What is a German Shepherd Dog?

image of black and tan Ges sniffing the ground

What is a German Shepherd Dog?

The German Shepherd Dog is a popular and versatile breed of dog that has been a beloved companion and working animal for over a century. Known for their intelligence, loyalty, and athleticism, German Shepherds are used in a variety of roles, including police and military work, search and rescue, therapy, and as family pets.

German Shepherds are large, muscular dogs with a distinctive appearance. They typically have a strong, athletic build, with a slightly sloping back and a wedge-shaped head. Their coat is thick and usually comes in black and tan, although other colour variations exist.

Image of a Black & tan German Shepherd Dog mid-run towards the camera with owner in background, slighlty blurred out of camera shot.

One of the defining characteristics of the German Shepherd breed is their intelligence. They are known for their ability to quickly learn and carry out complex tasks, which has made them a popular choice for police and military work. German Shepherds are also used in search and rescue operations, where their keen sense of smell and ability to navigate difficult terrain makes them a valuable asset.

Can German Shepherd Dogs make good family pets?

Despite their working heritage, German Shepherds can make excellent family pets when properly trained and socialized. They are fiercely loyal to their owners and are known for their protective nature, which makes them great watchdogs. However, their protective instincts can sometimes make them wary of strangers, so early and ongoing socialisation is important to ensure that they are friendly and well-behaved in all situations.

Black & tan German Shepherd stood in snow with a black toy in it's mouth looking towards the camera with what I describe as a playful look to it's whole demenor.

German Shepherds are a high-energy breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy activities such as jogging, hiking, and agility training, and they thrive in households where they have plenty of opportunities for physical and mental stimulation.

Overall, German Shepherds are a wonderful breed that make excellent working animals and loyal companions. Whether you’re looking for a partner for police or military work, a search and rescue dog, or simply a loving family pet, the German Shepherd is a breed that is sure to impress.

A Black & Tan German Shepherd dog  walking along a sand surface with it's nose to the ground sniffing as it goes along.
Original image from pexels.

Are German Shepherd Dogs easy to train?

German Shepherds have a reputation for being highly trainable, and they excel in obedience competitions and other dog sports. However, their intelligence and eagerness to please can sometimes lead to behaviour problems if they are not given enough mental and physical stimulation. Bored German Shepherds may resort to destructive behaviours, such as digging, chewing, and excessive barking.

A close up image of a Sable German shepherd puppy head camera shot close up as it's laid down on the grass, appearing to look forwards into the camera lense.

Proper socialisation and training are crucial for German Shepherds to become well-behaved and happy members of the family. Early socialisation with people, other dogs, and different environments can help prevent aggressive or fearful behaviour later in life. Obedience training is also important to teach them basic commands and manners.

Do German Shepherd Dogs get health issues?

German Shepherds are prone to certain health problems, including hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and skin allergies. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care can help minimize the risk of these issues.

Image of an older German shepherd dog laid down on a veterinary examination table being checked over by a Vet holding a stethascope to the Gsd's chest area.
Free to use stock photo.

If you are considering adding a German Shepherd to your family, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable breeder or rescue organisation. Adopting an adult German Shepherd from a rescue organisation can be a good option for those who have a bit more experience of owning large breed Dogs, who don’t want to deal with the challenges of puppyhood.


German Shepherds are a loyal and intelligent breed that have a long history of working alongside humans. They are versatile animals that excel in a variety of roles and make wonderful family pets when properly trained and socialised. With their striking appearance and impressive abilities, it’s easy to see why the German Shepherd remains one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Great reference points for the German Shepherd Dog Breed “Standards”?

View the German Shepherd Breed “Standards” by clicking on this link to

The Kennel Club UK.


BAGSD Ltd (British Association For German Shepherd Dogs Ltd)


thegermanshepherddog.co.uk does not provide veterinary advice, nor does it claim to be an alternative to seeking professional advice. All content is therefore for informational purposes only.

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