The German Shepherd Dog
Photos, Pictures, Breed History

German Shepherd puppies

German Shepherd Puppies with Pictures, History, and Breed Information. AKC White Shepherd Dogs and Puppies


Without question, the German-Shepherd Dog's temperament and intelligence has earned it an international fan club. Its affable, easy-going nature gives way to a strong protective instinct when provoked. People close to the breed frequently claim that German Shepherds know right from wrong and that a well-trained GSD is the best roommate you could ask for.

Characterized by a direct and fearless expression, Shepherds never appears hostile, but instead appears self-confident, with a certain aloofness. While maintaining this aloofness, the German Shepherd must be approachable, quietly standing his ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without making them himself.

The traits of keen intelligence and trainability have made the German Shepherd arguably the most versatile breed in history. In addition to their traditional roles as police and herding dogs, the breed has encountered success in many areas including watchdog, leader of the blind, tracking, rescue, scent identification, agility, obedience, guardian, and of course companion. He is poised and calm, but when the occasion presents itself he can be alert and startling.


Purebred dogs are measured against a breed standard of perfection, a written description of what the ideal specimen should look like. Each dog-registering organization has its own set of standards, one for each of the breeds it recognizes; however, these standards may vary, in the way they are worded, from registry to registry and from country to country.

German Shepherd Dog


The AKC breed standard is eloquent and detailed in its description of the ideal dog. It reflects the Shepherd's utility as a guardian and a working dog. An ideal Shepherd Dog is lively and alert; his body is well-muscled, agile, and powerful. This well-balanced dog is usually longer than he is tall and deep-bodied. He looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression of muscular fitness whether at rest or in motion. He also appears nimble and never clumsy or flabby. Although difficult to define, the German Shepherds’ look of nobility is unmistakable when present.

Cute Puppies

GSD's measure 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, bitches measure between 22 and 24 inches. The correct proportion is 10-to-8 ½ (length-to-height), forming a body that is "slightly elongated, strong and well-muscled. The bone is clean and general construction is firm.

The whole body gives the impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness. The AKC standard defines the German-Shepherd chest as deep and capacious, never shallow, with ample room for lungs and heart.

The rib cage is "well-sprung and long, neither barrel-shaped nor too flat. The correct rib layout allows the dog's elbows to move freely when the dog trots. The loin is relatively short with only a slight tuck up, and the stomach is flat and firm.

As with any working breed, the shoulder blades are long and well-laid-back. The shoulder blade and the upper arm are well-muscled, leading to straight forelegs. The front legs from all sides are straight and strong with oval rather than round bone. The pasterns are strong and springy, angulated at 25 degrees from the vertical. The GSD feet are short and compact, with well-arched toes; thick, firm foot pads; and short, dark nails.

Show Dogs


Strong without coarseness, the head is noble and cleanly chiseled. The muzzle is long and strong with the lips firmly fitted; the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop. The GSD muzzle is straight in profile, with a predominantly black nose. A clean scissor bite is vital to a Shepherd, allowing its teeth to be strongly embedded. The strongly developed jaw should carry 42 teeth, 20 upper and 22 lower. The eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The darkness of the eyes gives the breed a keen and intelligent expression.

The medium-sized ears taper to a moderate point and are carried erect unless the dog is moving or in repose. The ears should be as straight as possible, with the ideal ears, viewed from the front, showing parallel straight centerlines that are perpendicular to the ground.

From the head, the GSD standard calls for a strong, relatively long neck that ties into the topline of the back at the dog's withers, which are higher than the back. The withers slope down in a smooth line to a straight back, with neither a sag nor roach in profile, and into a long, gradually sloping croup (buttocks).

The topline ends in a gently curved tail. The German Shepherd's bushy tail reaches at least to the dog's hocks, hanging in a gentle curve. Even when in motion, the tail is never to be held above horizontal, but it may curl more tightly.

