From its origination, the German Shepherd has been widely considered to be one of the most intelligent and versatile breeds. One of the more popular breeds in the United States today, German Shepherds are clever, hard-working dogs, and are the breed most often used by the police and military because of their ability to learn quickly and their incredible bravery. These good-natured, devoted dogs make excellent pets for individuals and families, and tend to be protective of their family. German Shepherds do best with plenty of exercise and stimulation, and are happiest when given a job to do. Full grown, German Shepherds are fairly large. They have a dense coat and come in both long hair and short hair varieties.
German Shepherds are called Alsatian dogs in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. They gained fame after WWI Corporal Lee Duncan rescued the German Shepherd "Rin Tin Tin," who went on to make several appearances in war movies.
As its name suggests, the German Shepherd is derived from the herding and farming breeds of dogs during the turn of twentieth century Germany. Captain Max von Stephanitz bred the dog in order to fulfill the role of the perfect herder, but once Germany became more industrialized, he pushed for the dog to go on as the breed of choice for police work and military service.