Kennel Club Standard for the German Shepherd Dog (Alsatian)

GENERAL APPEARANCE. 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 beauty.
CHARACTERISTICS. Versatile working dog, balanced and free from exaggeration. Attentive, alert, resilient and tireless with keen scenting ability.
TEMPERAMENT. Steady of nerve, loyal, self-assured, courageous and tractable. Never nervous, over-aggressive nor shy.
HEAD & SKULL. Proportionate in size to body, never coarse, too fine or long. Clean cut; fairly broad between ears. Forehead slightly domed; little or no trace of central furrow. Cheeks forming softly rounded curve, never protruding. Skull from ears to bridge of nose tapering gradually and evenly, blending without too pronounced stop into wedge shaped powerful muzzle. Skull approximately 50% of overall length of head. Width of skull corresponding approximately to length, in males slightly greater, in females slightly less. Muzzle strong, lips firm, clean and closing tightly. Top of muzzle straight, almost parallel to forehead. Short, blunt, weak, pointed, overlong muzzle undesirable.
EYES. Medium sized, almond-shaped, never protruding. Dark brown preferred, lightly shade permissible, provided expression good and general harmony of head not destroyed. Expression lively, intelligent and self-assured.
EARS. 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.
MOUTH. Jaws strongly developed. With a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square at the jaw. Teeth healthy and strong. Full strong. Full dentition desirable.
NECK. Fairly long, strong, with well developed muscles, free from throatiness. Carried at 45 degrees angle to horizontal, raised when excited, lowered at fast trot.
FOREQUARTERS. Shoulder blades 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 or turned out. Length of foreleg exceeding depth of chest.
BODY. 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, overloaded front, too short overall appearance, any feature detracting from reach or endurance of gait, undesirable. Chest deep (45% - 48%) 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. Overall length achieved by correct angle of well laid shoulders, correct length of croup and hindquarters. Withers long, of good height and well defined, jointed back in 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.
HINDQUARTERS. Overall strong, broad and well-muscled, enabling effortless forward propulsion of whole body. Upper thighbone, viewed from side, sloping to slightly longer lower thighbone. Hind angulation sufficient if imaginary line dropped from point of buttocks cuts through lower thigh just in front of hock, continuing down slightly in front of hind feet. Angulations corresponding approximately with front angulation, without over-angulation, hock strong. Any tendency towards overangulation of hindquarters reduces firmness and endurance.
FEET. Rounded toes well-closed and arched. Pads well-cushioned and durable. Nails short, strong and dark in colour. Dewclaws removed from hindlegs.
TAIL. Bushy-haired, reached 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.
GAIT/MOVEMENT. Sequence of step follows diagonal pattern, moving foreleg and opposite hindleg forward simultaneously; hind foot thrust forward to midpoint of body and having equally long reach with forefeet without any noticeable change in backline.
COAT. 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. No hard and fast rule for length of hair; mole-type coats undesirable.
COLOUR. Black or black saddle with tan or gold to lightgrey markings. All black, all grey, or grey with lighter or brown markings referred to as Sables. Nose black. Light markings on chest or very pale colour on inside of legs permissible but undesirable, as are whitish nails, red tipped tails or wish-washy faded colours defined as lacking in pigmentation. Blues, livers, albinos, white (i.e. almost pure white dogs with back noses) and near whites highly undesirable. 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.
SIZE. Ideal height (from withers and just touching elbows) : Dogs 62.5 cm (25 ins). Bitches 57.5 cm (23 inch). 2.5 cm (1 inch) 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.
NOTE. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Copyright: The Kennel Club 1986