The German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog
The following is the official breed standard as accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for the German Shepherd Dog.
General Appearance: The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well-
Temperament: The breed has a distinct personality marked by a direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression; self-
Size, proportion, substance: The desired height for males at the top of the highest point of the shoulder blade is 24 to 26 inches; and for bitches, 22 to 24 inches. The German Shepherd Dog is longer than tall, with the most desirable proportion as 10 to 8 1/2. The length is measured from the point of the prosternum, or breastbone, to the rear of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosity. The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back, but from overall length with relation to height, which is achieved by length of forequarter and length of withers and hindquarter viewed from the side.
Head: The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all, not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch, distinctly feminine. The expression is keen, intelligent, and composed. They eyes are of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The eye color is as dark as possible. Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front and carried erect when at attention. The ideal carriage of the ears is being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified. Seen from the front, the front of the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-
Neck: The neck is strong and muscular, clean-
Topline: The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed, without sag or roach, and relatively short. The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness.
Chest, body, tail: Commencing at the prosternum (breastbone), it is well-
Forequarters: The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid on flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well-
Hindquarters: The whole assembly of the thigh, view from the side, is broad, with upper and lower thigh well-
Coat: The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh, and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.
Color: The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong, rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-
Gait: A German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog and its structure has been developed to meet the requirements of its work. The general impression of the gait is that it is outreaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps. At a walk, it covers a great deal of ground with a long stride of both the hind and forelegs. At a trot, the dog covers still more ground with an even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-
Transmission: The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back, and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip, or roach. Unlevel toplines with withers lower than the hip is a fault. To compensate for the forward motion imparted by the hindquarters, the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters. The dog does not track on widely separated parallel lines, but brings the feet inward toward the middle line of the body when trotting, in order to maintain balance. The feet track closely but do not strike or cross over. Viewed from the front, the front legs function from the shoulder joint to the pad in a straight line. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs function from the hip joint to the pad in a straight line. Faults of gait, whether from front, rear, or side, are to be considered very serious faults.
Cropped or hanging ears
Dogs with noses not predominantly black
Any dog that attempts to bite the judge