A brief look at the German Shepherd

Jul 5 / Noah Wason McPhee
So what is a German Shepherd?

A German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a German breed of working dog that was first recognised as a breed in 1899, by breeding mixtures of herding dogs. Originally, German Shepherds were used for herding sheep however, now they are found assisting the disabled, in search and rescue, aiding the police, acting as guard dogs and being kept as pets. In the UK, you may hear German Shepherds being called Alsatians this is because after World War 1 Brits didn't feel comfortable calling them ‘German’ Shepherds due to the political implications after the war.  

Characteristics of GSD's? 

There are lots of different colours of German Shepherds however, most people will be able to recognise a German Shepherd form the iconic black and tan colouration. Shepherds were bred for their intelligence which is one of the reasons why they are used in public services such as the army and police force. They are also often utilised as assistance animals like guide dogs. They are also known for being protective of their family, loyal and hardworking. They make for great companion dogs and a brilliant choice for young families. 
What are the main medical conditions? 

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: German Shepherds have a known predisposition to Hip and Elbow dysplasia. This means that the hip joint of growing puppies grows abnormally because the joint is too loose around the ball and socket joint. Ultimately, this leads to the dog developing osteoarthritis in the joints. The dog will be in pain and can lead to a long term disability for the dog. 

Degenerative Myelopathy
: Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord resulting in hind limb weakness and paralysis. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. In the later stages of the disease progressive weakness and ataxia (wobbling and stumbling) is often observed. There is no affective treatment for DM therefore most people, sadly, end up having to euthanise their dog. 


The German Shepherd stands out as one of the best dog breeds, known for its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. Here’s why they make such amazing companions:
Intelligence: German Shepherds are highly intelligent and easy to train, excelling in obedience, agility, and various dog sports.
Loyalty and Protection: They are incredibly loyal to their families and make excellent guard dogs, always ready to protect their loved ones.
Versatility: Whether it’s search and rescue, police work, or being a loving family pet, German Shepherds adapt well to various roles.
Energy and Athleticism: They have plenty of energy and love to stay active, making them great for families who enjoy outdoor activities.
Companionship: German Shepherds are affectionate and form strong bonds with their owners, providing constant companionship and love.Choose a German Shepherd for a smart, loyal, and vers
tile addition to your family!