The History of German Shepherds

When compared to many of the other dog breeds that are currently available, the GSD history is still relatively new.

German cavalry officer Captain Max von Stephanitz created the German Shepherd Dog breed in 1899, solely based on his idea of the ideal working dog—a canine that could perform equally well in any situation.

A non-working canine had no appeal to him, and he was merciless in getting rid of anything he deemed weak. He built the foundations for the GSD anatomy, which would eventually make the breed the best all-around working dog in the world. He was tenacious and never gave up.

This is how the history of the German Shepherd Dog began. Max von Stephanitz created the German Shepherd dog, a new and unusual working dog breed, using a variety of German sheep dogs as his foundation stock.

He had a great deal of admiration for the German herding dogs and thought they had the potential to be the perfect all-around working dog. Max von Stephanitz was well aware of the historically dwindling demand for herding dogs and thought that unless the breed was used for other purposes, its working prowess would deteriorate.

Max von Stephanitz was an idealist with a strong mind and the resources to back up his ideas. He also had the will, motivation, and perseverance to see his ideas through to completion.

He thought of a herding dog as being exceedingly clever, active, of steady character, and possessing many of the physical characteristics of a wild dog, such as being swift on its feet, long of wind, and unaffected by the extremes of other breeds. He was close to starting the history of the GSD.

Herding dogs came in a range of forms, sizes, breeds, and skills prior to Horand. Like in other parts of the world, shepherds in Germany chose their dogs based only on their physical and mental fitness for work and paid little attention to the dogs’ appearance. Max von Stephanitz has some excellent theories regarding the mental, anatomical, and biomechanical qualities necessary for a herding dog.

The first dog show in Germany is quite likely when the GSD’s history began. When visiting the dog exhibition with his friend Artur Meyer, von Stephanitz noticed a medium-sized yellow-and-gray dog that looked like a wolf.

Von Stephanitz acquired Hektor Linksrheim right away, renaming him Horand von Grafrath.

Horand received the designation SV1 and became the first German Shepherd dog to be registered.

Weeks later, with the assistance of a few other co-founders, von Stephanitz and his friend Artur Meyer established the Verein für Deutsche Schaferhunde, or SV (German Shepherd Dog Club). The Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), a dog club, would go on to become the biggest dog breed club in the entire globe and a significant turning point in GSD history.

The mental stability and usefulness of the GSD breed gradually became its standards. “Utility and wisdom,” was the captain’s credo. If a dog lacked the intelligence, temperament, and structural efficiency that would make it a useful servant of man, in his opinion, it was worthless and beauty was secondary.

The German Shepherd Dog breed standard was created as a blueprint detailing the precise function and relationships of every aspect of structure, gait, and inherent attitude. It also included a thorough breeding regulation that mandated that dogs used for breeding must first demonstrate their value in both physical and mental terms.

A set of specific dog exams for tracking, formal obedience, and protection work were later devised with the assistance of the local police and working dog clubs. This evolved into the Schutzhund dog trials that are held today, which are a crucial component of the history of the GSD. The German Shepherd Dog worked during the war as supply carriers, sentinels, Red Cross dogs, courier dogs, tracking and guard dogs, to name a few of the many roles it was convinced to fill in various sectors of government.

Later on, with the help of the neighborhood police and working dog organizations, a set of specialized canine exams for tracking, formal obedience, and protective work was developed. This developed into the Schutzhund dog competitions that are held today and are an essential part of the GSD’s heritage. During the war, the German Shepherd Dog served in a variety of capacities across the government, including guard and tracking dogs, sentinels, Red Cross dogs, courier dogs, and supply carriers.

Following World War I, British and American soldiers who had been impressed by the German Shepherd Dog’s skills returned home with some of their own to breed. The breed of dog gained popularity very away, both as a household pet and a working dog. Following the war, interest in the history and canine breed of the GSD was rekindled by the movie stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart.

This breed has become a popular working and companion dog due to its startling excellent looks as well as its exceptional intelligence and loyalty. To fulfill the enormous demand, puppy factories quickly grew, flooding the American market with subpar “German police dogs,” which led to a decline in the breed’s popularity.

The German Shepherd Dog was in high demand and used by both Allied and Axis soldiers later in World War II. These canines carried out a variety of tasks, including mine detection, sentinels, guard duty, and messenger work. Dogs for Defense was established in America and has given the army tens of thousands of dogs.

Following World War II, the destinies of German and American German Shepherds parted apart. Due to a scarcity of food, several German Shepherd Dogs have been murdered or destroyed. Later, the breeders once more had dominating dogs that exhibited the ideal traits of the breed.

Around 1949, top-notch GSD specimens started to crop up at German dog shows once more. American breeders realized the necessity for some outcross blood in the 1950s, and Troll von Richterback, a 1957 Grand Victor, dominated his era.

Several powerful stud dog families began to develop in the 1960s. This was a crucial component of historically rebuilding the GSD. While American German Shepherd breeders were free to follow their own tastes, the SV maintained control over German-bred German Shepherds. Grand Victor, Lance of Fran-Jo, an American and Canadian shepherd, symbolized a new age in American shepherds and was widely utilized in the 1960s. Many of Lance’s GSD puppies went on to become historical figures in the American breed.

German Shepherd Dog (GSD) history shows that a thriving market quickly arose in Germany for GSDs and puppies sought after in nations including South America, Japan, Italy, numerous Scandinavian countries, and France. Additionally, the SV started to place an increasing amount of value on degrees in dog training. The SV forced breeders to focus on puppy and dog issue areas like missing teeth, poor croups, etc. as temperament and courage tests became much more difficult.

The German Shepherd breed has evolved differently in Germany and America, although sharing a same ancestor.
Closely bred dogs have been developed by both the Americans and the Germans. They differ in appearance, gait, style, and structure, and the breed has included both good and negative traits.

The American people have more freedom to follow their own ideologies and select their own lineages, whether they come from within or outside of the United States. The SV-controlled Germans will probably keep looking inside themselves to improve the breed.

The future will undoubtedly be very fascinating for the German Shepherd Dog breed, which is still regarded as one of the most intelligent and adaptable breeds in existence today. The GSD’s past has, in fact, been nothing short of intense.