German Shepherds History, Breed, Health Best Information 2022

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are loyal and courageous dogs who love people. They are smart and trainable. They get along well with other pets and children. They are very protective of their owners and need lots of exercises. Dogs’ hips and knees are very important joints. They should be given mobility chews to help them stay active and healthy. German shepherds may need extra care because of their large size and weight.

Breed Characteristics

Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs is too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog. And you can find an awesome crate for your dog here to give them a little more personal space in your apartment.

Breed Overview

German Shepherds are intelligent, courageous, alert, and bold dogs. They are loyal, protective, and hypoallergenic. Their coats are coarse, medium-length double coats. Blue, liver, or white are not preferred. Shepherds are intelligent, courageous, alert, brave, loyal, protective, hypoallergenic dogs. Herding breeds are used for herding sheep, cattle, goats, horses, deer, and other livestock. Their coats should be short, coarse, double-coated, and colored any shade except blue, liver, or white.

Choosing a German Shepherd Breeder

Finding a good breeder is the key to finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as is possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than in making big bucks.

Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances and what the dogs are like to live with and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him.

Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.

For more information about the breed or to find a list of breeders, visit the website of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America . Look for a breeder who abides by the club’s code of conduct , which does not permit the sale of puppies through brokers, auctions or commercial dealers such as pet stores. Breeders should sell puppies with a written contract guaranteeing they’ll take back the dog at any time during his life if you become unable to keep him, and with written documentation that both the puppy’s parents (and if possible, his other close relatives) have the appropriate health and temperament certifications. Seek out a breeder whose dogs have working titles in sports that require athleticism and good health, not just ribbons from the show ring.

Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.

Many reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.

Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or another reliable source for healthy puppies.

The cost of a German Shepherd puppy varies depending on his place of origin, whether he is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. A typical price range is $800 to $1,500 for puppies who have been raised in a clean environment, from parents with health clearances and show or working titles to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Some puppies or young dogs with excellent show potential may sell for $2,500 to $4,500. Whatever you pay, puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.

And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult German Shepherd might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dog of your dreams. An adult German Shepherd may already have some or a lot of training and will probably be less active, destructive and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.

The German Shepherd Dog is a very loyal breed. They are often used as police dogs or guard dogs. They are very protective of their owners. They are also very intelligent and trainable. German Shepherds are loyal, brave, smart, and protective. They are also very strong and agile. Their job as a police or military dog is to protect people and property. They are very intelligent and trainable. German Shepherds are loyal, protective and intelligent dogs. They are very active and energetic. These dogs need lots of exercises and mental stimulation. They bark when they want something or someone. A German Shepard is friendly towards strangers but does not trust them easily. American-bred German Shepards are less likely to be calm than German-bred ones. Their temperament may vary depending on the breeder. Some Americans breed for appearance, while others focus on working ability. German-bred German Shepherds are more likely to have a calmer temperament.Dogs are loyal creatures who love everyone. They are very friendly and fun-loving dogs. However, if you want to be sure about getting a particular breed of dog, you should go to a shelter and meet them first. You’ll never regret having a dog as long as you do this!


German Shepherds are smart but need daily work out. Their favorite hobby is playing and running around. They also love Frisbees.German Shepherds are very friendly dogs. They are great guard dogs, but also love to play. Their coat sheds a lot, but you should brush them regularly. Crate training is a great way to house train a puppy.Dogs are loyal companions that love people unconditionally. They are happy to spend time inside with the family, but need plenty of exercises to stay healthy. A German shepherd needs access to a large, enclosed yard to burn off their natural energy. The best way to get started is by visiting a local animal shelter.


German Shepherds are very smart and trainable.

They are also good at finding lost things. Socializing puppies helps make them well-adjusted adults.

German Shepherds bark because they want attention.

These dogs are highly independent and stubborn.

A German Shepherd’s coat sheds quite a bit.

It takes a little patience to train a German Shepherd.


German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence In a list of breeds most likely to bark as watchdogs, Stanley Coren ranked the breed in second place.

Coupled with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable as police guard search and rescue dogs , as they are able to quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other breeds.


German Shepherds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all German Shepherds will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the femur doesn’t fit snugly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Hip dysplasia can exist with or without clinical signs. Some dogs exhibit pain and lameness on one or both rear legs. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.

