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The German Shepherd or German Shepherd Dog, also known as the Alsatian, is a German breed of working dog of medium to large size. It is a modern breed, developed by Max von Stephanitz from various traditional German herding dogs from 1899.
It was originally bred as a herding dog, for herding sheep. It has since been used in many other types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police work and warfare. It is commonly kept as a companion dog, and according to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale had the second-highest number of annual registrations in 2013.
German Shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs. The breed standard height at the withers is 60–65 cm (24–26 in) for males, and 55–60 cm (22–24 in) for females. German Shepherds are longer than they are tall, with an ideal proportion of 10 to 8+1⁄2. The AKC official breed standard does not set a standard weight range. They have a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle with strong jaws and a black nose. The eyes are medium-sized and brown. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. A German Shepherd has a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace as well as stalking. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock.