German Shepherds are probably best known for their strong jaws and their protective nature, making them excellent guard dogs and police dogs. They are loyal, highly intelligent dogs, blessed with senses that make them perfect for search and rescue. The fact that they are highly agile and trainable contributes towards making them one of the 10 most popular dog breeds in the U.S.
Originally bred to be a herding dog by Captain Max Stephanitz in Germany in 1899, German Shepherd dogs excel in herding utility dog trials. However, Von Stephanitz recognized that the dog had skills that could be used by the police and military, and convinced the German government to use them during World War I. The dog’s bravery and intelligence was noted by allied servicemen, who even took some of the dogs home with them. Anything at this time associated with Germany was taboo, and so The American Kennel Club changed their name to Shepherd Dog; in England, the breed was called Alsatian after the German-French border area of Alsace-Lorraine.
German Shepherds have earned the nickname ‘German Shedder’ as they shed their dense coat all year round, and twice a year they molt very heavily. You will need to brush his coat several times a week. Only bathe him when necessary because bathing a dog too often strips away the natural oils from the coat. Trim nails once a month and clean his ears once a week with a cotton ball and a gentle, PH-balanced ear cleaner. You can brush his teeth with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste, but a dental chew will help
to prevent a build-up of tartar.
Nowadays, German Shepherd Dogs are highly valued as working dogs. They are used by the military and for detecting illegal substances. They are also used to assist the handicapped, the deaf, and those who are visually impaired – they were used as guide dogs for the blind before Golden Retrievers and Labradors. If you are considering getting a German Shepherd dog, remember that he will need lots of exercise and stimulation, or he will become bored and will bark or chew and destroy things.
Natural Aids and Remedies
Dogs in the service industry are vulnerable to stress and injury, particularly their paws from running on hot pavements, gravel and rough or sharp surfaces. PawTector can be applied to create a nourishing barrier to protect paw pads against the elements. Skin Soother can be used to treat any minor cuts or scrapes they might suffer; apply the antibiotic balm to bumps, scratches, and dry, itchy or irritated skin. This creates a barrier to prevent infection and the natural ingredients will help the healing process.
German Shepherds are very loyal, but they are not a breed of dog that is guaranteed to be everyone’s best friend; for this reason, early socialization is extremely important. To ensure you have a healthy happy dog, try not to let him play on hard surfaces for at least the first two years of his life, as his joints are not fully formed. Also, be aware that German Shepherds do not like to be left alone and can, in fact, suffer from separation anxiety if they are suddenly left.