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Large Dog Breed _ German Shepherd


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Average height to withers: Males 60 – 65 cm, Females 55 – 60 cm

Average weight: Males 30 – 40 kg, Females 22 – 32 kg

The GSD is a mid size to large dog that boasts being a little longer in the body than they are tall. They are powerful, muscular dogs with extremely weather-resilient coats. They are very well proportioned dogs with slightly domed foreheads and nicely wedged shaped muzzles.

Their eyes are almond-shaped and medium in size with dark brown being the preferred colour although lighter eye colours are acceptable. The German Shepherd has a lively, intelligent expression and gives the impression of being a confident and self-assured character.

German Shepherds have medium to largish size ears that are broader at the base and set high on a dog’s head. They carry their ears erect and parallel to each other. These dogs have a strong jaw line with a perfect bite. The boast longish necks that are strong and well-muscled which they carry at an angle at rest, but higher when they are on the move or excited.

As previously mentioned, the GSD is a well-proportioned dog which sees well-muscled shoulders and legs. They are long in the body compared to their height with a deep chest that’s neither too broad nor too thin. Their topline falls away very slightly from the wither down to the croup. Hindquarters are well-muscled, strong and broad with powerful back legs. Their feet are well rounded with short dark nails and their pads are extremely well cushioned.

German Shepherds have long tails that they hold in a curve when at rest and a little higher when they move although they never hold their tails higher than the level of their backs.

When it comes to their coat, there are two different types in the GSD with the first being short and the second being long, but both are extremely weather-resilient. A GSD’s outer coat is straight, dense and close-lying with dogs having a much thicker and denser undercoat. The hair on a GSD’s head, ears, front legs, paws and toes is short, but longer and denser on their necks, backs of their legs and hindquarters. Dogs with longer coats have feathers on the underside of their tails, longer hair on the back of their front legs. The hair is also longer both behind and inside their ears which look like tufts. Some male GSDs may have a slight ruff. It is worth noting that mole-type coats in GSDs are highly undesirable.

Longer coated GSDs have much longer outer coats which don’t necessarily have to be straight or close-lying, but they do have a very dense and thick undercoat. The hair on the inside and behind a dog’s ears is markedly longer so it forms moderately sized tufts. The hair on the back of a dog’s front legs is longer and through to their loins too with their hind legs being densely feathered. Tails are bushy having a slight amount of feathering on the underside. Coat colours can be varied and include the following:

  • Bi-colour
  • Black
  • Black & Gold
  • Black & Red
  • Black & Red Gold
  • Black & Silver
  • Black & Tan
  • Black Gold & Silver
  • Black Sable
  • Black Tan & Gold
  • Black Tan & Sable
  • Blue
  • Blue & Gold
  • Blue & Tan
  • Blue Sable
  • Dark Sable
  • Gold
  • Gold Sable
  • Grey
  • Grey Sable
  • Liver
  • Red Sable
  • Sable
  • Silver Sable
  • White

Puppies with nearly all black coats typically have black and gold coats as they mature. However, it’s very hard to predict the amount of black a GSD may have in the coats as adult dogs just by looking at their puppy coats.

One thing worth noting is that although not recognised by KC breed standards, the American White Shepherd is continuing to gain popularity as a separate breed.


The German Shepherd Dog has quite a unique gait and they move positively covering a lot of ground when they do. They move forward placing their feet diagonally with a front leg and opposite back leg moving forward at the same time. They throw a back foot forward to the mid-section of their bodies all the while having a long reach with their front feet which does not alter the shape of their backlines.


Under the Kennel Club Breed Standard, any departures from the standard would be considered as faults with the seriousness of a fault being judged on how much it affects the well-being and health of a dog and their ability to work.

Male GSDs must have two normal testicles fully descended and if they are not, this would be deemed a fault.

It is also worth noting that the size given in a GSDs Kennel Club breed standard is to be used as a guide only. As such, a German Shepherd Dog may be slightly larger or smaller and weigh a little less or more than stated in their breed standard.

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