13 fun facts about German Shepherds
Imagine, for a second, the ultimate dog. What personality traits would he have? What size would it be? What would his character be?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up with a mental image of something quite similar to a German Shepherd.
If you are wondering how we came to this conclusion, don’t worry – we’ll explain everything to you with these amazing facts about this beautiful dog breed!
German Shepherds are a relatively new breed of dog.
With their wolf-like appearance, it’s too easy to make the mistake of thinking that German Shepherds are an ancient breed of dog.
It may even surprise some, but the German Shepherd breed has only existed since the end of the 19e Century.
The first German Shepherd to be officially registered was a dog called Horand Von Grafrath.
The dog had been spotted at a dog show by a man called Max Von Stephanitz, who immediately realized the potential of this particular dog as a working dog.
German Shepherds were originally bred for a very specific reason.
Max Von Stephanitz had not come across Horand Von Grafrath by chance.
He had searched high and low for what he thought was the perfect dog so that he could establish a standardized German dog breed.
He wanted a dog that was very intelligent but also incredibly helpful.
When Max bought Horand the German Shepherd, he established the very first German Shepherd Dog Club, whose motto was “Utility and Intelligence”.
The role of the German Shepherd was quickly changed.
As sheepdogs became less in demand with the general public, Max quickly realized the need to gain a new target audience.
Thanks to this decision, German Shepherds really began to shine in the public eye and began to uphold the motto “Utility and Intelligence”.
Max sold the idea of dogs as the ultimate service dog to the German government, the military, and almost anyone who would listen to him.
German Shepherds quickly proved themselves and adapted to all kinds of different tasks.
German Shepherds had many uses during WWI.
The German Army was one of the first organizations to really take advantage of the true utility of German Shepherds as assistance dogs.
These exceptional dogs have been used in a variety of roles ranging from guard dogs, messenger dogs, attack dogs, and even first aid dogs!
A German Shepherd has been honored as a war hero!
German Shepherds had many uses during WWI and WWII, but not all were as tall as Lewanno’s Filax.
During World War I, this formidable German Shepherd brought 54 wounded soldiers from the front lines, saving their lives.
He was honored at Westminster for his service to his country in 1917.
These dogs needed a name change after WWI.
Unsurprisingly, people weren’t very interested in anything that contained the word “German” for some time after WWI and WWII.
After the First World War, the British Kennel Club decided to rename the dogs to “Alsatian wolf dogs”, giving them the name of Alsace, a region of France bordering Germany.
On the other hand, the American Kennel Club has taken a much simpler approach. They simply referred to the dogs as “sheepdogs,” which seemed to be enough to eliminate any bias towards dogs.
It wasn’t until 1977 that the UK officially restored the name to its original form, although they are still referred to as Alsatians in some parts of the world.
A German Shepherd saved Warner Brothers from bankruptcy.
After World War I, an American soldier named Corporal Lee Duncan brought a German Shepherd with him to the United States.
He had discovered the dog as a puppy in a bombed-out kennel in France and immediately bonded with it, naming it Rin Tin Tin.
Upon his return to the United States, he took the dog to several dog shows, astonishing anyone who witnessed the dog’s physical prowess and incredible temperament.
With such an encouraging reception, Corporal Lee Duncan decided to try to get Rin Tin Tin into show biz.
He managed to harass Warner Bros, a bankrupt film studio at the time, to play Rin Tin Tin as a wolf in the movie “Man From Hell’s River”.
He played his part so well that the film became an instant hit – and Rin Tin Tin then took Warner Bros. out of bankruptcy!
German Shepherds are the third most intelligent dog breed.
According to Stanley Coren, the author of The intelligence of dogs, It is!
Of all the breeds Stanley has worked with, he has found German Shepherds to rank third in overall intelligence.
Stanley ranked Poodles second and Border Collies as the smartest.
They also breed like rabbits!
Well, maybe not rabbits… rather German Shepherds?
Dogs of the same size as German Shepherds are officially classified as a large breed of dog. On average, males can grow up to 26 inches (66 cm), while females can reach 24 inches (61) tall!
Being such large dogs, they can have very large litters – German Shepherds are known to have up to nine puppies from a litter!
Officially, German Shepherds can only be available in 11 different colors.
At least that’s according to the American Kennel Club, which heavily regulates the dog breed in the United States.
The permitted colors are black, tan, white, liver, sable, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, two-tone, gray and blue.
No, that’s not the kind of blue you think of – it’s more of a blue / gray mix, but they do have blue eyes!
Regardless of their color, expect them to shed A LOT!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, German Shepherds are BIG dogs! A big dog means a lot of hair, which means dog hair all over the place – and they shed all year round.
It’s not over either, as German Shepherds also shed their undercoat twice a year, in the fall and in the spring.
It is the second most popular dog breed in the United States.
German Shepherds didn’t really gain popularity in the United States until after WWI. In fact, they weren’t even really known to most, being such a new breed.
It was in Europe that American troops first saw them in action and admired the breed, but it was home with dogs like Rin Tin Tin that they really gained popularity.
Fast forward to 2020, and dogs are the second most popular breed in the United States, just behind Labrador Retrievers.
About 4.6% of all dogs in the American Kennel Club are German Shepherds, which means there are around 3.5 million in the United States alone!
German Shepherds were the world’s first assistance dogs.
The world’s first Seeing Eye dog was Buddy, who helped a man called Morris Frank with his daily activities after they met in 1928.
Buddy was bred by Dorothy Harrison Eustis, who established the world’s first school for assistance dogs – The Seeing Eye.
Morris Frank enjoyed Buddy’s presence so much that he decided to help Dorothy by becoming the General Manager of the program!
Well, there you have it – German Shepherds are incredibly pawesome!
Not only are they some of the smartest dog breeds in the world, they’re also incredibly adaptable, not to mention their cool looks.
The only question that really remains is, when are you going to get yours?