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History of the German Shepherd Dog

Max von Stephanitz is credited for developing the breed. He was a career cavalry officer and served at the Veterinary College in Berlin. While at the Veterinary College, he gained valuable knowledge about biology, anatomy, and the science of movement.  He applied his knowledge to breeding dogs. His breeding goal was to improve shepherding dogs as they were the only working dogs in Germany at the time.


Stephanitz enjoyed attending dog shows, where he noted the many different types of shepherding dogs and there was no breed standardization.  He admired dogs with a "wolfish" appearance and prick ears; who also were intelligent, had sharp senses and willingness to work.  Stephanitz believed he could breed a better working dog that could be used throughout Germany.


In 1889 Stephanitz began the standardization of the breed. It all started at a dog show in Karlsruhe, Germany, where a medium-sized yellow-and-gray wolfish dog breed caught his eye. The dog was of the primal canine type, supple and powerful, and possessed endurance, steadiness, and intelligence.  The dog was a working sheepherder, born with this ability, requiring no training other than direction and finish to become proficient at the task. This dog, Hektor Linksrhein, was purchased by von Stephanitz, who renamed him Horand von Grafrath.  Horand von Grafath became the first registered German Shepherd Dog.


On 22 April 1899, Stephanitz, along with Artur Meyer formed the first German Shepherd Dog breed club:  the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (also known as S.V.).  In addition, the club developed a Zuchtbuch (Breed Register) and twenty years later, they published the Körbuch (Breed Survey Book).  The Breed Survey Book describes a dog's suitability for breeding based on its physical and mental characteristics; not based solely on show wins. Under Stephanitz's guidance, the S.V. became the single largest breed club in the world and it was his idea to introduce the breed to other types of work such as delivering messages, rescue work, sentry duties, and as personal guard dogs. The German Shepherd made its world debut in these roles during the First World War.

History of the GSDCC Inc.

The German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada Inc. formed in 1922.  

The Club has documented its history 

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