German Shepherd Dog was originally bred to work a large
flock of sheep (usually over 100) as a moving fence line. This
is often referred to as Tending or Boundary work.
work with the German Shepherd originated in Germany where
areas to graze sheep were often small and unfenced. The sheep
were constantly moved to different areas to graze and the German
Shepherd dog was used to move the sheep to different areas as
well as contain the sheep to a specific area to graze. These areas
were often bordered by valuable farmer crops and was /is the dogs
job to keep the sheep out of them. Between grazes the sheep would
be moved along narrow roads where there was often traffic. The
area sheep often grazed was where the crops had already been harvested.
You would find these areas next to fields that still contained
German Shepherds worked or patrolled along the border
or furrow at the edge of the field. The dogs knew or are trained
to not enter the sheep graze but are allowed to bite or discipline
any sheep that exits the graze.
are only allowed on the neck, the side or the rump of the sheep.
These areas have sufficient wool and muscle to protect the sheep
from any damage the grip might do. Gripping in these areas are
genetic, not taught.
sheep originally used in tending are a large wool sheep. They
are used to having dogs around them and will often eat right to
the border where the dog is patrolling. The Shepherd (person)
shows the dog the boundary or border and in trun the dog shows
the sheep the boundary.
Shepherds were bred to be very keen so that they kept their
interest in the boundary or working non moving sheep that are
grazing. They need to have confidence, herding instinct,
strong prey drive, endurance, solid temperament,
alert, aloofness with strangers, strong work ethic and be a team
type of work also requires a dog who is trainable, a willing worker,
courageous, and physically sound. It requires a dog who
can work on it’s own making correct decisions without owner
input. Their conformation is also very important. They
need to have good feet, thick pads, smooth movement, agile, good
coat, and balanced front and rear angulation (not over angulated).
A dog that is put together correctly will be able to do its job
better and last longer doing it.
above traits also allow the German Shepherd dog breed
to work endlessly searching for victims or evidence, in explosive/narcotic
detection work, as patrol partner for police, military, or security.
These are also traits that make this breed a wonderful companion
and family dog.