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Weekly Blog

Service Dog Breed Spotlight: German Shepherd

If you are an avid reader of our blog, you might know that we have done several posts spotlighting different breeds of dogs that make great service animals, from the Labrador and Golden Retriever to the poodle. This week we will spotlight the German Shepherd.

According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd is considered “dog kind’s finest all-purpose worker.” 

Where did German Shepherds come from?

German Shepherds are descendants of German herding dogs. In the 1800s, Captain Max Von Stephanitz, a cavalry officer, cross-bred German dogs to make what we now know as the German Shepherd.

Two of the breeds primarily used to create the German Shepherd were the Wurttemberg Sheep Dog, and the Swabian Service Dog. 

Von Stephanitz would spend 35 years refining this breed of German Shepherd and even started the world’s first club dedicated to German Shepherd dogs.

The German Shepherd became the 60th dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Society in 1908.

German Shepherd’s Personality

Most people already know that German Shepherds are highly intelligent animals.

But German Shepherds also have the following qualities:

  • Bond well
  • Obedient 
  • Easily trained
  • Hard workers
  • Highly intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Confident
  • Courageous
  • Protective 
  • Driven 
  • Ability to be in high-risk situations

German Shepherd Physical Characteristics

German Shepherds are a larger breed of dog that is strong and agile. They can weigh between 75-95 lbs. for male and females, respectively. They can stand as tall as 26” although females stand a little shorter compared to a male. Their coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, tan, sable, and bi-colors. 

Other German Shepherd's physical characteristics include:

  • Pointy ears
  • Double coat
  • Long bushy tail
  • Dark eyes

Do German Shepherds make good service dogs?

German Shepherds make great working dogs. You will see this breed in different roles such as police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, detective dogs, and of course, service animals. 

German Shepherds make good service animals for their size, intelligence and 

incredible work ethic. Their personality and temperament make them ideal service animals. 

However, there are some things to be aware of. German Shepherds sometimes get a reputation for being stand-offish, aggressive, or not friendly. But with most other dog breeds, this can be countered by early socialization and proper training. And just as with all service animals, each dog must be considered for their personality and temperament.

German Shepherds, as mentioned before, can make excellent service animals for mobility assistance due to not only their trainability but also their size. They are big and strong enough to pull or be used for steadying.

German Shepherds also have the capacity to be great psychiatric service animals because of their intelligence and trainability, but their need for daily exercise might not be for everyone. These factors all depend on the person and their specific needs.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are a breed that overall makes terrific working dogs, including service animals. However, it is important, as with most dogs, to properly train and socialize them. It is also important to take each individual dog’s personality and temperament into close consideration as well as each individual’s specific needs.

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