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The German Shepherd: My Favorite Breed
The German Shepherd: My Favorite Breed

The German Shepherd: My Favorite Breed

I love the German Shepherd. I love the richness, color, and texture of its coat; I love the size: substantial but not ungainly; I love its loyalty, athleticism, intelligence and friendliness; and I love its focus on people. The German Shepherd is good at “reading” its owner (its “leader of the pack”), it wants feedback and attention, and it cares for its owner. They seem to me to be the ultimate dog.

Picture from Wikimedia.

In the past I have made friends with some German Shepherds who were supposedly “mean” or “dangerous.” It took some work to get the Shepherds to trust, but once they did, I was “pack mate” or “pack leader” to them. The dogs were then loyal and affectionate — they would even create quite a racket to get attention and affection; some would even whimper to get attention and affection. They loved the affection; they just soaked it up. The dogs seemed to want and need touch and close contact more than others; they loved hugs and they loved to be up close. German Shepherds are people-focused, just as are Arabian horses. And Shepherds are used in police action and war — as the Arabian was the (or one of the) original war horse. At Germanshepherds.com they say about the Shepherd:
Its affable, easy-going nature gives way to a strong protective instinct when provoked. People close to the breed frequently claim that German Shepherds know right from wrong and that a well-trained GSD is the best roommate you could ask for. Characterized by a direct and fearless expression, the German Shepherd never appears hostile, but instead appears self-confident, with a certain aloofness. While maintaining this aloofness, the German Shepherd must be approachable, quietly standing his ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without making them himself. The traits of keen intelligence and trainability have made the German Shepherd arguably the most versatile breed in history.
Amen. Germanshepherd.com also gives us a good description of the Shepherd’s motion:
Because German Shepherds were intended to cover lots of ground, gait and its way of going are important. The AKC standard devotes more attention to this area than to any other. “The gait is out-reaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with a minimum of steps. At a walk, it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot, the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride … the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine.” All the German Shepherd’s power to run, jump and climb comes from its hindquarters, which makes them vitally important to the dog’s conformation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful forward thrust that slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow-through.”

Picture from Wikimedia.

Germanshepherd.com also has a brief history of the dog — including the fact that Hellen Keller had a German Shepherd! They have a picture of her hugging her Shepherd. You can also read about the breed’s history at The German Shepherd Dog Club of Queensland. Both sites have pictures and drawings of the first registered German Shepherd: Hektor Linksrhein aka Horand v Grafrath.

If you own a Shepherd and want to know more about its health issues or typical health problems, you can see such resources as Petmedsonline.org, or Dogbiz.com, or Bodeus.com.

Picture from Wikimedia.

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