1) General Appearance
The German Shepherd Dog is medium sized. With the
hair pressed down, the height at the withers is measured by a 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-reaching, effortless trot is guaranteed. He has a
A pleasing appearance is desired as long as the
working ability of the dog is not called into question.
Sex characteristics must be pronounced, e.g., the
masculinity of the males and the femininity of the females must be
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-ready working dog with great stamina.
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 defending his handler and his property but otherwise
being 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
2) Angulation and
3) Temperament, Character
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 multipurpose track and
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-shaped muzzle (the
upper and lower jaws must be
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
The bridge of the nose is straight and runs nearly
parallel with the plane of the forehead.
An undershot or overshot bite is 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.
Many dogs draw their ears back during motion or at
rest. This is not faulty.
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 dog 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 topline.
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.
Docked tails are inadmissible.
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 or 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 upper thighbone when viewed from the side joins
the only slightly longer lower thighbone 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.
Dewclaws sometime appear on the hind legs and should
be removed within the first few days of birth.
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.
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- and hind legs as far down as the
pastern and the hock joint, forming moderate breeching on the thighs.
The length of the hair varies, and due to these differences in length,
there are many intermediate forms. A too short or a mole like coat is
b) The long smooth coated
German Shepherd Dog
With the long smooth coated German Shepherd Dog, a
narrow chest and narrow overstretched muzzle are frequently found.
c) The long coated German
The coat is considerably longer than that of
the long smooth coat. It is generally very soft and forms a parting
along the back. The undercoat will be found in the region of the loins
or will not be present at all. A long coat is greatly diminished in
weatherproofing and utility and therefore is undesirable.