German Shepherd – Dog Breed Information And Health Problems

German Shepherd
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A highly alert dog, German Shepherd is the most popular breed in America and a highly ranked dog in AKC popularity. It is known to be the 3rd most intelligent dog as per the latest case study. This unique breed is known for its highest alert and dominant nature.

They might seem scary for their brisk gesture and loud barking, but they are genuinely loving and a playful dog breed.

Some people misunderstand them to be dominant in nature and this could possibly be due to their agile nature and the muscular body built up, but the fact is that they are work-purpose dogs and this requires them to exhibit certain strong characteristics.

Loyalty, confidence, intelligence and courageousness are few other characteristics that the German Shepherd exhibits. This is a one-of-a-kind breed that easily learns commands and tricks within a short period of time.

Apart from being a family dog, they are also known to have been used as watchdogs or herding dogs, rescue & military dogs and also as detector dogs. If you are willing to take him on long walks each day and spend time playing, then you very much deserve to bring home a German Shepherd.

But if you are looking for a cuddly pet to give you company while watching TV the whole day, then GSD is just not your type.

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German Shepherd Infographics And Video

German Shepherd Infographics


German Shepherd Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: Germany
  • Size: Large
  • Dog Breed Group: Herding
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years
  • Height: 24 to 26 inches (males), 22 to 24 inches (females)
  • Weight: 65 to 90 pounds (males), 50 to 70 pounds (females)
  • Coat Appearance: Medium length, Double coat, Dense, Harsh, Soft
  • Coat Colors: White, Black, Red, Sable, Gray, Blue, Tan and Black, Black and Silver, Red and Black, Black Sable, Bi-color, Bi-Black, etc.
  • Temperament: Confident, Loyal, Intelligent, Gentle, Courageous
  • Good With Children: Yes (with socialization)
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: No
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Grooming: Less
  • Shedding: High
  • Barking: High
  • Suitable For Apartments: No
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: No
  • Good For First Time Owners: No
  • Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, Hemophilia A, Diabetes Mellitus, Bloat
  • Litter Size: 8 puppies
  • Average Price: $500 to $1500

German Shepherd Size & Weight

Size – German Shepherds usually grow up to 60-65 cm; this differs based on the gender.

Weight – An adult dog could weigh anywhere between 30kg and 40 Kg.

So you may have a picture now, how big your pet is capable to grow, provided you feed him well. The husky mix breed Corgi Husky Mix resembles the brawny German Shepherd and sometimes may be overlooked.

German Shepherd Colors And Mix

Wait! You have to know about the acceptable and unacceptable coat colors of this breed by the major Kennel clubs.

Like any other dog breed, the coat of German shepherd varies with red, black, gray, blue or a combination of red and black, etc. But, he has some rare colors as well.

But, not all the coat colors are acceptable by the clubs. A few exceptions persist as well. So, first take a quick look at the variation in the coat color of this breed.

Common Colors

In general, German shepherd comes in red, black or sable color. But, sometimes this breed comes in a mix of red or black with tan.

  • Black and silver
  • Tan and Black
  • Black and cream
  • Red and Black
  • Solid black
  • Red and black
  • Sable
  • Black Sable
  • Dark Sable
  • Bi-color or Bi-black

Rare Colors

Coat colors such as liver, white, light blue, gray and panda pattern are considered as the rare colors of the German shepherd.

Now, have a quick glance at which colors are accepted and which are not by the Kennel clubs.

Acceptable Colors

The major kennel Clubs, like the AKC, accepts almost all the common coat colors. The clubs also accept all the combination of sable colors such as light, dark, bi-color and black sable as well.

Unacceptable Colors

Rare colors such as gray and blue are usually unacceptable by the clubs. The clubs don’t accept:

  • Pure white
  • Solid gray
  • Solid blue
  • Dark red
  • Fawn
  • Yellowish white
  • Light and dark silver

Also, the American Kennel Club does not accept blue, liver or pale colors of this breed and these colors are considered faults.

So, know the acceptable colors and buy the beautiful breed!

German Shepherd Mix

Couldn’t get a German shepherd? No worries! You can get a mix breed of the gorgeous German shepherd.

Like the German shepherd, the mix breeds are too adorable and popular. An intelligent and alert German shepherd can be mixed with other famous breeds such as Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Poodles, Rottweiler, etc.

Now, take a look at the popular mix breeds of German shepherd and choose your favorite.

