The Kennel Club of England
(Alsatian) Pastoral/Herding Group
German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard
Last Updated - September 2000
Slightly long in comparison to height; of powerful, well muscled build
with weather-resistant coat. Relation between height, length, position
and structure of fore and hindquarters (angulation) producing
far-reaching, enduring gait. Clear definition of masculinity and
femininity essential, and working ability never sacrificed for mere
dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Attentive, alert, resilient
and tireless with keen scenting ability
Steady of nerve, loyal, self-assured, courageous
and tractable. Never nervous, over-aggressive or shy.
Head and Skull
Proportionate in size to body, never coarse, too
fine or long. Clean cut; fairly broad between ears.
slightly domed; little or no trace of central furrow.
forming softly rounded curve, never protruding.
to bridge of nose tapering gradually and evenly, blending without too
pronounced stop into wedge-shaped powerful muzzle. Skull approximately
50 per cent of overall length of head. Width of skull corresponding
approximately to length, in males slightly greater, in females slightly
strong, lips firm, clean and closing tightly. Top of
muzzle straight, almost parallel to forehead.
Short, blunt, weak, pointed,
overlong muzzle undesirable.
Medium-sized, almond-shaped, never protruding. Dark brown
preferred, lighter shade permissible, provided expression good and
general harmony of head not destroyed. Expression lively, intelligent
Medium-sized, firm in texture, broad at base, set high, carried erect,
almost parallel, never pulled inwards or tipped, tapering to a point,
open at front.
Never hanging. Folding back during movement permissible.
Jaws strongly developed.
With a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth
closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
healthy and strong. Full dentition desirable.
Fairly long, strong, with
well developed muscles, free from throatiness. Carried at 45 degrees
angle to horizontal, raised when excited, lowered at fast trot
long, set obliquely (45 degrees) laid flat to body. Upper arm strong,
well muscled, joining shoulder blade at approximately 90 degrees.
Forelegs straight from pasterns to elbows viewed from any angle, bone
oval rather than round. Pasterns firm, supple and slightly angulated.
Elbows neither tucked in nor turned out. Length of foreleg exceeding
depth of chest.
Length measured from point
of breast bone to rear edge of pelvis, exceeding height at withers.
Correct ratio 10 to 9 or 8 and a half.
Undersized dogs, stunted growth,
high-legged dogs, those too heavy or too light in build, over-loaded fronts, too short overall appearance, any feature detracting from reach or endurance of gait, undesirable.
(45-48 per cent) of height at shoulder, not too broad, brisket long,
well developed. Ribs well formed and long; neither barrel-shaped nor too
flat; allowing free movement of elbows when gaiting. Relatively short
loin. Belly firm, only slightly drawn up. Back between withers and
croup, straight, strongly developed, not too long.
achieved by correct angle of well laid shoulders, correct length of
croup and hindquarters. Withers long, of good height and well defined,
joining back in a smooth line without disrupting flowing topline,
slightly sloping from front to back.
Weak, soft and roach backs undesirable and should be rejected.
Loin broad, strong,
well muscled. Croup long, gently curving downwards to tail without
disrupting flowing topline.
Short, steep or flat croups undesirable.
Overall strong, broad and well muscled, enabling effortless forward
propulsion of whole body.
viewed from side,
sloping to slightly longer lower thighbone.
sufficient if imaginary line dropped from point of buttocks cuts through
lower thigh just in front of hock, continuing down slightly in front of
Angulations corresponding approximately with front angulation,
without over-angulation, hock strong. Any tendency towards
over-angulation of hindquarters reduces firmness and endurance.
Rounded toes well closed and
well cushioned and durable.
strong and dark in colour.
Dewclaws removed from hindlegs.
Bushy-haired, reaches at
least to hock – ideal length reaching to middle of metatarsus. At rest
tail hangs in slight sabre-like curve; when moving raised and curve
increased, ideally never above level of back.
Short, rolled, curled, generally carried badly or stumpy from birth, undesirable.
Sequence of step follows diagonal pattern, moving foreleg and opposite hindleg forward simultaneously; hindfoot thrust forward to midpoint of
body and having equally long reach with forefeet without any noticeable
change in backline.
Outer coat consisting of straight, hard, close-lying hair
as dense as possible; thick undercoat. Hair on head, ears, front of
legs, paws and toes short; on back, longer and thicker; in some males
forming slight ruff. Hair longer on back of legs as far down as pasterns
and stifles and forming fairly thick trousers on hindquarters.
and fast rule for length of hair; mole-type coats undesirable.
Black or black saddle with
tan, or gold to light grey markings. All black, all grey, with lighter
or brown markings referred to as Sables.
Undercoat, except in all black
dogs, usually grey or fawn. Colour in itself is of secondary importance
having no effect on character or fitness for work. Final colour of a
young dog only ascertained when outer coat has developed.
Light markings on chest or very pale colour on inside of legs permissible but
undesirable, as are whitish nails, red-tipped tails or wishy-washy faded
colours defined as lacking in pigmentation.
albinos, whites (i.e. almost pure white dogs with black noses) and near
whites highly undesirable.
Ideal height (from withers
and just touching elbows)
dogs: 63 cms (25 ins)
bitches: 58 cms (23
ins). 2.5 cms (1 in)
either above or below ideal permissible.
Faults - Any
departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the
seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact
proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.