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German Shepherd Dog (Deutscher Schäferhund)

Origin: Germany.
Date of publication of the original valid standard: March 23 1991
Utilization: Versatile Utility, Herding, Guard and Service Dog
Classification FCI: Group 1, standard no. 166
Sheepdogs and Cattle dogs (except Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs).
Section 1 Sheepdogs.

According to the official resolution, the Association for German Shepherd Dogs (Verein fur Deutsche Schaeferhunde) with seat in Augsburg, as a member of the German Kennel Club (Verband fur das Deutsche Hundewesen e.V., VDH). and as the founding association of the breed, is responsible for the Standard of the German Shepherd Dog. This standard was originally drawn up at the first membership meeting of the Association in Frankfurt/Maine on 20th September 1899, based on the proposals made by A. Meyer and Von Stephanitz. Amendments were made to the standard during the 6th membership meeting on 28th July 1901, during the 23rd Meeting in Cologne/ Rhine on the 17th September 1909, at the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee in Wiesbaden, Germany, on the 5th September, 1930, and at Board of Directors and the Breed Committee meeting on the 25th March 1961. The standard was revised and adopted by the World Union of German Shepherd Dogs (Weltunion fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, WUSV) on the 30th August 1976 and reviewed and catalogued following a resolution of the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee on the 23rd and 24th March 1991.
The German Shepherd Dog, whose planned breeding was begun in the year 1899, after the founding of the Association for German Shepherd Dogs, was originally developed on the breeding from then available Central and South German herding dogs with the final aim to create a dog highly suitable for the most demanding utility work. To achieve this aim, the breed standard of the German Shepherd Dog was developed, emphasizing correct physical structure and particularly a sound temperament and good character.

The German Shepherd Dog is of medium size, slightly elongated, strong and well muscled, with dry bone and of firm overall structure.

The German Shepherd Dog must be even tempered, well balanced (with strong nerves), self assured, totally at ease (except when provoked), and good natured, as well as attentive and easy to train. He must poccess courage, combativity and toughness, in order to be suitable as companion, Guard, Service, herding dog and "Schutzhund".

The head is wedge shaped, and in proportion to body size, (length approximately 40% of height at withers) without being coarse or too elongated. Clean and dry in general appearance, moderately broad between the ears. The forehead seen from the front and side is only slightly rounded and without any, or only a slightly indicated, middle furrow. The proportion of the Cranial Region to the Facial Region is 50:50. The width of the Cranial Region corresponds approximately to the length. Seen from above, the skull, is tapering evenly from the ears to the nasal bridge and gradually sloping into the wedge-shaped foreface, with a slanting not too abrupt stop. Upper and lower jaws are strongly developed. The bridge of the nose is straight, and indentation or arch is undesirable. Lips tight, firmly fitted and dark in colour.

Must be black.

Must be strong and healthy; complete dentition (42 teeth according to the teeth formula). The German Shepherd Dog has a scissor bite, that is, the incisors must fit scissors-like to each other, so that the incisors of the upper jaw overlap those of the lower jaw in a scissor fashion. Level bite, over- or undershot bite are faults, as well as larger spaces between the teeth (gaps). Equally faulty is a straight alignment of the incisors. The jaw bones must be strongly developed so that the teeth are strongly embedded in the dental arch.

Of medium size, almond shaped, slightly slanting, not protruding. The eye colour should be as dark as possible. Light, piercing eyes are undesirable since it affects the dogs expression.

The German Shepherd Dog has erect ears of medium size, which are carried upright pointing in the same parallel direction (not inwardly constricted). They taper to a point and the auricle is open towards the front. Semi-drop ears or hanging ears are faulty. Ears carried laid back in movement or in repose are not faulty.

The neck should be strong, well muscled and not throaty (no dewlap). Its angulation towards the body (horizontally) is approximately 45 degrees.

The upper line runs, without any visible break, from the set-on of the neck over the well defined withers and over the back very slightly sloping to the horizontal line, onto the gradually slanting rump. The back is firm, strong and well muscled. The loin is broad, strongly developed and well muscled. The rump should be long, sloping slightly (about 23 degrees to the horizontal) and, without any break in the topline, merge with the tail set-on.

Moderately broad, lower chest as long as possible and well developed. Depth of chest should be about 45% to 48% of the height at the withers. Ribs should have moderate spring. Ribs, which are barrel-shaped or too flat are faulty.

