German Shepherd Dog Breed Work Ethics

The German Shepherds was bred to work, and although he is no longer extensively used to herd, watch over, and guard sheep, his 'work ethic' is still strong as ever.

Several organizations have found that, with the breed's high intelligence and love of pleasing his owner, his need to work can be channeled successfully not only into fighting crime, but also into assistance (service) dog work.

As early as 1901 the Verein fur Schaferhunde (SV) approached the German police force about using German Shepherds. The club saw how the breed's guarding instincts could be employed in the defense of police officers. Trials proved successful - especially when it was shown that German Shepherds excelled in nose work.

The breed's excellent tracking skills have served it well. The First World War saw Shepherds being used to find wounded soldiers. Today they are still used as Search and Rescue Dogs, finding victims of earthquakes and avalanches.

It is as police dogs, however, that the breed is most renowned, as they are used extensively all over the world - and with good reason. German Shepherds from strong attachments to their owners, and are loyal to the last - essential skills
when you are relying on your dog to protect your life.

Most people's perception of a Guide Dog is of a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. However, the first Guide Dogs, back in the 1930s, were German Shepherds and it was a number of years before the Retriever breeds took over in popularity.

Although there are not so many Shepherds working as Guide Dogs, the breed is still highly valued in this year. In Britain, German Shepherds make up about 5 per cent of Guide Dogs, and in the United States, Guide Dogs of America put the figure at 10 per cent

Although they can be a little more temperamental than other breeds, German Shepherds are devoted to their masters and form strong attachments to them. They have a high level of concentration, and are willing and capable of high workload.

A Good breeder programmed and early, thorough, and on-going socialization ensures that they don't become overprotective to their owners.

Contact with pets is shown to be beneficial to our health and well-being. Many people - such as the elderly in many residential homes, or hospital or hospice patients - are unable to have a pet. For those who have been used to owning a dog, this can be devastating - and life can seem very empty and lonely indeed. Schemes where well-behaved dogs visit residents and patients in a range of different establishments are becoming increasingly popular in both the US and UK, and German Shepherds have been found to make excellent therapy dogs.