With over hundred years of rich historical background, the German Shepherd Dog breed has undergone several phases of evolutionary and developmental process. The German Shepherd Dog breed actually appeared almost late at the fag end of the 19th century in Germany.
It was in the year 1882 that the base or the foundation dogs of the present GSD breed had been exhibited at a show in Hanover. Those dogs were not like the German Shepherds as we see them today. German Shepherd Dog is a comparatively modern breed, as it was not registered until 1899. Back in the year 1891, an organization known as the Phylax Society was formed, with an aim to establish standardization for the sheep dog breeds of Germany. However, owing to the difference in school of thoughts the members of the Phylax fought over which traits should each breed consist of. The society had to be disbanded in the year 1894.
Mr. Max Von Stephanitz with his dog, Horand vom Grafrath
Although not successful in its goal, the Phylax Society had paved the way for the key person of standardization - Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz (December 30, 1864 – 22 April 1936). Mr. Stephanitz purchased a property near Grafrath in the 1890s, and there he began experimenting with dog breeding, with a motive to create a perfect working dog that would work with the shepherd during the then period in Germany. He used different sheep dogs that were in existence during that period, mixing them, trying to come up with specimens to meet his specific requirements. On 22 April 1899 Stephanitz founded the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (S.V.) with his friend Artur Meyer. Mr. Stephanitz and Mayer were alone during the start of project of the verein. But soon three sheep masters, one architect, one mayor, two factory owners, one innkeeper and one magistrate joined them as co-founders. Along with establishing a breed standard the S.V. also focused on developing a Zuchtbuch (Breed Register). Twenty years later they published the Körbuch (Breed Survey Book). The aim of the Körbuch (Breed Survey Book) was to determine a dog's suitability for breeding based on their physical and mental characteristics, and not based solely on show wins.
Hector vom Linkrshein
Under Stephanitz's guidance the S.V. became the world's largest German Shepherd Dog club. The idea was to introduce the German Shepherd Dog breed to other types of work such as guarding, protection, delivering messages, rescue work and sentry duties.
The German Shepherd Dog made its world debut in these vital roles during the First World War (28 July 1914 – 11 November 1918). At the decline of the World War I the German Shepherd Dog first gained its global recognition, when the returning soldiers spoke high of the breed. The popularity had suffered a hard blow at the decline of the World War II (September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945), due to anti-German sentiment of that period. However, as time progressed, the breed's popularity was regained. Owing to tremendous versatility of German Shepherd Dog, its popularity had increased steadily and gradually until 1993, when they became the one of the most popular dog breed all over the world.