Where Do German Shepherds Come From?

Where did the German Shepherd Come From

Are you curious about where the German Shepherd is from and its origins? Perhaps you are wondering about who the very first German Shepherd was? We have all of the answers for you!

The German Shepherd, while it is not one of the oldest dog breeds, is actually one of the most popular breeds today. From being featured as mans best friend in a variety of different movies and tv shows including the ‘K-9’ series, ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘Hudson & Rex’, to being a popular choice for both families and service jobs including police and military work. It is understandable why the breed consistently scores in the top 10 of the most popular dog breeds in the USA, year after year.

Do you wish to find out about the variety of types of German Shepherds? If this popular dog breed is interesting to you then why not read on below to find out more!

What Breeds Make A German Shepherd?

First, you may be wondering how the dog breed ‘German Shepherd’ came to be. Well, it was during the late 1800s, where Max von Stephanitz was working on a breeding programme. His goal was to combine the positive breed traits of the Thuringian shepherd dog (which was named after the northern German state of Thuringia), with the Wurtemberg shepherd dog from the south of Germany.

What Max von Stephanitz wanted from his newly created breed was to produce the perfect working dog for herding. With these dogs being able to trot for long periods of time without taking a break. This constant stream of energy has served German Shepherds well to this day, as they are typically the dog breed of choice for service work, especially for the military and police.

The First German Shepherd

Horand von Grafrath as the first German Shepherd
HORAND-VON.-GRAFRATH, the first German Shepherd

It may be surprising for you to learn that not only is the first ever German Shepherd well known, but he was actually rather famous. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 1st 1895, Horand von Grafrath entered the world to become the first ever German Shepherd. He was officially registered in Germany as a Deutscher Schaferhunde (German Shepherd).

While Horand von Grafrath went on to father litters for his original breeders, he was later sold on to Max von Stephanitz. He would purposely breed Horand von Grafrath to combine the positive breed characteristics of the Thuringian Shepherd breed (which was von Grafrath’s original breed category) with the Wurtemberg Shepherd, to create the German Shepherd breed.

Although Horand von Grafrath was the very first German Shepherd to be categorized as such, it is important to note that his brother as well as his parents and grandparents (on his father’s side) were also later classified as German Shepherds as well.

All German Shepherds of the present day would be able to trace back their lineage to Horand von Grafrath. Whilst you are researching the German Shepherd breed, you may notice that there are distinct differences when comparing the modern day German Shepherd to the ones that first existed in the late 1800s.

Are German Shepherds Part Wolf?

German Shepherd Training with Tactical Gear on.
German Shepherd Working Dog in Training with Tactical dog Gear

These distinct differences between modern and original German Shepherds may lead you to believe that they are potentially part wolf. German Shepherds were well known for their ‘wolf-like’ appearance during the early years of German Shepherd acknowledgement. From their gray coat, erect ears and tall physique, it is understandable why people may believe they are either part wolf, or descendents of wolves.

Speaking rather generally, it is common knowledge that most, if not all domestic dogs present today share a common ancestor with wolves. But most people wonder if due to their appearance, the German Shepherds are more closely related to wolves compared to other domestic dog breeds.

The confusion surrounding the topic as to whether German Shepherds are part wolves is only increased by the fact that the breed received a name change post WW1. As we mentioned above, German Shepherds are popular service animals, especially when it comes to military, police and search/rescue work. But, after the conclusion of the First World War, the breed fell out of favor with owners. Mostly because of the ‘German’ element of their name. To counteract this nose-dive in popularity, the American Kennel Club opted to rename the breed ‘Alsatian Wolf Dog’. The name did not stick, due to the addition of the word ‘wolf’ into the breed name.

Although German Shepherds heavily resemble the stereotypical ‘wolf-like’ appearance, they are not part-wolf. They share the designation ‘canis lupus familiars’ like all other domestic dogs. This is technically an off-shoot of the ‘canis lupus’, belonging to the wolf. This means the gray wolf is a descendent of the GSD,

Are There Two Types Of German Shepherds?

Differenty types of German Shepherds

Yes. German Shepherds are typically divided into two distinct groups. Both groups are directly linked to their coat length, with German Shepherds being categorized by their long or medium hair. These are the only internationally recognized categorizes of German Shepherds. But there are actually five further categories relating to the color of their coats.

The five different coloring you may see on German Shepherds include:

– Black coat.
– Sable coat.
– Panda coat.
– Saddle coat.
– White coat.

However, categorization by color is often difficult to do with German Shepherds. This is due to not all breeding associations recognizing these specific categorizes. Which is why the only internationally recognized types of German Shepherds are the long and medium hair lengths.

That concludes our guide to the origin of the German Shepherd dog breed. Since the breed was first created during the late 1800s, the German Shepherd has made a significant name for itself by becoming one of the most popular breeds for services work including police and military.

This protective and active dog breed is the perfect four-legged companion for many families across the United States of America. This is despite its iconic appearance that heavily resembles their distant ancestors, the wolves.This could be the perfect furry friend that you have been looking for.

Depending on how the dog is trained you may want to consider using a strong tactical dog collar with strong buckles like those made by Austrialpin Inc. These type of collars are built differently than the ones you can find in your local store.

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