"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself" is a quote from American writer Josh Billings. This is why dogs are known as 'man's best friend'. The close relationship between humans and dogs began many thousands of years ago. The most popular breed is the Labrador, but the best breed is the German Shepherd. Okay, I admit that I am biased. Since the age of 7, I grew up with 4 different German Shepherds (my parents still have #4 right now). I know what a good and smart dog they are. In fact, they are the 3rd most intelligent breed of dog behind Border Collies and Poodles (what poodles?!). Shepherds are also known for their loyalty and courage. I would agree with this too although our second one, Mari, would jump the fence at any chance. Come to think of it, it probably got bored of being alone in our backyard with nobody to play with. Shepherds do need a big yard to play in and because they are smart, they need a lot of stimulation.
German Shepherds were and still are used to herd sheeps, hence the name shepherd, but they are also used as guide dogs for the blind, for search and rescue, in the military, as police dogs and as they were for our family, guard dogs. Shepherds only bark when they feel it is necessary, so we'd always peek out the back window when we heard him barking. Sometimes it looked like he just wanted our attention but other times he probably did encounter a racoon or opossum.
Having grown up with big dogs, I don't care for small dogs much. They can be cute but for me, they're pretty much "All bark, no bite". Here are pictures of the last 3 German Shepherds my family has had. As you can see, none of these are 100%. Our first one, Lila was a thoroughbred but I don't have a picture of her. She was named after our dear late Aunt Lila who used to live next door to us and was a big dog lover herself. All of them were very kind and gentle and I miss them a lot.