Elbow Dysplasia: This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It’s thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem, or medication to control the pain.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Commonly called bloat , this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Golden Retrievers , especially if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to get rid the excess air in their stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. They also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. It’s important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Degenerative Myelopathy: Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord, specifically the part of the cord that communicates information to the brain regarding the hind legs. Dogs with DM act as though they don’t know where their back legs are, and cannot move them properly. The disease progresses to the point the dog cannot walk. Most of the time, there is no treatment and the dog is put to sleep. However, in a few rare cases, the condition is related to a lack of vitamin-12 or vitamin E. If this is the case, vitamin supplements might stabilize the condition.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: EPI is a genetic disease of the pancreas in which the cells that produce digestive enzymes are destroyed. As a result, the dog can no longer digest and absorb food. The first signs of the condition are gas, loss of appetite, weight loss, and change in stools. The dog becomes very thin, and very hungry. EPI is diagnosed with a simple blood test, and treatment is simple, too: pancreatic enzymes are added to the dog’s food. With proper medication supervision, most dogs recover.

Allergies: Some German Shepherds suffer from a variety of allergies , ranging from contact allergies to food allergies. Allergy symptoms in dogs are similar to those in people. If your German Shepherd is scratching, licking at their paws or rubbing their face a great deal, suspect that they have an allergy and have them checked by your vet.


Due to the high energy level of this breed, plenty of regular exercise is essential. Your German shepherd probably needs more exercise than you think a daily walk is not enough. If you’re a jogger, a German shepherd can be a good running companion. Your dog needs to run, play, and explore to prevent frustration, boredom, and pent-up energy. A dog that is bored may develop problems such as barking, digging, and chewing.

German shepherd dogs are better off in a home where there is a fenced yard for play rather than an apartment. However, it’s even more important that your dog is given plenty of attention and not left alone most of the day.


Sable German Shepherds. Female (left), male (right).

The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund by von Stephanitz, literally translating to “German Shepherd Dog”. The breed was so named due to its original purpose of assisting shepherds in herding and protecting sheep. At the time, all other herding dogs in Germany were referred to by this name; they thus became known as Altdeutsche Schäferhunde , or Old German herding dogs The direct translation of the name was adopted for use in the official breed registry; however, at the conclusion of World War I, it was believed that the inclusion of the word “German” would harm the breed’s popularity, due to the anti-German sentiment of the era.

The breed was officially renamed by the UK Kennel Club to “Alsatian Wolf Dog”, after the French region of Alsace Eventually, the appendage “wolf dog” was dropped, after numerous campaigns by breeders who were worried that becoming known as a wolf-dog hybrid would affect the breed’s popularity and legality.

The name Alsatian remained for five decades, until 1977, when successful campaigns by dog enthusiasts pressured the British kennel clubs to allow the breed to be registered again as German Shepherds.

The word “Alsatian” once appeared in parentheses as part of the formal breed name and was removed in 2010.


German Shepherds are moderately active dogs and are described in breed standards as self assured.

The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. They are curious, which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions. They can become overprotective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly.

They are not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers.

German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient, as well as protective of their owners.

Aggression and biting

A 2020 literature review in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that from 1971 to 2018 of all pure breed dogs in the United States, the German Shepherd, was responsible for the most bites severe enough to require hospital treatment.

While an Australian report from 1999 provides statistics showing that German Shepherds are the breed third most likely to attack a person in some Australian locales, once their popularity is taken into account, the percentages of GSD attacks drops to 38th.

According to the National Geographic Channel Dangerous Encounters , the bite of a German Shepherd has a force of over 1,060 newtons (238 lbf) (compared with that of a Rottweiler , over 1,180–1,460 newtons (265–328 lbf), a Pit bull , 1,050 newtons (235 lbf), a Labrador Retriever , of approximately 1,000 newtons (230 lbf), or a human, of approximately 380 newtons (86 lbf)).


The Kennel Club , in the United Kingdom, is involved in a dispute with German Shepherd breed clubs about the issue of soundness in the show strain of the breed.

Some show strains have been bred with an extremely roached topline (back) that causes poor gait in the hind legs.

The debate was catalyzed when the issue was raised in the BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed , which said that critics of the breed describe it as “half dog, half frog.” An orthopedic vet remarked on footage of dogs in a show ring that they were “not normal.” The Kennel Club’s position is that “this issue of soundness is not a simple difference of opinion, it is the fundamental issue of the breed’s essential conformation and movement.” The Kennel Club has decided to retrain judges to penalize dogs suffering these problems.

