Do Trained German Shepherds Really Make Better Actors?

From Strongheart to Bullet to Rin Tin Tin, German Shepherds are a common staple of Hollywood films. They’re also a popular favorite in the law enforcement community, often winning medals for their bravery and valor.

But how has a breed that’s only been around since 1899 become the preferred breed of movie sets and police precincts around the globe?

Their distinctive appearance certainly helps — especially in Hollywood where looks matter a lot. But arguably more important are characteristics like intelligence, loyalty and strength — assets that have tremendous value whether shooting a movie or chasing down bad guys.

Trained German Shepherds – Not Just for Actors or Cops

Rin Tin Tin has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And he was also a decorated police dog before gracing the silver screen. But you don’t need to be a police office or film director to appreciate what trained German Shepherds offer:

  • The U.S. military relies on them for scouting and booby trap detection (Rin Tin Tin himself served honorably in World War I).
  • Emergency services use German Shepherds in search and rescue operations (their sense of smell is legendary).

And that’s just in the professional world. Great with children, they also make terrific family pets. In fact, German Shepherds consistently rank among the top four canine breeds in the U.S.

One could argue that this popularity has more to do with Hollywood movies than anything else. But how does one explain the fact that collies are only the 32nd most popular dog breed in the country? Lassie received a fair share of screen time over the years.

A more likely scenario is that Hollywood films merely sped up the inevitable. Given their trainability and intelligence, German Shepherds are a great fit for all environments — whether you need a working dog who lives to serve or a loyal companion who lives to love.