German Shepherd Dog 101: Breed Information, Traits, Facts & Pictures

German Shepherds are herding dogs. They were originally bred to herd flocks of sheep and goats. Although this dog’s name sounds like ‘SHEPARD’, the correct spelling is ‘SHEPHERD’. Notice the word ‘herd’ in his name. German Shepherd Dogs love to herd.

These days German Shepherds can work as guide dogs for the blind, search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and even herding dogs as they did in the past. Many people like to teach their German Shepherds to pull carts, and to herd sheep. Some German Shepherds also make wonderful therapy dogs who visit sick and elderly people.

German Shepherds are very intelligent and faithful. Faithful means they will be your best friend.

Colors and Size

German Shepherds can grow up to 26 inches tall and weigh between 65-100 pounds. Males are bigger than females.

German Shepherds come in shades of black and tan. These large dogs have medium length, thick hair, and they do shed. They have a double coat which makes it even thicker. The outer coat is usually very thick, straight, and flat against the dog’s body.

German Shepherds need lots of brushing. Brushing will help keep the shedding under control. If hair comes out in the brush, it won’t be on your floor! German Shepherds need to be bathed and brushed regularly.


German Shepherds need exercise quite often. Exercise will keep your dog’s heart strong so that he lives for a long time. It would be a good thing to walk your dog once or twice everyday even if he has a large yard. It’s very healthy for him to get out and move his muscles. Even if you have a yard, it’s important to go for long walks.

German Shepherds enjoy hide and seek, fetch, games, and other activities like swimming, fly-ball, agility, tracking, obedience, herding, and conformation.

A German Shepherd likes to lay around the house with his family. It would be very good for you to take your German Shepherd out for walks so he gets his exercise and doesn’t get bored.


German Shepherds are self-confident, which means they are usually not afraid of things, and alert, which means they notice things around them. This makes them pretty good watchdogs.

German Shepherds like to take their time getting to know people, so children and adults shouldn’t just run up into the shepherd’s face when first meeting your dog. A German Shepherd likes to get to know people gradually (slowly).


German Shepherds have very strong muscles. It is important that your dog start learning his manners in obedience classes when he is young. As he grows, he will get stronger and it will be more difficult for you to train him, especially if he picks up bad habits.


A German Shepherd might take a little while to get to know new people. He might be waiting until he can trust them. Because of this, it is a good idea to socialize your dog.

By taking your dog out to many different places when he is still young, he will experience new sounds and see new things, and learn to trust people sooner.


It’s a good idea to play gentle games with your German Shepherd puppy. Don’t play teasing games or tug-of-war games when they are young because, like all dogs, they can make your dog more aggressive.

As your dog gets larger, he won’t know how to calm down if he is used to playing roughly.

Treat him with gentleness and kindness and you will have a gentle and wonderful pet.

Fabulous Dog Facts

Kids and their German Shepherds:

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner

“I have a German Shepherd called Jade.She is nearly one year old. She loves going for long walks and chasing the birds and squirrels. Jade also loves to chew anything that you leave on the floor. Jade loves to play with other dogs especially our other dog, Blue. He’sa Border Terrier.” Anonymous, age 9, Wirral England

“I Have a German Shepherd. Named as Blacke, he is the best friend of mine. He wakes me up by giving a big kiss to my whole face.I love him more than myself and he protects me from all dangers.I love my Blacke.” Anonymous, age 18, India

“Just last summer I let him loose,and we have cows in the back of my house. Well guess what, he herded them in a group and then he came back to me, and sat down right next to me. Oh and his name is Buddy.” Chris, age 11, Louisiana USA

“My dog’s name was Scooby, like Scooby Doo. He was about five months old. In December 1999, we had to put our dog down, because he was very sick. We miss him very much. In his short life, we came to love and enjoy him. He use to come and pick me up from school. When he saw me, he would wag his tail and jump up and down. We miss him a lot!” Emily, age 8, Arizona USA

“I got my new dog as a early Christmas present. I named her Angel. She is the coolest in the world!” Jo Jo, age 10, Canada

“He’s funny. His name is Cojoe.” Sarica, age 14, Michigan USA

“I have a dog, Shadow, who is 3 years old. He is part shepherd and part crazy! He has huge claws. He ripped up our yard and made a trail of his own. He eats anything, including tin cans, my ant farm,
my bug catcher, paper bags — you name it, he eats it! There’s one thing I like about him: He is a very good watchdog and he is very cute!” Tony and Juliana, ages 9 and 6, Florida USA

“My dog is ten weeks old and is called Dinna. I sometimes call her Dynamite because of her explosive energy. I love Dinna very much 🙂 and enjoy playing with her everyday. She loves to play with her toys
and everything that moves.” Geoffrey, age 11, Jutland, Denmark

“I have a three year old German Shepherd and she loves trying to catch birds and flies. It’s so funny. I walk her every day but on the weekends we take Sheba up to a canyon by my house
and let her run out her energy. I love my dog.” Jennifer, age 13, California USA

