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Short-Haired German Shepherd: 10 Interesting Facts, Info & Pictures

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By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd puppy

Height: 22 – 26 inches
Weight: 50 – 90 pounds
Lifespan: 7 – 10 years
Colors: Black and tan, black and red, grey, black, white
Suitable for: Active families, singles, and couples, those with a large backyard
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, energetic, highly trainable, protective, versatile

The “Short-Haired” German Shepherd is simply another name for the standard German Shepherd. There is a long-haired version too, although these are far less common. These dogs are also commonly known as Alsatians and are among the most popular dogs as pets and as supremely capable working and service animals. The German Shepherd is the dog that can seemingly do it all; they are adaptable and versatile and have loyalty and devotion that are unmatched by other breeds.

While these dogs do embody most of the traits that most people want in a dog, they are certainly not suited to everyone. They are highly energetic, with a long history of herding in their genes, and they need specific and consistent training. Without regular exercise and proper socialization, these dogs can swiftly develop problematic habits, including excessive barking, chewing, and even aggression. If you are away from home frequently and don’t have several hours a day to dedicate to training, the German Shepherd is unfortunately not for you.

There is much to love about this popular dog breed, though, and they have a fascinating history. Read on for interesting facts and unique info about the loyal, loving, and courageous German Shepherd.

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Short-Haired German Shepherd Puppy — Before You Welcome One Into Your Family…


Since the German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, there are plenty of reputable breeders, and finding a puppy is usually not a problem. That said, they can vary fairly widely in price, as some are bred purely for the pet trade, while others are bred as working dogs and will cost a fair bit more. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500–$1,500 from a reputable breeder — anything less than that should raise alarm bells.

The breeder should be able to give you the necessary paperwork and provide you with information on the parents (including how often the mother is bred, which shouldn’t be more than once a year), and they should ideally specialize in breeding German Shepherds.

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Interesting Facts About Short-Haired German Shepherds

1. They’re a relatively new breed.

While the German Shepherd is one of the most recognizable breeds in the world, they are actually a fairly recent breed. German Shepherds as we know them today were first bred in the late 1890s by Max von Stephanitz, with a dog by the name of Horand becoming the first officially registered German Shepherd.

2. They have American Kennel Club recognition.

Shortly after Stephanitz began to standardize the breed and German Shepherds become more popular, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1908.

3. They go by several names.

The Short-Haired German Shepherd, most commonly referred to as a standard German Shepherd or simply GSD, goes by several other names too. In Germany, they are known as the Deutscher Shaferhund, and they were simply known as the “Shepherd Dog” for a time in the U.S. During World War I and II, both Americans and Europeans sought to get rid of the German part of the name due to its association, and the dog thus became known as the Alsatian in most of Europe.

short haired german shepherd up close
Image Credit: Pixabay

4. They are highly intelligent.

German Shepherds are widely considered among the most intelligent dogs on the planet. In fact, according to the gold standard of measurement for dog intelligence, the book “Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren, German Shepherds came in third, behind only the Poodle and the Border Collie.

5. They are immensely popular.

According to the AKC, since 2014, German Shepherds have consistently ranked second in the United States for the most popular dog breed, with only the family-favorite Labrador Retriever above them. This is likely due to the breed’s diversity because they are used for various work and are a popular family pet.

6. They served in both World Wars.

During World War I, German Shepherds were used by both the Germans and Allied forces for carrying messages and distributing food and as rescue dogs and as personal guards. After the war, soldiers were impressed by the capabilities of the breed. By the time World War II came around, German Shepherds once again had a vital role to play on both sides.

7. They are Hollywood stars.

German Shepherds have long had starring roles in many Hollywood movies, with Rin Tin Tin being the most well-known, with dozens of movies throughout the early 1900s. Another famous GSD, Strongheart, was one of the earliest GSD stars, first appearing in the 1921 outdoor adventure film, “The Silent Call.”


8. They were one of the first seeing-eye dogs in the U.S.

Dogs are commonly used as an aid for people with visual impairment or complete blindness. Although this role is now often associated with Labradors or Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds were among the first. A blind American named Morris Frank first brought back one of these trained Shepherds from Switzerland, and he and the dog’s trainer, Dorothy Eustis, went on to found the first school for seeing-eye dogs in the United States.

9. They have their own “senior” club.

There are few dogs more adorable than German Shepherd puppies, and there is no shortage of homes for them. Adult GSDs are used widely as working dogs or family protectors, but what about senior GSDs? They have their very own senior club, known as “The Thirteen Club,” created especially for German Shepherds that are age 12 and over.

10. They come in eleven recognized colors.

The classic black and tan German Shepherd is the color most associated with the breed, but these dogs actually come in 11 different colors. Most of these color combinations are fairly common, although several are extremely rare, including liver and blue, “panda,” and red.

short haired german shepherd sitting
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

It’s no surprise that the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. and indeed, the world. Their loyalty, intelligence, and versatility are almost unmatched by any other breed, evidenced by their use in so many ways. They are most popular as dedicated pets, though, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more protective yet loving family dog!

Featured Image Credit: Goran Horvat, Pixabay

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