Dog Breed Group: Pastoral (Herding Dog)
Life Span: 10-13 years
Weight: Male: 30-41, Female: 22.5-31.5
Height: Male: 24-26, Female: 22-24
Origin of Name: The German Shepherd is a breed of medium to large-sized working dog that originated in Germany.
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The German Shepherd Dog (Duhe Schefferhund) comes from a family of German herring dogs, which varied from district to district, until the late 19th century.
In the years of the 1800s, a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Steffenitz, made it his mission to develop the ideal German shepherd. Von Steffenitz and like-minded breeders crossed various strains from the northern and central districts of Germany, resulting in the ancestors of today's German Shepherd Dog (GSD).
Von Steffenitz co-founded the world's first club dedicated to GSD and spent 35 years promoting and refining the breed. Today, the versatility of GSD is so well positioned in the performance of myriad tasks that it is easy to forget that the breed was originally created for herd sheep. GSD's now famous qualities — intelligence, agility, speed, stealth, and overall air of firm authority — were forged not in the police academy but in sheep pasture.
GSD became popular in the United States in the early 1900s thanks to the adventures of canine film stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart. GSD is one of those German breeds, Dachshund is another who suffered from anti-German sentiment during and after the World Wars. In World War I Britain, the breed was referred to as Alsatian, a name that many British dog lovers still prefer.
With the rise of modern livestock management and the decline of herring as a dog possession, von Steffenitz reliably promoted his breed as an ideal K-9 worker. GSD is the preferred dog for police and military units worldwide today.