new home button

The German Shepherd Dog Illustrated Standard

Illustrated by Orrie Nordness
Web Version by John Ayotte
and Bill Pfeiffer


Sponsored by The German Shepherd Dog Club of America

Printed copies may be ordered from the Parent CLub Office.

Part One

General Appearance – The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well-muscled animal, alert, and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of forequarter and hindquarter. The dog is longer than tall, deep-bodied, and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility–difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex.

Illustration 2
Click on image for larger version.


Illustration 1

Click on image for larger version.

Illustration 3
Click on image for larger version

Size, Proportion, Substance
– The desired height for males at the top of the highest point of the shoulder blade is 24 to 26 inches; and for bitches, 22 to 24 inches.

The German Shepherd Dog is longer than tall, with the most desirable proportion as 10 to 8 1/2. The length is measured from the point of the prosternum or breastbone to the rear edge of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosity.

The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back, but from overall length with relation to height, which is achieved by length of forequarter and length of withers and hindquarter, viewed from the side.

Illustration 5
Click on image for larger version


Illustration 4
Click on image for larger version

Illustration 6
Click on image for larger version


Head – The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all, not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch, distinctly feminine.

The expression keen, intelligent, and composed. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible. Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified.

Seen from the front, the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop. The muzzle is long and strong, and its topline is parallel to the topline of the skull. Nose black. A dog with a nose that is not predominately black, must be disqualified. The lips are firmly fitted.

Jaws are strongly developed.

: 42 in number–20 upper and 22 lower–are strongly developed and meet in a scissors bite in which part of the inner surface of the upper incisors meet and engage part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. An overshot jaw or a level bite is undesirable. An undershot jaw is a disqualifying fault. Complete dentition is to be prefered. Any missing teeth other than first premolars is a serious fault.


Illustration 7
Click on image for larger version

Illustration 8
Click on image for larger version

Part Two ----- Part Three ----- Part Four