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GSD Breed Standard
General Appearance The German Shepherd Dog is medium sized. With the hair pressed
down, the height at the withers is measured by stick along the vertical as it follows
the line of the elbow from the withers to the ground. The ideal height at the withers
is 62.5 cm for males and 57.5 for females. An allowance of 2.5 cm over or under is
permissible. Exceeding the maximum as well as not meeting the minimum diminishes
the working and breeding value of the dog. The German Shepherd is slightly long,
strong and well muscled. The bones are dry and the structure firm. The ratio of
height to length and the placement and structure of the limbs (angulation) are so
balanced that a far-
The German Shepherd that corresponds to the Standard offers the observer a picture
of rugged strength, intelligence and agility, whose overall proportions are neither
in excess or deficient in any way. The way he moves and behaves leaves no doubt that
he is sound in mind and body and so possesses physical and mental traits that render
possible an every-
It is only possible for a practiced expert to ascertain the presence of requisite working dog traits in the German Shepherd. Therefore, only special judges should be called upon, as it is incumbent on them to judge the character of the dogs brought before them. This should include a test for gun soundness, as only German Shepherd Dogs that have achieved recognized working dog titles may receive the breed rating excellent.
With an effervescent temperament, the dog must also be cooperative, adapting to every
situation, and take to work willingly and joyfully. He must show courage and hardness
as the situation requires to defend his handler and his property. He must readily
attack on his owner's command but otherwise be a fully attentive, obedient and pleasant
household companion. He should be devoted to his familiar surroundings, above all
to other animals and children, and composed in his contact with people. All in all,
he gives a harmonious picture of natural nobility and self-
Angulation and Movement
The German Shepherd Dog is a trotter. His gait exhibits diagonal movement, i.e.,
the hind foot and the forefoot on opposite sides move simultaneously. The limbs,
therefore, must be so similarly proportioned to one another, i.e. angulated, that
the action of the rear as it carries through to the middle of the body and is matched
by an equally far-
Temperament, Character and Abilities
Sound nerves, alertness, self-
His ample scenting abilities, added to his conformation as a trotter, make it possible
for him to quietly and surely work out a track without bodily strain and with his
nose close to the ground. This makes him highly useful as a multi-
The head should be in proportion to the body size (in length approximately 40% of the height at the withers) and not coarse, over refined or overstretched (snipey). In general appearance, it should be dry with moderate breadth between the ears.
The forehead when viewed from the front or side is only slightly arched. It should be without a centre furrow or with only a slightly defined furrow.
The cheeks form a gentle curve laterally without protrusion toward the front. When
viewed from above, the skull (approximately 50% of the entire head length) tapers
gradually and evenly from the ears to the tip of the nose, with a sloping rather
than a sharply defined stop and into a long, dry wedge-
The width of the skull should correspond approximately to the length of the skull. Also, a slight oversize in the case of males or undersize in the case of females is not objectionable.
The muzzle is strong; the lips are firm and dry and close tightly. The bridge of the nose is straight and runs nearly parallel with the plane of the forehead.
Dentition must be healthy, strong and complete (42 teeth, 20 in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower jaw). The German Shepherd Dog has a scissors bite, e.g. the incisors must meet each other in a scissors like fashion, with the outer surface of the incisors of the lower jaw sliding next to the inner surface of the incisors of the upper jaw.
An undershot or overshot bite if faulty, as are large gaps between the teeth. A level bite is faulty, as the incisors close on a straight line. The jaws must be strongly developed so that the teeth may be deeply rooted
The ears are of medium size, wide at the base and set high. They taper to a point and are carried facing forward and vertically (the tips not inclined toward each other). Tipped, cropped and hanging ears are rejected.Ears drawn toward each other greatly impair the general appearance. The ears of puppies and young dogs sometimes drop or pull toward each other during the teething period, which can last until six months of age and sometimes longer. Many dogs draw their ears back during motion or at rest. This is not faulty.
The eyes are of medium size, almond shaped, somewhat slanting and not protruding.
The colour of the eyes should blend with the colour of the coat. They should be as
dark as possible. They should have a lively, intelligent and self-
The neck should be strong with well-
The body length should exceed the height at the withers. It should amount to about 110 to 117% of the height at the withers. Dogs with a short, square or tall build are undesirable.
