German Shepherd Dog Breed Quick Guide

German Shepherd Dog Breed Quick Guide

Traits & Personality

Temperament/personality: German Shepherds are highly intelligent and love people. They are committed, confident, and courageous guardians. These qualities make them perfect family pets!

Size: German shepherds are large and muscular. Males tend to be between 24 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder, and females tend to be between 22 and 24 inches at the shoulder.

Weight: Males are anywhere from 65 to 90 pounds, and females are between 50 and 70 pounds.


  • German Shepherds need monthly nail trims to avoid their nails becoming painful.
  • They have a double coat: a coarser outer coat and a softer undercoat. They shed about once or twice a year, for which a thorough brushing is needed, but under normal circumstances, they only require brief brushing sessions every few days or so. 
  • German Shepherds only need to bathe once every 3-4 months.

Activity and Health

Activity needs: German Shepherds require strenuous exercise for their physical and mental health. If not properly exerted, they will become frustrated and more prone to anxious habits. 

Puppies can start their activity routine with short daily walks and playtime in a fenced area. Once a German Shepherd becomes more advanced in their daily training, dog sports like agility, nose work, dock diving, herding, and marathon running are great for them to shine and sharpen their skills.

On leash is best. If a German Shepherd is more on the stubborn side, they can become overstimulated and stop cooperating, so keep distractions at a minimum for training.

Common Health Conditions: German Shepherds are generally healthy. Conditions like degenerative myelopathy, elbow and hip dysplasia, and a severe bloating of the stomach can occur in German Shepherds, so it is imperative that their owner get them evaluated regularly.

Life expectancy: Between 7 and 10 years


The German Shepherd is a breed of dog that originated in Germany in the late 19th century. The breed was developed by a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz, who wanted to create a versatile working dog that could perform a variety of tasks such as herding, guarding, and police work.

In 1899, von Stephanitz attended a dog show where he saw a dog that caught his attention. The dog, named Hektor Linksrhein, was a working dog with exceptional intelligence and ability. Von Stephanitz purchased Hektor and began breeding him with other working dogs that he believed had desirable traits. The resulting offspring became the foundation of the German Shepherd breed.

The German Shepherd quickly became popular for its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. During World War I, the breed was used by the German military as a messenger dog, ambulance dog, and guard dog. After the war, the breed's popularity spread to other countries, and it became widely recognized as a police and military dog.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the breed became popular in the United States, and many Americans began breeding and training German Shepherds for police work, search and rescue, and other tasks. Today, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in the world and is known for its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility in a variety of roles, including law enforcement, military, and service dog work.