Intelligent. Brave. Strong. These are three words describing the German Shepherd (formally known as the German Shepherd Dog), America’s second-favorite dog, just behind the Labrador Retriever, and #2 on PuppySpot’s list of most popular dog breeds. But there’s more to these popular working companions than what you might think. Here are 6 facts you need to know about German Shepherds!
1. They are very trainable.
Despite their reputation as an intimidating and stubborn breed, Germans take direction well and are valued in police and service work, among other jobs. As quick learners, these active dogs are favorites for all types of training including military, obedience and agility skill sets. They live to learn and obey commands, whether it’s sniffing out explosives at the airport, or fetching a Frisbee in a game at the park.
2. They weren’t always called “German.”
Like their name suggests, German Shepherds originated in Germany as sheep-herding dogs on farms during the twentieth century, but the name did not totally stick. Due to tensions between Germany and the US during World War I, the AKC temporarily renamed the breed the Shepherd Dog. Also during that time, the English started calling them Alsatian Wolf Dogs and now, they are known widely as Alsatians in Europe.
3. They make great watchdogs.
Because they are so loyal to their owners, German Shepherds will go out of their way to offer their family protection. In this way, they live up well to their image as fearsome guard dogs. They’ll bark at suspicious strangers and can intimidate aggressors with their size alone, yet a well-trained German is gentle and friendly, especially towards children, making the breed a versatile companion.
4. They come in several different colors.
While the traditional German Shepherd you’ll see is more often than not black and tan, Germans can come in a variety of colors and patterns, including full black, black and silver, blue, gray, sable, and even white. Don’t be fooled, though; despite what some may want you to believe, no one color of German Shepherd is more “rare” or valuable than the common bi-colored coat.
5. They’re movie stars.
This breed first gained fame after WWI Corporal Lee Duncan rescued the German Shepherd “Rin Tin Tin,” who went on to make several appearances in war movies. Other featured roles by the German Shepherd include “Wolfie” in The Terminator, “Hobo” in The Littlest Hobo and “Delgado” in Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
6. They’re everyday heroes.
There are countless stories of German Shepherds assisting and even saving the lives of their human companions. According to Les Anges Gardiens, in 1970, a German Shepherd named Kanaka was recognized for her numerous rescues and success in uncovering evidence for police in Ontario. Another famous German, Orient, graduated from the Seeing Eye Program and became the dog of Bill Irwin, leading him through the grueling Appalachian Trail. Nearly every day in the news, you’ll hear about a courageous German Shepherd having saved a life, making the world a more secure place to live in.
How has having a German Shepherd changed your life? Comment below and share with us!