The modern day German Shepherd breed is a cross between the long-haired, short-haired and wire-haired shepherd dogs of the German regions of Wurttemberg, Thuringia and Bavaria. Initially bred for herding, due to their strength, intelligence and excellent temperament, they became popular as guard dogs, guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs and military dogs. Max Emil Von Stephanitz sought to protect and refine the German Shepherd breed at the end of the 19th Century. German Shepherds were used as German police and military dogs during World Wars I and II. Allied soldiers during World War I took notice of the Shepherd's use as messenger dogs or search and rescue dogs as they were very good at locating wounded soldiers. Some soldiers introduced the breed to their home countries and the popularity of the German Shepherd took off, making it one of the most popular breeds in the world today. The German Shepherd Dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908.