German Shepherd Dog
Overview
 
The German Shepherd Dog , also known as an Alsatian or just the German Shepherd, is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

, with its origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group
Herding Group
Herding Group is the name of a breed Group of dogs, used by kennel clubs to classify a defined collection of dog breeds. It does not refer to one particular type of dog. How the Herding Group is defined varies among kennel clubs, and different kennel clubs may not include the same breeds in their...

, the German Shepherd is a working dog developed originally for herding and guarding sheep. Because of its strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training it is often employed in police and military roles around the world.
Encyclopedia
The German Shepherd Dog , also known as an Alsatian or just the German Shepherd, is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

, with its origin dating to 1899. As part of the Herding Group
Herding Group
Herding Group is the name of a breed Group of dogs, used by kennel clubs to classify a defined collection of dog breeds. It does not refer to one particular type of dog. How the Herding Group is defined varies among kennel clubs, and different kennel clubs may not include the same breeds in their...

, the German Shepherd is a working dog developed originally for herding and guarding sheep. Because of its strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training it is often employed in police and military roles around the world. German Shepherds currently account for 4.6% of all dogs registered with the American Kennel Club. Due to its loyal and protective nature, the German Shepherd is one of the most registered of breeds.

Origins

In Europe during the 1800s, attempts were being made to standardise breeds. The dogs were bred to preserve traits that assisted in their job of herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. In Germany this was practiced within local communities, where shepherds selected and bred dogs that they believed had traits necessary for herding sheep, such as intelligence, speed, strength, and keen senses of smell. The results were dogs that were able to perform admirably in their task, but that differed significantly, both in appearance and ability, from one locality to another.

To combat these differences, the Phylax Society
Phylax Society
The Phylax Society was the first German Shepherd Dog club, formed with the intention of creating a standardised German dog breed.- Establishment :...

 was formed in 1891 with the intention of creating standardised dog breeds in Germany. The society disbanded after only three years due to ongoing internal conflicts regarding the traits in dogs that the society should promote; some members believed dogs should be bred solely for working purposes, while others believed dogs should be bred also for appearance. While unsuccessful in their goal, the Phylax Society had inspired people to pursue standardising dog breeds independently.
Max von Stephanitz
Max von Stephanitz
Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz was a German dog breeder who is credited with having developed the German Shepherd Dog breed as it is currently known, set guidelines for the breed standard, and was the first president of the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde .-Early years:Born in Dresden, Kingdom...

, an ex-cavalry captain and former student of the Berlin Veterinary College, was one such ex-member. He believed strongly that dogs should be bred for working.
In 1899, Von Stephanitz was attending a dog show when he was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was the product of few generations of selective breeding and completely fulfilled what Von Stephanitz believed a working dog should be. He was pleased with the strength of the dog and was so taken by the animal's intelligence and loyalty, that he purchased it immediately. After purchasing the dog he changed its name to Horand von Grafrath
Horand von Grafrath
Horand von Grafrath was the first German Shepherd Dog and the genetic basis for modern German Shepherds.-History:...

 and Von Stephanitz founded the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde
Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde
The Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde , commonly abbreviated SV, is the German Shepherd dog club founded by Max von Stephanitz in 1899, as the successor of the Phylax Society...

 (Society for the German Shepherd Dog). Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and was the first dog added to the society's breed register.

Horand became the centre-point of the breeding programs and was bred with dogs belonging to other society members that displayed desirable traits. Although fathering many pups, Horand's most successful was Hektor von Schwaben. Hektor was inbred with another of Horand's offspring and produced Beowulf, who later fathered a total of eighty-four pups, mostly through being inbred with Hektor's other offspring. In the original German Shepherd studbook, Zuchtbuch fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (SZ), within the 2 pages of entries from SZ #41 to SZ #76, there are 4 Wolf Crosses. Beowulf's progeny also were inbred and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz's strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog.

Popularity

When the UK Kennel Club
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is a kennel club based in London and Aylesbury, United Kingdom.The Kennel Club registration system divides dogs into seven breed groups. The Kennel Club Groups are: Hound, Working, Terrier, Gundog, Pastoral, Utility and Toy...

 first accepted registrations for the breed in 1919, fifty-four dogs were registered, and by 1926 this number had grown to over 8,000. The breed first gained international recognition at the decline of World War I after returning soldiers spoke highly of the breed, and animal actors Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin was the name given to a dog adopted from a WWI battlefield that went on to star in twenty-three Hollywood films. The name was subsequently given to several related German Shepherd dogs featured in fictional stories on film, radio and television.-Origins:The first of the line Rin Tin...

 and Strongheart
Strongheart
Strongheart was the screen name of Etzel von Oeringen , a German Shepherd that became one of the earliest canine film stars. After being trained in Germany as a police dog, he was brought to the United States by husband and wife filmmakers Laurence Trimble and Jane Murfin, who had previously worked...

 popularised the breed further. The first German Shepherd Dog registered in the United States was Queen of Switzerland; however, her offspring suffered from defects as the result of poor breeding, which caused the breed to suffer a decline in popularity during the late 1920s.

Popularity increased again after the German Shepherd Sieger Pfeffer von Bern became the 1937 and 1938 Grand Victor in American Kennel club dog shows, only to suffer another decline at the conclusion of World War II, due to anti-German sentiment of the time. As time progressed, their popularity increased gradually until 1993, when they became the third most popular breed in the United States. As of 2009, the breed was the second most popular in the US. Additionally, the breed is typically among the most popular in other registries. The German Shepherd Dog's physique is very well suited to athletic competition. They commonly compete in shows and competitions such as agility trials
Dog agility
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles...

.

Name

The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund by Von Stephanitz, literally translating to "German Shepherd Dog". The breed was so named due to its original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep. At the time, all other herding dogs in Germany were referred to by this name; they thus became known as Altdeutsche Schäferhunde or Old German Shepherd Dog
Old German Shepherd Dog
The Old German Shepherd Dog is a traditional type of working herding dog from Germany. It is a landrace consisting of working strains of dog, and is the type from which the modern German Shepherd Dog was developed as a standardised breed...

s. Shepherds were first exported to Britain in 1908, and the UK Kennel Club
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is a kennel club based in London and Aylesbury, United Kingdom.The Kennel Club registration system divides dogs into seven breed groups. The Kennel Club Groups are: Hound, Working, Terrier, Gundog, Pastoral, Utility and Toy...

 began to recognise the breed in 1919.

The direct translation of the name was adopted for use in the official breed registry; however, at the conclusion of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, it was believed that the inclusion of the word "German" would harm the breed's popularity, due to the anti-German sentiment of the era. The breed was officially renamed by the UK Kennel Club to "Alsatian Wolf Dog" which was also adopted by many other international kennel clubs. Eventually, the appendage "wolf dog" was dropped. The name Alsatian remained for five decades, until 1977, when successful campaigns by dog enthusiasts pressured the British kennel clubs to allow the breed to be registered again as German Shepherd Dogs. The word "Alsatian" still appeared in parentheses as part of the formal breed name and was only removed in 2010.

Modern breed

The modern German Shepherd is criticized for straying away from von Stephanitz's original ideology for the breed: that German Shepherds should be bred primarily as working dogs, and that breeding should be strictly controlled to eliminate defects quickly. Critics believe that careless breeding has promoted disease and other defects. Under the breeding programs overseen by von Stephanitz, defects were quickly bred out; however, in modern times without regulation on breeding, genetic problems such as color-paling, hip dysplasia, monorchidism, weakness of temperament, and missing teeth are common, as well as bent or folded ears which never fully turn up when reaching adulthood.

