The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in North America today, which should come as no surprise when considering its intelligence, courage, striking look, and amazing work ethic. Intelligent and courageous, the German Shepherd has something for everyone. But what do you know about this popular breed? Here are six facts about German Shepherds that you may not have known.
1The GSD Is The Perfect Working Dog
The German Shepherd was bred to be the perfect working dog. Max Von Stephanitz of Germany admired many breeds of sheepdog but found none that satisifed his needs until, at a dog show in 1899, he met a dog who had all the qualities he was looking for. Von Stephanitz immediately purchased the dog and used him as the founding stock for a new breed that would go on to be the German Shepherd.
2They are Smart and Brave
German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, and with good reason: They’re considered the third smartest breed of dog. To be placed in the top tier of intelligence, breeds must understand a new command after only five repetitions and follow the first command given to them 95 percent of the time.
There are so many heroic GSDs in the breed’s history that you cannot possibly name them all. But Filax of Lewanno was honored at Westminster in 1917 for bringing 54 wounded soldiers to safety in WW1.
3After World War I GSD Were Renamed
After World War I, lingering anti-German sentiment throughout Great Britain led the UK Kennel Club to rename the German Shepherd to the Alsatian Wolf Dog. This name stuck until 1977. By this point, there were concerns that likening the breed to a wolf hybrid would affect its popularity. In addition, many breeders and dog enthusiasts wished to see the original name restored. After five decades, the German Shepherd dog finally got its name back.
4American Soldiers Brought The GSD To The US
World War I helped to increase the GSD popularity in the United States. American Soldiers saw what the dogs were capable of while fighting the Germans and many brought dogs back with them to the states.
Today the GSD is the second most registered dog in the United States. This is most likely due impart to the breeds diversity – they are popular as family, guard, performance, show, police, military, and service dogs. There isn’t much this dog can’t do.
5Their Star Power Lit Up Silent Screens
Rin Tin Tin, the most famous German Shepherd of all, was originally rescued from a World War I battlefield. In a small French village called Flirey, Corporal Lee Duncan found a damaged German kennel with a starving dog and five puppies inside. The dogs were rescued and one of the puppies was named Rin Tin Tin. He would later become a silent film star, appearing in a total of 28 movies.
6GSD are excellent rescue dogs
According to Dr. Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, German Shepherds are the third smartest breed of dog, ranking behind only border collies and poodles. According to tests, the smartest dogs get commands right 95 percent of the time or more. This is the main reason German Shepherds make such excellent working and rescue dogs.
7GSDs Come In Different Colors
Different German Shepherds come in different colors. When most people think of this dog, they think of brown and black fur. That’s the most common color, but German Shepherds also come in solid black and even solid white. Not every breed registry accepts these unique color combinations, but they do make eye-catching pets.
8Schutzhund As A Sport
German Shepherd Dogs were the inspiration for the dog sport called Schutzhund, which tests a dog for many different traits, including courage, intelligence, instincts, and sense of smell. Originally, only German Shepherds that passed the test could qualify to breed and pass on their genes to their puppies. Today, Schutzhund has become a popular sport for breeds of all kinds and championships are held in many countries. In Germany, it is still used to test German Shepherds for their disposition – just as it has been used for over a century.
Conclusion: Thanks to their intelligence and sharp looks, German Shepherd Dogs are sure to be a well-loved breed for generations to come. And if you’re lucky enough to have a German Shepherd in your life, you can feel honored knowing that they’re part of a long and fascinating history.