The American Kennel Club (AKC) determines the accepted breed standard for German Shepherds in the United States. Here is a shortened version of the AKC breed standards of German Shepherds:

  • Overall strong, agile, well-muscled, and full of life

  • Longer than tall, deep-bodied, with an outline of smooth curves

  • Males 24 to 26 inches; females 22 to 24 inches at the shoulders

  • Noble, strong, chiseled head; long muzzle parallel to back of skull

  • Almond-shaped eyes

  • Moderately pointed ears facing forward and set parallel to one another

  • Black nose

  • Scissors bite

  • Shoulders are higher than back, which is level and straight

  • Sternum reaches to elbows; moderately tucked-up loin

  • Tail is bushy, set low, and hanging in slight curve

  • Shoulder blades obliquely angled with well-angulated wrists

  • Broad thigh with a right angle between upper and lower thigh

  • Double coat of medium length, with dense, straight, harsh outer coat

  • Most colors are permitted (except for white); rich colors preferred

  • Gait is ground-covering and effortless

  • Temperament is confident, fearless but aloof; eager, alert, and willing to work