German Shepherd Dog Breed Complete Guide.

German Shepherd dog

German Shepherd dog ranks at the top of the dog breeds due to their captivating characteristic and history. This dog is generally good with cats, and children.

German Shepherd Dog Overview:

OriginGermany
Height 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight Male: 30–40 kg, Female: 22–32 kg
Life span9 to 13 years

The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most famous dog breeds due to their quick learning abilities, easily trainable, and also follow instructions. With an attractive appearance, the dog not only captivates the eyes but also touches the hearts. These dogs serve in the army, and police and also use as herding dogs or rescue dogs. This breed is friendly with owners and other pets, specifically cats, and avoids strangers. Despite the dangerous appearance, the German Shepherd is courageous, loving, friendly, loyal, intelligent, and hard-working.

Physical Appearance:

Because of their size, weight, and muscular build that gives them a distinctive look, German Shepherds are well-known and the most popular dog breed worldwide. If you are interested in keeping a German Shepherd as a pet, you must understand the breed from every angle. Let’s begin with their physical appearance, which will help you in decorating your dog’s room and also your home.

Size and Weight:

Due to their size and weight, these dogs are well-suited for a variety of tasks, including herding, guard dogs, search and rescue, etc. German Shepherds stand between 22 and 26 inches at the shoulder. Males tend to be taller and heavier than females, with the adult male weighing between 65 and 90 pounds and the adult female weighing between 50 and 70 pounds. The perfect combination of size and weight makes these dogs powerful dogs as well as good coordinators.

Coat and Color:

Besides their size and weight, there is another important fact about this dog breed which is their double-layered coat. Furthermore, this coat comes in many color combinations such as black and tan, sable, black and red, and solid black. The outer layer is dense and straight while the inner layer is soft. Additionally, this double-layered coat helps these dogs to thrive in different environments and also protects them from harsh climates.

Muscular Build:

German Shepherd dogs generally have a well-developed body with a deep chest, strong legs, and a well-developed straight back. Their strong muscular build makes them handsome, but it also makes them strong for various jobs such as working dogs, police dogs, and military dogs. German Shepherds have a unique head with straight pointed ears. They also have dark-colored eyes, which indicate intelligence and vigilance. Their strong jaws and powerful teeth help in holding, which is why they are known as guardian dogs.

Temperament:

First and foremost, this breed is highly loyal and devoted to their owners, and once they form a bond with their owners, they will never give up on them and will serve them for the rest of their lives. Moreover, their intelligence and ability to learn complicated commands make them the most popular among trainers and handlers. Their protective nature makes them ideal guardian dogs, as they can sense danger easily, become alert, and defend their territory when needed. They are also very adaptable, as they can survive in any urban or rural environment. Overall, German Shepherd dogs are friendly with kids, other dogs, and owners.

Adaptability:

Because of their highly adaptable ability, German Shepherd dogs are popular for various living conditions. Despite their large size, German shepherd dogs can also live in apartments if provided with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. Their double-layered coat is not only easy to groom but also helps them to tolerate cold as well as hot weather. Therefore, people like this breed too much for their adaptability in every type of environment. Moreover, this breed develops a strong bond with their owner through proper training and remains alone for a short period but they feel separation anxiety if left alone for a long time, furthermore, German Shepherds are sensitive both physically and mentally.

German Shepherd Dog Training:

German Shepherd dogs are specifically inherited with quick-learning abilities. For this reason, this breed is globally renowned for its easy trainability. During 4 to 6 weeks puppies are more receptive to learning new things and you can also handle behavioral issues such as aggression, excessive barking, and separation anxiety. When the training process continues, if you reward them with treats then they quickly learn the basic commands such as sit, stay, came, and wait. On the other hand, some breeds take more time for obedient training as compared to German Shepherd Dog.

Generally, German shepherds are mouthy dog breeds especially puppies just like all retriever dogs. It means that these dogs are chewers, nippers, or biters but this bite is not painful or does not harm the skin. Dogs bite family members for only holding purposes whenever their owners go outside. So, it’s crucial to train them to avoid mouthing as sometimes this habit can irritate the owners.

