1) Angulations 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-reaching forehand causes no essential change in the top line. Every
tendency toward over angulations of the rear quarters diminishes
soundless and endurance. The correct proportions of height to length and
corresponding length of the leg bones results in a ground-eating gait
that is low to the ground and imparts an impression of effortless
progression. With his head thrust forward and a slightly raised tail, a
balanced and even trotter will have a top line that falls in moderate
curves from the tip of the ears over the neck and level back through the
tip of the tail.
2) Temperament, Character and Abilities
Sound nerves, alertness, self-confidence, trainability, watchfulness,
loyalty and incorruptibility, as well as courage, fighting drive and
hardness, are the outstanding characteristics of a purebred German
Shepherd Dog. They make his suitable to be a superior working dog in
general, and in particular to be a guard, companion, protection and
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 search dog.
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 (snippy). 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 center furrow or with only a slightly defined
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 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
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
The eyes are of medium size, almond shaped, somewhat slanting and not
The color of the eyes should blend with the color of the coat. They
should be as dark as possible. They should have a lively, intelligent
and self-confident expression.
The neck should be strong with well-developed muscles and without
looseness of the throat skin (dewlaps).
The neck is carried at an angle of about 45 degrees to the horizontal.
It is carried higher when excited and lower when trotting.
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
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
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 angulations corresponds roughly
to the forequarter angulations 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 color. Dewclaws sometime appear on the hind legs and should be
removed within the first few days of birth.
Color should be black with regular markings in brown, tan to light gray,
also with a black saddle, dark sable (black cover on a gray or light
brown case with corresponding lighter marks), black, uniform gray or
with light or brown markings. Small white markings on the fore chest or
a very light color on the insides of the legs are permissible though not
desired. The nose must be black with all coat colors. (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 colors are considered lacking in pigment.) The undercoat
or base hair is always light gray, with the exception of that on black
dogs. the final color of a puppy is only determined when the outer coat
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- 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 mole like coat is faulty.
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-smooth-coat is
not as weatherproof as the medium-smooth-coat and is therefore
undesirable; however, provided there is sufficient undercoat, it may be
passed for breeding, as long as the breed regulations of the country
With the long smooth coated German Shepherd Dog, a narrow chest and
narrow overstretched muzzle are frequently found.
c) The long coated German Shepherd Dog
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.
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; monorchids and cryptorchids 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-legged dogs and those with an
overloaded fore chest; a disproportionately short, too refined or coarse
build; a soft back, too steep a placement of the limbs and anything
depreciating the reach and endurance of gait; a muzzle that is too
short, blunt, weak , pointed or narrow and lacks strength; an over-or
undershot bite or any other faults of dentition, especially weak or worn
teeth; a coat that is too soft, too short or too long; a lack of
undercoat; hanging ears, a permanently faulty ear carriage or cropped
ears; a ringed, curled or generally faulty tail set; a docked tail
(stumpy) or a naturally short tail.
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.