German Shepherd Standards
The German Shepherd Dog is medium sized. With the hair pressed down, the height at the withers is measured by stick along the vertical as it follows the line of the elbow from the withers to the ground. The ideal height at the withers is 62.5 cm for males and 57.5 for females. An allowance of 2.5 cm over or under is permissible. Exceeding the maximum as well as not meeting the minimum diminishes the working and breeding value of the dog.
The German Shepherd is slightly long, strong and well muscled. The bones are dry and the structure firm. The ratio of height to length and the placement and structure of the limbs (angulation) are so balanced that a far-reaching, effortless trot is guaranteed. He has a weather proof coat.
A pleasing appearance is desired as long as the working ability of the dog is not called into question.
Sex characteristics must be pronounced, e.g., the masculinity of the males and the femininity of the females must be unmistakable.
The German Shepherd that corresponds to the Standard offers the observer a picture of rugged strength, intelligence and agility, whose overall proportions are neither in excess or deficient in any way. The way he moves and behaves leaves no doubt that he is sound in mind and body and so possesses physical and mental traits that render possible an ever ready working dog with great stamina.
It is only possible for a practiced expert to ascertain the presence of requisite working dog traits in the German Shepherd. Therefore, only special judges should be called upon, as it is incumbent on them to judge the character of the dogs brought before them. This should include a test for gun soundness, as only German Shepherd Dogs that have achieved recognized working dog titles may receive the breed rating excellent.
With an effervescent temperament, the dog must also be cooperative, adapting to every situation, and take to work willingly and joyfully. He must show courage and hardness as the situation requires to defend his handler and his property. He must readily attack on his owner’s command but otherwise be a fully attentive, obedient and pleasant household companion. He should be devoted to his familiar surroundings, above all to other animals and children, and composed in his contact with people. All in all, he gives a harmonious picture of natural nobility and self-confidence.
The body length should exceed the height at the withers. It should amount to about 110 to 117% of the height at the withers. Dogs with a short, square or tall build are undesirable.
The chest is deep (approximately 45 to 48% of the height at the withers) but not too wide. The under chest should be as long as possible and pronounced.
The ribs should be well formed and long, neither barrel shaped nor too flat. They should reach the sternum, which is at the same level as the elbows. A correctly formed rib cage allows the elbows freedom of movement when the dogs trots. A too round rib cage disrupts the motion of the elbows and causes them to turn out. A too flat rib cage draws the elbows in toward one another. The rib cage extends far back so that the loins are relatively short.
The abdomen is moderately tucked up.
The back, including the loins, is straight and strongly developed yet not too long between the withers and the croup.
The withers must be long and high, sloping slightly from front to rear, defined against the back into which it gently blends without breaking the top line.
The loins must be wide, strong and well muscled.
The croup is long and slightly angled (approximately 23 degrees). The ileum and the sacrum are the foundation bones of the croup. Short, steep or flat croups are undesirable.
From SCHUTZHUND USA March/April 1989
“The German Shepherd Standard”
by Morton Goldfarb USA/SV/AKC Judge