German Shepherd

Which breed of dog is also known as alsatian?

And the answer: German Shepherd.    

Photo credit: Hans Kemperman

As the name suggests, this breed originated in Germany in the 1800s and soon became popular as a herding dog. However, with the onset of World War I and the rise of anti-German sentiment, the breed's name was changed to Alsatian in the United Kingdom.

The beauty, intelligence and versatility of the German Shepherd makes them one of the most beloved dog breeds worldwide. Yet, once upon a time, German Shepherds had no place in a home— they were out busy herding flocks in the fields of Germany. Their origins as sheep dogs date back to the end of the 19th century, but the breed has since been been recognized for its ability to carry out a large range of tasks such as police work and drug sniffing.

Due to the high level of intelligence and loyalty of the breed, German Shepherds are excellent in high-intensity situations. For this reason, the German Shepherd is one of the few breeds to have accompanied the German army in two World Wars. During the first World War, the breed was in its infancy, yet the Shepherds effectively carried information, aided wounded soldiers and helped keep patrol. The performance was so impressive that even allied soldiers returned to their countries with admiration for the breed. Thanks to these experiences, the breed became known outside of Germany, and began to gain global popularity. In World War II, the German Shepherd served on both sides of the fight.

As if that wasn't enough, four German Shepherds served as the world's first guides dog in 1931. To help wounded veterans from World War I, the Seeing Eye School for the Blind incorporated the training and use of German Shepherds to assist the blind. Today, there are around 10,000 guide dog teams working in the United States.

Learn more about German Shepherds here.

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