Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter
The German shepherd breed is arguably one of the most popular and well-known breeds of dogs worldwide. The German shepherd is a dog darling to many and one of the most respected dog breeds in the world. That is because of its intelligence, versatility, and loyalty.
Because of their strength, intelligence, dedication, and abilities to obey in training, they are used by police and military roles in the world. So, where exactly did this breed of dog famous worldwide come from? Read on to understand the origin and history of the German shepherd breed.
The German shepherd dog originates from the family of German dogs that were used for herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. The local shepherds in Germany would select and breed dogs that they believed had the necessary skills for herding sheep.
The skills included; speed, intelligence, strength, and keen senses of smell. In the end, they had selected, and bred dogs that were able to do all that but the dogs differed significantly in appearance, ability, and locality.
To combat all these differences, there was a need for creating standardized dog breed in Germany. The Phylax Society was formed in 1891 to accomplish this mission. Due to internal conflicts and disagreements the society was disbanded after three years. It, however, had inspired one MaxVon Stephanitz an ex-member of the organization to pursue the standardization of dog breeds independently.
In 1889, Von Stephanitz attended a dog show. A dog named Hector Linksrhein pleased him by his strength, beauty, loyalty, intelligence, and speed. He believed those are the qualities a working dog should have, and he purchased him.
He later changed the name of the dog to Horand Von Grafrath and declared and registered it as the first German shepherd dog after founding the (Society for the German Shepherd Dog).
Horand became the center of the breeding program. He was bred with dogs from the Northern and Central districts of Germany that displayed desirable traits. These became the ancestors of the renowned today’s German shepherd dogs.
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The German shepherd dog became popular in the U.S. in early 1907 where one dog Mira Von Offingen was imported to the country by Otto Gross.
In 1913, the German shepherd dog Club of America was founded. During World War I, the German army used the breed as a war dog. Returning U.S. solders told tales of the intelligence of the dog. That caught the attention of the general public.
The German shepherd dog gained further popularity after being featured by movie stars Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart in their movies.
Serious breeding of the German shepherd dog continued, and today it is one of the most registered and popular dogs in the world. It is used as a search and rescue dog by the police, sport dog, show dog, a guide for the blind and obedience dog. Its incredible sense of smell and extraordinary character makes it the most versatile breed of dog in the world.