In 2009, the German Shepherd ranked number two on the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Dog Registration Statistics list (behind the Labrador Retriever). Its affectionate nature and high trainability make it a popular choice for families with children.
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Dating back to nineteenth century Germany, the German Shepherd was originally bred as a herding dog, and its intelligence and athletic ability led to its subsequent use as a military, police and guide dog. German Shepherds such as Rin Tin Tin appeared in Hollywood films and increased the breed's popularity as a family pet, according to Animal Planet's website.
German Shepherds are an intelligent breed that needs obedience training. Training should start at an early age and include all members of the family, so that the discipline is consistent. Children can be taught how to give the German Shepherd commands such as "quiet" or "stay."
According to Dogtime.com, German Shepherds love to chew. It is important to provide them with plenty of chew toys and bones so that the dog doesn't leave its mark on children's toys or other household items.
While German Shepherds do have a good reputation as a family pet, Dogtime.com notes that because of its size, a German Shepherd could accidentally knock down a toddler or small child, so a younger child's interaction with the dog should always be supervised by an adult.
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