AKC German Shepherd Breed Standard in Brief

Part of the German Shepherds For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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

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