Compared to some breeds – the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is a relatively young breed – compared to some of the ancient hunting and hound breeds – but the breed history is thoroughly documented.
Captain Max von Stephanitz is credited with the foundation and championing of “German Sheepdogs” by forming the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (SV) in 1899, and developing the standard and breed test that gives us the dog we know today as the modern GSD.
If you are looking for an extended read on the history and development of the modern German Shepherd Dog – you can do well to start with Louis Donald’s comprehensive article “A General Overview of the German Shepherd Dog.” From historical breed photos to modern examples, with excellent photos to define faults and correct features as they are discussed the article is comprehensive and detailed. The article even discussing the structural differences between the show lines and the working lines without being political.
And you can’t argue with his conclusion:
Finally, all of the above means ‘absolutely nothing’ if the dog is not trustworthy, if it does not have the right attitude, protective instincts, character, abundant energy, instinctive drive, firm nerves, sound outgoing self assured temperament and inherent eager willingness to run, work and please.
Do your own research; talk to people, read, go see dogs, go see dogs in action, and apply critical thinking to all that you see and hear, and form your own conclusions. That’s all your dog will ask of you.
Elements of Temperament: A comprehensive article that covers the different drives and how thresholds influence the manifestation of those drives.