- More than 2 hours per day
- Size of home
- Large house
- More than once a week
- Coat length
- Short & long
- Over 10 years
- Vulnerable native breed
- Town or country
- Size of garden
- Large garden
The first breed club was formed in 1881 after Max von Stephanitz and his followers developed and promoted the breed as a herding dog, and later as a working dog used by the police and the armed forces. From the First World War the bravery and temperament of the German Shepherd has gained the breed worldwide recognition and praise and he has shown his worth in other disciplines too:- as a guide dog for the blind, as a tracking dog, and in obedience.
The evolution of the breed and its changed appearance in the last fifty years has provoked fierce debate: the German Shepherd has a marked division of breed “type”.
In recent years the long haired variety, once frowned upon in its native country has been officially recognised in the breed standard.
Images for this breed
The Pastoral breed group
The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.
Usually this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.
Breed standard colours
Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.
Breed standard colours in this breed include:
- Black & Gold
- Black & Tan
- Dark Sable
- Gold Sable
- Grey Sable
Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour, it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.
Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog. Health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.
Non-breed-standard colours in this breed include:
- White (NBS)
- Blue (NBS)
- Blue & Gold (NBS)
- Blue & Tan (NBS)
- Blue Sable (NBS)
- Isabella (NBS)
- Isabella & Tan (NBS)
- Liver (NBS)
- Liver & Tan (NBS)
- Liver Sable (NBS)
'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed-standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registration process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.
Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.
More about health
Priority health schemes and tests
The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)
- Eye screening scheme (BVA/KC/ISDS)
- Risk test (DNA based) - DM - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package* (see below). Find a list of tested dogs
Important health schemes and tests
We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice.
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)
- Breed club - Haemophilia testing for males
- Bitches under 2 years not to produce a litter
- No stud dog to be used under 18 months of age
- Check inbreeding calculators
Other health schemes and tests available
- DNA test - FVIIID - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package* (see below)
- DNA test - MDR1 - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package* (see below)
*CombiBreed - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests for breeders
The DNA tests listed above marked with an asterisk (*) are included in our CombiBreed health test package. This includes:
- DM (Degenerative myelopathy) (partner lab)
- FVIIID (Haemophilia)
- MDR1 (Multidrug resistance gene 1) (partner lab)
As part of this package, all three of these tests are carried out from a single swab. Assured breeders receive a 10% discount.
Find out more about our CombiBreed health packages.
Find out about a particular dog's results
Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.
You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.
Have any questions about health in your breed?
If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.
Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.
To contact your breed health co-ordinator please email
Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.
There are a number of The Kennel Club's rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.
More about breeding
There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.
Sign up to The Kennel Club
Create an online account and enjoy the many benefits, including your own online dashboard, as well as access to our newsletters and learning centre.
Visit us at Discover Dogs
Unsure of which pedigree dog to choose? Visit Discover Dogs where you can meet hundreds of pedigree dogs and speak with experienced owners/breeders.
Use our Find a Puppy service
The Kennel Club's Find a Puppy service provides contact details for breeders who have puppies available. Let's help you find your new best friend.