Interesting Facts About German Shepherds

15 Interesting Facts About German Shepherds

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Around the world German Shepherds are a worldwide favorite and one of the most popular dog breeds around. These fantastic pets are adored by dog owners alike for their loyal nature and kind spirits. When it comes to their variety of work roles, GSDs have a high intelligence and tough physique.

From all across the globe people are keen on having this beauty as their family pet and they are considered a handsome breed. They are available in lots of different shades along with long and short-haired variations.

Most people are aware of a GSDs physical attributes as well as some general information. But there are many interesting facts about German Shepherds of which people are often unaware. Below is our list of facts about these amazing canines.

1. They Have Multiple Names

One of the first interesting facts about German Shepherds is that they have multiple names. It is one of the few breeds whose official name actually includes the word dog. Its official (commonly used) name is German Shepherd dog. The reason that the word dog was included in this breed’s name is because it distinguishes the canines from humans who work as Shepherds in Germany.

However, there are many other names by which it is called. It is called a Deutscher Shaferhund in Germany (the country of its origin). This is the German translation of “German Shepherd Dog.” It was given this name by the original creator Max von Stephanitz in the 1800’s. This name was derived from its job of helping shepherds herd their sheep and protect them.

At the conclusion of World War I the name was changed to Alsatian Wolf Dog by the UK Kennel Club. Britain did not want the name to relate in any way to Germany thus changing the name. This name was official until 1977 when it was finally reverted back to the original.

Yet another name by which it is known at times is the Le Berger Allemand. This is the French translation of German Shepherd.

For the millions of dog owners living in the United States, each owner has their own favorite breed. The German Shepherd in fact ranks third as the most popular dog breed in the US. This is because the are very diverse, beautiful, and loyal animals. Since they are able to work in a variety of capacities they have become a popular family canine.

Examples of this include: Guard dogs, show dogs, performing dogs, and dogs that either serve in the military or police force. The combination of this breed as pets but also working dogs accounts for the high numbers living in the United States.

3. First Dog Ever to Help the Blind

German Shepherd Guiding Blind Man

It is common for canines to aid those who have a visual impairment. Guide dogs are used as a means to help manage the daily lives of people who may have failure in their vision or have been unfortunate enough to loose it completely. Not only do the dogs help to guide them around their houses but also the outdoors.

Though many different breeds are used for these tasks, it is a canine role more associated with Retrievers and Labradors. However, the first dog used to help the blind was actually the GSD.

In 1929 ‘The Seeing eye‘ was brilliantly founded by a women named Mrs. Harrison Eustis. The foundation was formed to help dogs train the visually impaired. Actually, the first dogs they trained there were German Shepherds.

A man named Morris Frank had read about man who had been blinded during WWI. He was blind himself and he came across information about the dogs being trained in Switzerland. He even contacted Mrs. Eustis about having one of these dogs for himself.

Tests have shown that the disposition of Retrievers and Labradors is better suited for guiding the blind. Because of this German Shepherds are now used at a lesser extent in work as guide dogs. GSDs have since transitioned to working more in the police department as police dogs.

4. One of the Earliest German Shepherds to Star in movies was Strongheart

When it comes to starring in Hollywood movies: GSDs have been there done that. One of the very first German Shepherds known to reach the heights of fame was Strongheart who first appeared on screen in 1921. He was bred by a private breeder in Germany back in 1917. His registered name was Etzel von Oeringen.

Laurence Timble (a well known director) could see this dogs potential for films. He even ended up persuading his screenwriter Jane Murfin to buy him. Later, it was given the name Strongheart.

He could been seen in four films written by Jane Murfin. These included: his film debut in the 1921 outdoor adventure film ‘The Silent Call’, ‘Brawn of the North’ in 1921, ‘The Love Master in 1924’, and finally White Fang’ in 1925.

5. German Shepherds are Ranked Third For Most Intelligent Breed

This is one of the most impressive and interesting facts about German Shepherds. If there is one trait this gorgeous breed is known for it is their intelligence. This breed in fact, according to canine experts and scientists, is the third most intelligent breed.

Stanley Coren gave this ranking in the book called ‘The Intelligence of Dogs‘. The only two breeds known to be smarter than the German Shepherd are Poodles and Border Collies.

According to Coren, German Shepherds will learn an easy task after only five repetitions. They will also usually obey a command given to them 95% of the time.

It is because of their intelligence that they have become such popular working dogs and great pets.

6. This Breed has a Variety of Colors and Five Different Coat Types

Apart from its traditional color which is brown and black that humans are used to seeing, this handsome breed has an assortment of colors. Some of which include black and silver, black and tan, red and black, and even grey. The rarest color of German Shepherd is the liver color.

Since the beginning of the breed in Germany (year 1899), their five varieties are as follows: Black, Sable, White, Panda, and Saddle Coat.

7. There are Many Breeds that Come From the German Shepherd Lineage

White Swiss Shepherd

German Shepherds have been crossbred with many other dogs as well as wolves in order to create a variety of breeds, over the years. Here are a few of the following cross breeds: The White Swiss Shepherd, King Shepherd, Shiloh Shepherd, Czechoslovakian Vlcak, and The East-European Shepherd.

8. They Are a 20th Century Breed of Dog

Here is an interesting fact that you may find very surprising. Despite their current popularity, that is only increasing, this breed has only been around for a little more than a century.

This is how it all started: A German dog breeder and army man Max von Stephanitz went to the Karlsruhe Dog Show which was held in Western Germany. This was on the eve of the 20th century, in 1889. At this event, he was intrigued by a gorgeous, “medium-sized yellow-and-gray wolf-like dog” whose name was Hektor Linksrhein.