  • Golden shepherd (Golden retriever + German shepherd)
  • Labrashepherd (Labrador retriever + German shepherd)
  • Shepadoodle (Labradoodle + German shepherd)
  • Siberian shepherd (Siberian husky + German shepherd)
  • Shug (Pug + German shepherd)
  • Shollie (Collie + German shepherd)
  • Shepherd pit (Pitbull Terrier + German shepherd)
  • Shepkita (Akita + German shepherd)
  • Rottweiler shepherd or Shepweiler (Rottweiler + German shepherd)
  • Corman shepherd (Corgi + German shepherd)
  • Chow shepherd (Chow chow + German shepherd)
  • Alaskan shepherd (Alaskan Malamute + German shepherd)
  • New shep (Newfoundland + German shepherd)
  • German Australian shepherd (Australian shepherd + German shepherd)
  • Euro mountain sheparnese (Bernese mountain dog + German shepherd)

German Shepherd Lifespan

A healthy German Shepherd has an average lifespan of 9-13 years. There have been records of GSDs living more than 15 years, so it is hard to guarantee a certain limit for its lifespan.

Visit a vet who regularly checks your dog, and inquire him regarding its health and life expectancy. Take the steps he suggests to protect your dog from diseases; helping it stay healthy is the first step you can take towards prolonging its lifespan.

German Shepherd Temperament

Train him well and you will be proud to own him. Temperament of this breed largely depends on the initial training he receives. They are highly intelligent, loyal and fearless; if you do not train them to socialize with others, they can sometimes be downright hostile towards people.

The ones that are bred mainly for work purposes are mostly business-like with a hard temperament; they can be trained to begin being gentle gradually. This shouldn’t scare you out and prevent you from buying one because patient teaching can help get the dog to exhibit a stable temper.

Here are a few things to remember regarding the temperament of the German Shepherd;

  • They are exceedingly eager to learn and work; so train them when they are in a good mood.
  • German Shepherds are intelligent and agile so get them to join a sports club meant for dogs; their talent shouldn’t be wasted by locking them indoors 24/7.
  • Early socializing is a must because making them be friends with people, once he’s grown, would be difficult.
  • They may turn destructive when they are struck by boredom. You should be ready to deal with the melodrama and must also prevent this from happening by letting him play for a while every day.
  • Their aggressiveness towards other dog breeds is a matter of concern, so introducing him to other pets, while he is still young, is mandatory.

Interesting Facts About German Shepherd

  • Dogs formally trained for military services back in the 1920s were mostly German Shepherds.
  • The first GSDs were used to as Sheep-herders to protect them from predators.
  • Few GSDs with an unusual coloring are called Panda Shepherds
  • They have a double coat; the outer coat sheds most of the time in a year.
  • The bite of a German Shepherd has 238 pounds of force. Never try to meddle with a GSD ever again. Lol!

German Shepherd Names




Male DogsFemale Dogs

Feeding A German Shepherd

There have been multiple ideas on the ideal food requirement of a dog but you alone would be able to decide how much food is “enough” for your pet. Ensure that the food brand you select contains 22% protein and 5%-8% fat.

The meal intervals for your German Shepherd could be broken into 3-4 times a day based on your pet’s food intake. When it is still a pup, you must take extra care of its feeding habits; give your pet more food since this is the time when it gains muscles.

German Shepherd Feeding Chart



How To Train A German Shepherd?

If you have a PHD in training dogs, then you would know that teaching a German Shepherd is extremely easy. This dog breed is very intelligent and requires just a few sessions of training each day to learn tricks and commands.

Start training your pet when it is 8 months old in order to get him to learn manners and basics real quick. Patience is the key to effective training, so stay consistent in your training efforts.

Practice “treat-training” by awarding him with a lot of appreciation and food treats to keep him motivated. He might consider your sudden praises quite weird in the beginning but he will gradually understand and learn accordingly in order to win treats.

Top 5 Don’t Do’s to consider while training your German Shepherd:

  1. Don’t keep nagging him to perform a trick; Continuous nagging can lead the pet to completely ignore your orders in future.
  2. Don’t shout at your pet; yelling out commands will never help.
  3. Don’t isolate him from other smaller pets at home. Instead, train him to socialize with them slowly.
  4. Don’t applaud him for a negative behaviour like jumping at people and scaring our kids. Teach him to differentiate between friends and foes.
  5. Don’t take too long training sessions; this might get him feeling bored very quickly.

German Shepherd Health Problems

Since the past few years, hereditary health issues have become common in dogs because of indiscriminate breeding. Buying your pet from a recognized breeder is the only way you can avoid bringing home a dog with a truck-load of genetic diseases.

These are the common problems that the German Shepherd suffers from;

  • Hip DysplasiaA malformation of ball and socket joint in the hip can lead to this painful disease that can lead to limping and reduced activity. The dogs stay confined to their kennels because joint stiffness prevents them from being active.
  • Diabetes Mellitus – Insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas can lead to this can lead to this disease. Controlled diet and early medication are mandatory to keep the dog healthy and active.
  • Hemophilia A – This is also referred to as the “bleeders disease” and is caused due to Factor VIII deficiency. Repeated transfusion of blood or plasma can help the dog lives up to its adulthood.
  • Bloat – This may come as a surprise that bloating in dogs is extremely fatal. The symptoms include restlessness in the pet, vomiting, and paleness near the nose. This disease calls for immediate vet’s assistance.

German Shepherd Price And Breeders

A full-grown adult German Shepherd could cost $375 while a puppy would be $325. Trained dogs may cost you higher but never fall prey to false claims. Ensure the reliability of the breeder concerned prior to making a purchase from him.

Bringing home a dog is always exciting and requires a lot of thoughtful decision making. Buy a pup only if you want to and not because your neighbor has got one.

As far as German Shepherds are concerned, they require a lot of exercising and training; hence you must buy a GSD only if you are willing to commit towards regular training and attention.

German Shepherd Breeders

German Shepherd is a very common dog breed and is widely known for its courageous and loyal nature; it has become the second most popular household dog in the US.

With so many GSDs in demand, it has become mandatory to check if the breeder sells a healthy pup. Indiscriminate breeding has led to the onset of numerous genetic diseases in the breed; hence buy your pet from an authentic German Shepherd breeder.

GSDs are neither shy nor introvert in nature; so if a breeder claims to own a pup with very silent and shy nature, then you better look for another breeder. Always get connected to a breeder who is ready enough to share the medical details of a pup and is willing to sign up guarantee papers before selling off his puppy.


Is German Shepherd (GSD) A Good Companion Dog?


German Shepherds are an excellent companion dog. Being a very cooperative and obedient dog, German Shepherds are considered as a dog with a caring temperament and calm nature.

Unique reasons why people consider German Shepherd as their favorite family companion dog

  • German Shepherds require daily exercises and thereby help you gain health as well. These dogs need around 30 minutes of regular exercise. In this manner, playing or spending time with your dog will definitely make you feel energetic.
  • GSDs can easily become a member of the adopted family within a short span of time.
  • They are good with children if trained properly from a very young age. Early socialization and proper training methods are the basic starting steps to help a dog get accustomed.
  • German Shepherds are known for their active and robust way of life. This means quite less medical expenses when compared to other dog breeds.
  • Known to act as a very loyal guard dog, GSDs know how to safeguard their family members from predators and wrongdoers.
  • The largest contributor to the field of police dogs, GSDs are bright enough to learn all the necessary steps.

Are German Shepherds A Very Violent Or Aggressive Dog Breed?


The German Shepherds are well known for their violent and repulsive behavior but with early socialization and proper training, the aggression can be kept under check.

They are regarded as one of the finest guard dog breeds the world has seen so far.

Do Gsds Or German Shepherds Bite Or Attack Their Own Masters?


German Shepherds are the most loved pet dogs in the United States of America according to experts.

When a guard dog like a German Shepherd attacks someone, biological, genetic, and other factors should be taken into account.

As per reports, U.S  government currently employs around 2500 German Shepherds for various tasks ranging from border patrolling and for sniffing contrabands.

With good selective breeding programs, this crazy temperamental trait has definitely been eliminated to a large extent from a purebred German Shepherd dog.

Are German Shepherds Really Friendly And Affectionate?


If you are searching for a pet dog that assures both a streak of intelligence and friendliness, then the German Shepherds are your ideal choice.

These lovely and loyal companions not only make great pets but also serve as rescue dogs, police dogs, and herding dogs.

German Shepherd Temperament

German Shepherds are useful and turn very obedient with time and training. German Shepherds are very friendly and will greet strangers with caution.

This cautious trait needs to be praised and not looked down upon.

These dogs appear very loyal and highly smart and move well with other pets if proper training is provided from an early age.

As long as people are keen to allocate energy and time, this dog is the right solution for all their insecurities.

Do German Shepherds Really Shed A Lot?


German Shepherds have a thick double coat. These dogs shed throughout the year, and they shed extensively twice a year.

This process of shedding  the undercoat is often called “blowing coat.”

It normally starts on the back legs and proceeds forward and takes a fortnight for the process to fully end.

Are German Shepherds Kind With Kids?


The answer is both a no and yes. German Shepherds are trustworthy and patient, and they are big enough to dismantle small kids.

A German Shepherd is best suited as a companion for grownups and adults.

Pros – Kids and German Shepherds

  • These dogs are best bets for kids for some unique reasons. They gel and mingle well with all family members irrespective of their age.
  • This relationship showcases the dog’s guarding trait, making it a responsible and effective guardian for small kids.

Cons – Kids and German Shepherds

  • This dog breed grows quickly into a dog standing at least 24 inches tall at the shoulders.
  • German Shepherd puppies can accidentally stumble over small kids. As per expert studies, GSDs remain childish until they reach 3 or 4 years of age.
  • These dogs are also susceptible to gentle nipping and mouthing to move people and pets, especially small kids.
  • This behavior can be intimidating for small kids who are not used to this.
  • German Shepherd puppies require consistent, steady training to become good mannered kid’s pet. A parent having a small kid may not have sufficient time to fulfill these criteria as such.

This reiterates the fact that a trained adult German Shepherd is a better choice.

Are German Shepherd Dogs More Violent Than Pit Bulls?


According to some experts, pit bulls are more violent than some other dog breeds toward their masters and strangers.

Many pit bull masters claim these dogs are kind animals, which are trained by their respective owners to stay aggressive or violent.

One significant study confirmed that pit bulls attacked humans more menacingly than any other dog breed.

Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds have garnered the same aggression scores from the general public in a study conducted by researchers.

Are German Shepherds Violent Towards Other Pets Or Dogs?


It mostly depends on how German Shepherds are socialized and trained. In public places, a well trained  German Shepherd will remain loving, calm, and sweet.

These dogs generally crave for attention and they will avoid other pets or offer a simple nudge with their muzzle.

For best results, hire a professional trainer or take your German Shepherd puppy to your local dog training class.

Are German Shepherds Very Dangerous By Nature?


No.  Pitbulls are projected as dangerous dogs in the world, not because of the dog’s behavior but largely due to their owner’s insufficient and improper socialization and training.

German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Australian Shepherds, and Australian cattle dogs were given more aggression points towards strangers.

The basic solution lies in learning – “How to train dog owners to behave responsibly with their dogs?”

How Do You Prevent Your German Shepherd From Nipping And Biting?


Try these simple steps to keep your German Shepherd’s biting under control-

  • Make your dog realize that biting is not at all cool.
  • Try using hand signals, body language, and voice commands to make it happen.
  • Shout a loud “o….” sound to startle your dog when he bites.
  • Stop playing and remove your hand away
  • Teach your dog that biting means no play.
  • Repeat this process time and again.
  • Your GSD will gradually associate your negative response with biting and eventually stop biting.

If none of these steps works, do not waste time and immediately contact your local certified German Shepherd dog trainer.

Why Police Department Prefer German Shepherds Over Other Dog Breeds As A Police Dog?


Police dogs that are selected are mostly male and stay unneutered to maintain their violent behavior. There are females used as a part of locating drugs, bombs, tracking, and rescue operation.

Police dogs must carry out several hand gestures and verbal clues and German Shepherds perform exceedingly well in these situations.

The most popular police dogs are Dutch Shepherd, Bloodhound, Malinois, and German Shepherd.

A well-trained German Shepherd is as agile and reliable as a Malinois.

Are German Shepherds Intelligent?


German Shepherds are intelligent dogs who will perform quite well with curious owners ready to give them regular training, exercise, and attention.

There are some breeds where the dogs are not considered brainy but in the case of a German Shepherd, that’s a wrong understanding.

How Do You Potty Train A German Shepherd Dog?


Try these simple effective potty training techniques

  • Teach your German Shepherd puppy to use a crate
  • If your German Shepherd puppy whimper or cry, understand that your GSD puppy indicates poop time.
  • Train your puppy to relieve itself outside just before bedtime and also in the morning.
  • Ensure that your German Shepherd puppy potty trains only in the designated area and not anywhere it likes.
  • Try to incorporate voice or hand gestures to communicate with your puppy.
  • Always take your German Shepherd puppy outside through a specific door for potty training.
  • Let your dog wear a leash once outside.
  • Stop manhandling your dog when it accidentally poops in a different area because this will only promote wrong impressions.
  • Check on your puppy at least twice or thrice at night and help him to ease himself in a crate.
  • Effective potty training should begin as early as possible for the benefit of your puppy.

How to know whether my GSD is potty trained or not?

  • If your dog waits for you near the door, learn that it wants to poop.
  • Some dogs are known to scratch doors and you better understand that it’s time to attend nature’s call.
  • If your German Shepherd dog waits patiently for you to take him outside, then you can confirm that your potty training was successful.
  • The most important thing is that you should never stop potty training until and unless your dog is fully trained.

How Often Should You Bathe Your German Shepherd Puppy?


A bath every thirty days is more than sufficient.  Flea season may demand more baths as a way to restrict the growth of pests.

Please avoid bathing once a week because overbathing can remove the natural oils present on your dog’s coat.

Kindly contact your vet if you are unsure about something.

Are Female German Shepherds More Violent And Aggressive Than Male German Shepherds?


No, both males and females German Shepherd dogs are typically loyal and caring towards their family members.

Some dog owners claim that male GSDs are much easier and friendly to train. Female GSDs remain more loyal and protective of its puppies and owners according to dog experts.

The final decision to get a male or a female German Shepherd depends entirely on the owner’s personal preference.

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