German Shepherds (GSDs) have a lasting reputation as one of the most popular dog breeds in the USA. Consistently indexed among the top 10 on reputable ranking lists, their strength and dignity have won the hearts of many. They made their introduction back in 1899, after Captain Max von Stephanitz and some other breeders chose to develop a dog who encompassed what they all considered the finest canine elements. Some of the traits they desired included a courageous nature, a loyal demeanor, a very strong stature, and a daring personality.
Hence, GSDs were born. Although their average lifespan tends to be shorter – between 9 and 13 years of age – they certainly exceeded almost every expectation. Below are eight fun facts that many German Shepherd owners will be able to relate to, and prospective owners will (hopefully) be swayed by.
Most canine’s have an exceptional sense of smell, but German Shepherds take their gifted sniffing a step further. They love to explore with their noses, so much so that they’re considered one of the top tracking breeds in this area. In fact, police canine (K-9) units have counted on GSDs for ages. Their detection skills have made them exceptional four-legged partners. Often trained in search and rescue, some of their tasks include locating bombs, sniffing out narcotics, and finding missing people.
Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.
German Shepherds don’t just work and thrive in police departments. Their heritage as herding dogs, combined with their athletic build and energetic disposition, makes them well-equipped for many task-based duties. They’re smart; so smart, in fact, that they’ve been coined as brainiacs. As independent thinkers, they’re highly receptive to training. Many work as service dogs, acting as their owner’s eyes, ears, and protectors. Even when not trained to do so, they’ve been known to “guide” their owners, walking ahead during outings to make sure their human companions stay the course and don’t get lost. Many GSDs have also starred in movies and tv shows.
Another potential reason to own a German Shepherd is that they make amazing guard dogs. They’re fearless and self-confident, standing their ground against threats and taking the lead when there’s danger. Their innate protective instincts can be of great assistance as long as owners handle socialization responsibly. This trait also makes German Shepherds exceptionally devoted to and in-tune with their owner’s needs.
German Shepherds tend to flourish in fast-paced environments, making adequate play-time and exercise crucial for optimal happiness. Additionally, they possess a well-renowned desire to make their humans happy. This causes them to be stellar listeners and even better cooperators.
Because they’re so bright, they need lots of mental stimulation. Much like human geniuses, they enjoy toys or activities that heighten their senses and challenge critical thinking skills. Essentially, brain games and interactive training are good choices! For most pups, this can be satisfied in only 15 minutes each day which means stimulating your German Shepherd’s mind will easily to fit into any life schedule.
Even though they love to work and take time to warm up to strangers, German Shepherds still make outstanding family pets. Not only are they loyal, but champion companions, forming close connections with the humans in their household. When it comes to other animals, many GSDS are able to co-exist peacefully.
However, as mentioned above, it’s important to (properly) socialize them. If done so correctly and at a young enough age, they’re usually good around both cats and dogs, as well as great with children. Otherwise, their predatory (IE hunting) skills may be hard to overcome when it comes to chasing after other pets or kids.
German Shepherds often use their mouths for more than just eating and barking. It’s often a tool to assist them when it comes to exploration. Puppies especially love to chew whatever they can reach, as well as push things around with their snouts. While this is normal behavior for them, experts warn it isn’t something an owner should always indulge. They need to be taught not to nip, snap at other people, or destroy things in the house.
Luckily, they do tend to take direction very well, and shine when it comes to obedience. They’ve even earned top titles as obedience competitors. For this reason it’s no surprise that German Shepherd’s can be easily taught to bring objects to their owners! They don’t have opposable thumbs, but since they love to put things in their mouths, this task is a quick pick-up (pun intended).
Though they are not high maintenance pups, it’s a well-known fact that German Shepherd’s are expert shedders. Short haired GSDs possess dense, double coats which provide excellent insulation! Most long hair varieties have a silkier, single coat. Don’t be fooled, however, as both leave fur behind them wherever they go. Twice a year – each spring and fall – short haired breeds will blow (or lose) their undercoats. Long haired breeds will shed the same amount all year long.
Though neither require shaving or trimming, regular brushing makes a world of difference when it comes to maintainance. All prospective owners should be prepared to deal with furry household surfaces. The good news? As long as they don’t roll in mud, you won’t bathe German Shepherds as much as other dogs! In fact, it’s best to only bathe them every 4-5 months.
German Shepherds are famous, in multiple ways! On top of their acting successes and K-9 notoriety, German Shepherds also have a lengthy history of presidential ties. Among the Presidents to have GSD companions are Presidents Joe Biden, Rutherford B. Hayes, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt. Two of these dogs even share the same name: Major is currently Biden’s (former) fire rescue dog, and was also the name of the police dog President Roosevelt owned.
In addition, many A-list celebrities own GSDs. Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Foreman, Kaley Cuoco, John Stamos and more have all have/had German Shepherds. As one of the most favored breeds, it’s only natural that some would wind up in the spotlight.
Assistance Animals and Service Dogs are vital to the mental health community. Many individual’s enlist the holistic assistance of an ESA or PSA to get through every day life. As mentioned above, German Shepherds are hard workers and have characteristics of intelligence, keen observation, courage, and attentiveness. For these and plenty of other reasons, GSDs can make excellent ESAs and PSDs. They may be trained professionally, but are also legally allowed to be owner-trained! If you are interested in verifying your qualification for this phenomenal resource, simply take our quiz at the link below.
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
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