“I have a six month old German Shepherd puppy named Sarge. He is very hyper and loves food. His favorite toy is his pink bunny and his jolly ball. He loves me and follows me everywhere. He
doesn’t let me of his sight! He loves to play. He sleeps in his kennel in my room, and wakes me up every morning with kisses! :-)” Amy, age 14, Colorado USA

“I have a dog named Niki and she is a German Shepherd Dog. She is intelligent and funny at times. In the summertime she loves her pool. But she also makes a great protector. She is my best friend.” Anonymous, age 15, Wisconsin USA

“I like my dog. His name is Rasco and he likes to guard my home and especially me. He is my favorite. I love him so much.” Darwin, age 15, Arizona USA

“He’s awesome!” Anonymous, age 13, Huntingdon Valley

“I have a female black and silver Shepherd named Reba.I also had a silver tiger striped kitten named Silver. One day my mom and I saw Reba letting Silver nurse on her! We thought it was very funny. Reba has never had any puppies. It was the funniest thing we ever saw. I wanted to get the video camera and film it but we couldn’t find it. By the time we found a regular camera, they had stopped.” Anonymous, age 10, Florida USA

“My dog, Brin (German Shepherd), is the greatest! My family got her when she was six weeks old. She is black and tan. She is seven months now! Ever since I got her my life has been full of excitement. Everyday my dog gets bigger and learns new things. She makes sure my whole family is in her sight. If one of us is missing, she looks all over the house and in the backyard.” Ashley, Age 12, Pennsylvania USA

“I have two German Shepherds named Major and Sarge. They are like human beings, very smart. Major loves to dig. Sarge, on the other hand, just loves to be loved. Major will fetch the newspaper and Sarge will sometimes.They are my best friends in the world:):):):)” Joel, age 12, Georgia USA

“I have a purebred German Shepherd named Brooke. She is black and tan, and very soft! She loves people, and adores kids! She is very friendly, and also very smart. I love her so much!” Anonymous, age 10, California USA

“My German Shepherd is a female and is the color black and tan! Her name is Princes! When I first got my dog, Princes, I think I was three and Princes and I grew up together! So she is going to be eleven or ten years old and she still acts as if she is only a pup. She is very scared of water and she just hates bees!
And if you have a German Shepherd that hates water, please (write to this page and tell us) . I love you Princess.” Roxanna, age 10, Texas USA

“Our dog, Rod, was very friendly, but if I played rough with my Uncle, he would bite me. He was very protective of his family. He loved to play ball and was very energetic, like me! It took a lot to wear him out. He was hard to walk because he was so big. He passed away in December and we miss him very much.” Spencer, age 11, South Carolina USA

“My German Shepherd is the most active of all of my dogs. I have three dogs all together and one cat. My German Shepherd’s name is Hera, and she is one year old. She loves to play around and jumping around everywhere.” Valerie, age 12, Texas USA

“I had a German Shepherd but he died. But his name was Zorro and he was the best dog I ever had.” Rebekah, age 8, Connecticut USA

“Duster (German Shepherd) is one of my best dogs I’ve ever had. He’s always there to play rain or shine . He’s good to train and obeys every command. He’s my best friend.” Dallas, Age 12, British Columbia, Canada

“I love my dog, Junior Robert (German Shepherd), so much! I just got him on the 23rd of May. I love my dog so much that I even wrote a story about him in class. My dog is 13 weeks old today,June 6, 1999. His birthday is March 14, 1999. He is a puppy. I love my dog.” Courtney, Age 9, Washington U.S.A.

“Hi. I’m EmmaLouise. I have a purebred German Shepherd and she is called Molly. She is 3 years old. When Molly is playing, she runs around the house and because we have a mat on the floor, she runs on it and spins it around. It is so funny! Molly is so cute!” EmmaLouise, Age 13, Perth, Western Australia

“I like my dog, Leonardo (Shepherd), because he is friendly. He is special because he was born on Easter. I like to walk him especially.” Whittney, Age 10, Illinois USA

“I have a dog named Lucky. He is a German Shepherd. His birthday is January 24th,1994. He is a very funny and weird. Sometimes he starts rubbing against something soft and nudges it! But he is very cute. He is very friendly. If someone he has never met comes out to the backyard, Lucky will jump on them and lick them.” Tracy, Age 9, California USA

“My dog, Toby (German Shepherd), does not bite. He is nice to people he meets.:o)” Alisa, Age 8, Oregon USA

“Our dog, Toby (German Shepherd), drags me all over the house. He even drags me downstairs. He bites my feet and drags me.” Alisa And Trisha, Ages 8 and 10


There are many German Shepherds around the country without homes. Have your parents call a German Shepherd rescue to adopt a warm, loving dog just waiting for a home. You’ll be doing a good thing.

Some Famous German Shepherds

  • Rin Tin Tin, dogs who starred in the classic TV shows and movies
  • Clipper, U.S. First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy’s dog
  • Buddy, the first Seeing Eye Guide Dog and owned by Morris Frank
  • Strongheart, star of movies, including a 1925 movie, White Fang
  • Gandalf, a search and rescue dog who found a missing boy scout in 2007
  • Orso, owned by US General Norman Schwarzkopf
  • Ork, owned by singer/songwriter, Amy Grant
  • Blondi, Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd