German Shepherd Dog Breed Facts & Information

German Shepherds are known for their wolf-like appearance, strength, loyalty, and noble disposition. They were originally bred to herd sheep and protect flocks from danger, but German Shepherds are much more than just working dogs.

You will be surprised how sociable these dogs are. Aside from police work, you’re likely to find a German Shepherd dog following their owners on rough adventures, learning tricks in obedience classes, and playing in the family garden.

Read on to learn more about this popular and majestic breed and if a German Shepherd (known to enthusiasts as a GSD) is right for you.

breed characteristics

  • Origin: Germany
  • Size:
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Shelf life: 7-10 years
  • Breed Group: Herding
  • Activity level:
  • Bark/Howl Level:
  • Good with dogs: yes
  • Good with children: yes
  • Good with cats:
  • Lost:
  • Easy to fix:
  • Easy to train:
  • Protective:

Appearance of the German Shepherd Dog

German shepherds are attractive dogs: large and muscular with a distinctive square muzzle, bushy tail, and (usually) a black mask. They are usually tan/black or red/black, often with “saddle” and “ceiling” markings on their backs. Rarer colorations include sable, silver, liver, and panda. There are even all-black German Shepherds and white German Shepherds.

German Shepherds typically have a dense double coat with a waterproof top coat and a thick undercoat. And they are definitely movers. These dogs typically shed once or twice a year but will benefit from a weekly grooming session. (In addition to daily brushing during moult).

Although most German Shepherds have a medium or long coat, some German Shepherds do not have an undercoat and therefore have different grooming needs. Be sure to learn how to properly care for your GSD’s coat and maximize the natural benefits of his coat while minimizing uncontrollable shedding. If in doubt, consult a hairdresser who can advise you on the right care.

A German Shepherd sitting on a rock
via @django_gsd

Personality of the German Shepherd Dog

German shepherds were bred for intelligence and independent thinking as herding dogs, so GSDs tend to be inquisitive learners and happy to be helpful. Because of their curiosity and distrust of strangers, German Shepherds make excellent watchdogs (but can be overprotective if not well socialized).

With their loyal personality and eagerness to work, you will find that German Shepherds are very obedient when it comes to training and following commands. No wonder the German Shepherd is such a popular dog!

Two German shepherd dogs playing on the beach.
via @the_beachdog

German shepherd environment

If you are very active, love the outdoors and definitely want to get into your daily workout, the GSD will fit right into your life. The ideal German Shepherd owner enjoys long walks or runs and takes their dog on weekly trips to places of interest. These dogs are always ready for leg day.

Because of the German Shepherd’s loyalty and need for stimulation, they bond deeply with their humans. German shepherds are considered real members of the family. They want to build a strong relationship with their people and live from human community. This special connection is one of the greatest rewards of living with a GSD.

Ideal male for German shepherd

German shepherds are active dogs. Think: sprint around a square as long as you allow it. They prefer space to exercise to the full and plenty of time outdoors. The ideal home for a German Shepherd would be one with a large yard to run around in, not to mention all the walks, runs and adventures he would love to take you on.

German Shepherds can also make excellent family dogs and be good with children provided they are well socialized.

German shepherd training

Known for their trainability, German Shepherds excel at obedience training. With their great eagerness to learn, many German Shepherds become exceptional service dogs. Some have the nose to become search and rescue dogs. German shepherds also do well in other professional roles such as guide dogs, guard dogs, and guard dogs. Some even become police dogs.

While not an official working dog, your German Shepherd will still enjoy challenging tasks. And since German shepherds love to learn and keep busy, they’ll want to learn more than just basic commands. Lap training will keep your German Shepherd happy and is a great way to spend time together. Training challenges build confidence and help GSDs feel like a truly important member of the pack. Plus, positive behavior reinforcement workouts turn into bonding sessions.

GSDs are also suitable for sports. From agility training to scent work, these athletic dogs are up for just about anything. (As long as you’re standing right next to it.)

A German Shepherd puppy
via @lorelei_gsd

german shepherd grooming

Most German Shepherd parents find grooming relatively easy. German shepherds have a medium-length double coat with a soft undercoat and a thick, coarser top coat. They shed moderately year-round, more in spring and fall. During seasonal periods of shedding, they may need daily brushing to remove dead hair. For the rest of the year, a weekly brushing should be enough for grooming. Occasional baths will help keep your German Shepherd clean. As with most dogs, the German Shepherd needs regular trimming of nails and brushing of teeth to maintain dental health.

German shepherd health

Like many dog ​​breeds, German Shepherds are prone to specific health issues. Many are the result of inbreeding early in the breed’s life.

The most common health problems in German Shepherds include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, degenerative spinal stenosis, and von Willebrand disease.

To treat and prevent joint disease, talk to your veterinarian about supplements for musculoskeletal health in addition to limiting jumping and mischief. Many pet owners opt for pet health insurance just in case.

the cutest german shepherd puppy
via @theo.theexplorer

History of the German Shepherd Dog

The ancestors of the German Shepherd Dog were bred in Germany in the late 19th century as working dogs, particularly as herding dogs and guard dogs on farms. After much disagreement over which qualities to emphasize in the breed, Max von Stephanitz declared the first German Shepherd Dog in 1899, which he named Horand von Grafrath.

Due to anti-German sentiment after World War I, the German shepherd was renamed the Alsatian Wolfhound (or simply Alsatian) in Britain and the United States by 2006.

Get a German Shepherd

Getting a German Shepherd is easy, but it’s important to be prepared. When you buy a German Shepherd puppy, you’ll spend a lot of time fighting off the biting and barking, socializing the puppy to other people and dogs, and teaching them important skills like sleeping through the night and potty training outdoors.

Finding a German Shepherd puppy or adult dog can be as easy as searching the internet, but beware of puppy mills and internet scams. Do your research and ask about a reputable breeder, visit them before you commit to paying, and trust your instincts.

German Shepherd Dog Award

Pet parents who are willing to add a German Shepherd to their family should be aware of the costs involved. In fact, according to Rover’s Cost of Pet Parenthood, 37% of German Shepherd owners say they expect to spend between $250 and $500 in upfront payments for their dog, but 75% said the actual upfront payments met their budget. Overall, 71% of pet owners spend between $50 and $149 per month on their German Shepherd.

rescue german shepherd

Another way to find a German Shepherd is through a rescue: 46% of owners got their German Shepherd through adoption from a shelter or rescue. Unlike puppies, rescue dogs are typically spayed and neutered and spanked. Because many rescued German Shepherds are abandoned by individual owners, these dogs may already have basic commands and be socialized.

Otherwise, that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. For more information on teaching a dog that hasn’t experienced much structure, or how to help a traumatized dog feel safe and welcome, consult a trusted dog trainer. .

breeders of german shepherds

Finding a reputable breeder can be a daunting task. Luckily, organizations like the American Kennel Club (AKC) have search tools to help you find a reputable German Shepherd breeder in your area.

If you can’t find a breeder you like on the AKC, many breeders have an online presence. However, beware of puppy mills and other scams that can result in you having a sick puppy or no puppy at all.

When visiting a potential breeder, be sure to ask about any health issues in the dog’s lineage and discuss any genetic testing you may want to have done, such as: B. Tests for von Willebrand disease. You can also meet with the puppy’s parents to make sure he has the temperament you’re looking for.

Whichever path you choose to introduce a GSD into your life, know you’re joining a furry adventurer who will be happy with his pack, whether it’s a pack of two or a large family on the go.

More information about German Shepherds

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