Reaches at least to the hock joint, yet, not further than the middle of the metatarus. It has slightly longer hair on its underside, and is carried hanging in a gentle curve. When the dog is excited or in motion, the tail is raised and carried higher, but not above the horizontal line. Corrective surgery is forbidden.

Seen from all sides, the forelegs are straight and seen from the front absolutely parallel. Shoulder-blade and upper arm are equal in length, well muscled and firmly attached to the body. The angle between the shoulder-blade and upper arm is idealy 90 degrees, but generally up to 110 degrees. The elbows must turn neither in nor out, while in repose or moving. Viewed from all sides, the forearm are straight, and absolutely parallel to each other, dry and firmly muscled. The pastern has a length of approximately 1/3 of the forearm; the angle between them is 20 to 22 degrees. A weak pastern (angle more than 22 degrees) or a steep pastern (angle less than 20 degrees) affect the dogs working suitability, especially his endurance.
Forefeet :
Rounded, tight with toes well arched; pads firm, but not brittle; the nails are strong and dark in colour.

The hindlegs are placed slightly backwards; seen from the rear, they are parallel to each other. Upper and lower thighs are approximately of equal length and form an angle of about 120 degrees. The thighs are strong and well muscled. The hock joints are strong and firm. The metatarsus stands vertically under the hock joint.
Hindfeet :
Compact, slightly arched; the pads are hard and dark in colour; the nails are strong, arched and also dark in colour.

The German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog. The limbs must be so coordinated in length and angulation that, without noticeable alteration of the topline, the rear legs can propel to the body while the forelegs extend to an equal distance. Any tendency to overangulation of the hindquarters reduces the firmness and endurance, and consequently the working ability. Correct body proportions and angulations result in a flat over the ground, far reaching, ground covering giat giving the impression of an effortless propulsion. The head pushed forward, and the tail slightly raised result in an even effortless trot showing a gental curved, uninterrupted upper line from the tips of the ears, over the neck and back, to the tip of the tail.

The skin is (loosely) fitting, but without any folds.

The correct coat of the German Shepherd Dog is a double coat (Stockhaar) with outercoat and undercoat. The outercoat should be as dense as possible, straight, harsh and lying close to the body. On the head, inside ears, on the front side of the legs and on feet and toes, the hair is short; it is slightly longer and more dense on the neck. On the rearside of the legs the hair is longer, extending to the pastern and the hocks. It forms moderate "trousers" at the rear of the thighs.

Black with reddish brown, brown, yellow to light grey markings. Solid black or solid grey. Greys with darker shading show a black saddle and mask. Unobtrusive, small white marks on chest as well as very light colour on insides permissible, but not desirable. Nose must be black in all colours. Dog with lack of mask, light to piercing eye colour, as well as with light to whitish markings on the chest and insides, pale nails and red tip of tail are considered to be lacking in pigmentation. The undercoat shows a light greyish tone. The colour white is not accepted.

Dogs: Height at withers 60-65 cm
Weight 30-40 kg
Bitches: Height at withers 55-60 cm
Weight 22-32 kg
The length of the body is approximately 10-17% longer than the height at the withers.

Any departure 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.

Any departure from the above described Breed characteristics which effects the working capability of the dog.
Faulty ears : Laterally too low set ears, tipped ears, inward constricted ears.
Ears not firm.
Severe lack of pigmentation.
Severe lack in general firmness.
Dental Faults : All departures from a scissor bite and the correct teeth formula, if not included in eliminating faults listed below.

Weak temperament, and nerves, biters.
Dogs with deformed ears or tail.
Dog with malformations.
Dogs with missing teeth as follows;
1 Pre-Molar 3, plus one additional tooth, OR
1 Canine, OR
1 Pre-Molar 4, OR
1 Molar 1 or 2 OR
a total of 3 or more missing teeth.
Dogs with faulty jaws, Overshot by more than 2mm, Undershot; pincer bite formed by all 12 incisors.
Oversized or undersized dogs by more than 1 cm.
White coat colour (even with dark eyes and nails).
Long outercoat (long, soft, not flat top coat with undercoat feathers on ears and legs bushy "trousers" and bushy tail with plume underneath (Langstockhaar).
Longcoat (long, soft top coat without undercoat, mostly parted in middle of back, feathers on ears, legs and tail (Langhaar).

NOTE : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.