German Shepherd Information Guide
German Shepherds or Alsatians are most commonly known as police dogs,
but they can also make for terrific pets. Some people have a few
concerns over introducing a German Shepherd to the family, especially if
there are children present as they are known to be quite boisterous and
are very strong. However, a dedicated German Shepherd breeder can
produce a responsive and obedient dog. With the right care and
attention, German Shepherds can be a great guard dog and will do all
they can to protect their family and territory. If you’re thinking of
having a German Shepherd dog as a pet, but would like more information,
you should find all you need to know below.
Description and Quick Facts
• Body: Sturdy, muscular body with a light and solid bone structure
• Head: Should be in proportion to its body with a rounded forehead
• Legs: Muscular front legs and shoulders and thick, sturdy thighs
• Tail: Bushy tail that reaches below the hocks
• Teeth: 42 strong teeth
• Height: Male dogs can reach 24-26 inches (60-65cm) whereas bitches generally measure 22-24 inches (55-60cm) in height
• Weight: 77-85 pounds (35-40kg)
• Life expectancy: 13 years give or take
There are three varieties of the German Shepherd:
• Double coat
• Plush coat
• Longhaired coat
All varieties boast black with tan, sable or all black colourings, but other colourings have been found that include blue, liver and white. However, this is considered to be another breed of German Shepherd called the American White Shepherd. Another known breed is the Panda Shepherd, which is 35% white and the rest black and tan.
German Shepherds are one of the smartest and most trainable dogs around and when handled correctly their temperament can be described as follows:
• Courageous, brave and fearless
• Keen, confident and possess a high learning ability
• Cheerful, obedient and alert
• Faithful, extremely loyal and have a very strong protective instinct
• Cheerful, tranquil and clever
• Obedient and serious
Training is extremely important and should be introduced at a very early age. When handled correctly a German Shepherd wouldn’t think twice about giving their lives for their human pack and loves to stay close to the family. They shouldn’t be kept in isolation for a long period of time.
Problems can arise when they have been handled and trained poorly, which can result in your pet being aggressive, timid or may bite, which can be seen as a guarding issue. A well trained dog is known to adapt well to other pets in the household and are excellent with children.
When training your German Shepherd you need to have a natural air of authority as problems can occur if the dog believes that he is the pack leader. You need to be firm and confident in a calm way as this breed doesn’t respond well to harsh discipline. To ensure you have a happy home you must also provide your pet with the necessary mental and physical daily exercise.
If regularly exercised, large indoor spaces are not a necessity as they are relatively inactive indoors, but a large garden would be preferable.
There are a number of hereditary health problems associated with a German Shepherd including:
• Hip and elbow dysplasia
• Blood disorders
• Digestive problems
• Epilepsy • Chronic eczema
• Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
• Flea allergies
• Degenerative myelitis • Endocrine pancreatic insufficiency • Perianal fistulas
• Von Willebrand's disease
Being one of the most intelligent of dogs, a German Shepherd loves to be challenged, so when you’re out walking your dog it’s a great idea to incorporate some training into the daily exercise routine. Brisk and long walks are required, often demanding a jog, run or bicycle ride from the owner on a daily basis. If you would like more information on the best ways to walk your dog, have a look at Leash training and Training your dog to walk with you.
German Shepherds are known to be seasonally heavy shedders and so require to be brushed daily and bathed whenever necessary. Here are a few Tips for bathing your dog.