The Kennel Club also recommends testing for haemophilia and hip dysplasia, other common problems with the breed.

East European Shepherd

The East-European Shepherd is a variety of the German Shepherd bred in the former Soviet Union with the purpose of creating a larger, more cold-resistant version of the German Shepherd. It lacks the physical deformities bred into western show lines of German Shepherds and has become one of Russia’s most popular dog types.

King Shepherd

The King Shepherd is a variety of the German Shepherd bred in the United States, its breeders hoping to rectify the physical deformities that have been bred into the original breed.


German shepherds have coarse, sometimes wiry, medium-length hair with thick undercoats. Their coats should be brushed every few days to combat their relatively high shedding rate, which can be lessened by routine grooming . Still, you should be prepared to have dog hair on your clothing and furniture you’ll need to vacuum frequently. Luckily, a German shepherd’s coat also resists dirt and debris, so you won’t need to bathe your dog more than once a month. In fact, too-frequent bathing will strip out the oils that keep its coat healthy.

keep your dog’s nails trimmed to help them walk around comfortably. You should also help your dog maintain good dental hygiene by brushing its teeth a couple of times a week. These dogs like to chew and have powerful jaws, so keep durable chew toys available.


German shepherds can be very gentle companions and family protectors with proper training and socialization. It’s an ideal breed for active households and the intelligence and protective demeanor of this breed can make it a good choice for families with children (as long as the dog is properly trained).

German shepherds can sometimes become anxious or even aggressive if not properly trained and handled. These dogs will ideally be trained to perform a duty and will take pride in such. The breed’s intelligence and desire to work should make training fairly easy. Proper socialization is also necessary to make sure your German shepherd does not become stressed or scared when meeting new people or animals and seeing new environments. They’re typically aloof around new people and may be suspicious.

Additionally, German shepherds may have a tendency to chase cats and other small pets and may not be a good fit for a multi-pet household unless raised together. They also may not get along with strange dogs, especially of the same sex, which may be a problem when you visit a dog park.

Common Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. German shepherd dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions, however, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

Elbow dysplasia Elbow hygroma Gastric dilatation-volvulus Degenerative myelopathy

Diet and Nutrition

Your German shepherd will need two meals a day of up to two cups of dry dog food, but this will depend on the dog’s size, activity level, age, and other factors. They are prone to bloating and possible stomach torsion, so you’ll want to avoid giving one large meal a day and having the dog gulp it down. Be sure your dog has constant access to clean, fresh water.

Monitor your dog’s weight and address any overweight issues early, as obesity will shorten your dog’s lifespan. You can also discuss nutritional needs with your veterinarian to get recommendations for feeding schedules and dog food types throughout your dog’s life.

The German Shepherd is highly intelligent and will not be content to live life as a couch potato. He’s a dog of action, and he needs to live with an active person who will give him a job worthy of his talents.

Where to Adopt or Buy a German Shepherd

If you think you’d like to adopt a German shepherd, start by contacting one of the following organizations:

German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions

These groups will be able to provide guidance and next steps for adoption as well as direct you to reputable breeders if you choose to go that route. The AKC also boasts a marketplace where you can inquire about AKC-registered litters that have been cared for and raised according to breed standards. While prices range, you can generally expect to pay around $1,000 for a German shepherd puppy, depending on sex, appearance, demand, and more.

Puppy Months

I am a loyal protector and need to be socialized early so I learn to trust my humans. Obedience training is also key – I can get destructive, anxious, or aggressive without it.

Adult Years

I’m a grown up, but still need lots of daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep me healthy and happy. I love to work, and I do best when I have a job to do!

Senior Years

I have less energy than I used to, but still need daily activity to keep me healthy. Try a low-impact exercises like walks and swimming that don’t put extra strain on my joints.

Help your dog maintain a healthy body weight

German Shepherds do well if kept at a healthy body weight. Because of their predisposition to hip problems, letting them get overweight can cause very serious issues. Maintaining the correct bodyweight is especially important in this breed. – Michele King, DVM

Do German Shepherd Dogs shed?

The double-coat, with a thick undercoat that sheds twice annually, loses hair continuously but can be maintained with regular brushing one or two times weekly.

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Meet the large dog breeds, from the Great Dane to the Burnese Mountain Dog. These big dogs can be cuddly and kid friendly or watchful protectors.

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