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Breed Library
German Shepherd adult in black and white

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a loyal, intelligent, and adaptable dog that when socialized and trained well can be a rewarding and loving pet.

About the German Shepherd

When well trained, German Shepherds can be even tempered, self-assured, vigilant, docile, and highly intelligent. This long list of qualities makes them good companions and protectors, and excellent guarding and herding dogs.

German Shepherds are driven by their motivation to work. They can become a dominant figure in their owners' lives but German Shepherd training is easy, given the time and attention they need. This breed should receive significant daily mental and physical stimulation, with its high exercise requirement and need to learn.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

Country
Germany
Group
FCI Group 1, AKC Herding Group
Size category
Large
Avg life expectancy
9–13 years

Even-tempered / Confident / Loving / Resilient / Protective / Lively / Obedient

Key facts

  • Makes a versatile working dog
  • Needs a lot of physical and mental exercise
  • Makes a great family dog
German Shepherd adult in black and white

Breed Origin

The German Shepherd was originally bred from the herding dogs of central and southern Germany. Methodical breeding commenced once the first breed association was founded in 1889, with the goal of producing an energetic, versatile, high-achieving working dog.

A German Shepherd's life story

Find out more about the resilient German Shepherd in each stage of their life.

German Shepherd puppy

Up to 15 months

German Shepherd puppies are confident, loving and lively, with a natural intelligence. Care must be taken in their first year to set ground rules and fully socialize a German Shepherd puppy so they can grow into well-rounded dogs.
German Shepherd puppy sitting-down

Training

With patience and continuous reinforcement, German Shepherd puppies are extremely receptive to learning and following commands. In particular, this breed will excel at canine sports training.

German Shepherd adult

From 15 months

German Shepherds are highly versatile, excelling as working and service dogs in their adult life. Their loyal, intelligent nature and natural patience with children of all ages make them an excellent family companion.
Male
24 - 26 in Height
65 - 90 lb Weight
Female
22 - 24 in Height
50 - 75 lb Weight
German Shepherd adult standing

Exercise

German Shepherds are not best suited to owners who are looking for a quiet life as adult German Shepherds have a very high exercise requirement. A minimum of two hours outdoor exercise is recommended, including games to keep them both physically and mentally entertained.

The German Shepherd is an incredibly versatile dog that excels at a number of canine sports. As members of the sheepdog group, German Shepherds are skilled at herding tests and trials and their obedient, intelligent nature sees them shine in obedience and agility.

Working German Shepherds

Thanks to their extremely reliable scenting skills, accompanied by their stamina and intelligence, adult German Shepherds excel in the police, military and emergency services, and they continue to perform their original purpose as herding dogs. 

The German Shepherd's inherent loyalty and intelligence has seen this versatile breed excel as service and therapy dogs, providing support for their companions. In the family home, the German Shepherd's alert nature lends them to be incredibly successful guard and watchdogs.

German Shepherd health and aging

German Shepherds are considered to be aging dogs when they reach eight years old. With age, your German Shepherd may experience some hearing loss and vision impairment.

This is common in older dogs but will impact their lifestyle and how much they are able to do. You may also notice reduced motivation to exercise, often due to stiffer joints so it is important to make sure your aging dog is kept comfortable to ease any joint pains.
German Shepherd senior sitting-down

Tailored nutrition for your German Shepherd

German Shepherd range
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Canned Dog Food

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