The chest is deep (approximately 45 to 48% of the height at the withers) but not too wide. The under chest should be as long as possible and pronounced. The ribs should be well formed and long, neither barrel shaped nor too flat. They should reach the sternum, which is at the same level as the elbows. A correctly formed rib cage allows the elbows freedom of movement when the dogs trots. A too round rib cage disrupts the motion of the elbows and causes them to turn out. A too flat rib cage draws the elbows in toward one another. The rib cage extends far back so that the loins are relatively short.
The abdomen is moderately tucked up. The back, including the loins, is straight and strongly developed yet not too long between the withers and the croup. The withers must be long and high, sloping slightly from front to rear, defined against the back into which it gently blends without breaking the top line. The loins must be wide, strong and well muscled. The croup is long and slightly angled (approximately 23 degrees). The ileum and the sacrum are the foundation bones of the croup. Short, steep or flat croups are undesirable.
The tail is bushy and should reach at least to the hock joint but not beyond the middle of the hocks. Sometimes the tail forms a hook to one side at its end, though this is undesirable. At rest the tail is carried in a gentle downward curve, but when the dog is excited or in motion, it is curved more and carried higher. The tail should never be raised past the vertical. The tail, therefore, should not be carried straight or curled over the back. Docked tails are inadmissible.
The shoulder blade should be long with an oblique placement (the angle at 45 degrees) and lying flat against the body. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade in an approximate right angle. The upper arm as well as the shoulder must be strong and well muscled. The forearm must be straight when viewed from all sides. The bones of the upper arm and forearm are more oval than round. The pasterns should be firm but neither too steep nor too down in pastern (Approximately 20 degrees). The elbows must be neither turned in nor turned out. The length of the leg bones should exceed the depth of the chest (approximately 55%).
The thigh is broad and well muscled. The upper thigh bone when viewed from the side joins the only slightly longer lower thigh bone at an angle of approximately 120 degrees. The angulation corresponds roughly to the forequarter angulation without being over angulated. The hock joint is strong and firm.
The hock is strong and forms a firm joint with the lower thigh. The entire hindquarters must be strong and well muscled to be capable of carrying the body effortlessly forward during motion.
The feet are relatively round, short, tightly formed and arched. The pads are very hard, but not chapped. The nails are short, strong and of a dark colour. Dewclaws sometime appear on the hind legs and should be removed within the first few days of birth.
Colour should be black with regular markings in brown, tan to light grey, also with a black saddle, dark sable (black cover on a grey or light brown case with corresponding lighter marks), black, uniform grey or with light or brown markings. Small white markings on the fore chest or a very light colour on the insides of the legs are permissible though not desired. The nose must be black with all coat colours. (Dogs with little or no masks, yellow or strikingly light eyes, light markings on the chest and insides of the legs, white nails and a red tip of the tail or washed out weak colours are considered lacking in pigment.) The undercoat or base hair is always light grey, with the exception of that on black dogs. The final colour of a puppy is only determined when the outer coat completely develops.
a) The medium smooth coated German Shepherd Dog The outer coat should be as thick
as possible. The individual hairs are straight, coarse and lying flat against the
body. The coat is short on the head inclusive of the ears, the front of the legs,
the feet and the toes but longer and thicker on the neck. The hair grows longer
on the back of the fore-
b) The long smooth coated German Shepherd Dog The individual hairs are longer, not
always straight and above all not lying close to the body. The coat is considerably
longer inside and behind the ears, on the back of the forearm and usually in the
loin area. now and then there will be tufts in the ears and feathering from elbow
to pastern. The breeching along the thigh is long and thick. The tail is bushy with
slight feathering underneath. the long-
c) The long coated German Shepherd Dog The coat is considerably longer than that
of the long-
Faults include anything that impairs working versatility, endurance and working competency,
especially lack of sex characteristics and temperament traits contrary to the German
Shepherd Dog such as apathy, weak nerves or over excitability, shyness; lack of
vitality or willingness to work; Môn orchids and crypt orchids and testicles too
small; a soft or flabby constitution and a lack of substance; fading pigment; blues,
albinos (with complete lack of pigmentation, e.g. pink nose, etc.) and whites (near
to pure white with black nose); over and under size; stunted growth; high-
The above standard was approved and put into effect for the countries and clubs of the FCI.
The name of the breed is the German Shepherd Dog. The country of origin is Germany