The German Shepherd is apparently a relatively new breed of dog. Coming into being in around the early 1900's. The original German Shepherd studbook, Zuchtbuch fur Deutche Schaferhunde (SZ), shows several pure wolves were used to "create" the breed and this was less than 100 years ago. The breed being created by Captain Max von Stephanitz. He was interested in Herding dogs from the German highland Thuringia region due to their energy, temperament and working character. In appearance they had upright ears, the general body size and shape of the modern German Shepherd and had either a grey-wolf or white color coat.
Stephanitz was a career cavalry officer and spent some time serving at the Veterinary College in Berlin. Here he gained valuable knowledge about biology, anatomy, and the science of movement all of which he later applied to the breeding of dogs. He was promoted to Captain in 1898 and shortly after took his release.
Mores Plieningen, SZ #159, who was bred to the first Stud dog, Horand Von Grafath (previously known as Hektor) and whose blood is said to be in the pedigree of every GSD in the world today, was the granddaughter of a wolf at the Stuttgart Zoo/Gardens. Their son, Hektor Von Schwaben, SZ #13, figured heavily in the early GSD line. (Captain Von Stephanitz bought Hektor Liksrhein and renamed him Horand Von Grafath,after his kennel name.)
Horand Von Grafrath was the first German Shepherd registered in Germany and is known as the Father of all German Shepherds. Horand Von Grafrath was a Wolf Grey (Sable) German Shepherd. Most of the people, picture in their minds, a German Shepherd with the traditional black & tan suit, but what they may not know, is that the original German Shepherd was a Wolf Grey (Sable) German Shepherd.
The first Schutzhund trial was held in Germany in 1901 and tested the dogs abilities in tracking, obedience and protection. The English Kennel Club honoured the breed with its own register in 1919.