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German Shepherd. Protective Noble Breed. His Highness The German Shepherd Dog

Jun 28, 2008
The History of the German shepherd

The German shepherd dog is known to be one of the most beautiful and devoted dogs around today. With its toughness and nobility, the breed can sometimes, unfortunately, get judged unfairly; though despite that, it still remains one of the most popular breeds of dog around today.

The History of the Breed

The German shepherd has not actually been around for a long period of time. It was developed in the late 1880's when a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz decided to standardize the breed.

He saw a wolf like dog at a show in Western Germany and he noticed just how energetic, tough, steady and intelligent the dog actually was. It was medium in size and the dog was also a natural sheepherder which knew exactly what to do. So Captain Max von Stephanitz bought the dog and named him "Horand von Grafrath".

That was the first ever registered German shepherd dog.

So the main purpose of the breed was to herd cattle and sheep. The main priority was to develop a dog which was intelligent and stable. The looks of the dog were not as important; just as long as the breed could herd really well that was all that mattered. If a dog was born that was not intelligent and which would not obey its owner then it was automatically classed as being useless.

At first, mistakes were made with inbreeding. Captain Max von Stephanitz would breed the pups with their half sisters and the daughters of dog's sons. This created a lot of problems with the breed and eventually dogs were brought in that were not related by blood.

Another problem also occurred which needed to be addressed and that was the fact that the pastoral era had started to decline. As the main purpose of the German shepherd was to herd, the fact that the pastoral era was declining meant that it was likely that the breed would no longer be needed.

German Shepherds were then introduced into police dog roles as well as for tracking and guarding purposes.

Throughout the war, the breed was even used as a Red Cross dog and they were also used partially as messenger dogs, too. So they certainly had a wide range of purposes throughout the war period. As time went on, various breeders started to experiment with the German shepherd and a newer version of the breed was developed.

However it had a faulty temperament and Captain Max von Stephanitz was horrified. The breed may not have been around for a large amount of time, but for the time it has been developed, it has changed quite a lot.

Its popularity after World War II meant that Americans became interested in the German Shepherd and they were developed completely differently to the German standard.

These days the German shepherd is mainly a companion dog but it is also widely used as a police dog and a guarding dog, too. Its temperament has changed over the years, though it still has a fantastic working instinct.
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copyright John Adams. Dog Breeds Explained. Choose the right dog for you. Compare the German Shepherd to every other dog breed German Shepherd explained
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