What do you picture when you think of a German Shepherd? A vest-wearing police dog taking down a bad guy? Or maybe you envision them patrolling a military base?
German Shepherd Dogs have become synonymous with protection and make excellent guard dogs—but did you know German Shepherds weren’t always protection dogs?
The versatile German Shepherd is actually a working dog capable of performing many different jobs (including protection and guard work).
In this article, we’ll be highlighting this special breed’s many accomplishments as a protection dog. But we’ll also identify some other factors that make the German Shepherd one-of-a-kind.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
German Shepherd Protection Dogs: Not Always A Guard Dog?
The American Kennel Club officially identifies the German Shepherd breed as the German Shepherd Dog (a.k.a., GSD). However, they have also been called the Alsatian Wolf Dog and the Schaferhund by some. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be referring to them as the “German Shepherd” only.
As their name implies, the German Shepherd originated in Germany and was used as a ‘shepherd’ for herding sheep. However, what you might be surprised to know is the appearance of the German Shepherd as its own breed classification is still somewhat new. In fact, the first German Shepherds didn’t appear until the late 1800s!
Recent genetic studies show that the German Shepherd breed emerged from a widely-distributed herding dog sometime in the 1890s. The German Shepherd’s genetic makeup was a direct result of sheep farmers breeding dogs that had the best qualities for herding their sheep.
These dogs were collectively known as the “continental shepherd dog” and exhibited a wide variety of physical characteristics. Once shepherds realized they could effect their dogs’ working skills by breeding them, they began intentionally and selectively breeding their herding dogs.
The result? Three distinct breeds emerged:
The German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd (class of the Belgian Malinois), and the Dutch Shepherd.
The German Shepherd was one of the working dogs given the responsibility of herding the sheep. Their keen, hyper-responsive intelligence, robust strength, undying energy, and attentiveness make this breed one of the most trainable.
So, it’s no surprise German Shepherds have been effective at a variety of jobs in a diverse array of fields. They are especially recognized for their excellence in:
Disability assistance, police, military, search-and-rescue—and, of course, German Shepherd protection dogs are among the best breeds for the task. The American Kennel Club recognizes German Shepherds as the second-most-popular breed behind the Labrador Retriever.
German Shepherd Protection Dogs: Appearance
While most people can easily-recognize German Shepherds, more goes into this breed than meets the eye. In fact, people often mistake them for their sheepdog cousin, the Belgian Malinois, because both German Shepherd protection dogs and Belgian Malinois protection dogs are frequently utilized in the civilian police force. However, German Shepherds are a bit larger and heavier than the Malinois.
So how can you recognize a German Shepherd guard dog? With proper confirmation, a German Shepherd’s body should be gracefully balanced, not angular. Their erect ears, bright eyes, and long, pointed muzzle give the German Shepherd an air of alertness and life. Their overall appearance should be one of power, agility, and intimidation.
Some traits you might notice in the German Shepherd:
- Erect ears.
- Bright eyes.
- Long, pointed muzzle.
- Strong, muscular body.
- Medium length, thick fur.
- Powerful and intimidating.
- Sleek and graceful, not angular.
Male vs. Female German Shepherds
Unlike many other breeds, adult German Shepherds exhibit secondary sex characteristics, meaning males and females differ in physical appearance. Males can reach up to 25 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds.
Females are generally smaller and more feminine looking, growing 22 to 24 inches tall and weighing 50 to 70 pounds. Like most large dogs, adult German Shepherds usually reach their full size between two and a half and three years of age. The German Shepherd has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
German Shepherd Coats
German Shepherd dogs exhibit a wide variety of coat colors. The most common coat pattern is a tan base with a black saddle across the back, often accompanied by black on the face, ears, feet, and tail.
Don’t be surprised if you see a German Shepherd with cream, silver, or red bases in their coloration as well. In addition to the more traditional markings, many shepherds will even manifest solid coats in black, blue, liver, sable, grey, and white. Quite a variety!
Their double coats are medium length and consist of a dense outer coat and soft undercoat. German Shepherds require brushing one to two times each week to remove loose hairs and minimize shedding.
At least once or twice per year, your German Shepherd guard dog will have an intense shed. During the shedding season, you’ll need to thoroughly brush them three to four times each week. German Shepherd protection dogs only need occasional, as-needed bathing—but their nails should be trimmed or ground down regularly.
Are German Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?
German shepherds are natural watchdogs—meaning they’re extremely alert and always attentive. They are aloof of strangers but not inherently aggressive. Shepherds are reserved, ever-watchful, and do not make friends immediately.
Instead, they observe, assess, and make an intelligent judgment about whether new people are friends or foes. With their families, German Shepherd protection dogs are easy-going, loyal, and affectionate. If they deem their family is threatened, they are powerful, protective, and intimidating. These traits make them some of the best guard dogs.
