All About German Shepherd Dogs

All About German Shepherd Dogs

Versatile worker and service dog noted for bravery and intelligence

About this breed

According to The Kennel Club the first breed club was formed in 1881 after Max von Stephanitz and his followers developed and promoted the breed as a herding dog, and later as a working dog used by the police and the armed forces. From the First World War the bravery and temperament of the German Shepherd has gained the breed worldwide recognition and praise and he has shown his worth in other disciplines too.

The evolution of the breed and its changed appearance in the last fifty years has provoked fierce debate: the German Shepherd has a marked division of breed “type”.

In recent years the long haired variety, once frowned upon in its native country has been officially recognised in the breed standard.




Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.


Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

  • Hip dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)

  • Risk test (DNA based) - DM - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package

Important health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice.

  • Eye screening scheme (BVA/KC/ISDS)

  • Elbow dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)

  • Breed club - Haemophilia testing for males

  • Bitches under 2 years not to produce a litter

  • No stud dog to be used under 18 months of age

  • Check inbreeding calculators

Other health schemes and tests available

  • DNA test - FVIIID - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package* (see below)

  • DNA test - MDR1 - part of The Kennel Club's CombiBreed package* (see below)

*CombiBreed - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests for breeders

The DNA tests listed above marked with an asterisk (*) are included in our CombiBreed health test package. This includes:

  • DM (Degenerative myelopathy) (partner lab)

  • FVIIID (Haemophilia)

  • MDR1 (Multidrug resistance gene 1) (partner lab)

As part of this package, all three of these tests are carried out from a single swab. Assured breeders receive a 10% discount.

Find out more about our CombiBreed health packages.


Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit The Kennel Club's Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.


Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact yourbreed health co-ordinator.


Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.


Breeding restrictions

The Kennel Club has quite a few rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, but currently there are no breeding restrictions.


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