19×24 watercolor enhanced colored pencil. Original available.
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German Shepherds (also Alsatian) are highly intelligent, agile and well-suited to active working environments. They are often deployed in various roles such as police work, guarding, search and rescue, therapy and in the military. Based on 2006 American Kennel Club statistics, German Shepherd Dogs are the third most popular breed in the United States with 43,575 registrations. They can also be found working as guide dogs for the blind. Despite their suitability for such work, German Shepherds can also make loyal and loving pets inside the home. They enjoy being around people and other animals, although socialization is critical for young puppies in order to prevent aggressive and dangerous behavior.
German Shepherds are well-suited to obedience, with advanced and prestigious titles available to test both the handler and dog in various schutzhund trials.
The proper English name for the breed is German Shepherd Dog (a literal translation from the German Deutscher Schäferhund) but they are usually informally referred to as GSDs or as “German Shepherds”. In addition, the sobriquet police dog is used in many countries where the GSD is the predominant or exclusive breed used by the police force.
Anti-German sentiment was still high in the wake of World War I (1914 – 1918), and change of German-oriented names in the UK – including that of the Royal Family – were common at the time when a few dogs were taken to Britain and the United States. In 1919, the English Kennel Club gave the breed a separate register. Since it was feared that the name German Shepherd Dog could be an impediment, the name Alsatian was introduced, from Alsace, a traditionally German-speaking French area on the west bank of the Rhine which had been annexed by the German Empire in 1870 but restored to France in 1918. This name is still used in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the Commonwealth. Only in 1977 did the British Kennel Club authorize the breed to be known again as the German Shepherd Dog. (info from Wikipedia)