The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a versatile working-dog, capable of being trained to perform a wide variety of tasks. GSDs are excellent family pets and companions, police dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, bomb and drug detection dogs, sheep and cattle herders, hunting companions, guard dogs, obedience champions, avalanche dogs, assistance dogs, show dogs.The German Shepherd Dog is truley an "all around dog".
Regardless of their particular role, GSDs are excellent companions provided they receive the attention, training, and exercise they need and feel useful. On the other hand, a neglected GSD will use those same wonderful traits to devise ways to amuse himself, much to the annoyance of his owner.
GSDs are natural herding dogs. Your GSD will try to "herd" you and your family. Often they will "follow ahead", walking in front of you and looking back to make sure you're going where you should. Although the GSD is not used as frequently for herding in present time, there are many breed lines still known for their herding. The breed is naturally loyal, intelligent and protective (which makes it good for police work). The GSD has an excellent nose, making it good for tracking and search and rescue work.
They are calm and have a steady temperament when well-bred which is why they have been used as guide dogs for the blind. A GSD thrives on regular exercise, mental stimulation and a well-balanced diet. These traits make a GSD an absolute pleasure to own when well-trained, but in the hands of a novice, unconcerned, uncommitted owner, their intelligence and drive can become difficult to manage.
The breed has a distinct personality which is summarised thus:
Any of the above deficiencies in character which indicate shyness must be penalised as very serious faults, and any dog exhibiting pronounced indications of these must be excused from the ring. It must be possible for the judge to observe the teeth and to determine that both testicles are descended. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge must be disqualified. The ideal dog is a working animal with an incorruptible character combined with body and gait suitable for the arduous work that constitutes its primary purpose.