German Shepherd pros and cons
Advantages of owning a German Shepherd are abundant. GSD owners report that the breed is easy to train, highly intelligent and can be trained to a high standard. Pros of German Shepherds include the dog's desire to please the owner which helps during training. German Shepherd breed has many other advantages, including the dog's willingness to protect the owner and to guard the owner's posessions, including the home where a German Shepherd lives. German Shepherds are very protective of their families and can be trained for personal protection. German Shepherds are perfect dogs for active owners who can spend most of the time with the dog. GSD dogs can be trained for a variety of jobs, from personal protection to search and rescue and so much more. Despite many positives associated with owning a wonderful companion dog such as the German Shepherd, there are some negatives that need to be taken into consideration.
Cons of owning a German Shepherd include the dog's grooming needs. Due to abundant shedding German Shepherds need to be brushed frequently and owners of GSD can benefit from having a good vacuum cleaner that will help to control the amount of dog's hair around the home. German Shepherds are very active and without sufficient exercise the disadvantage is that the dog may display unwanted behaviors that include damaging furniture or recreational barking. This working dog needs to have a job to do. The original purpose of the breed was to be a shepherd dog and owners of GSD dogs need to understand that this breed is not ideal for sitting around the home with nothing to do all day long. City dwellers may find that German Shepherd is not an ideal breed for a small apartment. The large and energetic dog benefits from having lots of space to run and an ideal home for a German Shepherd should have a yard where the dog can run around and explore. Disadvantages of owning a German Shepherd is that this large dog requires daily training and mental stimulation. Disadvantages of owning a German Shepherd include the breed's health problems. German Shepherds are predisposed to certain genetic diseases that include hip dysplasia. Owners of GSDs are advised to not overexercise German Shepherd puppies until they are fully grown. High impact exercises such as jumping should be avoided to minimize the risk of joint problems down the road.
German Shepherd pros and cons
German Shepherd pro: Highly intelligent dog breed
German Shepherd con: This working breed requires a significant time commitment in order to provide the dog with the physical and mental stimulation every day
German Shepherd pro: GSDs respond well to training and can be trained to a high standard
German Shepherd con: German Shepherds shed a lot and require daily coat care and frequent brushing
German Shepherd pro: This protective dog breed makes a great watchdog and can be trained for personal protection
German Shepherd con: This dog needs to have a job to do during the day, otherwise behavior problems are likely to develop
German shepherd size
German Shepherd weight
German Shepherd male weight: 30 to 40 kg (66 to 88 lb)
German Shepherd female weight: 23 to 33 kg (51 to 73 lb)
German Shepherd size:
German Shepherd male height: 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 in)
German Shepherd female height: 55 to 60 cm (22 to 24 in)
German Shepherd double coat: Stock (Short/Medium) or Long Stock
German Shepherd colors: Tan with Black Saddle, All Black, Golden Sable, Grey Sable, Bicolor, White German Shepherds
How many puppies do German Shepherds have on average?
German Shepherd litter size: 5 to 10 puppies
How long do German Shepherds live?
German Shepherd life span: 9 to 12 years
How much does a German Shepherd cost?
German Shepherd price varies from $600 to $5,000 depending on many factors
German shepherd temperament
German Shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds in the world. German shepherd is a large working breed that is loyal to the owner. This German dog breed is exceptionally intelligent and easy to train. German Shepherd is among the top five most intelligent dog breeds. Fearless and alert temperament of German shepherd makes a good watchdog. For German shepherds, their work is their life. These dogs are often used by the law enforcement services as well as by the rescue teams. German shepherds are still used for herding today among other jobs.
Are German Shepherds good with kids? A properly socialized German Shepherd makes a loyal and even tempered family dog that can enjoy the company of sensible kids. Tireless German Shepherds have plenty of energy needed for playing with active kids in the yard. German Shepherds are naturally protective and intelligent dogs that can be wonderful companions for active families. Keep in mind that German Shepherds are not recommended as apartment dogs - the large working dog breed is happiest in a home with a yard and a job to do.
