German shepherd

German Shepherd description

The German Shepherd or Alsatian comes from Germany. The German Shepherd breed was recognized in 1899 and is now part of the pastoral group. Originally they were bred as herding dogs, helping shepherds in leading sheep. German Shepherds were selected very carefully before breeding in order to avoid genetic diseases and remain good herding dogs. Due to their intelligence and strength they became good working dogs during the first World War.

After World War I, Germany became unpopular in Europe and the UK Kennel Club changed the appellation of German Shepherd to Alsatian. It is only in 1977 that the name of the breed was restored to its original appellation.


German Shepherd characteristics

The German Shepherd is classified under large dog breed. There height varies from 22 to 26 inches. As most large breed, the life expectancy of the German Shepherd is not very long: from 7 to 10 years only. The coat of the German Shepherd is usually black and tanned. The White German Shepherd is carrier of a recessive gene. Some breeders increase their chances in breeding White German Shepherds by selecting 2 dogs carrier of the recessive white gene. The White German Shepherd still remains more rare than black and tanned German Shepherds.

The German Shepherd has a double coat. The inner coat gives him an extra protection against cold and hot weather. The outer coat, which is the apparent one can be with short or long hair. The long hair of the German Shepherd comes from a recessive gene and therefore is very rare. German Shepherds need to be brushed everyday as they shed hair all year around.


German Shepherd: a good working dog

German Shepherds are very loyal, intelligent and strong. These qualities make them good working dogs, working closely with the police, and assistance dogs. German Shepherd are also good in tracking scents. This makes them perform very well in doing search and rescue. In many disastrous events they have proved themselves to be expert in saving people's lives.

For many years, police forces have selected and trained German Shepherds to arrest people and search for drugs.


German Shepherd training

German Shepherds need to be trained and socialized from an early age.

German Shepherd puppies have lots of energy, they can be very boisterous. Families with young children should really consider this: German Shepherd puppies stay young and playful for about 3 years and can hurt children by jumping on them. Every year, many German Shepherds are abandoned in rescue centers because their owners did not evaluate how energetic they are and simply can not cope with them.

A puppy German Shepherd will make a great companion if you have time to train him and give him enough exercises. As all working dogs, German Shepherds are eager to learn and please their owners. They will also welcome every challenge involving mental exercise.

The owner will have to establish himself as the pack leader from the very beginning. German Shepherds, being very self-assured, will not hesitate to take the role of pack leader if it is not fulfilled by their owners. Usually, German Shepherds respond well to positive reinforcement training and therefore perform well in obedience classes.

An early socialization of the German Shepherd is a must. German Shepherds are often very protective of their owners. It is therefore important to introduce German Shepherd puppies to new people and to other dogs. An early socialization of your German Shepherd puppy should make him a more balanced dog being less likely to develop aggressive behaviors. This aggressive behavior can also turn towards other dogs, it is therefore recommended to introduce your puppy German Shepherds to other dogs.


German Shepherd Food

Homemade food seems to be the best diet you can give to your German Shepherd as long as the dog diet is established with the help of a professional vet. The food you will be giving to your German Shepherd will need to have the proteins and nutrients your dog requires. If you are reluctant to feed your German Shepherd with homemade food, there are good dry food aliments available on the market.


German Shepherd Health

German Shepherds usually suffers from elbow and hip dysplasia. To prevent a hereditary genetic disease like this in a German Shepherd litter, the breeder can ask the vet to check the hip score of the parents. Because the first German Shepherds have been inbreeding for a long time, there is always a risk that puppies will carry the abnormal gene. Owners can try preventing any malfunction of the joints by giving gentle exercise to their German Shepherd during their first 6 months and by feeding them with good quality food so that they build a strong bone structure.

Epilepsy is also common on German Shepherds. If you suspect your dog is suffering from epilepsy, it is best to seek advice from your vet to get appropriate medication.

A Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) is a common disease affecting older German Shepherds.


German Shepherd pictures

  • German Shepherd puppyGerman Shepherd puppy