Mrs. C. Seidler and Mrs. I. Kincaid.
PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD :
23. 03. 1991.
Versatile Utility, Herding, Guard and Service Dog.
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss
Mountain and Cattle Dogs).
Section1 Sheepdogs. With working trial.
SUMMARY : According to official resolution,
the Association for German Shepherd Dogs (Verein für
Deutsche Schäferhunde) with seat in Augsburg, as a
member of the German Kennel Club (Verband für das
Deutsche Hundewesen e.V., VDH) and as founding
association of the breed, is responsible for the
standard of the German Shepherd Dog. This standard
was originally drawn up at the first membership
meeting of the Association in Frankfurt/Main, on the
20th September 1899, based on proposals made by A.
Meyer and von Stephanitz. Amendments were made to
the standard during the 6th membership meeting on
the 28th July 1901, during the 23rd membership
meeting in Cologne/Rhine on the 17th September 1909,
at the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee
meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany, on the 5th September
1930, and at the Board of Directors and Breed
Committee meeting on the 25th March 1961. The
standard was revised and adopted by the World Union
of German Shepherd Dogs (Weltunion für Deutsche
Schäferhunde, WUSV) on the 30th August 1976 and
reviewed and catalogued following a resolution of
the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee on the
23rd and 24th March 1991.
The German Shepherd
Dog, whose planned breeding was begun in the year
1899 after the founding of the Association for
German Shepherd Dogs, was originally developed on
breeding from then available Central and South
German herding dogs with the final aim to create a
dog highly suitable for the most demanding utility
work. To achieve this aim, the breed standard of
the German Shepherd Dog was developed, emphasizing
correct physical structure and particularly a sound
temperament and good character.
APPEARANCE : The German Shepherd Dog is of
medium size, slightly elongated, strong and well
muscled, with dry bone and of firm overall
TEMPERAMENT : The German Shepherd Dog must
be even tempered, well balanced (with strong
nerves), self assured, totally at ease (except when
provoked) and good natured, as well as attentive and
easy to train. He must possess courage, combatively
and toughness in order to be suitable as a
companion, guard, service, Herding-dog and « Schutzhund ».
The head is wedge shaped and in proportion to body
size (length approximately 40% of height at withers)
without being coarse or too elongated. Clean and
dry in general appearance, moderately broad between
the ears. The forehead seen from the front and side
is only slightly rounded and without any or with
only a slightly indicated middle furrow.
The proportion of the
cranial region to the facial region is 50 % to 50 %.
The width of the cranial region corresponds
approximately to the length. Seen from above, the
skull is tapering evenly from the ears to the nasal
bridge and gradually sloping into the wedge-shaped
foreface, with a slanting not too abrupt stop. Upper
and lower jaw are strongly developed. Bridge of
nose is straight, any indentation or arch is
undesirable. Lips tight, firmly fitted and dark in
Must be black.
Must be strong and healthy; complete dentition (42
teeth according to the teeth formula).
The German Shepherd
Dog has a scissor bite, i.e. the incisors must fit
scissor-like to each other so that the incisors of
the upper jaw overlap those of the lower jaw in
scissor fashion. Level bite, over-or undershot bite
are faults as well as larger spaces between the
teeth (gaps). Equally faulty is straight alignment
of the incisors. The jaw bones must be strongly
developed so that the teeth are strongly embedded in
the dental arch.
Of medium size, almond shaped, set slightly
slanting, not protruding. The eye colour should be
as dark as possible. Light piercing eyes are
undesirable since it affects the dog’s expression.
The German Shepherd Dog has erect ears of medium
size which are carried upright, pointing in the same
parallel direction (not inwardly constricted). They
taper to a point and the auricle is open toward the
front. Semi-drop ears or hanging ears are faulty.
Ears carried laid back in movement or in repose are
The neck should be strong, well muscled and not
throaty (no dewlap). Its angulations towards the
body (horizontally) is approximately 45°.
The upper line runs, without any visible break, from
the set-on of the neck over the well defined withers
and over the back very slightly sloping to the
horizontal line, onto the gradually slanting rump.
The back is firm, strong and well muscled. The loin
is broad, strongly developed and well muscled. The
rump should be long, sloping slightly (about 23° to
the horizontal) and, without any break in the
top-line, merge with the tail set-on.
Moderately broad, lower chest as long as possible
and well developed. Depth of chest should be 45 to
48% of the height at withers. Ribs should have
moderate spring. Ribs which are barrel-shaped or
too flat are faulty.
