Get to know German Shepherd
All you need to know about the breed
An intelligent, lively, and steadfast breed, the German Shepherd fulfills so much that’s wanted in a dog. Devoted to their owner and to their family, this is a dog who will follow you from room to room, into the car, really anywhere you go.
The energy level of the German Shepherd? High. But that can also equate to fun, as the breed looks upon any activity as welcome activity. Walking, running, all work for the German Shepherd, as do tracking and agility competitions, which they excel at.
If there’s one characteristic that defines the German Shepherd, it’s their smarts. They are known for having incredibly high intelligence and the ability to figure things out - part of the reason, along with their faithful nature, that they’re often used by armed forces.
Because of their very high intelligence, the German Shepherd dog is also used widely as a service dog for disabled or visually impaired persons. They’re ideally suited for the role given their unwavering loyalty, smarts, and keen sense of smell.
Train them well and this breed will return your requests in spades. As singularly self-assured as they are, the breed is also known to be a great companion dog. They are incredibly bonded to their owner, so teaching your German Shepherd won’t be hard, it just needs to be consistent.
The other breed hallmark: that coat! It’s a double one, and composed of thick, plush fur dappled with distinctive, rich colorings that give the German Shepherd breed their regal look.
2 facts about German Shepherds
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your German Shepherd
A strong breed with a touchy stomach
When it comes to health, German Shepherds can have occasional bouts of digestive tract disorders and diarrhea, not life-threatening but nonetheless no fun for the dog. Look for adverse reactions to food, diarrhea or loose stool, gastroenteritis, pancreatic insufficiency, bloat, or IBD, among other disorders. Allergic dermatitis, or skin irritation, can also occur. Feeding your dog highly nutritious food will keep them on track. A proper diagnostic workup is mandatory, which can be time - and money - consuming. A good veterinarian can help you find solutions.
It’s those hips!
Hip dysplasia is the third top illness for the German Shepherd - in fact, they are predisposed. It is a developmental syndrome of the ball and socket joint where the thigh bone and the hip bone don’t quite conform. The result is arthritis. It’s important that the rate of growth, especially for large-breed dogs, stay constant so their bones and muscles develop together. Dysplasia can happen more often when muscles grow faster, thus putting stress on bones and joints, potentially causing arthritis and then dysplasia. A simple veterinarian check for your German Shepherd can find signs of any occurence.
Energy to burn
Forewarned is forearmed: The German Shepherd dog is an extremely high energy breed. It’s exciting to think about adding this gracious canine to your home, but they are not the breed for everyone. They thrive on a lot of daily exercise - so much so that the German Shepherd will easily accompany you on long runs, trotting alongside for hours.
Like all breeds however, the German Shepherd can suffer from health issues when some of their physical features are over-exaggerated, in their case, a sloped back. The feature came from developing the dog for shows, breeders thinking an elegant line and shortened legs made for a bouncy gait when the dog moved through the show ring. We advise you to seek counsel from your veterinarian where needed to always obtain a dog from a responsible breeder.
Caring for your German Shepherd
Grooming, training and exercise tips