The Breed

Home / The Breed

Historic Overview of the Breed

The German shepherd breed has a rich history. It first appeared in Germany at the end of the 19th century. The breed was first exhibited in 1882 at a dog show in Hanover. They were quite different from the German Shepherds we know of today, as they presented rough coats and short tails. The German Shepherd Dogs we see today didn’t really appear until the end of the Second World War.

The breed was created by an ex cavalry officer Max von Stephanitz by implementing the selective breeding of rural German working sheep dogs to produce an ideal working dog for herding which could trot for long periods of time.

A breed standard was jotted down and the first breed show took place around 1899 after which the GSD became resolutely established across Germany. The first event of dogs that were exported to the USA happened in 1906.

With the passage of time, the breed has grown extremely popular and is now one of the most admired pedigree breeds in the UK as a pet as well as being the favorite working breed for many armed forces, like the police and army. They are widely employed for security purposes owing of their strong protective instincts.

Some common names used for this amazing breed are Deutscher Schäferhund, Alsatian and Berger Allemand. The German shepherd dogs are very intelligent and will show perpetual devotion to their master but alongside that they need company and motivation to be at their best.  They are steady, self assured, loyal, courageous and well tempered.

The German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard

The systematic breeding of German Shepherd Dog started in 1899 with the founding of the Club. The main purpose of doing this was to create a working dog subjected to high performance, great bodily construction and character traits.

Overall Appearance

The German Shepherd Dog is a strong, slightly stretched, medium-sized and a well muscled animal with a firm over-all construction.

Measurements and Proportions

The withers height for males is 60 to 65cm whereas that for bitches is 55 to 6Ocm. The measurement lengthwise of torso exceeds the compute of the withers height by about 10 – 17 %.


The German Shepherd Dog should be in its fundamental image, firm in nerves, absolutely calm, self-confident and impartial (except in tempting situations). He must hold courage, hardness, willingness to fight, and must be best suited as companion, protector, watchdog, service dog and a guardian.


The head is intended to be wedge-shaped, large but in ratio to the body, with length about 40% of the dog’s stature at the withers, without being maladroit or overly long. It should be moderately broad between the ears and its forehead from the side should only be a little arched.

Nose & Muzzle

The muzzle is straight and the lips are of dark color, tight and closing well. Without any exception the nose must be black.


The teeth must be sturdy, strong and complete (42, conforming to the recognized standard). The German Shepherd Dog should present a scissors bite. The jawbones must be sturdily developed, so that the teeth can be deeply entrenched in their places.


The eyes should be almond-shaped are medium in size, dark as possible and somewhat skewed, and not protruding.


The German Shepherd Dog should present pricked ears of medium size, which are carried upright, neither pointing outward nor inward. Tipped over and hanging ears are considered to be faulty. Ears laying back during gait or relaxation are not faulted.


The neck should be physically powerful, well-muscled, and without any loose skin at the throat.


The topline proceeds from the neck, continuing over to the high long withers and over the straight back through the vaguely sloping croup without hasty change. The back is reasonably long, dense, brawny, and well muscled. The loin is extensive, short, impressively fashioned, and well muscled. The croup should be extended and somewhat sloping (approx. 23° from the horizontal) and without a split in the topline as it continues over the tail’s set.

The chest should be reasonably broad; it’s underscore as long as possible, and prominent. The profundity of chest should be about 45 % to 48 % of the dog’s pinnacle at the withers. The ribs should widen out and curved fairly. Barrel-shaped chests or slab-sided manifestation are equally faulty.

The tail extends at least up to the hock joint, but not further than the middle of the metatarsus. Its hair is rather bushy on the underside. It carries a gentle hanging curve when calm, and is lifted more in anticipation and in movement.

Forehand Limbs

The front limbs when seen from all sides should to be straight, and from the front sight should be perfectly parallel.
Shoulder blade and upper arm are of equivalent lengths accumulated and resolutely attached to the torso with medium-strong muscling. The angle between the shoulder blade and the upper arm should be 90° in the ideal case, but as per rule is 110°.
The elbows, when standing or moving, may not be turned out; likewise not strained together. The forearms in a standing dog are seen in all angles to be straight and flawlessly parallel to each other, dry, and tightly muscled. The pastern has a measurement lengthwise of approximately 1/3 that of the forearm and has an angle of approx. 20° to 22°. Both a slanting pastern (more than 22°) as well as a steep pastern (less than 20°) are injurious to functioning suitability, particularly endurance.