German shepherds make an excellent companion and a family dog as long as you properly train and socialize the dog. Socializing a German shepherd helps to achieve that stable and confident temperament that German Shepherds are known and valued for. Introduce your puppy to people of different age groups, take the GSD (German Shepherd Dog) with you wherever you go - to a busy street, to the park, to a mall, anywhere the dog is permitted. Make sure to keep the dog comfortable during your outings as your goal is for the dog to feel comfortable in different environments. Introduce your German Shepherd to people that frequently visit your home, to your friends and relatives. Some people argue that when training a GSD as a guard dog, there's no need for the dog to feel comfortable around strangers and therefore socializing it with various people is not necessary. The reality is if your dog is spending his days locked in the backyard, without seeing other people or the outside enviroment, the dog may become fear-aggressive, and will not be able to distinguish a mailman from a burglar. By socializing the dog you are helping the dog to distinguish which situations are safe and which situations may be out of ordinary and when his guarding instinct needs to kick in.
For example, a mailman approaching your home should not be considered a threat. But a stranger trying to enter the property should get his attention. This is why it is important to socialize the dog so that he would be able to understand which situations are safe and which require his attention. German shepherd's original job was to protect the herd from any dangers. The dog's family becomes his herd and as a result this breed does so well as a guard and protection dog. It is a natural instinct of your German Shepherd to react to any changes in the environment and to be alert. A German Shepherd that is not properly socialized will react to each stimuli. As a result the dog will be getting stressed out by everyday situations, for example any time a neighbor walks past your property or if there's an unfamiliar dog on the street passing by. This is the reason why early socialization is so important. A properly socialized German Shepherd will be confident when walking on the street and seeing other dogs passing by, nor will the dog try to attack the neighbor. Be sure to provide enough socialization to dog to build his confidence in the world around. The GSD then can distinguish a dangerous situation from a situation that should not alarm him. Naturally there will be less needless barking as the dog will not react in an alarmed way to normal everyday events. One of the most unrated aspects of a German shepherd is his gentle personality. Despite the large size, German shepherd makes a good house dog. The gentle serving nature is what leads to the German shepherd's most amazing role of guiding the visually impaired. A guide dog helps a blind person to avoid situations that might endanger his blind partner. German Shepherds can also serve as hearing assistance dogs. These dogs are trained to alert their deaf or hearing-impaired human partner to important sounds, like the person's name, a baby's cry, the alarm clock's ring, the oven timer's buzz and the fire alarm's wail. When the German shepherd hears the sound, the dog is trained to go to the person and give a signal, such as a nudge of his nose which indicates that he heard something that the deaf person needs to know about. Then the German shepherd will indicate the source of the sound so that the owner can respond appropriately. A well-trained service dog can do most of the tasks that would otherwise force a person to hire a human helper. Intelligence, loyalty and courage made the breed perfect for a variety of different tasks. The German shepherd's reputation as a police dog is legendary. The reason is versatility. German shepherds are often used for search and rescue, narcotics and bomb detection.
See video below for more detailed information about this working dog breed.
German shepherd shedding
Do German Shepherds shed? Yes, German Shepherds are famous for abundant shedding. The dog's coat changes twice a year and each shedding period lasts about a month or more. To keep your animal looking tidy and to reduce the amount of dog hair clinging to your clothes and furniture, daily brushing is recommended especially during the heavy shedding months. Brushing your dog outside may help to reduce the amount of dog hair you will need to clean up after you brush the dog.
Using a Furminator deshedding tool helps to keep a German Shepherd shedding to a minimum. See German Shepherd Furminator review video below. In the video, a German Shepherd owner is using a Furminator brush on his German Shepherd for the first time.
