Dog (Deutscher Schäferhund)
Goethe vom Hohen-Haus,
courtesy of Les
TRANSLATOR : Mrs C.Seidler
ORIGIN : Germany
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD
UTILIZATION : Versatile working, watch and professional
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I.: Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle
Dogs (except Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
With Working Trial
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : Following the
official establishment of the Association for German
Shepherd Dogs (Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde)
situated in Augsburg, a member of the Verband für
das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) and regarded as the
founder association responsible for the breed standard
of the German Shepherd Dog, this standard was drawn
up at the first meeting of members in Frankfurt/Main
on September 20, 1899, following suggestions by
A.Meyer and von Stephanitz, as well as supplements
from the 6th meeting of members on July 28, 1901,
the 23rd meeting of members in Cologne on September
17, 1909, the meeting of Officers and Committee
in Wiesbaden on September 5, 1930 and a meeting
of the breed Committee and Officers on March 25,
1961 under the auspices of the World Union of Clubs
for German Shepherd Dogs (WUSV). It was revised
and at the WUSV conference on August 30, 1976, finalised,
re-worded and catalogued with authorisation from
the Executive and Board on March 23, 1991.
The German Shepherd Dog whose planned breeding was
begun in the year 1899 following the founding of
the Association, is based on breeding from Central
and Southern German lines of the, then available,
Watchdogs with the goal of producing a working dog,
cut out for high performance. To achieve this goal,
the breed standard of the German Shepherd Dog was
drawn up with concern for the structure of the body
as well as qualities of temperament and character.
GENERAL APPEARANCE : The German Shepherd
Dog is of medium size, slightly elongated, strong
and well muscled. The bone is clean and general
IMPORTANT MEASUREMENTS / PROPORTIONS :
Height at Withers :Dogs 60 to 65 cm
Bitches 55 to 60 cm
Length of body approximately 10 to 17 % longer than
height at withers.
TEMPERAMENT : The German Shepherd Dog must be
even in temperament, well balanced, self assured,
totally unself-conscious and, except when provoked,
totally good natured. Added to that he must be attentive
and easily trained. He must possess courage, combativity
and toughness, so as to be a suitable companion,
watch, guard, working and herding dog.
The head is wedge shaped and in proportion
to body size (length approximately 40% of height
at withers) without being coarse or over -stretched.
Clean in general appearance, moderately wide between
the ears. The forehead seen from the front and side
is only barely arched and without any or, only slightly
indicated, middle furrow.
The proportion of the Cranial Region to the Facial
Region is one of 50% to 50%. The width of the Cranial
Region corresponds approximately to the length.
The Cranial Region (skull) seen from above, runs
from the ears to the bridge of the nose, tapering
evenly and gradually slanting to the not sharply
defined stop into the wedge shaped facial region
(muzzle) of the head. Upper and lower jaw are strongly
Bridge of nose is straight, any hollow or arch is
undesirable. Lips taut, closing firmly and of dark
Nose : Must be black.
Teeth : Must be strong, healthy and complete
(42 teeth according to usual tooth formation). The
German Shepherd Dog has a scissor bite i.e. the
incisors must fit scissor-like into each other so
that the incisors of the upper jaw overlap those
of the lower jaw in scissor fashion. Level bite,
over- or undershot are faults as are larger spaces
between teeth (gaps). Equally faulty is a straight
alignment of the incisors. The jaw bones must be
strongly developed so that the teeth can be strongly
embedded in it.
Eyes : Of medium size, almond shaped, set
slightly slanting, not protruding. The eye colour
should be as dark as possible. A light piercing
eye is undesirable as it affects the dog's expression.
Ears : The German Shepherd Dog has erect
ears of medium size which are carried upright, pointing
in the same direction (not drawn sideways). They
taper to a point and the external ear faces forward.
Semi-drop ears or pendant ears count as faults.
Ears carried laid back in movement or repose are
not a fault.
NECK : The neck should be strong, well muscled
and not throaty (no dewlap). The angle towards the
body (horizontal) is approximately 45 degrees.
The topline runs from the set on of neck
to the well defined withers and along the back,
sloping very slightly from the horizontal to the
lightly sloping croup without any visible break.
The back is firm,
strong and well muscled. The croup should be long
and slope slightly (about 23 degrees from horizontal)
and merge without break in the topline with the
tail set on.
Chest : Moderately broad, lower chest as
long as possible and well defined. Depth of chest
should be 45 to 48% of height at withers. Ribs should
have moderate spring. A barrel shaped chest is as
much a fault as lack of spring.