The dog's back and topline are vital to the smooth trotting ability and strength of the German Shepherd. The standard emphasizes, "The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip or roach…the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters.

German Shepherd Anatomy

Because the German Shepherd Anatomy was intended to cover lots of ground, gait and its way of going are important. The AKC standard devotes more attention to this area than to any other. "The gait is out-reaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with a minimum of steps. At a walk, it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot, the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride ... the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine.

All the German Shepherd's power to run, jump and climb comes from its hindquarters, which makes them vitally important to the dog's conformation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful forward thrust that slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow-through.

The angulation of the dog's hind limbs, therefore, directly affects the quality of its gait. The broad upper and lower thighs should be strong and well-muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle.

The ideal German Shepherd Dog has a double coat of medium length. The top coat is dense and harsh, covering a light gray undercoat, which should not be visible through the top coat. The dog's hair is slightly longer and coarser on its neck and the back- sides of its legs.

White German Shepherd

The White German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dogs with white coats are not accepted by many kennel clubs, particularly the AKC. Despite this, the snowy shepherd has a worldwide following that is pushing to have it recognized as a separate breed or as a viable color for the GSD. There are two clubs in North America that promote the White German Shepherd.

The White German Shepherd Dog Club International Inc. was formed under the name the National Club for the White GSD, according advancement of the White German Shepherd Dog, in 1964 in Sacramento, California, to protect and further the interests of the dog. In 1977, the club changed its name to the White German Shepherd Dog Club International Inc., and today nearly 20 local chapters exist.

The American White Shepherd Association, founded in 1994, works for full acceptance of the White Shepherd as a separate and distinct breed in all major kennel clubs and registries. It currently has nine regional clubs in the United States and Canada.

At press time, the AWSA had successfully petitioned the UKC to grant the White Shepherd full status as of January 1, 1999.

The white GSD has nearly the same standard as the regular GSD, except, of course, for the color. In addition, to differentiate the dog from an albino, a White German Shepherd should have dark eyes and black lips, eyelids, foot-pads and nose, with dark nails. Black, blue or gray skin is desirable.

White supposedly adversely affects a dog's working abilities. A white dog blends in with sheep or goats, lessening its visibility and herding effectiveness. Also, a white coat stands out against a grassy or brushy hillside, making the dog an easy target for prey animals.

Dog Breeds

German Shepherd Dog History

Derived from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, and associated for centuries with man as servant and companion, the German Shepherd Dog has been subject to intensive development. Sponsored by the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, the parent club of the breed founded in 1899 in Germany, the cult of the Shepherd spread rapidly from about 1914 onward in many parts of the world. Interest in the breed has been fostered by specialty clubs in many lands as it has been in the United States by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

German Shepherd Puppy

German Shepherd Puppy

Considering first the more important side of the dog, its character, the Shepherd is distinguished for loyalty, courage, and the ability to assimilate and retain training for a number of special services. He should be of equable disposition, poised, unexcitable, and with well-controlled nerves. For his typical work as a herding sheepdog, he must not be gun-shy and must have courage to protect his flock from attacks, either animal or human. For his work as a police dog, a development which followed upon his natural aptitude for training, he must have this courage and in addition must be able to make use of the excellent nose which he usually possesses. In his work as a leader of the blind, the Shepherd must and does exhibit a high order of intelligence and discrimination involving the qualities of observation, patience, faithful watchfulness, and even, to a certain degree, the exercise of judgment.

German Shepherd Puppies

These qualities, which have endeared the German Shepherd Dog to a wide public in practically every country of the globe, are those of the companion, protector, and friend. The German Shepherd is not a pugnacious brawler, but a bold and punishing fighter if need be. In his relation to man he does not give affection lightly; he has plenty of dignity and some suspicion of strangers, but his friendship, once given, is given for life.

On the physical side, the German Shepherd Dog has been developed to a point of almost ideal fitness for the work he is called upon to do. He is a dog of middle size with enough weight to be effective as herder or patrolman, but not enough to be cumbersome or unwieldy.

