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German Shepherd Day 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

German Shepherd Day 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

German Shepherds are a popular dog breed, with an estimated population size of over 10 million around the world. They have been a top-ranking dog breed for many years according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). They also happen to be one of the most registered dog breeds in the United States for years.

It is clear that German Shepherds are a highly sought-after dog breed, mainly due to their hardworking and loyal temperaments. They make excellent companion animals and even excel as both working and service dogs. German Shepherds are so adored across the world that they even have their own national day—the 10th of May every year is National German Shepherd Day.

What Is German Shepherd Day?

German Shepherd Day was created to honor and celebrate the noble German Shepherd breed, which is often described as an embodiment of love and loyalty. The day was first established on the 10th of May in 2011 and founded by German Shepherd enthusiast Ingrid Birch. The day was developed in memory of her late German Shepherd, Peter George de Corban. Peter passed away at the age of 9, and Ingrid remembers him as a true example of what the founder of the German Shepherd wanted from this breed.

black and tan German Shepherd playing with a ball dog toy
Image By: Reba Spike, Unsplash

A Brief History of German Shepherds

The founder of this dog breed, Captain Max von Stephanitz, had always admired the herding sheepdogs that he encountered as a cavalry officer in the German countryside. He wanted to create a formal breed of German sheepdog with excellent working ability and intelligence level. This led to von Stephanitz purchasing a wolf-like dog with a good character from a dog show held in 1899.

The Original German Shepherd Dog

He named his new canine Horand von Grafrath, who would soon be the first-ever registered German Shepherd dog. Horand originally came from north Germany where he had been bred by Friedrich Sparwasser to have the wolf-like characteristics that von Stephanitz was drawn to. Both the dog’s temperament and appearance were equally as important to von Stephanitz, who continued to work on perfecting Horand’s temperament.

By linebreeding Horand with other traditional herding dogs, von Stephanitz was able to work on the important traits he wanted to see in Horands offspring. Nearly all German Shepherds today are part of Horand’s bloodline. Although Horand didn’t live to prove himself as a service dog, von Stephanitz continued to promote German Shepherds for use in service and war before his passing in 1936.

close up german shepherd about to bark

A Prompt Name Change

German Shepherds had a change of name due to the anti-German sentiment following the First World War. The British changed the German Shepherd’s name to “Alsatian” because they refused to call them by their original name. Alsatian is still used to refer to German Shepherds in many European countries, but they refer to the same dog breed. However, the name German Shepherd is still widely used, which is why the national day is called German Shepherd Day rather than Alsatian Day.

How Can You Celebrate German Shepherd Day?

Since its establishment in 2011, German Shepherd Day has been celebrated on the 10th of May. The day can be celebrated by dog lovers and particularly German Shepherd owners who want to honor the breed’s history and temperament. Captain von Stephanitz developed German Shepherds to have a hardworking temperament, much like the fast and intelligent herding dogs he encountered in the German countryside.

German Shepherds are nothing short of loyal, strong, intelligent, courageous, and noble. Many German Shepherd owners fondly refer to their dogs as loving and affectionate, while being eager to learn and please their owners.

In Conclusion

Any German Shepherd can be celebrated on this national day and not just ones that are of breed standard or show quality. The day is used to honor the German Shepherds as a breed while acknowledging the loyalty, love, and endless protection they have offered their owners for decades.

So, if you are a German shepherd owner or just a dog lover in general, you can celebrate this day on the 10th of May for many years to come.


Featured Image Credit: 1195798, Pixabay

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