The Official Standards of the German Shepherd Breed according to AKC Rules and Regulations

Remember that other countries have different registries for their animals, so the other countries' standards for the same breed may be different than that of your country.

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 General appearance
 Size proportions
 Serious Faults
 Faults of ears
 Exclusion Faults


General appearance The German Shepherd Dog is medium size (not some overly huge monster a lot of people immediately ask for) , slightly stretched, strong, dry and well muscled, with strong bones, while the entire body must give a compact appearance.

Size proportions At the point of the withers, the measurement must be between 60-65 centimeters in males and 55-60 cms in females. The German Shepherd dog's body length must surpass the wither's height by between 10-17%.

Character The German Shepherd Dog must be self assured, balanced with strong nerves and absolutely impartial behavior, maintaining a good nature - until pushed to the threshold. The German Shepherd Dog must be vibrant and easy going plus be courageous, have a strong fighting instinct and possess firm nerves. These are essential requirements since the German Shepherd Dog is to be used as companion, guardian, protector and a working sheepdog.

Head The German Shepherd Dog's head has to be wedge shaped and it should be proportionate in size to the rest of the body (the length of the head should be approximately 40% that of the wither height), without appearing clumsy, shapeless or coarse or overlong. The general appearance of the German Shepherd dog must be dry ( no flabby , loose skin ).The distance between the ears must be moderate. The forehead of the German Shepherd Dog (whether seen from the front or the side), should not appear to be domed and have only little or no center furrow. The ratio between the forehead and the end of the muzzle must be almost 50/50. The forehead width must be the same as its length. The German Shepherd dogs skull (seen from the top, from the ears to the tip of the nose must consist of smooth lines, whilst having a defined separation between the skull and the muzzle (stop). Both the under and the upper jaw must be well developed. The muzzle must be straight, it is not desirable for it to be any other way. The lips must be tight, well-nit and of dark color.

Nose The nose must be solid black. No other colors are acceptable.

Mouth The mouth must be strong, well-developed, healthy and complete (42 teeth in total). The German Shepherd dog must have a scissor-like bite, in other words the bottom teeth locking with the top teeth in a scissor-like formation. Furthermore, the upper jaw must overlap the bottom jaw. The definition on the sides of the jaw, is positioned in such a way, so as the top must over-lap the bottom in a scissor-like close. The bones of the German Shepherd dogs jaw must be well developed so the teeth are not prematurely worn.

Eyes The German Shepherd Dog's eyes are middle size, almond-shaped and slightly angled, whilst they must not protrude. The eye color should be as dark as possible. Light eyes are not desirable as they spoil the expression of the dog.
Ears The German Shepherd has ears which are middle sized, firm textured, broad at the base, set high on the skull, are carried erect ( almost parallel and not pulled inwards ), taper to a point and open towards the front. Tipped ears are faulty. Hanging ears are a very serious fault. During movement the ears may be folded back.

Neck The German Shepherd dogs neck must be strong, well muscled and without excessive, loose skin at the throat. It should be at a 45 degree angle to the body.

Body The Body of the German Shepherd should begin with a smooth top line from the back of the neck and continuing in a straight line over a well developed wither and sloping slightly toward the croup, without any visible disturbance. The back is firm. strong and well muscled. The loin is broad, well developed and well muscled. The croup must be long and slightly angled (about 23 degrees to the horizontal), without any disturbance to the top line, it must continue toward the beginning of the tail.

Chest The chest of the German Shepherd dog must be moderately broad and the brisket should be long and pronounced. The depth of the chest should not be more than 45-48 % of the wither height.

Ribs The German Shepherd dog's ribs must show a moderate curve. It is faulty for the ribs to be either barrel shaped ( too round ) or slab sided ( too flat ).

Tail The German shepherd dog's tail is bushy haired on the underside, it should reach at least to the hock joint. The ideal length - being to the middle of the hock bones .When at rest the tail should hang in a slight curve like a saber. When moving it is raised and the curve is increased. Surgical corrections are not permitted.