The impression of the dog as a whole is one of ruggedness combined with nobility, of power combined with agility. There should be a sense of balance, forequarters and hindquarters compensating each other in their development. The outline should be smooth and flowing, and the topline of the dog, from the ear to the tip of the full tail, a single sweeping succession of unbroken curves. The German Shepherd Dog is a natural dog, unchanged for any whim of the show ring.

Police and Military Dog

Buying German Shepherds for sale

Testing and Choosing German Shepherd Puppies

Don't let the PUPPY choose YOU

You may have been advised by well-meaning friends to let a puppy choose YOU, i.e. the one who comes to you first or seems to like you the most. This usually results in all the bold and pushy puppies (who are often difficult to raise ) being sold first, while the gentle puppies (who usually make calmer pets) wait politely in the background.

When buying German Shepherd Puppies , most families make a mistake by letting the most brash, forceful puppies choose them. Sure, these little dynamos are a blast to play with for an hour at the breeder's. But they can drive you crazy if you have to live with them 24 hours a day.

A German Shepherd puppy can love you without being suited to you all -- and a puppy can be perfectly suited to you without launching himself immediately into your lap. Give each puppy a fair evaluation.

Evaluate the litter as a whole before buying

Your first look before buying a German Shepherd Puppy should be at the litter as a group. If there are four puppies for sale and three of them are running away or staying at arm's length or woofing suspiciously at you, I'm sorry to say your visit is over.

No, you shouldn't buy the fourth puppy for sale. The chances are too great that shyness or distrustfulness is in his genes, too, and simply hasn't caught up to him yet. And don't let a selling breeder laugh off his puppies' timidity with assurances of, "Oh, they just haven't been handled much." Lack of socialization means laziness or ignorance on the part of the selling breeder. You do not want to buy a puppy from a lazy or ignorant breeder. If he can't even socialize properly, who knows what else he screwed up?

German Shepherd Puppies that hide or tuck their tails or shrink away from you are not safe choices as pets. Don't try to convince yourself that after the sale you can "bring them out of their shell." You don't know what's going on in these puppies' genes. Shy puppies for sale usually become shy dogs who may snap defensively at anything that startles them.

If the litter for sale isn't running away, what should they be doing? Normal German Shepherd Puppies are friendly, curious, trusting. They mill around your feet, tug at your shoelaces, crawl into your lap, and nibble on your fingers.

German Shepherd Pups

German Shepherd Pups

After a while, they may stop playing with you and begin wrestling with one another. You can tell a lot about the individual puppies for sale by the way they interact with their littermates.

Which ones are strong, outgoing, bossy, and noisy?
Which ones are quiet, submissive, and gentle?
Which ones grab all the toys and win the tugs-of-war?
Which ones seem delicate or picked on?

Most families do best with a Shepherd pup that is neither boss of the litter nor lowest on the totem pole. Look for good-natured, middle-of-the-road pups who don't growl or grab or bite, but who do join in and hold their own.

Clap your hands gently, snap your fingers, jingle your car keys, shuffle your feet, whistle softly, and cluck your tongue.
Which pups are interested?
Which ones come over to investigate?
Which ones are apprehensive?

You want an alert and confident puppy. A nervous puppy that is afraid of sudden sounds or quick movements will not do well in a busy household. A puppy that is completely oblivious may be too dull, too independent, or unhealthy.

Evaluate individual German Shepherd Puppies that are for sale

German Shepherds for sale

German Sheperd Litter for Sale

Next, ask the breeder if you can see each puppy that is available for sale, individually. Ask him to remove the other pups.

You want to see how each puppy reacts when he is away from his littermates. Sometimes a puppy that seems bold when "his friends are backing him up" will become uncertain or anxious on his own. Or sometimes an energetic puppy will calm down when not being egged on by the others; given your undivided attention, he may become quite the lap-sitter.

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