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Home Breed History of the German Shepherd Early Origins of the Breed

German Shepherd History | Breed Info, Facts, Description, Origins, Overview

The German Shepherd, also known as the Alsatian in England, is one of the most popular dogs for pet owners today. Its versatility – for the German Shepherd can be at once a fearsome, brave hunter and a loveable, mild-mannered companion – has made it a valuable breed of pet, known not only for its loyalty and strength but also for its keen intelligence and its capacity to form strong emotional attachments to its owner. The figure of the prototypical German Shepherd – with its sleek coat, pointed nose, and coffee-brown and black fur – is a relatively new one upon the world stage. While many dog breeds date back centuries or more, the German Shepherd as we know it today is the result of a concentrated effort to create the “ideal” shepherd dog – rooted in the nineteenth-century efforts of canine husbandry.

As the name itself suggests, the German Shepherd has its origins in the domesticated shepherd dogs of traditional rural Germany. These were not “pets” as we might understand them, but rather one link in the interlocking chain of farmyard relations; like cows, sheep, and horses, they were kept around not for companionship and warmth but for a purpose: to herd the flock of sheep on the farm. Such a relationship between dog and man had dominated canine-human relationships for centuries – since early nomadic man first began to capture and raise the wild dogs of the plains and engaged in a mutually beneficial understanding with them: the dogs received food, protection, and shelter from harsh conditions, while man in turn received help in the hunt, and oftentimes warnings of the approach of dangerous predations.

Additional subject matter relating to German Shepherd breed history, info, facts, descriptions, and origins of this world famous canine from Germany include the following:

  1. Nineteenth century developments, which were an important time for the breed.
  2. Max von Stephanitz and his influence on the German Shepherd breed along with his breeding traits and qualities.
  3. America vs. Europe divergence in the breed itself.
  4. Early breeding in the United States along with post-war breeding in Germany.

 

Sources:

1.“German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian) Breed Standard.” The American Kennel Club. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/136.

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