Are German Shepherds From Germany?

Exceedingly popular all throughout the globe, there are many different types of people who love German Shepherds for several reasons. Ranging from breed standard to their unique and versatile personalities, and even the ability to hold professional and highly respected jobs, it’s easy to see what all the hype is about.

When researching and learning about any breed of dog it is fairly normal to run into some questions you possibly haven’t thought about beforehand. How big do German Shepherds get? How long do they live? Are German Shepherds from Germany?

Are German Shepherds From Germany?

As the name applies, German Shepherds do come from Germany. Before they were popularized in other countries such as America, German Shepherds were bred as working and herding dogs with high mental and physical stamina in their country of origin. 

However, just because they originated from Germany does not mean that this breed is not widely available and accessible for prospective owners.

There are countless places to obtain a German Shepherd such as private breed specific rescues, public animal shelters and certified breeders that are available to the general public across the world.

German Shepherds can typically live to be anywhere from 9 to 13 years of age depending on their overall health, genetics and daily activity level. They have an average height of 22-26 inches and an average weight of 49-88 pounds, but this does vary between sexes.

They typically have an average coat length of about 2 inches and need to be groomed regularly to guarantee a beautiful and healthy coat. This breed is well known for having high energy levels which allows them to take on many professional roles in different industries.

In this article we’ll go into detail about German Shepherds and how they were created, the original purpose for their breeding, what they are used for now, and if they are working or herding dogs.

How Were German Shepherds Created?

These fascinating dogs were created by the crossbreeding of six different types of European working sheep dogs in rural Germany.

A man by the name of Max von Stephantiz created German Shepherds as we know them today  in the year 1899, and also developed the breed standards and guidelines that are still adhered to today.

He used his family’s extensive background in farming and military to aid in discovering exactly what traits would make the perfect breed for herding. Prior to his creation, Captain Max von Stephantiz was enlisted into Germany’s military, but always had a passion for farming and breeding dogs.

At one point in his life, he attended a college of veterinary medicine in his home country for a short time.

What Were German Shepherds Bred For?

As previously mentioned, German Shepherds were originally bred for guarding and herding sheep as well as other popular farm animals across rural Germany.

Schultz had one specific goal for breeding German Shepherds: to create an unmatched and highly useful German bred canine that could trot for very long distances and extended periods of time, which he ultimately accomplished with great success.

During this time German Shepherds were not seen as pets, they were regarded as employees beneath the humans who owned them.

They were bred to be very agile and have specific characteristics: strength, loyalty, intelligence, curiosity, and gentleness. Though, these characteristics are not promised to every single German Shepherd.

What Are German Shepherds Used For Now?

Today German Shepherds are used for many different purposes like medical support, personal protection and household companions.

Due to their high energy and inquisitive nature, it is not recommended to bring this breed into a home with small children. This does not mean that this breed is not good with kids, but it is always important to take caution! German Shepherds do best with owners well versed in obedience training.

There are countless pedigree and sport shows that purebred, AKC registered German Shepherds are able to compete in regularly as well. Common shows for this breed include experienced obedience courses and protection job sports.

German Shepherds in the medical field are trained to respond to different health conditions like heart disease, mental health problems, and seizures.

They are also helpful to people with mobility issues, and can be trained to perform multiple tasks like picking things up off the floor, opening and closing doors, alerting owners to visitors, retrieving items from various places, and guiding owners who have limited to no vision around public and private places.

Are German Shepherds Working Or Herding Dogs?

Farmers around the world still utilize German Shepherds daily for herding their animals, primarily to keep them away from valuable crops and busy roadways. Another way that these dogs are used on farms is sensing various weather patterns!

This breed is also a very popular choice for professional jobs such as: bomb and drug detection, search and rescue, disaster relief, tracking, agility, biological research and therapeutic positions.

They are particularly known in the US for their work with different police and security teams, and you can typically find German Shepherds working in airports, security checkpoints and police departments. So, technically this breed is regarded as both working and herding dogs.

In a broad sense there may be certain areas that specific German Shepherds are better suited for depending on factors like their temperament and results of breeding.

Developments in animal research may lead to even more roles and jobs being discovered that German Shepherds would be a great match for.


As we have learned, German Shepherds were created in Germany and are a very versatile breed with specific traits.

These dogs have characteristics that are perfect for multiple different jobs ranging from personal companionship, to highly trained protection positions with multiple security and police organizations. With their capabilities, It’s no wonder these dogs are commonly used for jobs that come with serious responsibility.

Are you interested in owning this breed? It is important to keep in mind that German Shepherds are classified as large breed dogs and need dedicated obedience training, large areas to run and roam, and consistent professional veterinary care.