Forehand The German Shepherd dogs forehand or forelimbs when seen from all sides must be absolutely straight. Viewed from the front ,they must be parallel. The shoulder blade and the upper arm must have the same length, be well muscled and be tightly knit to the body. The angle of the shoulder blade to the upper-arm; ideally should be at 90 degrees but usually it is acceptable around 110 degrees. The German shepherd dogs elbows must be close to the body- both in stance and in movement. The pastern must be 1/3 of the length of the foreleg and an angle of about 20 degrees -22 degrees to the foreleg. also the pastern should be neither too straight nor too angled ( say 20-22 degrees), so as not to deter the dogs stamina.

Feet The feet of the German Shepherd dog should be rounded, toes well closed and arched. Pads should be well cushioned and durable but not brittle surfaced. Nails short, strong and dark in color.

Hindquarters The position of the German Shepherd dog bones are rounded toward the back. When viewed from the back, they are parallel to each other. The upper and lower thigh bones are almost of the same length and create an angle of approximately 120 degree. The thighs must be strong and well muscled. The hock joint must be strong and tight, whilst on a vertical line to the rear feet.

Gait The German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog. To achieve this the limbs must be in such balance to one another so that the hind quarter may be thrusted well forward to the mid-point of the body and have an equally long reach with the forefoot and without any noticeable change in the back line. The correct proportion of height to corresponding length of limbs will produce a ground-covering stride giving the impression of effortless movement. The head thrust forward and tail slightly raised-balanced and even trotting is seen with a flowing line, running from the tips of the ears over the neck, back and the tip of the tail.

Skin The German Shepherd dogs skin is Tight, without any wrinkles.

Coat The consistency of the hair: The correct hair type for the German Shepherd dog consists of the undercoat and an topcoat. The topcoat must be made up of dense, straight - hard and close- lying hairs. The hair on the head, ears, paws and legs must be longer and even denser. The hair at the back of the hind legs form a moderate "trouser".

Color The base color of the German Shepherd dog should be black with markings of brown, red-brown, blonde and light grey. Alternatively a grey base-color with "clouds" of black markings and a black "saddle" and "mask". Inconspicuous white markings on the chest, and "brighter" shades on the under- and inner sides of the dog are permitted but not desirable. The nostrils must in all cases be black. Non-existence of a "mask", bright, until piercing eye color as well as light/white nails and are colored tail top are considered as a lack of pigmentation, the undercoat is a slight grey tone. White is not permitted.

Height/Weight Male: wither height 60 cm to 65 cm weight 30kg to 40 kg Female: wither height 55 cm to 60 cm weight 22 kg to 32 kg.

Testicles Male animals must have two, apparently normal testicles fully developed in the scrotum.

Faults Any Departure of the German Shepherd Dog from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regard should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Serious Faults
Departure from the breed standard which has been stated in the context and which affects the usefulness and appearance of the German Shepherd dog, is considered a serious fault. Lack of pigmentation, heavy and loose dogs, missing or faulty dentation and /or jaw formation.

Faults of ears Ear set too low on the side of the skull, soft and tipping at the tops.

Exclusion Faults a) A weak character and nervous or nervous biters. b) Proven (documented) serious "HD" condition. c) Monorchids, cryptorchids or deformed testicles. d) Deformed tails and ears. e) Dogs with deformities. f) Dogs with missing teeth. g) Faulty jaws (under-or over shot mouths). h) Oversize / undersize by more than 1 cm from the set standard. i) Albinos. j) If the color of the hair is white (regardless if the nose / eyes are dark). k) Long coated dogs (where the hair is soft, long, not tight - especially noticeably long inside and on the outside of the ears, long hair behind the front and rear legs, long hair hanging from the tail). l) Longhair with absolutely no undercoat, where the hair from the back is parted in the middle and hangs down the side of the dog.

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