Description

German Shepherds are a large sized dog which generally are between 55 and 65 cm (21.7 and 25.6 in) at the withers
Withers
The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of a four-legged animal. In many species it is the tallest point of the body, and in horses and dogs it is the standard place to measure the animal's height .-Horses:The withers in horses are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the...

 and weigh between 22 and 40 kg (48.5 and 88.2 lb). The ideal height is 63 centimetres (24.8 in), according to Kennel Club standards. They have a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle and a black nose. The jaws are strong, with a scissor-like bite. The eyes are medium-sized and brown with a lively, intelligent, and self-assured look. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. They have a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock
Hock (zoology)
The hock, or gambrel, is the joint between the tarsal bones and tibia of a digitigrade or unguligrade quadrupedal mammal, such as a horse, cat, or dog...

.

German Shepherds can be a variety of colors, the most common of which are tan/black and red/black. Most color varieties have black masks
Melanistic mask
A melanistic mask is a dog coat pattern that gives the appearance of a mask on the dog's face. The hairs on the muzzle, and sometimes entire face or ears, are colored by eumelanin instead of pheomelanin pigment. Eumelanin is typically black, but may instead be brown, dark gray, or light gray-brown...

 and black body markings which can range from a classic "saddle" to an over-all "blanket." Rarer colour variations include the sable, all-black, all-white, liver, and blue varieties. The all-black and sable varieties are acceptable according to most standards; however, the blue and liver are considered to be serious faults and the all-white is grounds for instant disqualification in some standards.

German Shepherds sport a double coat. The outer coat, which is shed all year round, is close and dense with a thick undercoat. The coat is accepted in two variants; medium and long. The long-hair gene is recessive, making the long-hair variety rarer. Treatment of the long-hair variation differs across standards; they are accepted under the German and UK Kennel Clubs but are considered a fault in the American Kennel Club.

Intelligence

German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

, a trait for which they are now renowned. They are considered to be the third most intelligent breed of dog, behind Border Collie
Border Collie
The Border Collie is a herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep. It is the most widespread of the collie breeds....

s and Poodle
Poodle
The Poodle is a breed of dog. The poodle breed is found officially in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, with many coat colors. Originally bred as a type of water dog, the poodle is highly intelligent and skillful in many dog sports, including agility, obedience, tracking, and even herding...

s. In the book The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren
Stanley Coren is a psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher who has become best known to the general public for a series of books regarding the intelligence, mental abilities and history of dogs...

 ranked the breed third for intelligence. He found that they had the ability to learn simple tasks after only five repetitions and obeyed the first command given 95% of the time. Coupled with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable as police
Police dog
A police dog, often referred to as a "K-9 dog" in some areas , is a dog that is trained specifically to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel in their work...

, guard
Guard dog
A guard dog, an attack dog or watch dog is a dog used to guard against, and watch for, unwanted or unexpected people or animals. The dog is discriminating so that it does not annoy or attack familiar people.-Barking:...

, and search and rescue dog
Search and rescue dog
The use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for the use of dogs to be effective in search efforts...

s, as they are able to quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other large breeds.

Aggression and biting

German Shepherd Dogs are among the top five most popular dogs in the United States according to American Kennel Club
American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. Beyond maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official...

 statistics and well-trained and socialized German Shepherd Dogs have a reputation among many as being very safe (see temperament section below). In the United States, one source suggests that German Shepherd Dogs are responsible for more reported bitings than any other breed, and suggest a tendency to attack smaller breeds of dogs.

An Australian report from 1999 provides statistics showing that German Shepherd Dogs are the third breed most likely to attack a person in some Australian locales.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

, which advises on dog bite prevention and related matters, states "There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."

Similarly, the American Veterinary Medical Association through its Task Force on Canine Aggression and Canine-Human Interactions reports, "There are several reasons why it is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds. First, the breed of the biting dog may not be accurately recorded, and mixed-breed dogs are commonly described as if they were purebreds. Second, the actual number of bites that occur in a community is not known, especially if they did not result in serious injury. Third, the number of dogs of a particular breed or combination of breeds in a community is not known, because it is rare for all dogs in a community to be licensed, and existing licensing data is then incomplete." Moreover, studies rely on 'reported' bites, leading the National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel, also commercially abbreviated and trademarked as Nat Geo, is a subscription television channel that airs non-fiction television programs produced by the National Geographic Society. Like History and the Discovery Channel, the channel features documentaries with factual...

 television show The Dog Whisperer to conclude that small dog breeds are likely responsible for more bites than large dog breeds, but often go unreported.

