About German Shepherds

Zoe von Micurs

German Shepherd Standard

General Appearance
The German Shepherd Dog is medium size, slightly stretched, strong, dry and well muscled, with strong bones, whilst the whole body must appear compact.

Size Proportions
At the point of the wither, the measurement should be between 60-65 cms in males and 55-60 cms in females. The German Shepherd dogs body length must surpass the wither height by between 10-17%.

The German Shepherd Dog must be self assured, balanced with strong nerves and absolutely impartial behaviour, whilst maintaining a good nature - until pushed to the limit. The German Shepherd Dog must be vibrant and easy going. Furthermore the German Shepherd dog must be courageous, have a strong fighting instinct and possess firm nerves. These are essential requirements since the German Shepherd dog is used as a companion, guardian, protector and working sheepdog.

The German Shepherd Dog's head has to be wedge shaped and it should be proportionate in size to the rest of the body (the length of the head should be approximately 40% that of the wither height), without appearing clumsy, shapeless or coarse or overlong. The general appearance of the German Shepherd dog should be dry (no flabby, loose skin). The distance between the ears must be moderate. The forehead of the German Shepherd (whether seen from the front or the side), should not appear to be domed and have only little or no centre furrow. The ratio between the forehead and the end of the muzzle must be almost 50/50. The forehead width should be the same as its length. The German Shepherd dogs skull (seen from the top, from the ears to the tip of the nose must consist of smooth lines, whilst having a defined separation between the skull and the muzzle (stop). Both the under and the upper jaw must be well developed. The muzzle must be straight, it is not desirable for it to be any other way. The lips must be tight, well-knit and of dark colour.

The nose should be black.

The mouth must be strong, well-developed, healthy and complete (42 teeth in all, 20 in upper jaw, 22 in lower jaw). The German Shepherd dog must have a scissor-like bite, in other words the bottom teeth locking with the top teeth in a scissor-like formation. Furthermore, the upper jaw must overlap the bottom jaw. The definition on the sides of the jaw, is positioned in such a way, so as the top must over-lap the bottom in a scissor-like close. The bones of the German Shepherd dogs jaw must be well developed so the teeth are not prematurely worn.

The German Shepherd Dog's eyes are middle size, almond-shaped and slightly angled, whilst they must not protrude. The eye colour should be as dark as possible. Light eyes are not desirable as they spoil the expression of the dog.

The German Shepherd has ears which are middle sized, firm textured, broad at the base, set high on the skull, are carried erect ( almost parallel and not pulled inwards), taper to a point and open towards the front. Tipped ears are faulty. Hanging ears are a very serious fault. During movement the ears may be folded back.

The German Shepherd dogs neck must be strong, well muscled and without excessive, loose skin at the throat. It should be at a 45 degree angle to the body.

The Body of the German Shepherd should begin with a smooth top line from the back of the neck and continuing in a straight line over a well developed wither and sloping slightly toward the croup, without any visible disturbance. The back is firm, strong and well muscled. The loin is broad, well developed and well muscled. The croup must be long and slightly angled (about 23 degrees to the horizon), without any disturbance to the top line, it must continue toward the beginning of the tail.

The chest of the German Shepherd dog must be moderately broad and the brisket should be long and pronounced. The depth of the chest should not be more than 45-48% of the wither height.

The German Shepherd dogs ribs must show a moderate curve. It is faulty for the ribs to be either barrel shaped (too round) or slab sided (too flat).

The German Shepherds dog's tail is bushy haired on the underside, it should reach at least until the hock joint. The ideal length - being to the middle of the hock bones. When at rest the tail should hang in slight curve like a saber. When moving it is raised and the curve is increased. Surgical corrections are not permitted.

The German Shepherd dogs forehand or forelimbs when seen from all sides must be absolutely straight. Viewed from the front, they must be parallel. The shoulder blade and the upper arm must have the same length, be well muscled and be tightly knit to the body. The angle of the shoulder blade to the upperarm-ideally should be 90 degrees but usually it is acceptable around 110degrees. The German Shepherd dogs elbows must be close to the body-both in stance and in movement. The pastern must be 1/3 of the length of the foreleg and an angle of about 20 degrees - 22 degrees to the foreleg, also the pastern should be neither too straight nor too angled (say 20 - 22 degrees), so as not to deter the dogs stamina.

The feet of the German Shepherd dog should be rounded, toes well closed and arched. Pads should be well cushioned and durable but not brittle surfaced. Nails short, strong and dark in colour.

The position of the German Shepherd dog bones are rounded toward the back. When viewed from the back they are parallel to each other. The upper and lower thigh bones are almost of the same length and create an angle approximately 120 degrees. The thighs must be strong and well muscled. The hock joint must be strong and tight, whilst on a vertical line to the rear feet.

The German Shepherd dog is a trotting dog. To achieve this the limbs must be in such a balance to one another so that the hind quarter may be thrusted well forward to the mid-point of the body and have an equally long reach with the forefoot and without any noticeable change in the back line. The correct proportion of height to corresponding length of limbs will produce a ground-covering stride giving the impression of effortless movement. The head thrust forward and tail slightly raised-balanced and even trotting is seen with a flowing line, running from the tips of the ears over the neck, back and tip of the tail.

The German Shepherd Dog's skin is tight, without any wrinkles.

The consistency of the hair: the correct hair type for the German Shepherd dog consists of the undercoat and a topcoat. The topcoat must be made up of dense, straight-hard and close-lying hairs. The hair on the head, ears, paws and legs must be longer and even denser. The hair at the back of the hind legs form a moderate 'trouser'.

The base colour of the German Shepherd dog should be black with markings or brown, red-brown, blonde and light grey. Alternatively a grey base-colour with "clouds:" of black markings and a black "saddle" and "mask". Inconspicuous white markings on the chest, and "brighter" shades on the under and inner sides of the dog are permitted but not desirable. The nostrils in all cases must be black. Non existence of a "mask", bright – until piercing eye colour as well as a light/white nails and a coloured tail top are considered as a lack of pigmentation, the undercoat is a slight grey tone. White is not permitted.

Male: witherheight 60cm to 65cm, weight 30kg to 40kg Female: witherheight 55cm to 60cm, weight 22kg to 32kg.

Male animals must have two, apparently normal testicles fully developed in the scrotum.

Any Departure of the German Shepherd dog from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Serious Faults
Departure from the breed standard which has been stated in the context and which affects the usefulness and appearance of the German Shepherd Dog, is considered a serious fault. Lack of pigmentation, heavy and loose dogs, missing or faulty dentition and /or jaw formation.

Faults of ears
Ear set too low on the side of the skull, soft and tipping at the tops.

Exclusion Faults
a) A weak character and nervous or nervous biters b) Proven (documented) serious "HD" condition c) Monorchids, cryptorchids or deformed testicles d)Deformed tails and ears e) Dogs with deformities f) Dogs with missing teeth g) Faulty jaws (under or over shot mouths) h) Oversize/Undersize by more than 1cm from the set standard i) Albinos j) If the colour of the hair is white(regardless if the nose/eyes are dark) k) Long coated dogs (where the hair is soft, long, not tight – especially noticeably long inside and on the outside of the ears, long hair behind the front and rear legs, long hair hanging from the tail) l) Long hair with absolutely no undercoat, where the hair from the back is parted in the middle and hangs down the side of the dog.