The paws are round, well closed and vaulted, the soles firm, but not rigid. The nails are strong and of a dark pigment.


The position of the hind legs is somewhat towards the rear, and viewed from behind the hind legs are similar to each other. Upper thigh and lower thigh are generally of equivalent length and form an angle of roughly 120°. The thighs are influential and well muscled.

The hock joints are firmly built and compact; the metatarsus is perpendicular from the hock joint.

The paws are congested, slightly arched, the pads rigid and of dark color, the nails strong and arched, and also dark.


By nature the German Shepherd Dog is a trotter. The limbs must be so in agreement with each other in extent and angulations, that without creating much undulation of the topline, the hindquarters can drive the torso ahead in such comportment that the tread matches that of the forequarters.

Every affinity toward over-angulation of the hind quarters decreases the control and the fortitude, and with that the working capacity. With accurate structural proportions and angulation, a far-reaching, ground-covering, level gait results, this conveys the notion of effortless forward movement. With the head thrust onward and tail vaguely lifted it presents, in a fairly level, balanced, and even trot, one continuous, gently flowing overline from the tips of the ears over the nape and back, through to the end of the tail.


The skin is (loosely) flanking without, however, creating folds.


The truthful type of hair coat for the German Shepherd Dog is the Stock hair (straight, harsh topcoat) with undercoat. The topcoat should be as tense as possible, straight, callous, and lying closely and decisively. It is short on the head, on the front side of the legs, on paws and on the toes, whereas it is somewhat longer and more abundant at the neck. On the back of the legs the hair grows longer as far down as the wrist, and likewise down to the hock. At the back side of the thighs it forms judicious trousers.


The desired colors are black with reddish-brown, tan, brown, and/or light gray markings, solid black, sable with dark overcast, black saddle and mask.

Unremarkable, small white chest markings, likewise light color on the insides, are permissible but not desirable. The nose bulb should be black in all color combination of the breed. Light eye color, missing mask, whitish markings, light claws and red-tipped tail are to be measured as scarce pigment. The undercoat has a light gray color, though complete color white dogs are not acceptable.


Males: Weight 30 kg to 40 kg, Withers height 60 cm to 65 cm.
Females: Weight 22 kg to 32 kg, Withers height 55 cm to 60 cm.


The dogs should exhibit two normally developed testicles, located in the scrotum.


All deviations from the above-mentioned points should be measured as errors, the sternness of fault assessment being firmly in amount to the level of the digression.

Major Faults

  • Anything that departs from the norms and the recognized personality of the breed in relation to the appropriateness for work.
    • Weak, held out to the side, low-set, tipped over, overset (tipped toward each other) are major Ear faults.
    • Significantly lacking in pigment.
    • Considerable lack in overall firmness.

Dentition Faults

“All deviations from the scissors bite and the arrangement of the teeth that are not dealt with in the following given list of the specific faults???

Disqualifying Faults (also ineligible for breed survey):

  • Weak personality, biting, nervous.
    • Cryptorchidism (unilateral or bilateral), evidently imbalanced or stunted, atrophied testicles.
    • Distorted ears or tails.
    • Animals with deformities.
    • 1) Dentition faults relating the lack of:
    one P-3 and an additional tooth, or one canine, or one P-4, or
    one Molar-i or Molar-2, or any totality of three or more teeth.
    • 2) Incisor (bite) irregularities: Overshot by 2mm or more, undershot, or pincer bite (even or level in entire incisor area)
    • 3) Undersize or oversize by more than 1cm.
    • 4) Albinism.
    • 5) White hair coat even if the dog has dark nails and eyes.
    • 6) Long stock hair (topcoat long, soft, straight, not lying tightly with undercoat present, (feathering) on ears and legs, bushy tail with formation of flags on the underside and bushy trousers.
    • 7) Long hair (generally parting in the middle of the back, topcoat soft long without undercoat, flags at ears, legs, and tail).