Reaches at least to the hock joint, yet not further
than the middle of the metatarsus. It has slightly
longer hair on its underside and is carried hanging
in a gentle curve. When the dog is excited or in
motion, the tail is raised and carried higher, but
not above the horizontal line. Corrective surgery
: Seen from all sides, the forelegs are straight
and, seen from the front, absolutely parallel.
Shoulder blade and upper arm are equal in length,
well muscled and firmly attached to the body. The
angle between the shoulder-blade and the upper arm
is ideally 90°, but generally up to 110°.
The elbows must turn
neither in nor out, while in repose or moving.
Viewed from all sides, the forearms are straight and
absolutely parallel to each other, dry and firmly
muscled. The pastern has a length of approximately
1/3 of the forearm; the angle between them is 20° to
22°. A weak pastern (angle more than 22°) or a
steep pastern (angle less than 20°) affect the dog’s
working suitability, especially his endurance.
: Rounded, tight with toes well arched; pads firm,
but not brittle; nails strong and dark in colour.
: The hind legs are placed slightly backwards; seen
from the rear, they are parallel to each other.
Upper and lower thigh are approximately of equal
length and form an angle of about 120°. The thighs
are strong and well muscled. The hock joints are
strong and firm. The metatarsus stands vertically
under the hock joint.
: Compact, slightly arched; the pads are hard and
dark in colour; the nails are strong, arched and
also dark in colour.
GAIT / MOVEMENT
: The German Shepherd Dog is a trotting
dog. The limbs must be so coordinated in length and
angulations that, without noticeable alteration of
the top-line, the rear legs can propel to the body
while the forelegs extend to an equal distance. Any
tendency to overangulation of the hindquarters
reduces the firmness and endurance, and consequently
the working ability. Correct body proportions and
angulations result in a flat over the ground, far
reaching, ground covering gait giving the impression
of an effortless propulsion. The head pushed
forward and the tail slightly raised result in an
even, effortless trot showing a gently curved,
uninterrupted upper line from the tips of the ears,
over neck and back to the tip of the tail.
The skin is (loosely) fitting, but without any
MAKE UP OF THE
COAT : The correct coat for the German
Shepherd Dog is double coat (Stockhaar) with outer
coat and undercoat. The outer coat should be as
dense as possible, straight, harsh and lying close
to the body. On the head, inside ears, on the front
side of the legs and on feet and toes, the hair is
short; it is slightly longer and more dense on the
neck. On the rear side of the legs, the hair is
longer extending to the pasterns and the hocks. It
forms moderate « trousers » at the rear of the
Black with reddish-brown, brown, yellow to light
grey markings. Solid black or solid grey. Greys
with darker shading show a black saddle and mask.
Unobtrusive, small white marks on chest as well as
very light colour on insides permissible, but not
desirable. Nose must be black in all colours. Dogs
with lack of mask, light to piercing eye colour, as
well as with light to whitish markings on the chest
and the insides, pale nails and red tip of tail are
considered to be lacking in pigmentation. The
undercoat shows a light greyish tone. The colour
white is not accepted.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
Dogs : Height at
the withers : 60 to 65 cm.
Weight : 30 to 40 kg.
Bitches : Height at
the withers : 55 to 60 cm.
Weight : 22 to 32 kg.
The length of the body
is approximately 10-17 % longer than the height at
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.
Any departure from the
above described breed characteristics which affects
the working capability of the dog.
Faulty ears :
Laterally too low set ears, tipped ears,
inward constricted ears. Ears not firm.
Severe lack of
Severe lack in general
Dental faults : All
departures from a scissor bite and the correct teeth
formula, if not included in eliminating faults
Aggressive or overly shy.
Weak temperament and
Dogs with deformed
ears or tail.
Dogs with missing
teeth as follows :
1 premolar 3
plus one additional tooth; or
1 canine, or
1 premolar 4, or
1 molar 1 or 2,
a total of 3 or more
Dogs with faulty jaws,
overshot by more than 2 mm, undershot; pincer bite
formed by all 12 incisors'.
undersized dogs by more than 1 cm.
White coat colour
(even with dark eyes and nails).
Long outer coat (long,
soft, not flat lying top coat with undercoat,
feathers on ears and legs, bushy « trousers » and
bushy tail with plume underneath (Langstockhaar).
Long coat (long, soft
top coat without undercoat, mostly parted in middle
of back, feathers on ears, legs and tail (Langhaar).
dog clearly showing physical or behavioral
abnormalities shall be disqualified.
: Male animals should have two apparently normal
testicles fully descended into the scrotum.