From the AKC: German Shepherd Dogs can stand as high as 26 inches at the shoulder and, when viewed in outline, presents a picture of smooth, graceful
curves rather than angles. The natural gait is a free-and-easy trot, but GSDs can turn it up a notch or two and reach great speeds.
There are many reasons why GSDs stand in the front rank of canine royalty, but experts say their defining attribute is character: loyalty, courage, confidence, the ability to learn commands for many tasks, and the willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones. GSDs will be gentle family pets and steadfast guardians, but, the breed standard says, there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”
History of the German ShepherdFrom the AKC: The German Shepherd Dog (Deutshe Schäferhund) descends from the family of German herding dogs that, until the late 19th century, varied in type from district to district. In the waning years of the 1800s, a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, made it his mission to develop the ideal German herder. Von Stephanitz and like-minded breeders crossed various strains from the northern and central districts of Germany, resulting in the ancestors of today’s GSD.
Von Stephanitz co-founded the world’s first club devoted to GSDs and spent 35 years promoting and refining the breed. Today, the GSD’s versatility is so thoroughly deployed in the performance of myriad tasks that it is easy to forget that the breed was originally created to herd sheep. The GSD’s now-famous qualities—intelligence, agility, speed, stealth, and the overall air of firm authority—were forged not in the police academy but in the sheep pasture.
GSDs became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, thanks in part to the adventures of canine movie stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart. The GSD is among those German breeds, the Dachshund is another, that suffered from anti-German sentiment during and after the world wars. In World War I–era Britain, the breed was referred to the Alsatian, a name many British dog lovers still prefer.
With the rise of modern livestock management and the decline of herding as a canine occupation, von Stephanitz shrewdly promoted his breed as an ideal K-9 worker. The GSD is today the preferred dog for police and military units the world over.
Kirra was born in Landstuhl German and is a pure-bred long haird German Shepherd. She was my dog while I was stationed in Germany and when I was medically retired from the military after being injured in Iraq in 2007, she became my service dog. Kirra is very well tempered and is very laid back. She has reached her golden years now and is now retired as my service dog. She just enjoy laying around relaxing but get's along well with everyone in the house. She doesn't really like to play too much anymore as her hips have really slowed her down with her age. She has been and continues to be a great dog. One of the best I have ever had!
Sage was born in Lancaster County, PA. She a pure-bred German Shepherd. Sage is a very protective and a very aggresive German Shephered. She doesn't like people she doesn't know and will let you know it. She knows all of her basic commands and listens very well though. I wanted to train her to take over for Kirra as my service dog but because of her tempermante she just wasn't a good canidate as a service dog. She has asserted herself as the Alpha dog in the house and the others have pretty much fallen in line. Kirra doesn't seem to care too much anymore as she pretty much keeps to herself but if Sage get's in her face too much, Kirra will let her know! Sage is very loving to the rest of the dog's as well as my wife and I. She is our extra line of security when we aren't home :)
Lincoln (named after President Abraham Lincoln) is the newest addition to the family. He is a young pure-bred German Shepherd that was born in Lancaster County, Pa. He is currently in training to take over the reigns as my new service dog. He is learning fast but has a long way's to go. It typically takes 2 years to train a service dog! Lincoln enjoys wrestling with Sage and Annastatia (Anna, our Boston Terrier Mix) but listens very well. He already has all of his basic commands down and we are working towards his advanced commands and then on to his service dog training. Lincoln can also be a very laid back dog at time for a pup his age. He listens well and show's tremendous progress and capabilities of being my next service dog.
Honorable Mention - Annastasia (Anna)
While Annastasia (or Anna as we call her) isn't a pure-bred German Shepherd, I couldn't leave part of the family off of the site! Anna is a Boston Terrier mix that was rescued by my wife. Anna was used as a breeding dog her entire life. For the first 2 1/2 years of her life she did nothing but have litter after litter of puppies (which at that age you shouldn't be breeding a female dog). She was clearly abused as she is very skiddish around new people and was even skiddish around us when my wife first got her home. Now she fits in with the Shepherds as if she was one. She is a very loving dog but still remains very affraid of new people and even people she's been around before but just not often (or often enough), but we still love her the same!