German Shepherd guard dogs are brilliant and ambitious animals. They have an impressive work ethic innate to their breed—so they will always need a job to do. These traits make them one of the most highly-qualified breeds to be trained as a German Shepherd guard dog or family protection dog.
Will they get along with your family? The short answer is, yes! Despite their potentially fierce demeanor, German Shepherds can get along well with children and other pets as long as they are well-socialized from an early age.
German Shepherd Protection Training
German Shepherds are athletic and active by nature. They require plenty of rigorous physical exercise that engages both their minds and their bodies. They are highly intelligent—so, they need plenty of daily mental stimulation to thrive.
If they’re deprived of the activity they need, they may find other, potentially destructive ways to entertain themselves. This personality trait is why we say Shepherds need a “job.” However, they thrive in the job of protecting you and your family!
One way to get those mental gears turning is with a training regimen. Training and socialization from an early age are essential for any dog, but this is especially true for the strong, smart German Shepherd.
These dogs are loyal and eager to please, so if you establish a strong relationship with your dog early on, they will do all kinds of tasks for you. Your relationship with your protection dog can be extremely rewarding for both of you. Whether you train your Shepherd yourself or find a fully-trained German Shepherd for sale, you will have a steadfast, life-long companion.
Germans Shepherd Guard Dog Training And Competitions
German Shepherds have excelled in a variety of fields besides personal protection and guarding. Here are a few other work and competition areas where German Shepherds thrive:
Schutzhund is a German word that means “protection dog.” It’s also the name for a sport that focuses on, and develops, protection and guarding traits in dogs, especially German Shepherds. It encompasses tracking, obedience, and protection behaviors.
This rigorous sport measures a dog’s mental stability, structural soundness, willingness to work, endurance, trainability, and scent ability. This sport pairs together a handler and dog team, challenging both the handler’s ability to train the dog and the dog’s ability to perform tasks.
Agility competitions are another area in which German Shepherds have made their mark. This sport entails running your dog through a course of 14 to 20 challenging obstacles. There are jumps to clear, elevated paths to cross, and poles to weave, among other obstacles. A dog is judged and scored on its speed and precision while navigating the course.
Tracking is a sport that shows how well your dog can follow his or her nose to identify and track different scents. This sport is the basis for canine search-and-rescue work.
Even more recently, the ability to track and detect has become a prized quality in military protection dogs. They’ve saved countless lives by identifying dangerous explosive devices and even tracked down dangerous terrorist leaders.
Obedience and Rally
Germans Shepherds have intelligence and work ethic that make them ideally-suited to Obedience and Rally. In these competitions, a dog and handler team must execute a stringent series of exercises such as retrieving, heeling, recognizing scents, and following basic commands.
German Shepherd Protection Dogs For Sale
Training your own canine companion can be a mountain of a task. Between work, family, friends, and the million other tasks we have to do, it can be challenging to find time to train our dogs. That’s why many people choose to buy their German Shepherd guard dog fully pre-trained.
Another added benefit of this is you know your dog will be trained to the best quality standards by a professional. There is no risk in messing up the important work that goes into training your protection dog. The perfect training with the perfect time saving is, for many people, the best route to obtaining maximum protection fast.
Companies like ours (Prestige Protection Dogs), will locate and train the perfect guard dog to suit your needs, taking all the guesswork out of obtaining the ideal protection animal.
German Shepherds Guard Dogs For Sale At Prestige Protection Dogs
We’ll provide you a German Shepherd guard dog with high-caliber training in every area of personal protection. It isn’t enough for a German Shepherd to excel at security alone. They must be an excellent fit for a family environment too.
Not every German Shepherd is suited for regular home life. So, we get to know each dog’s distinct personality to assess which dog is perfect for your family. All fully-trained German Shepherds for sale are tested in a home environment, ensuring you get a dog that’s the perfect fit for you, your kids, and any of your other pets.
You can expect your German Shepherd protection dogs to be properly-trained and take cues from all appropriate owners. They won’t see visiting friends or family members as threats and will behave like any other friendly family dog. However, if danger should show up on your porch, they’ll be there to protect you and yours.
German Shepherd Family Protection Dogs For Sale?
Are German Shepherds fit to be family protection dogs?
Yes. The German Shepherd is a loyal, protective, and loving dog. They bond quite strongly with their human companions and love nothing more than to be with their people. As long as they’re properly conditioned from a young age, they get along well with other household members.
If you are looking for an energetic and intelligent working dog who will be devoted to your family, look no further than the German Shepherd. Their loving and gentle spirit makes them great with kids and the rest of the family.
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