How to Tell if My German Shepherd is Purebred

How to Tell if My German Shepherd is Purebred

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and nearly every house desires to have a German Shepherd.

Apart from being guard dogs, German Shepherds are known to be good for families with kids. Though muscular, they can be your child’s best friend, and they have a history of being homely. They are also intelligent, obedient, and loyal to their masters.

However, with an increase in backstreet breeding, it has become impossible to find a purebred German Shepherd that retains all the characteristics and features of its ancestors.

If you want to know if your German Shepherd is purebred, you can do a DNA test to examine the dog’s lineage, check the dog’s coat, examine the physical and behavioral characteristics, or inquire about the dog’s pedigree from various sources.


How to Know If Your German Shepherd is Purebred

Examine the dog’s coat

German shepherds have three different coats: plush, double, and long-haired coats. The most familiar ones are long-haired and double coats. For standard breeds, the coat is often a double coat which is dense, straight, and short hair that is close to the body.

Check the physical characteristics

Here are some of the features you will examine to determine if the German Shepherd is purebred:

Identify the tan and black colouring

The first thing that captures your eyes when you see a German shepherd is its black and tan coloring. However, some are purely black. On normal occasions, the tan color covers a larger part of the body and black on the facial and saddle.

Well, in rare instances, you can find a German shepherd with white, reddish-brown, and blue coats. This is not the recognized standard color although such coloration exists.

The dog’s strong build

German shepherds are classified under working dogs because of their strong proportion build. The height lies between 56-66 cm and it weighs around 23-41 kg.

Typically, this dog has muscular and sloppy front legs and shoulders. It also has a narrow and deep chest, making its body longer than its depth when you measure toward the rump from the shoulder.

When you buy or adopt a German Shepherd puppy, it will weigh around 3 to 5 kg, and it will grow steadily from thereon. When the puppy is 6 months old, the weight will increase to about 22 to 26 kgs.

Structure of the ear

The ears of a German shepherd are very distinct; pointed and erect. The ear is long at the base and often faces forward, forming a triangular shape. However, the puppies’ ears are slightly different since the tips flop over but they straighten as they grow.

The tail

The tail of a German shepherd is bushy and long. It tends to hang down while it rests and curves slightly upwards as it moves or when the dog is alert.

Examine the behavioural characteristics


You will notice the loyalty of a German shepherd as it grows to know you and your family. German shepherds can be aggressive, reserved, and fairly aloof upon meeting new faces whom they consider strangers. However, once you interact and get used to each other, they become loyal and friendly to their owner.

Check the dog’s energy level

German shepherds require lots of daily exercise. Once left alone for a long time, they will become bored and destructive. This is the reason why they start chewing things, digging, and barking all the time. Therefore, you can spare at least one hour per day for some exercise.

Related: How to stop German Shepherd from barking

Test if the dog is trainable

German Shepherd dogs are highly intelligent, and they can be trained easily. Doing jobs or tasks is their thing and they perform the duty perfectly. A German shepherd can be the eyes of a blind person, help with search and rescue missions, sniff drugs, and help in upholding security.

See if the dog is overprotective or has a sense of possession

Do you know a German shepherd can herd your sheep? It herds them and ensures each sheep or goat is accounted for. Their sense of possession makes the German Shepherd a perfect family dog since it will always keep your family safe.

4. Inquire about the breed from various sources.

Being inquisitive will help you gaher sufficient information about the German Shepherd, and the information you get can help you know if your German Shepherd is purebred. 

Before purchasing any dog, you should get as much information about the dog as possible. For instance, you can ask about the dog’s family background, diseases, habits, likes, and dislikes. This way, you will be in a position to understand your dog perfectly, and caring for him will be seamless.

Ask the owner

You may find yourself attracted to a dog, even though you are not 100% sure that it is a German shepherd.

Certainly, the dog will be accompanied by the owner, and it is good you take your curiosity and approach the person to find more information. You can begin by complimenting the dog and follow by asking if it is a German shepherd. The owner will respond.

Talk with a veterinarian.

Your veterinarian has more experience and knowledge about dogs. Therefore, ask your vet to help you identify your dog’s breed, and find out if it’s purebred or mixed breed.

Download an app

Some apps help in the identification of a dog’s breed. These apps scan photographs of the dog and instantly give a response on which breed it is.

Final thoughts

Not every German Shepherd you come across is a purebred German Shepherd. While a German Shepherd may have the build, color, and strength of a German Shepherd dog, it may be a crossbreed with other dogs like Malnoise, Pitbull, and Golden Retriever.

If you want to know if your German Shepherd is purebred, you should subject them to an evaluation test. One of the easiest and proven methods is to conduct a DNA test to determine its lineage and ancestors. You can also check the coat and examine the dog’s physical characteristics to see if it matches the features of its ancestors.


I am an animal behaviorist, and I am happy to share my knowledge with GSD owners on everything German Shepherd.

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