Grooming:

Whether you are a seasoned owner or a first-time dog owner, it’s always become difficult to manage the dogs with a high amount of shedding. Large breeds with double coats tend to do more shedding, especially during seasonal changes. For the same reason, German Shepherd dogs are also more shedding dogs among all dog breeds. Therefore, grooming is required to maintain their coats, further, regular bathing, nail trimming, and dental care are also essential to keep the German Shepherd dogs healthy, Furthermore, the use of de-shedding tools can not only remove loose hairs but also prevent matting.

Skin Care:

In addition to their grooming skin care is equally important for maintaining their health. Most people do not know that German Shepherd dogs don’t need regular bathing as a few baths in year in sufficient for their cleaning as frequent baths can split the natural oil that keeps their coat safe and secure. Always use shampoos that are recommended only for dogs, during shedding season shampooing their coat can reduce the hairs in your home.

Nail, Ear, and Eye Care of German Shepherd Dog:

Generally, these dogs are prone to eye issues, for this reason, it’s crucial to check their eyes regularly to detect any changes, especially if you live at places where UV rays are highly indexed, consult your vet for treatment. German Shepherd dogs also require a balanced routine of ear cleaning, Frequent use of ear solution can cause bacterial growth and ear infections or excessive moisture due to swimming, bathing, and ear solution. When their nails overgrow trim them as they can break naturally and wear the claws due to their daily routine.

Exercise Needs:

German Shepherd dogs have high energy levels, they require plenty of exercise which helps to maintain their physical as well as mental health. That’s why it’s crucial to engage them in various activities such as hiking, jogging, jumping, agility training, obedience training, and fetching. Generally, German shepherds enjoy off-leash playing in a properly fenced area. Additionally, it’s essential to set a short period for training or exercise sessions as these processes require an understanding of dog breeds because old years dogs need less exercise as compared to younger dogs.

It’s equally important to consider your activity and exercise levels when bringing a dog to your home. Owners with high activity levels can live better with high energy level dogs. Such dogs become tired and feel bored when they do not do work to release their excessive energy. Therefore, keep them busy with various tasks, as this breed is renowned for being a day-working breed in this way you can also train them for behavioral issues that happen when they feel bored. By incorporating the German Shepherds in various activities, maintaining regular health check-ups, and considering the weather conditions for exercise, the owners can not only ensure their dog’s overall health but also keep them happy.

German Shepherd Dog History:

The German Shepherd Dog originated in Germany and was initially used as a herding dog. Due to its remarkable qualities, this breed gained popularity worldwide. Its history traces back to the late 19th century when a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, captured this dog in a dog show as a herding dog. Impressed by its abilities, he wanted to breed this dog as a herding and working dog with exceptional traits, such as intelligence, agility, strength, and loyalty.

To create this breed, Stephanitz crossed many breeds specifically from the northern and central districts of Germany, which had similar traits. After 35 years of experiments, the German Shepherd dog that we know today originated. This breed became popular in the early 1900s for herding sheep in pastures. German Shepherd dogs have also been used in canine movies like Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart. Overall, this breed is known for its remarkable working skills and loyalty.

Quick Facts:

  • Origin: German Shepherd dogs were initially bred for herding sheep in Germany. This breed gained popularity due to its working skills in various fields such as police, army, search and rescue, and service dogs.
  • Appearance: With their strong athletic muscular body, deep chest, erect ears, and confident expression they continuously gain popularity globally.
  • Double-layered Coat: Their double-layered coat surprisingly makes them adaptable for cold and extreme weather and can also tolerate all weather conditions.
  • Intelligence: Because of their remarkable intelligence, German Shepherd dogs hold the title of the third smartest dog breed after Border Collies and Poodles. Furthermore, they can easily train for various sports.
  • Protective Instincts: This is another important ability in German Shepherd dogs that makes them a famous breed in the canine world. They are naturally alert dogs and also alert their families whenever they feel any threat.
  • Athletic Dog: These dogs are also known as athletic dogs due to their athletic muscular body and high energy levels. For this reason, they need regular exercise for a healthy and happy life. They excel in various activities such as agility training, obedience trials, and competitive sports like Schutzhund.
  • Herding Instinct: Due to their herding instinct, these dogs not only herd the sheep but also herd family members, especially kids.

German Shepherd Dog Health Issues:

Knowing the health issues of the German Shepherd dog is equally important for the owners, moreover, they can better take care of this intelligent breed.

1- Hip Dysplasia:

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common issues in German Shepherd dogs affecting the hind limbs. According to the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals, 20% of German Shepherd dogs suffer from hip Dysplasia. This condition occurs when a joint doesn’t fit properly in the sockets, leading to pain, and arthritis. Hip dysplasia is cured by changing the lifestyle, and proper medication, and sometimes requires surgery in severe conditions. Various tests such as PennHIP help in detecting hip dysplasia in German Shepherd dogs during their life stages.

2- Myelopathy:

Myelopathy is specifically a neurological disease that affects the spinal cord of German Shepherd dogs which results in loss of coordination, weakness in hind legs, and also cause paralysis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for myelopathy but if detected as soon as possible then it can help the dogs by changing their life quality.

3- Bloat:

This issue especially occurs in deep-chested breeds such as the German Shepherd dog breed. Bloats, also known as gastric dilation-volvulus occur when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow and leading to shock. Once, bloat occurs it can be challenging not only for owners but also affect the dog’s life, so without any delay, consult your vet for proper treatment.

4- Allergies:

Generally German Shepherd dog breed is prone to allergies, which may be skin irritation, itching, vomiting, diarrhea, skin infections, and gastrointestinal issues. Allergies can occur due to many reasons such as pollen, environmental allergens, and food. With proper medication and planning you can control these issues.

5- Elbow Dysplasia:

Elbow dysplasia similar to hip dysplasia also happens due to elbow joint displacement in front limbs and leading to joint pain. To cure elbow dysplasia firstly decrease their weight and activities, secondly use joint supplements and anti-inflammatories to reduce pain, and regular vet check-ups can also be helpful for proper treatment.

6- Exocrine Pancreatic Deficiency:

Like other large dog breeds the German Shepherd dog is also prone to exocrine pancreatic deficiency. Because of this issue pancreas does not produce enough digestive enzymes and hormones normally, leading to poor digestion and weight loss. Once the pancreas is damaged it becomes crucial to provide your dog with pancreatic enzyme supplements throughout their life. These dogs can live a better life if properly manage this issue.

German Shepherd Dog Nutrition:

German Shepherds have high energy levels and are also famous as athletic dogs. Therefore, they need a well-balanced diet that fulfills their needs and is formulated accordingly. Don’t give them table scraps as it can upset their digestion, especially foods with rich fats that are not suitable for them. If you use supplements to keep their bones healthy, then it’s more beneficial to provide them with fruits, vegetables, and eggs as these foods are rich in natural vitamins and minerals. When you select food for your German Shepherd, always choose according to their age, and also consult with your vet if you are concerned about your dog’s weight and health.

Conclusion:

German Shepherds are a breed specifically known for their courage, loyalty, intelligence, herding instinct, adaptability, versatility, and athleticism. If you want to have the best companion in a German Shepherd, it is recommended to start training and socialization at an early age. Additionally, you should provide them with proper exercise, a balanced diet, and regular grooming to keep them healthy and increase their lifespan. By ensuring they have a quality lifestyle, you can enjoy the German Shepherd dog’s companionship for years to come.

Is a German Shepherd a good family dog?

Yes, a German Shepherd is the best family dog due to its herding and alert instinct they not only herd sheep but also herd their family members, especially children. Whenever they feel a threat, they become alert and also alert their family by barking.

Are German Shepherds smart dogs?

Yes, German Shepherd dogs are the third smartest dogs in the canine world after Border Collies and Poodles. Due to their smartness, their primary role was herding later German Shepherds were bred for various tasks such as guarding families, searching, and rescue dogs.

Do German Shepherd dogs shed?

Yes, German Shepherd dogs are highly shedding dog breeds especially in fall and spring seasons, by proper and regular brushing you can control the loose hairs.

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