The popularity of German Shepherds started long ago and continues today. It all began in 1954 with the first canine movie star, Rin Tin Tin. This German Shepherd became his own celebrity who received more than 10,000 fan letters a week! Today, German Shepherds are the second most popular dog breed in the United States. One of the most easily recognized breeds, the German Shepherd has an imposing size, pointed and alert ears and dark, intelligent eyes. His coat is either black and tan, all black or occasionally all white. He has a very dense undercoat that protects him against the elements. The German Shepherd is known as the most versatile of all of the working breeds. Leading the way in Police dogs, there are over 8,000 deputy dogs currently serving in the United States. Highly intelligent and athletic, the German Shepherd is also often chosen as a seeing eye dog. His devotion and courage are like no other. This fearless dog has done about every job a dog is capable of doing. He can do everything from detecting illicit drugs and bringing down criminals to serving in the armed forces, to leading the blind. His strong muzzle and fierce bite are two of his most famous qualities. When a German Shepherd bites, he does so with 238 pounds of pressure, second only to the Rottweiler. The German Shepherd excels in every canine sport that includes agility, obedience, rally, tracking, and logically herding. Around the world, German Shepherds still help round up livestock and farms and ranches. If you have a German Shepherd, you should be quite dedicated to him. He needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. At the very least, he requires a 30 minute walk, twice a day, with a spirited play session along with it. Super protective and loving, the German Shepherd is a good match for families with children. If you love the great outdoors, they are also well-suited for you. Providing you give them sufficient exercise and a chance to use their strong athleticism and intelligence, this versatile breed can even do well in a small city apartment. They are not well-suited to live outdoors, but instead living in the home as a member of the family. Keep in mind that you should expect to find clumps of hair all around your house as they shed very heavily. German Shepherds thrive when they are given a job to do. This highly intelligent breed will not be content spending his life napping on the sofa. To be truly happy, he needs to be challenged with activity. When they are left alone, they can become bored or anxious and may pick up undesirable habits like barking, chewing and digging. He has a reputation for being an excellent watchdog, as he tends to be leery of strangers. If you want your German Shepherd to be more social, as a puppy you should expose him to lots of different experiences, places and people.