally, this breed was created for herding purpose. However, years of redefining have transformed this breed into a better and ideal version for police and military as well. By the beginning of World War I, German shepherds were already popular. Soon, this breed gained popularity in the whole Germany and worldwide.
With the decline of herding as a canine occupation due to introduction of modern livestock techniques, the popularity of German shepherd decreased. Thus, von Stephanitz decided to introduce this courageous breed as an ideal K-9 worker.
It was in 1900s, when German shepherd gained popularity in United States for excellent performance in a movie.
Top 13 interesting facts about German shepherd
1. About the breed!!
German shepherd can grow from 55cm-65cm and usually weigh about 22-40 kg. The average lifespan of a German shepherd dog is 9-13 years. Usually, hair length of their fur is 2 inches.
Interestingly, they have floppy ears till 16-20th
week of growth. Due to weak cartilage, the puppy’s ears get floppy. As they grow, the cartilage becomes dense and strong and thus full-grown dog has straight, pointed ears.
German shepherd breed is highly intelligent, courageous and easy to train compared to some of other dog breeds. They are smart and sharp learners. Thus, they can easily remember words, commands, and tricks that you teach them. As pet dogs, they are really friendly and excellently protective.
2. There are 11 verities of German shepherd dogs!!
The most common coat color is mix of black and brown, though a few other coat colors are possible. American Kennel Club officially recognizes 11 verities of this breed based on their fur colors.
There are five varieties of German shepherd breed. These are:
- Saddle coat German shepherd
- Black German shepherd
- Sable German shepherd
- Panda German shepherd
- White German shepherd
3. Alsatian is another name of German shepherds!!
After the World War I and II, the Americans and many Europeans were reluctant to anything that was of German origin. Thus, German shepherd breed was given an alternative name of “shepherd dogs”. The English named this breed as “Alsatian wolf dogs”. Although not used much, still many people name this breed as “Alsatian”.
Also Read: Interesting facts about cats
4. “Utility and Intelligence” - the motto of German shepherd breed!!
Von Stephanitz not only bred an amazing dog breed but also founded the first ever dog club. The club named “Verin für Deutsche Schferhunde” promoted this breed and they set up its motto that is “Utility and intelligence”. The motto precisely depicts two of its fundamental traits.
5. Dwarfism in German shepherd breed!!
Dwarfism is rare in German shepherded breed but the chances are never zero. Some of German shepherds may have pituitary dwarfism. Consequently, they have short, puppy-like stature and fur.
6. These dogs were used during World War I!!
German shepherd dogs were used during the World War I for various purposes. They were trained to bring first aid to injured soldiers. They also served as emotional support pets for the soldiers and also served as guard dogs.
7. They are excellent K-9 and military dogs!!
Highly intelligent, smart learner, courageous, strong, fierceness and loyalty, all these traits are ideal for police and military dogs. Therefore, German shepherds are preferred by US police and military as well.
8. In 1907, the first ever German Shepherd Dog was exhibited in America!!
It was in year 1907; the man Otto Gross imported a German shepherd puppy “Mira” from Germany. The puppy was introduced in Pennsylvania in the open class at Newcastle and Philadelphia.” People loved this new breed but they became a talk of town in 1913 from an excellent cinematic performance. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America
was established the same year.
9. The German shepherd who “saved Hollywood”!!
Two German shepherd dogs, Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart were the part of various adventurous movies. Strongheart was known as an original “Wonder Dog” who became everyone’s favorite as an outstanding canine cinematic performers. The other one was Rin Tin Tin, another terrific performer. Rin Tin Tin is also known as “the dog that saved Hollywood, because his films apparently rescued the struggling Warner Bros.
It is alleged that Rin Tin Tin received most votes for the best actor for the first Academy Awards in 1929. However, Emil Jannings won the award. Susan Orlean, the author of “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend” says in her book that
Emil Jannings won the award all because he was human. Rin Tin Tin was definitely a superstar.
10. A Dutch director once tried to stage a play featuring German Shepherds as actors!!
This is another of interesting facts about German shepherd breed. In mid 18’s, Whim Schipper, a Dutch director tried to stage a play with six German shepherd dogs as actors. The play was titles “Going to the dogs” and it featured a traditional family plot. The dogs were given treats for performance. Not to be surprised, the play was a huge flop.
11. Ever heard of a “Shepadoodle” and “Shepsky”?
We bet not. A Shepadoodle is a German Shepherd-Poodle mix or hybrid. The Shepadoodle weigh from 40- 70 pounds and can serve as service dogs and pets.
Similarly, a “Shepsky” (also called as Gerberian Shepsky) is the hybrid of German shepherd and Siberian husky. These are medium-sized dogs, strong, vigorous and loyal just like parental breeds. They are used as service dogs.
A few other German shepherd hybrids are the Czechoslovakian Vlcak, King Shepherd, White Swiss Shepherd, East-European Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd.
12. They were the first ever service dogs!!
In 1928, a German shepherd “Buddy” became the first ever service dog. It became a sight dog for its blind owner Morris Frank. The dog was trained by an American ex-pt, Dr. Dorothy Harrison Eustis. Observing the utility of service dogs, Dr. Dorothy decided to establish a training school. So, she founded “The Seeing Eye” – a school to train service dogs for the blind owners.
13. Beware of German Shepherds' bite - it’s one of the strongest dog bites!!
As family pets, German shepherd is loyal and harmless dogs. However, if they bit, it can be brutal and serious. A German shepherd’s bite is one of the strongest dog bites. Its approximate force is over 1,060 Newton (238 pound-force, lbf). The dog itself weighs around 90 lbs. so just imagine, the bite is much heavier than its actual weight. Thus, it inflicts severe wounds and necessitates immediate medical care.
These were some amazingly interesting facts about German shepherd dogs. These are no doubt an excellent choice as pet and a treat for dog lovers.