About German Shepherd Dogs
From the official United Kennel Club standard for the German Shepherd Dog:
"The German Shepherd Dog is a relatively young breed, developed almost single-handedly in the first half of the twentieth century by a German cavalry officer, Max von Stephanitz, president of the Verein far Deutsche Schaferhunde S.V. Using a variety of German sheepdogs as his foundation stock, von Stephanitz developed a distinctive breed in a very short period of time, due in large part to the authoritarian practices of the German dog fancy at that time.
Von Stephanitz emphasized utility and intelligence in his breeding program, enabling the German Shepherd Dog to switch easily from herding duties to other fields of work, particularly military and police work. The breed was just gaining notice in the United States when World War I broke out. All things German were shunned and popularity slumped. After the war, however, movie star Rin-Tin-Tin stimulated interest in the breed again. The striking good looks of this breed, combined with its remarkable intelligence and loyalty, have made it a favorite working and companion dog."
Von Stephanitz created a breed with an emphasis on utility - or what we like to call versatility. Although clearly herding is a part of the breed, it was not intended to be the only job of a GSD. GSDs should be able to tackle many jobs. They are easily trained, smart, very bonded with their people, have a protective nature and are one of the most loyal breeds of dogs.