The German Shepherd (German: Deutscher Schäferhund, German pronunciation: [ˈdɔʏtʃɐ ˈʃɛːfɐˌhʊnt]) is a breed of medium to large-sized working dog that originated in Germany. In the English language, the breed’s officially recognized name is German Shepherd Dog (GSD). The breed was officially known as the “Alsatian Wolf Dog” in the UK from after the First World War until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd. Despite its wolf-like appearance, the German Shepherd is a relatively modern breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899.
As a herding dog, German Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. Since that time, however, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles, and acting. The German Shepherd is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club and seventh-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom.
German Shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs. The breed standard height at the withers is 60–65 cm (24–26 in) for males, and 55–60 cm (22–24 in) for females. German Shepherds are longer than they are tall, with an ideal proportion of 10 to 8 1⁄2. The AKC official breed standard does not set a standard weight range. They have a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle with strong jaws, and a black nose. The eyes are medium-sized and brown. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front, and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. A German Shepherd has a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace as well as stalking. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock.