Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Degenerative Myelopathy, Congenital Heart Defect, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
Cardiac, Hip, Elbow, Blood Test, Eye, Physical Examination
Hemophilia, Von Willebrand's Disease, Epilepsy, Vision Problems
Regal, respectable, and responsible — German Shepherds define sophistication like no other breed when it comes to canine families. One of mankind’s closest compatriots, they have excelled at everything from fishing out bombs, assisting search and rescue missions to sniffing out cancer! This enigmatic breed is a jack of all trades!
Do German Shepherds excite you as much as they excite us? Today we embark on a journey of discovering the breed and its uniqueness, true TUP style!
The origin of German Shepherds goes back as early as 1800s Europe. At the time, Captain Max von Stephanitz was cross-breeding herding dogs with the hope of creating a working dog unlike any other known at that time. Born in Germany in 1899, the Shepherds began their journey as herding dogs employed by farmers.
Over the years, their role transformed from that of herding cattle to K-9 service dogs to family pets. While they were largely popular in Germany and Britain during World War I, they became a known name in America in the mid 1900s. As of 2020, the breed occupies third place in America’s most popular pet dogs list.
A truly remarkable breed, German Shepherds have always had a close relationship with human beings that has become more and more intimate over the years.
Fun fact: Did you know that a dog named Hektor Linksrhein was the first-ever officially recognized and registered German Shepherd in history? Such was his charm that Captain Stephanitz bought him moments after spotting him at a dog fair.
German Shepherds are an incredibly intelligent and irrevocably loyal breed. Thanks to their herding heritage, they have an unmatched sense of responsibility and can be trusted with any duty. They’re brave and extremely protective of their families.
As a breed, they’re very energetic and playful. However, they’re not overly tolerant of strangers. That’s why these land sharks make for fine watchdogs.
They don’t bark unnecessarily but can bring the whole house down if something irks them. These lovely dogs also love to explore everything by sniffing or putting things in their mouths.
In spite of their brooding appearance, Shepherds are very friendly beings and get along well with children. They also love to show affection towards their favorite family members and do not shy away from getting clingy. But that very thing also makes them prone to separation anxiety.
Hardy and handsome, German Shepherds have very athletic bodies covered in a double coat of fur. They have perky, elongated ears with alert eyes, and a square muzzle. Their prominently domed forehead along with pulled-back lips gives their face an aura of dignity that is distinctive and eye-catching.
The male of the species is taller and stockier than their female counterparts. A fully grown male German Shepherd can stand rather tall at 24-26 inches and weigh anywhere between 60-90 pounds. The females, on the other hand, are 22-24 inches in height and 50-70 pounds in weight.
German Shepherds have a medium-length double coat of fur covering their body but they are not very heavy shedders. But their coat comes in three different variations: stock coat, long coat, and long stock coat. From black to black and tan to grey and liver, these dogs come in 11 unique colors.
They have long and bushy tails. Altogether, they look just as fabulous and bold as their personalities happen to be.
However, most of them do not enjoy a very long lifespan and live up to 7-10 years only.
Fun Fact: The Panda German Shepherd is the only bloodline in the history of its breed to be born with a piebald-colored coat. Their coat is a unique mix of tan, black, and white.
As highly active and energetic dogs, German Shepherds need to eat two balanced and healthy meals twice daily. While you can feed them everything from premium quality dry kibble to canned food, homemade food, or a mish-mash of everything, their meals must be rich in protein. Don’t forget to include fats, carbs, and vitamins in their diet.
Because every dog has its own nutritional needs, you must consult your vet to figure out the ideal meal plan for your German Shepherd. For example, puppies need more food than adults because they experience growth spurts. That said, this breed is not a fussy eater, but they’re prone to certain food allergies.
So, in case you notice your beloved pet refusing to eat or losing its appetite, consult your vet. They could be suffering from an allergic reaction and subsequent aversion to food. Or, they might have gotten bored with the staples you serve them every day.
Either way, do not neglect the matter if your German is not eating the way it should. Also, remember to steer clear of table scraps and do not spoil them with treats. Consider treating them with high-quality protein from animal sources: chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, tuna, and eggs are all good for your dog.
No matter what you feed your German Shepherd, do so in moderation and focus on balancing out their meals. That way they’ll remain happy and healthy.
German Shepherds are quite robust as a breed. But they tend to suffer from a few health issues because of their size, like bloating, from time to time. Apart from that, they can also suffer from:
In order to make sure your dog always stays in the pink of their health, have them lead a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to get your German Shepherd pup from an ethical breeder. Unethical and medically negligent breeding practices make this breed susceptible to diseases.
You can always perform the following health tests to understand if your pet is predisposed to any of their genetic conditions:
Do not miss out on timely vaccinations either. Vaccines keep your dog safe from otherwise fatal viral diseases like rabies, parvo, distemper, etc.
As a responsible and loving pet owner, it is your duty to keep your pet safe from harm’s way. That’s why start taking care of your German Shepherd as soon as they become a part of your family. While no one can predict illnesses, in humans or in dogs, you should make every effort to keep your dog as healthy as you can.
Grooming is a very important factor when it comes to German Shepherds and their wellness. Brush your dog with a good quality de-shedding brush 3-4 times every week to get rid of any matting. Regular brushing also helps control shedding in dogs.
That said, make sure your pet feels comfortable while you’re grooming them. Run the brush gently from their neck towards the tail, but don’t pull hard if the bristles get caught in their fur. Remember, easy and gentle does the trick!
But what about baths? Like most dogs, you should not over bathe your German Shepherd, unless they’ve had a particularly bad day outdoors. Rolling in the dirt aside, your dog does not need showers as frequently as you do. Once a month is enough for them.
However, you need to be a lot more diligent when it comes to their nails and paws. German Shepherds have big, grinch feet which can get hidden injuries that you might not catch easily. Keep their nails trimmed and paw pads shaved to prevent injuries. They’re almost always on their toes and need pedi care often.
The same rings true for their dental hygiene. Brush your pet’s teeth and indulge them with good-quality chew toys. These big boys can chew their way to the finish line if it were a sport. There’s no better way you can take care of their dental health other than giving them something nice to chew on.
You can always take your dog to a professional groomer if you feel they need a grooming session. Do whatever suits you, but do not skimp on the grooming. After all, you’d love it when your dog looks so dapper that he/she turns heads on your daily walks.
Fun fact: Did you know that German Shepherds rule the tinsel town and have appeared in more than 500 movies, thanks to their handsomeness and intelligence? Pioneers Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin even have their own stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Born and bred to be working dogs, German Shepherds are high on energy. These innately athletic dogs need a lot of mental stimulation and a daily dose of exercise to keep fit. From daily walks to playtime involving activities like tug of war, fetch, etc. — the more your dog gets to expend his/her energy, the happier he/she will be.
Keeping your GSD confined to the four walls of your home and skipping outdoor time can turn them into angsty balls of destructive energy, so beware. That can often translate into excessive chewing, barking, spoiling the furniture, etc. In fact, some of them can even experience anxiety and stress-induced depression, just like we do.
But you will not have a hard time getting your German Shepherd to be active. The breed loves to be out and about, engaging in demanding activities. That’s why training them is a breeze.
German Shepherds are always eager to please and learn. No matter what you ask of them, they’ll happily do it for you. Go for positive reinforcement based training for your dog and watch them turn into robust companions capable of stealing anybody’s heart.
Have a good time training and exercising your dog. If you enjoy the sessions, your companion will too, and that alone will build a bond that stands the test of time.
One of the most well-known dog breeds in the world, German Shepherds are known for their exceptional intelligence, loyalty, and bravery. These dogs have often been employed as service dogs in police work, bomb squads, narcotics bureaus, etc. where they have done exemplary work. These robust and resilient dogs have also been an integral part of entertainment industries across the globe.
Because they’re instinctively loyal, German Shepherds can make excellent family dogs who’re fiercely protective of their families. They’re gentle, affectionate, and smart — everything you could want in your four-legged companion.
Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, German Shepherds, when properly socialized and trained are calm and composed. They’re caring by nature and enjoy human company. These wonderful dogs are always ready to please their parents and attend to every beck and call with enthusiasm.
While German Shepherds are easy to train and well-behaved, intelligent dogs, they need a lot of attention, love, and care. Grooming and exercising them is also a big ask of having these canines as your companion.
So, even though they have every quality to make a great pet for first-time owners, you might feel a tad overwhelmed with German Shepherds if you’ve never had a dog before.
That entirely depends on you: dogs, be it German Shepherds or any other breed require commitment, and dedicated care. If you’re not someone who is likely to invest your time, effort, and emotions in your pet for a good 10-12 years to come, keeping a pet will be hard.
If you’re a dog lover like us, it’d be a dream come true to have a GSD as your companion.