In addition, according to the National Geographic Channel television show, Dangerous Encounters, the bite of a German Shepherd Dog has a force of over 238 pounds (~108 kilograms) (compared with that of a Rottweiler
Rottweiler
The Rottweiler is a medium to large size breed of domestic dog that originated in Rottweil, Germany. The dogs were known as "Rottweil butchers' dogs" because they were used to herd livestock and pull carts laden with butchered meat and other products to market...

, over 265-328 pounds (~120-149 kilograms) of force, a Pit bull
Pit bull
A Pit bull is any of several breeds of dog in the molosser breed group.Many jurisdictions that restrict pit bulls, including Ontario, Canada,, Miami, Florida, U.S...

, 235 pounds (~107 kilograms) of force, a Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United...

, of approximately 230 pounds (~104 kilograms) of force, or a human, of approximately 86 pounds (~39 kilograms) of force). Regardless, one source indicates that fatalities have been attributed to over 30 breeds since 1975, including small breeds, such as the Pomeranian
Pomeranian (dog)
The Pomeranian is a breed of dog of the Spitz type, named for the Pomerania region in Central Europe . Classed as a toy dog breed because of its small size, the Pomeranian is descended from the larger Spitz type dogs, specifically the German Spitz...

.

Temperament

German Shepherds are highly active dogs, and described in breed standards as self-assured. The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. Shepherds have a loyal nature and bond well with people they know. However, they can become over-protective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly. They are not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient. Some people believe they require a "firm hand", but more recent research into training methods has shown they respond better to positive, reward based training methods.

Health

Many common ailments of the German Shepherds are a result of the inbreeding required early in the breed's life. One such common issue is hip and elbow dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia is a condition involving multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow-joint in the dog, specifically the growth of cartilage or the structures surrounding it. These abnormalities, known as 'primary lesions', give rise to osteoarthritic processes...

 which may lead to the dog experiencing pain in later life, and may cause arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

. A study by the University of Zurich
University of Zurich
The University of Zurich , located in the city of Zurich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 25,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy....

 in police working dogs found that 45% were affected by degenerative spinal stenosis, although the sample studied was small. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals found that 19.1% of German Shepherd are affected by hip dysplasia. Due to the large and open nature of their ears, Shepherds are prone to ear infections. German Shepherds, like all large bodied dogs, are prone to bloat
Bloat
Bloat is a medical condition in which the stomach becomes overstretched by excessive gas content. It is also commonly referred to as torsion, gastric torsion, and gastric dilatation-volvulus when the stomach is also twisted. The word bloat is often used as a general term to cover gas distension...

.

The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is 9.7 years, which is normal for a dog of their size. Degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease, occurs with enough regularity specifically in the breed to suggest that the breed is predisposed to it. Additionally, German Shepherd Dogs have a higher than normal incidence of Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand disease
von Willebrand disease is the most common hereditary coagulation abnormality described in humans, although it can also be acquired as a result of other medical conditions. It arises from a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor , a multimeric protein that is required for...

, a common inherited bleeding disorder.

Controversy

The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club
The Kennel Club is a kennel club based in London and Aylesbury, United Kingdom.The Kennel Club registration system divides dogs into seven breed groups. The Kennel Club Groups are: Hound, Working, Terrier, Gundog, Pastoral, Utility and Toy...

 is currently embroiled in a dispute with German Shepherd breed clubs about the issue of soundness in the show-strain breed. The show-strains have been bred with an extremely sloping back that causes poor gait and disease in the hind legs. Working-pedigree lines, such as those in common use as service dogs, generally retain the traditional straight back of the breed and do not suffer these problems to the same extent. The debate was catalyzed when the issue was raised in the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Pedigree Dogs Exposed was a BBC One investigative documentary, produced by Jemima Harrison, which looked into health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom....

