The Power of Three: German Shepherds

In our second article about our dog breeds, we take a look at the history of the German Shepherd. Did you know that German Shepherd Flash was one of the first guide dogs to qualify in Britain in 1931?

The German Shepherd dog (often referred to as GSD) is a relatively new breed, dating back to 1899. It owes its existence to Captain Max von Stephanitz, an ex-captain in the German cavalry and former student of the Berlin Veterinary College. His goal was to create a German breed that would be unmatched as a herding/working dog.

Gsd V2

Von Stephanitz bought a wolfish-looking dog at a dog show in 1899, after being impressed with his powerful physique, intelligence and loyalty – and renamed him Horand von Grafeth! Horand became the foundation of the breeding programme for the ‘Society for the German Shepherd Dog’.

Today, the German Shepherd is distinguished for its loyalty and courage, and is one of the most successful working breeds. They are specially well known for their police, military and scent work roles.

The German Shepherd’s gait, faster walking pace and brave nature serves them well when working in busy cities with an owner who has an active lifestyle. These dogs are also hardworking, focused and loyal with a strong work ethic and are well suited for a smaller proportion of guide dog owners. Pure German Shepherds make up about 5% of our guide dogs, but are also crossed with Golden Retrievers which may provide desirable traits from each breed: the intelligence and work ethic of a German Shepherd combined with the adaptability and biddable nature of the Retriever.

You and your dog have the power to give someone a new life. Do a sponsored dog walk on Sunday 23 April and raise just £35: enough to support a life-changing guide dog partnership for a whole week.

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