German Shepherds - The Family Watch Dog

Published: 09th September 2008
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There's a lot of different breeds of dogs, but among the world's most popular dog breeds there are a few that have been singled out as the most loyal, hard-working and intelligent. German Shepherds have long been valued for these qualities and more.

The German Shepherd is a newer breed. It originated in 1899 in Germany and was used for herding sheep. The breed was created when German ex-military member and veterinary student Max von Stephanitz saw a dog with admirable working qualities. The dog was strong and intelligent, with a superior sense of smell and fierce loyalty.

Von Stephanitz purchased the dog and bred it with his own working dogs. Eventually, he created the breed we now know as German Shepherds. Every German Shepherd today can be traced back to von Stephanitz and his breeding efforts.

The name of the breed has been a source of several controversies since its inception in 1899. The original name given to the breed by Max von Stephanitz translated literally to "German Shepherd Dog." In the 1940's, the Kennel Club officially changed the breed's name to Alsation Wolf Dog. The change was due to the fear that the breed would become unpopular because of widespread anti-German sentiments during WW2.

Not long after this name change, the general public began to fear that Alsation Wolf Dogs were actually wild and aggressive half wolves. While this was not true, the public's fear was enough to prompt the Kennel Club to change the name again, this time to simply Alsation.

Dog lovers in various countries pressured kennel clubs for another name change in 1977. This time, they asked that the breed revert to its original name. Since then, the official name of the breed has been German Shepherd Dog.

The original German Shepherd Dogs were used to herd and protect sheep on working farms in Germany. Since then, German Shepherds have been used in a variety of working capacities. Perhaps most well-known is their use as police and military working dogs. In rural settings, German Shepherds are extremely useful for search and rescue missions. Their keen sense of smell and dedication to pleasing their masters make them diligent workers.

In a more urban environment, German Shepherd Dogs are extremely useful for locating drugs, explosives and fleeing suspects. The strength of the dogs makes them ideal for taking down dangerous or running suspects. They are often used in airports and mail processing facilities to sniff out contraband in luggage and packages.

In recent years, some concerns have been raised about the safety of German Shepherd Dogs. There have been some reported cases of the dogs turning violent or attacking people. However, most of these cases are based on anecdotal evidence. Dogs tend to react aggressively when mistreated or threatened, or when protecting their masters. This has been the cause for many of the so-called German Shepherd 'attacks'.

Overall, German Shepherd Dogs are very safe to have around. In fact, they make outstanding guard dogs. They are protective of their owners and will often put themselves in danger to save their masters. They are currently the third most popular dog breed in the United States and enjoy popularity all over the world.

In Spain and the Balearic Islands especially, dog lovers appreciate the loyalty and beauty of this regal breed. According to licensing records, in fact, the German Shepherd Dog is the most popular dog breed in Menorca - the popular holiday island has a reputation of being extremely safe. That reputation is thanks, in part, to these gentle working dogs. They are always on the job, protecting their adoptive families and keeping watch for any signs of trouble such as housebreakers.
Photographs and information about the Spanish holiday island of Menorca can be found at travel guide

Traditional Menorca vacations are popular with families and the holiday guide has Mahon airport photos and cheap flight Menorca deals.

For new visitors a map of Menorca is included.

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