10 Most Interesting German Shepherd Facts

10 Most Interesting German Shepherd Facts

Whether you own a German Shepherd or are thinking of getting one, you must already know that they are a magnificent breed.  But, did you know they are one of the smartest dogs or that they are incredibly active? No?

Well then, here are ten of the most interesting facts about German Shepherds!

1. German Shepherds are in fact a German born breed

So, the story goes like this: 

The first German Shephard’s name was Hektor Linksrhein. This German Shepherd was the dog that a breeder Max von Stephanitz saw in western Germany during a dog show. The thing is, the breeder fell in love with the dog! It wasn’t only its looks that got him, but the intelligence and discipline as well. The breeder was so impressed that he purchased the dog! Then Hektor Linksrhein became Horand von Grafrath, and the rest was history! 

The breeder even created guidelines on the breed’s standard.

However, much has changed since Max created those guidelines. What? Read on to find out!

2. German  Shepherds breed is modified

Well, now you know! Much like anything in the world, the breed’s original guidelines were altered.

The reason? To make the breed’s body shape more aesthetically pleasing, and their movements more elegant. Of course, this was put into focus so that the breed would perform better in dog shows. 

These new guidelines are set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).  Unlike in Europe, where German Shepherd dogs need to pass tests in order to fit in with the breeding standard, American breeding standards do not require those tests. 

Another fun fact is that some breeders in Europe still follow Max’s guidelines, but they are overseen by the German Shepherd Club of Germany. 

3. “Utility and intelligence”

This breed needs only five repetitions to learn something, and they respond correctly to a task 95% of the time.

When creating those guidelines, which we keep mentioning, Max also created the breed’s motto. And, boy, does that hold true when it comes to these doggos! 

First off, let’s see this utility thing, shall we?

The German Shepherd is a working dog! Before the modern days, the breed was guiding the herd, steering them – keeping the herd safe. Nowadays, you are more likely to see a German Shepherd that is a police dog. They use their agility, sense of smell, intelligence, and strength to find missing persons, track criminals, help in search and rescue missions, detect drugs, search for explosives, etc.

This kind of stole our point of also showing you their intelligence. But, we’re going to give you one more interesting fact about it anyway. German Shepherds are actually the world’s third smartest dog! They need only five repetitions to learn something, and they respond correctly to a task 95% of the time. There are only two breeds that are smarter than a German Shepherd – Poodle and Border Collies.

Oh! They are training German Shepherds to detect coronavirus in people as well!

4. German Shepherd Head Tilt Meaning

This must be one of the most adorable things German Shepherds do – I think we all agree! But, have you ever wondered what is the reason behind this beautifully cute action? So that they can see and hear better! So next time that you pop open that bag of chips, you will know what’s up!

5. German Shepherds are incredibly active

So, we have told you that the breed was envisioned as a herding dog? This, along with the breed’s physique, makes one very active and energetic breed. Hey, they can run up to 50 kilometers per hour!

That is exactly why German Shepherds demand a lot of daily exercise, and mental stimulation. If you are not an active person, then this breed is definitely not for you! What’s worse, if the breed doesn’t get enough exercise it can develop anxiety, or – you know – find a way to take out that energy elsewhere (like on your couch – bye bye pillows and cushions!).

6. German Shepherds come in many colors

Look, while we all know and love German Shepherds for their black and tan coat, their color can vary. However, there are colors that are standard. When we say standard, that means that German Shepherds whose coat colors are not recognized by the AKC standards cannot compete in dog shows, and conformation classes. 

The color of a German Shepherd’s coat can vary.

Here are the breed’s standard colors:

  • Black and tan
  • Sable
  • Bi-Colored
  • Black
  • Black and red
  • Black and cream
  • Steel Blue
  • Gray
  • Panda
  • White, and
  • Liver.

7. German Shepherds SHED

If you are thinking about getting a German Shepherd, then you need to know that these guys have something that is called a double coat. This means that under that coat there is another layer of undercoat that protects them from external conditions. What this also means is that when the shedding season comes, they shed a lot. So much so, that you will not only find their hair on your clothing, but in all corners of your house as well. 

8. German Shepherds are very sociable and loving

German Shepherds basically thrive when they spend a lot of time with their humans and other dogs.

This breed loves their humans. They basically thrive when they spend a lot of time with their humans and other dogs. But they are not sociable with strangers immediately. They are extremely loyal, and dedicated. And, they are awesome with kids! Also, there are some challenges when introducing a German Shepherd to its feline housemates, but with a few tips and by using a positive reinforcement method, they should get along just fine.

9. German Shepherds can have some health issues

Sadly, like any breed, German Shepherds can have some health issues which are genetic in nature. Those are:

  • Degenerative Myelopathy – weakness of hind legs
  • Von Willebrand Disease – a bleeding disorder
  • Exocrine Pancreatic insufficiency – pancreas disease
  • Hip Dysplasia and elbow dysplasia – painful joints
  • Bloat – when a stomach fills with food, gas, and fluid

Even with these issues, they commonly live between 8-13 years! They just need some extra care, love, and above all attention.

10. German Shepherds are national heroes

We’re ending on a high note. We told you that German Shepherds are police dogs. Well, that’s what earned them the title of national heroes as a breed. This breed helped in the search and rescue mission after the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. One of those German Shepherds was Apollo who served with the k-9 unit of the New York Police Department. 

So, there you have it. Ten most interesting facts we gathered for you. These facts aside, if you have a German Shepherd (or are thinking of getting one) you will receive unconditional love from the most intelligent, active, and adorably cute bundle of fur!  


Are you a dog facts junkie? If so, you’ll love some of our other dog fact articles:

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