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22 German Shepherd Facts You Might Not Know

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. And they are world-famous pups for all the right reasons. You’ll find these working dogs serving as police dogs, guard dogs, playful family pets, and movie stars.

Whether you’re looking for a faithful furry companion or just curious about these fluffy doggos, there are a few interesting facts about German Shepherds that may surprise you. Keep reading to find out the top things to know, from their history to charming characteristics.

wistful german shepherd

22 Interesting Facts About German Shepherds

German Shepherds are undeniably adorable, but there are a few things that you may not know. Here are 22 German Shepherd facts you might find interesting.

1. German army captain, Max Von Stephanitz, first registered a German Shepherd Dog in Germany in 1899. The dog resulted from breeding between herding dogs to develop an ideal service dog. Max also outlined the guidelines for the breed standard.

2. They are natural herders and sprinters. German Shepherds were initially used to gather sheep into a flock and protect them from predators. They excel at this role due to several notable traits, including their speed. A German Shepherd can cover short distances quickly and run up to 30 miles per hour.  

german shepherd
german shepherd

3. German Shepherds are great family pets. Although German Shepherds were originally developed for herding purposes, these loyal dogs make excellent family pets and guard dogs. As such, many families have welcomed these furry companions into their homes.

4. German Shepherds are one of the world’s most athletic dogs. They are also very intelligent, and you can train them to do almost anything. German Shepherds rank third as the smartest dog breed for work intelligence and obedience.

These adorable pups take around eight to twelve weeks to learn basic obedience commands, such as sitting, lying down, and dropping objects.

5. The German Shepherd breed boasts a soft, double-layered coat. It comprises a thick and dense undercoat with a longer-length top coat. You’ll find these dogs sporting either a medium or a long coat.

Like most dogs with a double coat, the German Shepherd’s coat helps keep it cool in the summertime and warm in winter.

two german shepherds

6. These dogs have different coat colors. According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd has 11 official colors. The coat colors include sable, black, black and tan, black and silver, red and black, liver, white, and grey.

The most common color variety that you’ll find is the Sable Coat German Shepherd while coming across a solid black pup is rare.

7. German shepherd puppies have floppy ears. A distinctive characteristic of the German Shepherd is its signature pointed ears. However, these dogs are born with their ears flopping down. A German Shepherd puppy’s ears usually begin to stand up when they’re around four to five months old.

During this time, the muscle and cartilage that supports the ears become stronger. This usually occurs after the puppy’s teething period ends.

german shepherd facts

8. German Shepherd’s have a good sense of smell. Another remarkable feature of this breed is its long snout and exceptional scenting abilities. While all dogs have a better sense of smell than humans, the German Shepherd Dog is one of the top breeds with the best overall sense of smell.

They have about 225 million scent receptors and can identify scents from over a mile away. In addition, German Shepherds can smell up to 40 feet underground and can track scents through 80 feet of water.

german shepherd dog barking

9. The German Shepherd Dog has one of the most powerful bites amongst various dog breeds. These canines can exert pressure of up to 238 PSI when biting. As such, they are considered one of the most dangerous dog breeds in the USA.

10. German Shepherds are medium to heavy shedders. They require regular brushing, and you’ll often find their fur on the floor and furniture. These fluffy canines also blow their coats twice a year. The “blowing coat” process occurs when dogs shed their undercoats to grow a thicker coat in winter and make way for a lighter one in summer. 

11. Countless dog lovers admire the German Shepherd breed. With their notable characteristics and lovable demeanor, these dogs rank third for the most popular dog breed in the United States and have been in the top 10 for decades.

german shepherd asleep

12. These dogs require constant mental stimulation and exercise. German Shepherds need at least two hours of mental and physical exercise each day. A few ways to provide mental stimulation include seek and find, interactive puzzle toys, and dispensing treat balls.

13. Puppies do not require as much exercise as adult German Shepherds as over-exercising a puppy can result in joint and mobility issues. As German Shepherds are susceptible to hip dysplasia, it’s best to stick to moderate-level activities in the early stages.

14. The famous American fictional television character, Rin Tin Tin, was played by a series of German Shepherds for many years. This heroic canine character is based on the real-world pup rescued from a bombed German kennel by an American soldier named Lee Duncan in 1918.

german shepherd face

15. The German Shepherd breed is especially popular in television and movies. This breed’s acting days date back to as early as the 1920s. A few blockbuster films and TV shows that you can see a German Shepherd include K-9, Finding Rin Tin Tin, Terminator, Max, and Inspector Rex.

16. The German Shepherd is incredibly dependable and often considered a one-person dog. They tend to attach themselves to their owner or primary caretaker. But, these furry companions are protective of all members of the family and make fantastic pets.

17. There’s a famous German Shepherd named Captain. He has stood guard at his owner’s grave for 10 years in Argentina. Captain passed away at the cemetery, creating an extraordinary example of loyalty and love.

german shepherd lying down

18. German Shepherds were the first guide dogs for the blind in the United States. Today, they are still one of the most common breeds used as guide dogs alongside Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

19. The breed is commonly used as police dogs. German Shepherds were originally bred as herding dogs. However, they excel in many roles. One of the most common is working as police dogs.

These courageous canines are perfect for the job due to their excellent sense of smell, agility, intelligence, and strength. Some of the roles they partake in include search and rescue missions, searching for drugs, discovering explosives, and tracking criminals.

german shepherd mouth

20. In addition to being one of America’s most loved dogs, the German Shepherd Dog is admired by dog enthusiasts from all around the world. There are more than 10 million German Shepherds worldwide.

21. They have a life expectancy of twelve years. The breed has an average lifespan of nine to thirteen years. Some factors that influence how long a German Shepherd lives are breeding, exercise, health, environment, and proper care.

22. There is a special club for senior German Shepherd Dogs. A German Shepherd aged twelve or older is eligible to join The Thirteen Club. The club is run by the German Shepherd Club of America.

It was formed as many senior dogs are often neglected during their final years. Owners can nominate their dogs and fill in an application to acquire membership and a certificate of recognition. Additionally, the German Shepherd Club of America will send a heartfelt certificate in memory of the pup when it passes.

german shepherd posing

Final Thoughts on German Shepherds

It’s easy to see why the noble German Shepherd Dog captures countless dog lovers’ hearts. These lovable canines are renowned for their loyalty, courage, and guarding instincts.

They are well-suited for many roles, from brave police dogs to caring guide dogs. And they might be the perfect companion for you.

german shepherd running

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