, which said that critics of the breed describe it as "half dog, half frog". An orthopedic vet remarked on footage of dogs in a show ring that they were "not normal".

The Kennel Club's position is that "this issue of soundness is not a simple difference of opinion, it is the fundamental issue of the breed’s essential conformation and movement." The Kennel Club has decided to retrain judges to penalize dogs suffering these problems. It is also insisting on more testing for hemophilia and hip dysplasia, other common problems with the breed.

Breed clubs have typically responded that they feel they are being vilified for issues they were already aware of and attempting to address before the media storm erupted.

Use as working dogs

German Shepherds are a very popular selection for use as working dog
Working dog
A working dog refers to a canine working animal, i.e., a type of dog that is not merely a pet but learns and performs tasks to assist and/or entertain its human companions, or a breed of such origin...

s. They are especially well known for their police work, being used for tracking criminals, patrolling troubled areas, and detection and holding of suspects. Additionally thousands of German Shepherds have been used by the military. Usually trained for scout
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 duty, they are used to warn soldiers to the presence of enemies or of booby traps or other hazards. German Shepherds have also been trained by military groups to parachute from aircraft.

The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most widely used breeds in a wide variety of scent-work roles. These include search and rescue
Search and rescue dog
The use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. Dedicated handlers and well-trained dogs are required for the use of dogs to be effective in search efforts...

, cadaver searching, narcotics detection, explosives detection
Explosive detection
Explosive detection is a non-destructive inspection process to determine whether a container contains explosive material. Explosive detection is commonly used at airports, ports and for border control.-Dogs:...

, accelerant
Fire accelerant
In fire protection, an accelerant is any substance or mixture that "accelerates" the development of fire. Accelerants are often used to commit arson, and some accelerants may cause an explosion...

 detection, and mine detection dog, among others. They are suited for these lines of work because of their keen sense of smell and their ability to work regardless of distractions.

At one time the German Shepherd Dog was the breed chosen almost exclusively to be used as a guide dog for the visually impaired. In recent years, Labradors
Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of several kinds of retriever, a type of gun dog. A breed characteristic is webbed paws for swimming, useful for the breed's original purpose of retrieving fishing nets. The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog by registered ownership in Canada, the United...

 and Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized breed of dog. They were historically developed as gundogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties. As such, they were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve game undamaged and have an instinctive love...

s have been more widely used for this work, although there are still German Shepherds being trained. A versatile breed, they excel in this field due to their strong sense of duty, their mental abilities, their fearlessness, and their attachment to their owner.

German Shepherd Dogs are used for herding and tending sheep grazing in meadows next to gardens and crop fields. They are expected to patrol the boundaries to keep sheep from trespassing and damaging the crops. In Germany and other places these skills are tested in utility dog trials also known as HGH (Herdengebrauchshund) herding utility dog trials.

In popular culture

German Shepherds have been featured in a wide range of media. Strongheart
Strongheart
Strongheart was the screen name of Etzel von Oeringen , a German Shepherd that became one of the earliest canine film stars. After being trained in Germany as a police dog, he was brought to the United States by husband and wife filmmakers Laurence Trimble and Jane Murfin, who had previously worked...

 the German Shepherd was one of the earliest canine film stars and was followed by Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin was the name given to a dog adopted from a WWI battlefield that went on to star in twenty-three Hollywood films. The name was subsequently given to several related German Shepherd dogs featured in fictional stories on film, radio and television.-Origins:The first of the line Rin Tin...

, who is now acclaimed as being the most famous German Shepherd. Both are credited with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

.The Littlest Hobo
The Littlest Hobo
The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name directed by Charles R. Rondeau. The series first aired from 1963 to 1965 in syndication, and was revived for a popular second run on CTV from October 11, 1979 to March 7, 1985.All three productions...

is a Canadian television series, based upon a stray German Shepherd that wanders from town to town, helping people in need. In The Beast Must Die
The Beast Must Die (film)
The Beast Must Die is a 1974 horror film directed by Paul Annett. The screenplay was written by Michael Winder, based on the short story "There Shall Be No Darkness" by James Blish...

a German Shepherd played the movie's primary antagonist
Antagonist
An antagonist is a character, group of characters, or institution, that represents the opposition against which the protagonist must contend...