Since Max was a breeder of shepherding dogs, he had a sharp eye and knew just what positive traits he was looking for. It only took a few minutes of interacting with Hektor and Stephanitz knew that he wanted him.

Credit: According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America:

Hektor was the perfect example of a primal, canine type. He proved to be quite powerful and supple. He also possessed admirable traits such as having steadiness, endurance, and intelligence. This amazing canine required no training besides finish and direction during a given task as he was a working sheepherder. He was truly flawless in his work ethics.

9. Pack A Powerful Bite

An animals bite is measured in PSI (aka pounds per square inch). This is the force of a creature’s bite. There was a recent report from Tail and Fur that said a gray wolf can bite with a PSI of 406. And also that a tiger shark has a bite force of 325. But the bite of a German Shepherd is very powerful as well. Their PSI is around 238.

10. An Interesting Breed: The Panda Shepherd

Panda German Shepherd Dog

Their are all types of Shepherds with a variety of colors and coats.

A very unique Shepherd known as the Panda Shepherd is a bit different.

It features a unique coloring that is known as piebald. This shade only occurs in a single GSD bloodline.

A large portion of the Panda coloring is tan and black, but 35% is white.

This dog is also sometimes referred to as the tricolor German Shepherd.

11. Lifespan

The average lifespan of this dog breed is close to eleven years. This can vary depending on the heritage and several other factors including diet and exercise.

There are many different ways that you can increase their lifespan. Feeding your dog a lean diet and brushing their teeth daily are two great tips to get you started.

12. German Shepherds are Quite Large in Size

German Shepherds are impressive in size and over the years they pack on a lot of muscle mass. So it is not a mystery that they are both large and powerful dogs. Their height range goes from 22 to 26 inches and they weigh around 50 to 90 pounds. Females our on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to weight.

This breed needs to be socially trained properly for the safety of other strangers that they may encounter. Because of their guardian instinct, this strong breed can easily throw an adult male to the ground if feeling threatened.

13. Super Protective

German Shepherds are very protective and can be a bit standoffish with strangers at times. They can belt out a very vicious sounding bark if they need to. This usually occurs whenever someone knocks at a door.

GSD’s are known to not hesitate when protecting the members of their pack. This is specifically true when it comes to children. This is why they are sought after by so many as guard dogs. They excel in the field of protection and will put their life on the line to protect their owner and family.

14. A Sport Was Created For The Breed

The sport of Schutzhund Training, which translates to “protection dog”, was developed during the early 1900’s in Germany. It was used as a tool to train and test German Shepherds in three main areas of protection.

Other breeds can compete but GSD’s dominate the competition making it hard for other dogs to take first. The sport, known as IGP is highly competitive and holds annual National competitions to determine the top Schutzhund Training dogs in the world.

15. A Wonderful Known Hero

Hero German Shepherd

If you were to look up many heroic tales involving GSDs, you would learn that their are in fact many. The list goes on and on for the amount of heroes of this breed there are. Just a few are listed as follows:

Filax of Lewanno

One of these stories is of Filax of Lewanno. In 1917 at Westminster he was honored greatly for bringing 54 wounded soldiers to safety after World War One.


The Yugoslav Statesman Josip Broz Tito was saved after Luke sacrificed his life in doing so.

June 1943 – Found in a very dangerous situation by a bomb that fell nearby during “The Battle of the Sutjeska”, the commander of Yugoslav partisans, later to become the Yugoslav communist statesman Josip Broz Tito, was saved by his German Shepherd Dog Luke, by sacrificing his life. The story was only revealed in a post-war report. Article – Top Ten Heroic German Shepherds


Another hero was Jade, a female GSD. She saved an abandoned girl’s life by finding her in a park bush in November, 2013. What this Shepherd did warms everyone’s hearts. Jade had been on a walk (off a lead) with her owner named Roger at the park when she all of a sudden warns her owner. She leads him in the direction of the bush, sensing the child.

Roger is shocked when he notices the little baby who is crying, as if asking for help. The second he realizes a baby is there he contacts the police. When they arrive they take the baby who has only been alive for less then twenty four hours to the hospital. There she is given all the treatment she needs to conquer death and to live her fullest life.


Lastly, a German Shepherd named Bear saves his owner’s life as she suffers from seizures disease in May 2011. The Texas GSD was awarded the National Hero Dog for his quick thinking in saving his owner Debbie’s life. She suffered from “seizures disease”. That was caused due to a traumatic horse racing accident.

This condition is caused by abnormal electrical activity which unfortunately causes uncontrolled and rapid shakes of the body. And in rare cases lead to an epilepsy. Bear is very helpful when it comes to taking care of Debbie. He will lean on her legs so that she will not fall over when sitting down. He is very good at taking care of her all the time and even knows how to get her regular medicine.

But this is another story that will touch your heart. Debbie was moving to go outside even though Bear tried to stop her because he could sense the upcoming seizure. But she did not listen to his warnings. So because of this she ended up having a seizure right in the front of her house, falling unconscious. When Bear saw her owner risking her life he went to doors trying to warn neighbors. But fortunately a Park County animal control office recognized the dog’s warnings and so he ran out there and saved her life.


Hopefully now you have learned many interesting facts about German Shepherds. Not only are they brilliant and help save lives by working in the police force but they are aid dogs as well, helping with the disabled and those in need of assistance. From their multi colored coats, overall beauty and kind personality, they are a great dog to have around and to love. And the best part-they will love you right back.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Do you have any cool or interesting facts about German Shepherds that you would like to share with us? Let us know! We would love to hear about them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *