German shepherd is one of the top 10 dog breeds in USA. Not only in America but it is renowned breed throughout the world. The other name of this breed is Alsatian and it is famous by this name in Britain and many parts of Europe. The most prominent reason for its popularity is that it is immensely versatile in nature.
It can be utilized as police dog, service dog, tracking and herding dog etc. This breed is known for its dignity and loyalty. It exhibits courage, obedience, affection and adaptability. Training the dog fruitfully will make the bond between you and dog stronger. This breed was even the part of rescue mission in America’s 9/11 terrorist attack. America considered this dog as nation’s hero.
German Shepherd Origin
This breed was developed in Germany in the 1800s. Max von Stephanitz, a cavalry captain spent almost 35 years to develop this breed. His dedication towards this breed paid him off when the resultant breed was versatile, fearless and handsome.
This breed was even used in World War I by the Germans. Thousands of GSD became of part of German military force. Before using it as military force, this dog was used in herding flocks of sheep. Max von Stephanitz even established a club called Phylax Society for the protection of this breed.
German Shepherd Facts And Characteristics
- This breed belongs to Germany and is a working class breed
- It is the second most populous dog in the world
- Its lifespan is around 9 to 13 years
- Its height ranges from 60–65 cm
- It weighs around 30–40 kg
- It is a loyal, watchful, intelligent and courageous breed
- It is available in following colors- black, tan, grey, sable, black and tan, black and silver and black and red
- It is not a hypoallergenic breed
- Puppy price is around $ 300 to 900
- It is easy to train because of their ability to catch skills fast
- It is a highly energetic species and needs vigorous exercise
- They are immensely protective and make excellent watch dog.
The first impression of this breed is that of a strong, muscular, intelligent and athletic dog. It has a sloppy head with a wedged shaped muzzle ending with a well-developed nose. It has medium sized almond shaped eyes that are expressive, keen and thoughtful. The tail is long and bushy.
Size and Weight
Average height of the male is between 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and average height of the female is between 22 to 24 inches. Male weighs around 75 to 90 pounds while the female weighs around 50 and 70 pounds.
Coat and Color
They have double coat that protects them from the extreme weather condition and wild jungles. Few dogs possess long hair while the most dogs possess medium length hair which is either wavy or wiry in structure. Straight hair is also common.
Their coat is available in many colors including black, sable, red, tan and combination of two. White color coat can also be seen but AKC doesn’t consider it a standard breed. Many other organizations accept white color too. Be it any color, nothing can stop this dog from being lovable family dog.
German Shepherd Temperament
- Personality – There isn’t a single quality that this breed doesn’t possess. It is strong and valiant and known for its extraordinary skills that help the human in every field of life. It is service dog, search and rescue dog for police force; it is a guide dog for person with disability and protector of its family. The self-confidence on its face can be vividly seen. They make outstanding family dog because of their loyal and affectionate nature. With strangers, they tend to be aloof and reserved.
- Behavior – They have a natural instinct of protection, hence they make great police dog and guard dog. it is important to give this dog training that helps it in recognizing who are the welcome guest or not. This breed is committed towards work and can risk its own life for accomplishing any task. Few dogs may show aggression and excessive barking but that can be controlled by effective training regime.
- Trainability – The better you train this dog, the better companion it will turn out to be. The level of its versatility and behavior traits depends a lot upon quality of training you’re providing to your dog. Early socialization skills should be taught to this breed. This breed loves to work with humans so training them is not a difficult job.
- Activities Requirement – This is not an apartment dog and an inappropriate dog for people who stay away from house till long hours. They enjoy participating in human activities like trekking, picnicking, hiking, mountaineering etc. They also love to run behind bikes and family members. Mental stimulation is also required to keep the dog healthy and happy. They also adore children and love to play with them. In short it is a dog with action that needs something to entertain him.
German Shepherd Diet
Formulate German Shepherd diet for a large breed with high energy level and exercise needs. It is essential to provide well balanced diet for the German Shepherd for sufficient growth and good musculoskeletal health. Diet should be high quality dog food appropriate for the age with balanced nutrients.
Their dietary need changes from Puppy to senior age. Puppies consume more food rather than an adult dog. Consult your veterinarian to formulate diet to avoid health risks related to diet.
German Shepherd grow rapidly between four to seven months, that make them prone to bone disorders. Keep it on high quality dog food with low calorie diet to slow the growth in this period.
Small dog biscuits and dry kibble can be used as a treat for training. Do not allow to play and jump on rough surfaces until they are two years of age and the joints form fully. It is fine to play on the grass.
Do not overfeed the German Shepherd and monitor and control the dietary energy level through all stages of life to prevent the musculoskeletal disorders. Do not leave the food all around the place and limit to the portion size and regular servings of the day.
Provide them with yogurt, eggs, cooked vegetables in small quantities for vitamins and minerals if you are providing high-quality protein-rich food.
They live around 9 to 13 years of age.
German Shepherd Health Issues
If you are planning to own this dog then brace yourself for high vet bills. Health concerns of this breed are
- Elbow dysplasia and canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
- Cancer, bloat
- Gastric torsion
- Fatal fungal infection
German shepherd is a heavy shedder. They leave their dead hair wherever they go. At the time of seasonal change, they may lose out their entire hair. They are easy to maintain which require only a quick brushing. Usually brush the coat three to four times a week to reduce hair on furniture and other places of home. They require more brushing at the time of seasonal changes as they blow out the coat twice a year.
Despite being heavy shedders, they tend to be clean and odorless. Give them bathe occasionally. Trim nails once a month if they are not wearing down naturally. Long nails hitting the floor cause pain, discomfort, and structural changes. Check ears once a week for redness, infection, dirt and wipe out with clean cotton ball dampened in pH balanced vet provided solution.
Brush the teeth with vet-approved paste daily to prevent gum diseases, tartar buildup and to keep teeth clean. Provide them with toys or bones as they love to chew which fight the tartar buildup at the back molars.
They are adaptable breed and suitable for any weather condition. They can do well in apartment only if provided vigorous exercise to it.
- Male : Captain, Ace, Bruno, Fudge, Hawk, Max, Otto
- Female : Ashley, Bonnie, Elle, Daphne, Foxy, Lucy
Things To Consider Before Buying
- They are loyal breed with no sign of aggression.
- They are versatile dogs. They can act as police dog, guard dog and lovable family dog.
- They are amazing with children.
- They are heavy shedder.
- They are not hypoallergenic.
- They have few major health concerns.