White German Shepherd
German shepherds come in a wide range of colors. Black and tan, black and red, black and silver, sable, solid black and even solid white German shepherds. Solid white German Shepherd is the same breed, and the only difference is the color of the coat. When the German Shepherd breed was newer, all-white puppies were frequently born to dark-colored parents. Most German breeders and many American breeders killed the white pups at birth because they were considered defective and could not be registered or entered in shows. Now, German Shepherds of any color, including white German Shepherds are welcome in Agility, Obedience, Rally, and other companion competition events. In the Conformation ring, however, dark, richly colored shepherds are generally preferred, and white German shepherds are disqualified. White German shepherds price ranges from $750 to $1,000 depending on many factors. Solid black German Shepherds are often called Lacquer Blacks. Solid black color can be almost invisible in dark surroundings or at night. The coat length can range from short to long and have the appearance of feathering, flowing or skirting. Regardless of the color of your German Shepherd, your four-legged friend should have the stable temperament that we expect from the breed.
German shepherd grooming
How often should you bathe a German Shepherd? Bathe your German shepherd every month or so. Be sure to completely wash out the shampoo to prevent skin issues. Thoroughly dry your dog before going outside after a bath. Wipe the dog's ears with clean, soft towel after bath to help prevent ear infections.
Dog shower attachment
From an early age get your German Shepherd accustomed to having his teeth brushed (only use toothpaste formulated for dogs). Brush the dog's teeth every day to prevent dental issues. Provide your German Shepherd with chewable treats that help to keep teeth healthy.
Trimming German Shepherd nails is an important part of grooming. If you notice that your pet's nails are too long - it may be painful for the German shepherd to walk. Trim your GSD's nails when you hear clicking sounds as the dog walks on a hardwood floor.
Dog ear wipes provide an easy way to keep your dog's ears clean.
German shepherd training
Start training your German Shepherd as soon as your dog enters your home for the first time. It is important to establish rules from the very beginning, especially with a large breed such as German shepherd. Basic obedience training for German shepherd is a must. Basic commands help you to have a good control over your GSD. If you like teaching your German shepherd the basics, you will probably enjoy teaching the dog advanced skills even more. Advanced skills are needed for show dogs. Playing and walking with your German shepherd helps to raise a physically healthy animal.
German Shepherd Harness
German Shepherd Crate
Training your German shepherd basic commands and helping your German shepherd to memorize names of different objects - such as his toys will help your puppy to develop intellectually. Some German Shepherd owners provide a dog with one new toy at a time and keep repeating the name of the new toy. Let the dog play only with this toy for a few days until the dog clearly associates the toy with the name of the toy. This way you can build your German shepherd's vocabulary from an early age. Do not rush this process and stay consistent. Once you achieved success, keep moving forward. Whenever your dog did something wrong - stay calm and do not call your German shepherd to come to you. If you do that - the dog will associate you calling it with a punishment. It is best to ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior. Use one word commands and only say the command once. If you say the command more than once, the dog will think that the command consists of more than one word and as a result may ignore the command if you only say it once down the road. If you let your dog to sleep on a couch today, then it is reasonable to expect the same behavior tomorrow. If your house rule is - no dogs on a couch then be sure to enforce it at all times with no exceptions. Clear house rules are important for you and for your dog. Stay consistent and patient and you are going to achieve success. If your German shepherd is easily excitable and hyperactive, you can help to fix this problem by ignoring hyperactivity and rewarding calm behavior.
Learn more about training a German shepherd puppy by watching the video below.
