Having a purpose in life is not the priority of many animals. However, for German shepherds it is an essential need that must be met. The breed takes no emotional or physical gratification from lying around all day and is happiest with a job to do. Bred by the Germans for work, German shepherds thrive off having a skill in life. In the early 1900s, this driven desire to work and serve made the dogs standard assistants to farmers, laborers and law enforcement. Today, the dogs have made the jump from servants to public servants. They characteristically share the same loyalty and watchfulness that defines any police or military unit. Working alongside defenders of the peace, German shepherds become a servant to humanity.
Bred for Servitude
Developed in Germany, the German shepherd has been engineered to run like a well oiled machine. Captain Max von Stephanitz intended the German shepherd to be a servant for mankind. In 1899, the breed was specifically developed for intelligence and work ethic. German shepherds originated from old farm dogs and quickly became the standard sheep herding dog. Along with assisting farmers, the breed also worked alongside laborers and soldiers.
Body of a Machine
Engineered to meet the needs of work, German shepherds were given with an ideal fitness that is strong enough to get the job done without being unwieldy. The breed is medium sized with a lean, elongated and well-proportioned body. Dark, almond shaped eyes compliment the shepherd’s muscular body. They display the awareness and intelligence that controls the physical machine, which can weigh anywhere between 77 and 85 pounds. The coats of German shepherds accentuate the breed’s agility. Lying close to the body, they are usually dense, straight and wiry. The black and tan colored breed sheds often and can be kept under control with daily brushings. German shepherds, also, need to be exercised on a daily basis. Mentally or physically bored dogs can grow aggressive and destructive. Long walks and games of fetch are good ways to tire them out while providing a sense of purpose. These dogs love strenuous activity and crave a challenge. Healthy German shepherds have a lifespan of around 13 years. However, they are prone to joint problems and epilepsy.
Mind of a Businessman
German shepherds do best with a job to do and large area to do it in. These animals are one of the smartest breeds, but come with a commanding and business-like demeanor. They are fearless with an unfaltering confidence that can resonate as social or emotional detachment. Not quick to make friendships and wary of strangers, German shepherds will never make the first move in a new relationship. They will stand, patiently wait and then receive attention. This unexcitable and controlled disposition works well with children and other small animals once the friendships have developed. German shepherds are obedient and loyal, their friendship can last a lifetime. The dogs will generously give their life to protect a human companion. However, isolation can destroy the chances of creating this friendship and noble commitment. German shepherds need people and an authority figure that can take control. Otherwise, emotional biting and a disobedient temperament can occur.
The Natural Defender
Disciplinarians and assertive personalities make a good match for German shepherds. Accordingly, the dogs are the number one breed used by police and military forces. Serious and clever, German shepherds are very easy to train and obedient, making them good companions and guardians. They are the most respected breed for loyalty, bravery and ability to adapt to the needs of any situation. The dogs’ courage, tracking ability and nose are invaluable assets to narcotics squads and search and rescue teams. German shepherds can detect buried landmines and even gas leaks that are up to 15 feet underground. Protectiveness and loyalty are the values of any defender. These characteristics allow German shepherds to stand by men in uniform as well as by the blind. The breed’s watchfulness and patience make them great leaders and companions for anyone for can’t see what they need to find.
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