German shepherds are special—there’s no doubt about that. Which is probably why they rank #2 on the American Kennel Club website for most popular dog breed, and why they have a reputation for loyalty, smarts, courage and compassion that’s tough to compete with.
Descended from German herding dogs, this breed gained popularity in the United States during the early 1900s thanks to movie stars (movie pups?) like Rin Tin Tin. They’ve also long been considered the best breed for the job when it comes to police and military work because of their intelligence and, as AKC says, “willingness to put their life on the line in defense of loved ones.”