German shepherd personal protection training
German Shepherds are among the top breeds used for personal protection. Highly intelligent, strong and naturally territorial German Shepherd can be trained to protect the owner and the owner's family. Personal protection involves advanced training techniques and you will likely need to enroll your dog in training classes that specialize in personal protection. Special equipment such as protective clothing will be used during training. Be sure to do a thorough research on training techniques that the school uses and get in touch with people who had their dogs trained for personal protection in that school. Ask questions and take your time before you select the right dog training school and instructor to train your dog. Selecting the wrong instructor can be a disaster for your dog and for you. Do your homework and research before you commit your GSD to the training. Protection dog training is a costly and time-consuming process. The cost may be from $5,000 and up. Protection dog training may take about a year and sometimes even longer. A properly trained for protection German Shepherd will be able to protect you in any environment, not only in the artificial environment where the dog got the training. The dog will be able to think independently from you rather than rely on your commands during a real life situation when you may not have the time or opportunity to give the dog any commands. At the end of the training you and your dog will have a partnership type of relationship rather than a master-servant type of a relationship. Protection dog training involves educating not only the dog but also the owner will need to gain a lot of knowledge of how to handle a personal protection dog in order to enable the dog to do its job right. The dog in turn will be able to protect your family members from attacks, abduction attempts, and during home invasion if of course the dog was trained not only for sport but for real life situations. These types of dangerous situation require that the dog makes independent decisions in a quickly changing situation. To get the dog to the level where he is able to make the correct decisions based on real-life threats, the owner needs to develop a mutually understanding relationship with the dog that completed the training. Keep in mind that the fully trained dog will need to complete re-fresher courses every twelve to eighteen months which can add up to expenses already spent on training the dog initially. There are plenty of dog trainers that claim that they are able to train your dog for a real life protection. Pay close attention to how the training is conducted. Are the dogs trained only during the daytime and on the same territory? If so - the dog may not properly react at night and in a different setting when the real attack takes place. Are the trainers always wearing protective sleeves and the training attacks are following the exact same set routine every time? Is the dog only trained to respond to one attacker? If you have a positive answer to any of these questions then the protection training is done for sport rather than for a real life attack situation and the dog can not be considered to be a trained protection dog.
Best dog food for German Shepherds
Feed your German shepherd twice a day. Make sure that you are feeding your German shepherd quality dog food that does not include corn for protein as some German shepherds may be allergic to corn protein. German shepherds need to have access to clean drinking water throughout the day. Pick a high-quality dog food made for large-breed dogs. Cheaper dog foods contain too much fat or vegetable protein, and this can lead to rapid growth which in turn can result in hip or elbow dysplasia. Lower quality ingredients may result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can cause skeletal complications later in life. An active 80-pound (36 kg) adult German Shepherd needs to eat approximately four cups (960 ml) of premium dry kibble food or two-and-a-half pounds (1 kg) of fresh meat and bone each day.
Owning a German shepherd
Remember the following basic requirements if you are thinking of getting a German shepherd dog: the dog requires daily exercise, training, and of course your time and attention. Without enough exercise your German shepherd is more likely to get joint diseases as well as become destructive. Lack of regular exercise leads to weakened muscles and heart. Exercise your German shepherd by walking, running with dog pals, playing fetch, swimming, etc. They are very active dogs with tremendous learning capability. German shepherd is a big dog and at least basic training is necessary to provide the owner with a good level of control over the dog. The German shepherd enjoys both mental and physical stimulation and can greatly benefit from training lessons with either the owner or a dog training professional. You are also building your dogs trust by walking the dog, feeding him and by playing dog games with your German shepherd. Bonding with your German shepherd is a process and as you are spending time with your dog, the bond grows into a lifelong friendship.
If your German Shepherd spends a lot of time in the yard, it is a good idea to provide the dog with a comfortable dog house. A dog house helps to protect the dog during inclement weather. If you live in a warm climate, choose a dog house with good air flow to keep the German Shepherd comfortable during hot days.
Are German Shepherds good with kids? Due to their emotionally stable nature German shepherds make a great addition to families with children. German shepherds are protective of their family, and can be very territorial. Before you get a German shepherd, research the temperament of the puppy that you are planning to get. The temperament of the dog is shaped by the genetics and the environment in which the puppy grows up. Socializing the dog from an early age, providing the dog with plenty of positive interaction with humans and other dogs is very important for raising a well adjusted dog.
