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The German Shepherd - A Four-Legged Challenger

Aug 17, 2007
Though repetition is okay to a point, going over and over and particular command becomes boring to these dogs.

The German Shepherd is what the name implies. These dogs originated in Germany, the result of selective breeding of several shepherding breeds. The goal was to create a dog that could withstand the rigors required to be good shepherd dogs along with the intelligence to understand their training. That goal seems to have been met and the German Shepherd is an excellent working dog. But these dogs are also often used as both companions and family pets, and as watch and guard dogs for individuals and businesses.

The German Shepherd is sometimes known as Alsatian or the Dutch Shaferhund. These dogs have been officially recognized for more than a century, though there may be an additional recognition on the horizon. Traditionally, the coat of these dogs are silver, black and cream, though some additional colors are also possible and are generally accepted by canine organizations Solid white has traditionally been a disqualifying feature, but there is a movement by breeders and German Shepherd enthusiasts to recognize white German Shepherds as a separate breed.

Remember that these dogs were bred to withstand the harsh conditions of the German countryside. They have a thick double coat and shedding can be a real problem for these dogs. They may also have a serious shedding episode at specific times of the year, aggravating those with allergies. Regular grooming will help keep the shedding to a minimum. There are three distinct types of German Shepherd, based on the type of coat - rough, long and rough-long coats are individually recognized.

These dogs have a reputation for facing several serious health issues. In fact, the potential for those health problems depends largely on the breeding lines and some lines are quite healthy. It's a good idea to check into any hip problems that the parents may have had. Good breeding practices can produce healthier pups, but you should be wary of purchasing German Shepherds from puppy mills that have mass production of pups as their only goal.

When choosing a puppy, some people may be disappointed that the ears don't stand at attention. This is common in young dogs, but most learn to hold their ears at attention - a distinctive feature of the German Shepherd. No docking or other procedures are necessary to accomplish this.

German Shepherds are very smart dogs. They tend to learn new things quickly and do well when called on to use their natural instincts. This makes them a natural choice for guarding, tracking, obedience and agility trials. Many law enforcement agencies have used these dogs over the years - the reason some people call them German Police Dogs. Remember that these dogs tend to want new challenges. They love to find that something new is expected of them and will generally rise to meet the challenge with an alertness and intelligence that some say approaches that of a person.
About the Author
For more information on German Shepherds and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Herding Dog Directory
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