How To Draw A German Shepherd

how to draw a german shepherdThe German Shepherd is one of the most revered dog breeds on Earth. This statuesque creature is used by the military for a variety of tasks, by law enforcement for crowd control, finding missing persons and detecting drugs and bombs, and as guards. And of course, they make great family pets. They are protective of family members, yet playful and highly intelligent.

Obviously, this canine creature is a complicated animal, so learning how to draw a German Shepherd is not such an easy task. Sure there are pure white types of the breed, and you can even find totally jet black ones. But most German Shepherd dogs are characterized by a beautiful multi-colored coat and very distinct features.

For example, this breed is very strong and has amazing leaping ability. So when it comes to drawing a German Shepherd, you must reflect the strength in the breed’s legs by drawing large athletic thighs. Other characteristics include large ears that stand up and a muzzle that is actually only half the length of the dog’s head.

Getting Started With The Basics

Some basic drawing concepts are in order for you to be able to effectively illustrate a K-9, a term used for the dog used in professional settings.

When it comes to learning how to draw a German Shepherd, as an artist, you are going to have to decide how you want to present the dog. Maybe you want to go a more personal route and create a lasting memory of a favorite pet, or maybe you are looking to make the drawing more animated with a caricature that reflects certain nuances. Perhaps you are creating a flyer or brochure for a dog groomer or doggie day care and want to approach the drawing in a less personal style.

Whatever your intention, there are some basics that you need to get down in order to successfully represent this amazing animal. A seasoned artist may be able to crank out a beautiful piece that showcases this dynamic breed. For most people, though, it’s best to follow a step-by-step process to effectively mirror a German Shepherd on paper. There are terms that you need to become familiar with, as well as techniques, that will help you illustrate this hard-working yet lovable breed.

Drawing Begins With Basic Structure

First you have to sketch the structure. Do this on sketch paper that is easy to erase on or tracing paper. Sketching means outlining the basic shapes of the dog, such as its triangular-shaped ears, diamond-like head and oval-shaped eyes. As the piece evolves, you must soften the features (by rounding the triangular ears, for example) and start to add the little nuances, such as the lines of the muzzle, a crease in its forehead or the details of the shape of its ears.

This is where it starts – with the above basics. Then you began to mold the figure by perhaps adding pupils to its eyes, sketching the hair of its ears and adding flair of fur to its tail.

While drawing is an art form, it is also a skill that is learned and developed. As you learn how to draw a German Shepherd, you might want to explore the art of portrait drawing. After all, each dog has its own personality and markings, and what best way to illustrate that than with a portrait-type drawing.

Every pencil stroke from beginning to end is important, no matter what format you choose to use.

Different Formats

One option is to make the drawing into a caricature. If it’s a family pet you are creating, it probably has its little nuances that made it special and you want to reflect that in this piece. For example, perhaps the dog is a ferocious guard dog one minute, but when it hears its squeaky toy, it comes running with a childish expression on its face and a weak whimper replacing that big bark. A portrait-type drawing would make this situation a bit difficult to pull off. However, showing the soft side of your big bad K-9 can be more easily done through a caricature. Caricature is a fun technique that can be learned in a short period of time for anyone willing to showcase Spot in an adoring manner.

Another format to use to draw a German Shepherd is using the cartoon method. You can use this to reflect a German Shepherd as a hero like “Rin Tin Tin” or more of a goofy fun character like Scooby Doo. Here is an amazing course that will help you explore every aspect of a German Shepherd’s character, including his eyes, ears, paws and more.

You might want to also explore going beyond the traditional pencil or charcoal technique and go with a pen and ink rendering. Indeed, this mode of drawing will provide an extra element of distinction. However, be warned that this technique takes an extra level of concentration. It is a great way to capitalize on your creativity, nonetheless.


Once you have decided on your method of portraying the German Shepherd, you should transfer your original sketch from the trace paper to the paper or material the finished piece will be on. At this point, the initial drawing or sketch should be in gray or a light black at best because the next step is going to be adding colors.

However, if you were only learning how to draw a German Shepherd in black and white, coloring is obviously not necessary. You will need to use shading, though, to illustrate the variations of the dog’s coat.

For those using color, you now need to lay down the lighter colors first. For example, the inside of the dog’s ear may be pinkish. What you are doing now is shading and this will help you fill in the dog and give him the characteristics that will make anyone immediately recognize that your rendering is indeed a German Shepherd. Shading gives your

And as you draw in the dog’s hair, make sure that you draw the hair in the direction it is on the dog. For example, on the dog’s eyebrows, the hair grows more in an upward stroke, while pretty much everywhere else, it grows downward. Also pay attention to the length of the hair, which is longer on some parts of the dog and shorter in other areas.

Next you add warmth with a darker layer of color. As the dog takes shape, you add the darker colors. For example, the pools of its eyes are most likely going to be deep brown or even black. Parts of its nuzzle will be darker than others. Obviously at this point, shading is very important if you are going to accurately reflect the multi-colored and multi-faceted German Shepherd. Shading gives your portrait or rendering texture.

The key to successfully drawing a German Shepherd is to do it in layers. Of curse if you are going to go with the cartoon or caricature the layers aren’t as important as they are when you are presenting a portrait or standard rendering.

Whether you are using a photo or an actual German Shepherd as your model, make sure that you take your time to accurately reflect all the colorful and subtle characteristics of this noble creature.