Cons and pros of owning a German Shepherd - video
Where to get a German Shepherd
You can get a German shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder or from a German Shepherd rescue. In both cases it is beneficial to learn as much as possible about the dog's temperament to ensure that the dog is a good fit for you and your family. Breeders provide their puppy buyers with complete health records for their pup, a four-generation pedigree, and the proper paperwork to register the dog. Be sure to find out whether the breeder conducted an x-ray testing for hip and elbow abnormalities prior to breeding and ask to see the results. Another option is adopting a German Shepherd from a shelter or a German Shepherd rescue organization. Many wonderful dogs end up there through no fault of their own. Dogs are given up for adoption for many reasons, most commonly because of changes in the owner's situation. A dog owner finds a job in a new town and the family can not take the dog with them. A family member develops an allergy to the German shepherd. The owner dies and no one in the family is willing to take the dog. When you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, there may not be much information available about the German shepherd's past. Ask the person handling the adoption to tell you as much as possible about the dog's behavior while he was in their care. German Shepherd puppies are sometimes found in shelters or German Shepherd rescue organizations, but most of the dogs are either adolescents or adults. There are some advantages to getting an older dog. The older German Shepherd may already be housetrained and may know some obedience cues and have other good skills. If you are set on getting a German shepherd puppy, then you may need to wait a while to get one from a shelter or from a German Shepherd rescue organization.
To find a German Shepherd Rescue in your state, visit American German Shepherd Rescue Association.
In case you are selecting a pup from a litter of multiple German Shepherd puppies, be sure to pay close attention to the way puppies interact with one another. Observing the puppies will help you to understand each dog's inborn personality traits that will normally get more prominent as the puppy matures into an adult German shepherd. There's also a very simple puppy personality test that you can try and it will help you to quickly assess the character traits of all puppies in the litter. Inborn temperament along with the environment where the dog is growing up will be the main factors that determine the character of the full-grown German shepherd dog. If you invest your time and energy into developing your German shepherd from an early age, treat the dog with respect and expect the same from the dog, you will enjoy years of rewarding experiences with your German shepherd in return. Choosing a German shepherd puppy will be easier if you already know what you'd like your dog to accomplish. If you are looking for a German Shepherd to participate in competitive sports such as Obedience, Agility, Tracking, or Herding then seek out breeders whose German shepherds have proven their potential in the sports that interest you. The same approach works in case you are looking to exhibit your German Shepherd in Conformation shows. You would need to narrow your choices of German shepherd breeders to those whose dogs have proven accomplishments in Conformation shows. Conformation shows are competitive events where German shepherds and purebred dogs of other breeds are judged against the written Standard of Perfection for their breed. The Standard describes the ideal appearance, gait, and temperament of the breed. Males and Females are judged separately, and the winner in each sex is awarded from one to five championship points. The number of points is determined by how many dogs compete. Winners in both sexes are then judged together, along with champions, and the dog among them is selected as the Best of Breed (BOB) for that day. That dog then goes on to compete against the other BOB winners in his group. German Shepherds are in the Herding Group. The winner from each of the seven groups (Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding) then competes against the other group winners for Best in Show. A Conformation dog must be kept in peak of health in order to win.
To find the right German shepherd for protecting your farm animals from predators you would naturally go to a breeder whose dogs have a proven record of related protection work. Temperament, structure and talent can all be inherited and passed down from German shepherd parents to pups. Training and the right kind of stimulation can enhance and strengthen a German shepherd's inherited potential. To excel in a particular activity or sport, the potential must be present from the beginning. As you are choosing a German Shepherd puppy for a certain activity or sport, it would be a good idea to bring someone experienced in the field to evaluate the pup or dog before you make the final decision.