Tail : Reaches at least to the hocks, yet
not further than middle of the metatarsal. It has
slightly longer hair on the underside and is carried
hanging in a gentle curve. When animated or moving
it is carried higher but not above horizontal. Corrective
surgery is forbidden.
Forequarters: The forelegs are straight,
seen from all sides, absolutely parallel seen from
the front. Shoulder-blade and upper arm
are of equal length and, due to strong muscling,
firmly placed against the body. The angle of the
shoulder-blade and upper arm is ideally 90 degrees,
but more generally 110 degrees.
Elbows must turn neither in nor out, either standing
or moving. Seen from all sides forearms straight
and, absolutely parallel to each other, clean and
firmly muscled. Front pastern has a length of approximately
1/3rd of the forearm to which it has an angle of
20 to 22 degrees. A pastern which is too steep (less
than 20 degrees), restricts the dog's use, in particular
Feet : Rounded, well closed and arched. The soles
hard but not rough.
Nails : Strong and dark in colour.
Hindquarters : The position of the hindlegs
is slightly backwards, though the hind legs are
parallel seen from the rear. Upper and second thigh
are almost equal length and form an angle of about
12O degrees. Thighs strong and well muscled. The
hockjoints are strong and firm. Metatarsal stands
vertically under hockjoint.
Feet : Closed, slightly arched, pads hard and dark
in colour. Nails strong, arched and equally of dark
Gait : The German Shepherd Dog is a trotter.
The limbs must be so co-ordinated in length and
angulation that the dog can, without noticeable
change in backline, move the hind legs as far forward
as the body and also reach out as far with the forelegs.
Any tendency to over angulation of the hindquarters
reduces firmness and endurance, and, with it, the
working ability. With correct body proportions and
angulation, a ground covering flat movement which
gives an impression of tireless forward propulsion
is obtained. With the head pushed forward and a
lightly raised tail, an even, quiet trot achieves
a gently flowing topline, uninterrupted from tips
of ears to tip of tail.
SKIN : The skin is (loose) fitting but without
Make up of coat : The correct coat for a German
Shepherd Dog is of an outer coat with undercoat.
The top coat should be as dense as possible,
harsh and close lying. On the head, inside ears,
the front part of the legs, on feet and toes short.
Slightly longer and coarser on the neck. On the
backside of the legs, the hair is longer as far
down as pasterns and hocks. Moderate trousers on
backs of thighs.
COLOUR : Black with tan, brown, yellow to
pale grey markings. Solid black or solid grey. In
greys, darker shading, black saddle and mask. Unobtrusive,
small white marks on chest as well as very pale
colour on insides of limbs permissible but not desirable.
Nose must be black in all colours. Lack of mask,
light to piercing eye colour, as well as light to
whitish markings on chest and inside limbs, pale
nails and red
tip to tail, are to be regarded as lack of pigment.
The undercoat shows a light greyish tone. The colour
white is not permitted.
HEIGHT / WEIGHT :
Dog : Height at withers 60 to 65 cm Weight
30 to 40 kg
Bitches : Height at withers55 to 60 cm
Weight22 to 32 kg
TESTICLES : Male animals should have two
apparently normal testicles fully descended into
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing
points should be considered a fault and the seriousness
with which the fault should be regarded, should
be in exact proportion to its degree.
SERIOUS FAULTS : Any departure from the above
described breed characteristics which influence
Faulty ears : Ears set on laterally or too low,
tipped ears, inward constricted ears. Ears not firm.
Severe lack of pigment. Severe defect in general
Dental faults : All departures from scissor bite
and correct tooth formation which are not considered
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS :
- Weak temperament, biters, nervous dogs.
- Dogs with deformed ears or tail.
- Dogs with malformations.
- Dogs with the following dental faults due to lack
1 premolar 3 plus one other tooth or
1 canine or
1 premolar 4 or
1 molar 1 or 1 molar 2 or
all together 3 or more teeth.
- Dogs with faulty jaws. Overshot by more than 2
mm. Undershot. Pincer bite formed by all 12 incisors.
- Dogs which are over or under size by more than
- White coat colour (even with dark eyes and nails).
- Long outer coat (long, soft, not close lying top
coat with undercoat, fringes on ears and legs, bushy
trousers and bushy tail with plume underneath).
- Long coat (long, soft top coat without undercoat,
mostly parted in middle of back, fringes on ears,
legs and tail).