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German Shepherd Breed Standard

German Shepherd Breed Standard

From the history of the breed: 
The systematic breeding of German Shepherd dogs began in Germany in 1899 with the aim to identify and to develop the best qualities of the breed. M.E.F. von Stefanitz found a dog named Horand von Grafrat, whom he deemed worthy to become the ancestor of the new breed. The dog had proportional body, temperament of a gentleman, a noble bearing and inexhaustible energy. 
German Shepherds were bred and descended from guardian dogs with the objective of creating a working dog predisposed to high performance. To reach this goal, the breed Standard of the German Shepherd Dog was determined with reference both to the body parameters as well as to the traits and characteristics. 
Country of origin: 
Germany. 
General appearance: 
German Shepherd is a medium-sized, slightly elongated, powerful and well-muscled dog, with dry bone and firm overall structure. 

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Height and Weight: 
Males: height at withers 23-25 inches (60-65 cm), weight 66-88 lb (30-40 kg). 
Females: height at withers 21-23 inches (55-60 cm), weight 48-70 lb (22-32 kg). 
The trunk length exceeds the dimension at the height at the withers by about 10 – 17 %. 
Coat: 
The German Shepherd Dog is bred in the hair varieties double coat and long and harsh outer coat – both with undercoat. 
Double coat: guard hair should be as dense as possible, particularly harsh and close fitting, short on the head, including the inside of the ears, short on the front side of the legs, paws and toes, some-what longer and more strongly covered in hair on the neck. On the back side of the legs the hair extends to the metacarpus or the hock; it forms moderate 'trousers' on the back side of the haunches. 
Long and harsh outer coat: guard hair should be long, soft and not close fitting, with tufts on the ears and legs, bushy trousers and bushy tail with downward formation of tuft. Short on the head, including the inside of the ears, on the front side of the legs, on the paws and toes, somewhat longer and more strongly present on the neck, almost forming a mane. On the back side of the legs the hair extends to the metacarpus joint or the hock and forms clear trousers on the back side of the haunches. 
Color: 
Colors are black with reddish-brown, brown and yellow to light grey markings; single-colored black, grey with darker shading, black saddle and mask. Unobtrusive, small white marks on chest as well as very light color on insides are permissible but not desirable. The tip of the nose must be black in all colors. Dogs with lack of mask, light to piercing eye color, as well as with light to whitish markings on the chest and the insides, pale nails and red tip of tail are considered to be lacking in pigmentation. The undercoat shows a light greyish tone. The color white is not allowed.

Head: 
The head is wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the body size (length about 40 % at the height at the withers), without being plump or too elongated, dry in the overall appearance and moderately broad between the ears. When viewed from the front and side, the forehead is only slightly arched and without any or with only a slightly indicated middle furrow. The ratio from the cranial region to the facial region is 50 % to 50 %. The width of the cranial region more or less corresponds to the length of the cranial region. The cranial region (seen from above) tapers evenly towards the nasal bridge with gradually sloping, not sharply depicted stop in the wedge-shaped facial region (foreface) of the head. Upper and lower jaws are powerfully developed. The nasal dorsum is straight, any dip or bulge is undesirable. The lips are taut, close fit and of dark coloring. 
Ears: 
The German Shepherd Dog has erect ears of medium size, which are carried upright and aligned (not drawn-in laterally); they are pointed and with the auricle directed forward. Tipped ears and drooping ears are faulty. Ears carried rearward when moving or in relaxed position are not faulty. 
Eyes: 
The eyes are of medium size, almond-shaped, slightly slanted and not protruding. The color of the eyes should be as dark as possible. Light, piercing eyes are undesirable since they impair the dog's impression. 

Neck: 
The neck should be strong, well-muscled and without loose neck skin (dewlap). The angulation towards the trunk (horizontal) amounts to approx. 45 %. 
Teeth: 
Must be strong and healthy, full dentition (42 teeth according to the dentition formula). The German Shepherd Dog has a scissor bite, i.e. tools must be adapted to each other like scissors, so that the maxillary incisors overlapped the lower jaw in a scissor fashion. Level bite, overshot or undershot are the defects as well as the large gaps between the teeth. The nonlinear arrangement of the incisors is also wrong. The jawbones must be strongly developed so that the teeth to be firmly inserted into the alveoli. 
Body:
The upper line runs from the base of the neck via the high, long withers and via the straight back towards the slightly sloping croup, without visible interruption. The back is moderately long, firm, strong and well-muscled. The loin is broad, short, strongly developed and well-muscled. The croup should be long and slightly sloping (approx 23° to the horizon) and the upper line should merge into the base of the tail without interruption. The chest should be moderately broad, the lower chest as long and pronounced as possible. The depth of the chest should amount to approx. 45 % to 48 % of the height at the withers. The ribs should feature a moderate curvature; a barrel-shaped chest is just as faulty as flat ribs. The tail extends at least to the hock but not beyond the middle of the hind pastern. It has slightly longer hair on the underside and is carried hanging downward in a gentle curve, whereby in a state of excitement and in motion it is raised and carried higher but not beyond the horizontal line. Operative corrections are forbidden. 

Limbs: 
Forequarters: 
The forelimbs are straight when seen from all sides, and absolutely parallel when seen from the front. Shoulder blade and upper arm are of equal length and firmly attached to the trunk by means of powerful musculature. The angulation from shoulder blade and upper arm is ideally 90° but generally up to 110°. The elbows may not be turned out either while standing or moving and also not pushed in. The forearms are straight when seen from all sides, and absolutely parallel to each other, dry and firmly muscled. The pastern has a length of approx. 1/3 of the forearm, and has an angle of about 20° to 22° to the forearm. A slanted pastern (more than 22°) as well as a steep pastern (less than 20°) impairs the suitability for work, particularly the stamina. The paws are rounded, well-closed and arched; the soles are hard but not brittle. The nails are strong and of dark colour. 
Hindquarters:
The position of hind legs is slightly backwards, whereby the hind limbs are parallel to each other when seen from the rear. Upper leg and lower leg are of approximately the same length and form an angle of approx. 120°; the legs are strong and well-muscled. The hocks are strongly developed and firm; the hind pastern stands vertically under the hock. The paws are closed, slightly arched; the pads are hard and of dark color; the nails are strong, arched and also of dark color. 

Attractive features: 
German Shepherd is a universal dog. It can be a perfect companion, guard, protective, detective, service and guard dog. He is successfully used in animal husbandry as a herding dog. The German Shepherd dog is used in the service in the army, the police, for the protection of the state borders more often than other dog breeds. A well-trained German Shepherd is indispensable in chasing criminals. Also used to support blind people. They become good friends for children. 

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