For example, Obedience trials test a dog's response to his handler. The German shepherd must obey verbal commands and hand signals immediately, precisely and willingly. The handler is allowed to command the GSD once, and then must give no further cues until the exercise is finished. Between the exercises the handler is allowed to praise and pet the dog, but the dog must remain under the handler's control. There are several levels of difficulty in Obedience, with a title to be earned at each level by attaining three to ten qualifying scores at that level. A qualifying score in Obedience is 170 or better. A perfect score is 200. Obedience levels include Novice Obedience, Open and Utility level.
In Rally, the German shepherd and handler heel together around a course of numbered stations, each with a sign indicating an exercise for the handler and the dog to perform. About fifty exercises test the dog's and handler's teamwork skills. In Rally the handler is permitted to talk and encourage the dog.
For Agility, dogs are judged on speed and accuracy over a course of jumps, tunnels, ramps and other obstacles. Each German shepherd is timed as he individually races over a numbered obstacle course as directed by his handler. In Agility the dog performs the jumps and obstacles and the handler does not. An experienced Agility German Shepherd learns to respond instantly to subtle movements of his handler's shoulders, hips, and knees on the course, as cues for changes in direction or pace.
Types of German shepherds
There are two types of German shepherds: the working line German Shepherds and the show line German Shepherds. There is a significant difference between the temperaments of the two types. The show line German shepherds tend to be more calm and mellow. The working line German Shepherds are more hyper and high energy than show line dogs. Working line type of German shepherds do well with more active owners that spend plenty of time exercising the dog, playing and walking with this active animal. Be sure to select the type of German Shepherd that matches your level of energy. For example, if you are a couch potato then it would be a mistake to get a working type German shepherd. The reason is that a working type German shepherd that is not sufficiently exercised will turn into a frustrated animal and as a result such dogs tend to damage furniture or shoes which is a sign of a dog that is frustrated. Working line German Shepherds are more appropriate for people who enjoy running, exercising and other physical activities that can provide enough exercise for your dog.
German shepherd health issues
German shepherds tend to have joint problems as they age. If you notice that your dog is beginning to have trouble walking take it to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate medication that will help your aging dog with the joint pain. German shepherds are also predisposed to hip dysplasia.
For healthy German Shepherds and for German Shepherds with joint issues or arthritis, getting a good quality orthopedic dog bed allow him to get a good rest. The dog may start preferring sleeping in his own bed rather than trying to take over yours.
Pannus, which is an inflammation of the corneas of both eyes is a common eye disease that affects mainly German shepherds and German shepherd mixes. Bloat is another dangerous condition that German Shepherds are susceptible to. Signs of bloat include the dog trying to vomit but nothing or little comes out, the dog appears uncomfortable, whining, pacing, sitting up or getting back down in an effort to eliminate the discomfort. Obvious abdominal pain, abdomen may feel tight, like the skin of a drum, heavy salivating and the dog may go into shock where the gums turn pale color, elevated heartbeat and irregular, shallow breathing may be observed. Take the dog to the veterinarian immediately if you see any of these signs of bloat as bloat can turn deadly within an hour. Call your vet and let the vet know that the dog is potentially suffering from bloat before you leave your home so that the veterinarian will be prepared to take care of the dog as soon as possible.
To minimize the risk of German Shepherd developing bloat, feed the dog twice a day and use slow feeder dog bowl that helps to slow down a fast eater. The dog should eat in a calm state of mind as an excited dog swallows more air along with food, which is associated with bloat.
German shepherd origin
German shepherds originate in Germany and their ancestors were the shepherding dogs. The breed was created by Max von Stephanitz in 1899. Max von Stephanitz started a breeding program using the best dogs he could find in order to create an exceptional working dog. Back when the breed was developed, shepherds needed a dog that could do more than push a few sheep around. The dog had to have a good nose for tracking a lost sheep. They needed a helper that could work all day, that was fast and could work independently. As a result the German shepherd breed was developed.
German shepherd gifts
Gifts for German Shepherd lovers can be very versatile. German Shepherd decor is popular with owners of the breed.