Shiphra German Shepherds


Canisphere German Shepherds


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Breed Registries:

Note: The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

** — The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.




Males: Ideal height is 25 in. (64 cm) at the shoulder
Female: Ideal height is 23 in. (58 cm) at the shoulder.
Variations of 1 inch (3 cm) above or below the ideal are acceptable.


Male: Average is between 75 and 85 lbs. (34 and 39 kg)
Female: Average is between 60 and 70 lbs. (27 and 32 kg)

A Bit of History:

Captain Max von Stephanitz, known as the father of the German Shepherd Dog breed, used various old German herding and farm dog breeds as his foundation stock in the development of the breed. In 1899, he and Adolf Meyer, Ernst Von Otto and others formed the parent club for the breed — the Verein für Deutsche Schaferhunde (SV). A stud book was immediately started upon the founding of the club and the first dog to be registered was von Stephanitz' dog, Hordand von Grafrath. Very strict guidelines were put into place for member breeders which included the control of which dogs could be used for breeding; which dog could be bred to whom; and before being bred, both the sire and dam had to have working titles plus at least a "G" (good) conformation rating. This very strict control by the Verein für Deutsche Schaferhunde (SV) helped the German Shepherd breed thrive and the club soon became the largest single-breed club in the world.

During the First World War, both German and French military were using German Shepherds as well as other breeds for various duties, including search and rescue of casualties; guarding the troops; and transporting ammunition, messages and first aid supplies between the trenches. Also during this war, many soldiers were blinded and the German authorities began training German Shepherds as "seeing eye" dogs as well. Today, the German Shepherd is still one of the most popular choices for guide dog work.

By the 1920s, Strongheart, who had been originally trained as a police dog in Germany and, even more famous, Rin Tin Tin who was rescued as a puppy in France just before the end of World War I, had hit the big screen. As a result, the breed gained extreme popularity outside of Germany. Unfortunately, this led to irresponsible breeders who introduced poor breeding practices in an effort to cash in. Problems in temperament and health began to develop within the breed. By the end of the Second World War, the popularity of the breed had declined somewhat. However, not before genetic disorders and poor temperament issues became common in some bloodlines. Since that time, dedicated breeders have worked to restore the temperament and physical strength of the original German Shepherd.

— For a more detailed look at the history of the German Shepherd Dog breed see:

German Shepherd Dog
  2X World Sieger VA1 Yasko vom Farbenspiel SchH lll KKL1
  Photo courtesy of Canisphere German Shepherds

Breed Profile:

The name "German Shepherd Dog" is a literal translation from the German "Deutscher Schäferhund" but the breed is commonly referred to as simply the German Shepherd or GSD. In the United Kingdom, the breed was renamed to the "Alsatian Shepherd" or simply "Alsatian" after World War I, mainly due to anti-German sentiment and the fear that the original name would be a detriment to the breed. By 1930, the British Kennel Club authorised the German Shepherd name once again.

The German Shepherd is well known for his intelligence, traininability, devotion and loyalty. The breed is one of the most versatile; known as a family companion, Guide Dog, Police Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, Drug and Bomb Detection Dog, Herding Dog, and Tracking Dog to name a few. He is the working dog of choice for many and, in North America, is one of the most popular breeds — Ranked 3rd most registered breed by the Canadian Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club for 2008.

He has a distinct personality with a direct and fearless expression. He is self-confident and, with a certain reserve, does not generally make immediate friends. He is however approachable, quietly standing his ground. Any signs of a lack of confidence in the German Shepherd is not typical of the breed.

Physically, the German Shepherd gives an impression of strength, agility, and balance. He is considered to be a dog of mid-size, heavy enough to be effective as a herding dog or police dog, yet not so heavy as to be awkward. He should be well-muscled, alert and appear athletic and fit. There should also be a distinct difference in males and females whereby the dog is definitely masculine and the bitch, feminine.

The German Shepherd has a lustrous double coat with a varying amount of undercoat depending on the climate, season, and the amount of time the dog spends outdoors. The outercoat is dense, harsh, straight or may be slightly wavy, and lies close to the body. The coat colours come in a wide range but they should always be strong and rich without appearing washed-out.

The CKC and AKC Breed Standards fault a complete lack of undercoat, soft, silky or too long outercoat and a curly or open coat. In addition, both the CKC and AKC disqualify any white dog. The White German Shepherd Dog is still recognized and registered as a German Shepherd Dog under the AKC and CKC. However, because the colour white is a disqualification, they are not eligible to be shown in the conformation ring. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes the White Shepherd as a separate breed and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.) recognizes the breed as the "Berger Blanc Suisse." For further information about the White Shepherd Dog, see The White Shepherd Dog.

Health Issues

German Shepherd Dogs, as with other breeds, are susceptible to certain health problems, some of a genetic nature, others viral. If you are considering the adoption of a German Shepherd puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Additional Health Resources:

Only Natural Pet Store

Breed Standards

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

  • RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre
  • Schutzhund — The German Shepherd Dog is the most common breed involved in the sport of Schutzhund. Schutzhund training concentrates on obedience work, tracking and protection. This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes details on the sport as well as listings of Schutzhund clubs and associations.
  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
  • German Shepherd Handbook
  • CTS German Shepherd Dog The German Way - Basic Training, Conditioning And Handling DVD
    Published by Canine Training Systems; 1998 DVD Edition; Duration: 85 mins.
    How to show your German Shepherd successfully, including: the organization, procedure and strategy of an SV-style show.

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from

Additional Information

  • The White Shepherd Dog — While the White German Shepherd Dog is registered as a German Shepherd Dog by the Canadian Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club, the colour white is a disqualifying fault for the breed and, therefore, white German Shepherds are not able to compete in the show ring. The United Kennel Club and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale now recognize the White German Shepherd as a separate and distinct breed.
  • Before You Adopt a German Shepherd Puppy...Things You Need to Know
  • GSD Pedigree Database
  • The German Shepherd Dog Breed Betterment Registry — This Registry was created in an attempt to gather comprehensive health information which will enable breeders to make more informed breeding choices.
  • Canine Demine — Part of The Canadian Landmine Foundation — There are amazing dogs who save lives and help people whose land has been made useless because of landmines. Many different breeds of dogs are valued for police work, tracking, search and rescue, import inspections, assisting the disabled, and increasingly, for explosive detector work. For Canine Demine, the dog of choice is the noble German Shepherd. (external link)
  • Herding Dogs — A developing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website which includes training and general information about Herding/Stock Dogs; listing of Stock Dog Clubs and Associations; listing of upcoming shows and events; and more.
  • Schutzhund — The German Shepherd Dog is the most common breed involved in the sport of Schutzhund. Schutzhund training concentrates on obedience work, tracking and protection. This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes details on the sport as well as listings of Schutzhund clubs and associations.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More