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5 Facts About German Shepherds That Prove They're More Than Police Dogs


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German shepherds are well-recognized around the world, but are they really shepherds?

There's no dog breed quite as recognizable nor as beloved as the German shepherd. They're our protectors, our companions, and our best pals. But there's more to them than meets the eye! Here are some little known facts about German shepherds-- and the first may surprise you!

5 German Shepherd Facts

1. They herd sheep.

Though we know them to be tough police dogs, these pups come from much more wholesome beginnings. Originally, German shepherds were tasked with watching over flocks of sheep and herding them from field to field. This was obviously a job that required quick reflexes and an ability to run at top speed, which this breed proved to be perfect for.

2. They're crazy fast.

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Speaking of quick reflexes and top speeds, many don't know just how fast these dogs can go! German shepherds can reach speeds of up to 32 miles per hour at full sprint. It'd be pretty tough to outrun them, which is why they're so well equipped for all the jobs they work in our history, from K9 units to working alongside soldiers in WW1 and WW11. They can't quite outrun a horse, they can certainly keep up with a horse's running speed.

3. They were the original guide dogs.

While in modern day service dogs are usually labs or retrievers, service dogs for the visually impaired were originally German shepherds! They were the dogs trained to assist soldiers that had been blinded in WW1, though it isn't too common to see them play the role anymore.

4. They have their own sport.

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Not many breeds can say the same! Because the versatility of this breed is so legendary, German shepherd lovers created a sport called Schutzhund, which translates to "protection dog," to showcase their natural abilities. This game is a series of demanding tests in categories like intelligence, courage, and instincts, it's true a sight to see.

5. They're the third smartest breed.

While they're beat out by poodles and border collies, the intelligence of a German shepherd is surely nothing made up. Stanley Coren, author of the book "The Intelligence of Dogs," states that German Shepherds will learn a new task after only five repetitions and respond to commands correctly 95% of the time. That's better than a lot of toddlers!

Do you own a German shepherd? Tell us on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

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READ MORE: 5 Facts About Belgian Malinois, The German Shepherd's Loyal Cousin

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