, the werewolf.

Due to the breed’s remarkable popularity, German Shepherds have played central parts in many different movies and TV-shows over the years. German Shepherds have appeared as the titular character or one of the main characters in the films: K-9
K-9 (film)
K-9 is a 1989 American action comedy film starring James Belushi and Mel Harris. Directed by Rod Daniel and written by Steven Siegel and Scott Myers, it was produced by Lawrence Gordon and Charles Gordon, and released by Universal City Studios...

(which featured a real police-dog, Koton
Koton
Koton was a German Shepherd K9 Police Officer of the Kansas City, Missouri police department. He was teamed with Officer Patterson for two years and was responsible for more than 24 felony arrests at the time of his death.-Biography:...

), I Am Legend
I Am Legend (film)
I Am Legend is a 2007 post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's The Omega Man. Smith plays virologist Robert...

, The Hills Have Eyes
The Hills Have Eyes (1977 film)
The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 American horror film directed by Wes Craven and starring Susan Lanier, Michael Berryman, and Dee Wallace. It is about a family on a road trip who become stranded in the Nevada desert, and are hunted by a clan of deformed cannibals in the surrounding hills...

and a White German Shepherd named Bolt
Bolt (character)
Bolt is a white American Shepherd Dog and the protagonist from the 2008 animated feature of the same name. His character development embodies the film’s main messages regarding trust and loyalty....

 was the protagonist in the 2008 animated feature of the same name.

German shepherd dogs have also had minor roles in Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a 2008 family comedy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is directed by Raja Gosnell and released on October 3, 2008...

, Kevin of the North
Kevin of the North
Kevin of the North is a 2001 film about an Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The film, set in Alaska, stars Skeet Ulrich as Kevin Manley, a man whose grandfather has passed on and now must participate in the state's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in order to prove he's worthy enough for his...

, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is a 2010 family action comedy film directed by Brad Peyton. The film stars Chris O'Donnell and Jack McBrayer. The film also stars the voices of James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Katt Williams, Bette Midler, and Neil Patrick Harris...

, and Blondi
Blondi
Blondi was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann. Blondi stayed with Hitler even after his move into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on January 16, 1945...

, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's German Shepherd, has been featured in a number of documentaries and films about the dictator, such as Downfall
Downfall (film)
Downfall is a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian epic war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's life in his Berlin bunker and Nazi Germany in 1945....

. The Austrian police drama series Inspector Rex centers around a highly intelligent German Shepherd. In Poland, a German Shepherd starred in a 1960s hit television series Czterej Pancerni i Pies
Czterej pancerni i pies
Czterej pancerni i pies was a Polish black and white TV series based on the book by Janusz Przymanowski. Made between 1966 and 1970, the series is composed of 21 episodes of 55 minutes each, divided into three seasons. It is set in 1944 and 1945, during World War Two, and follows the adventures of...

, named Szarik. The 1989 animated film, All Dogs Go to Heaven
All Dogs Go to Heaven
All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 Irish-English animated film directed and produced by Don Bluth and released by United Artists. The film tells the story of two dogs, Charlie B. Barkin and his loyal best friend Itchy Itchiford...

, features a shepherd named Charlie B. Barkin.

Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

's dog Ace the Bat-Hound
Ace the Bat-Hound
The comic book character Ace the Bat-Hound was the canine crime-fighting partner of Batman and Robin in DC Comics of the 1950s and 1960s. Ace debuted in Batman #92...

 appeared in the Batman comic books
Batman (comic book)
Batman is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939. Batman proved to be so popular that a self-titled ongoing comic book series began publication in the spring of 1940...

, initially in 1955, through 1964. Between 1964 and 2007, his appearances were sporadic.

External links

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