German Shepherds are steady, confident, courageous and agile. They are full of intelligence. They are easy to train and fast learners. The average height of a German Shepherd male is between 24 and 26 inches, and they weigh between 75 and 95 pounds.
In the case of the females of this breed, the average height is 22 to 24 inches, and the average weight is the same as that of the males. They occasionally suffer from pancreatic insufficiency.
Make sure German shepherds’ hips, elbows, and eyes are examined occasionally. Also, blood tests must be conducted at regular intervals. The health concerns for this breed are elbow dysplasia and CHD (canine hip dysplasia).
Please note that members of the dog breed are especially vulnerable to systemic fungal infection from Aspergillus. Such an infection can prove to be fatal for them as well. Their lifespan ranges between 10 and 12 years.
Below are some minor issues that German Shepherds commonly experience.
- vWD (von Willebrand disease)
- Progressive posterior paresis
- Cauda equina
- Pyo-traumatic dermatitis
- Skin allergies
- Malignant neoplasms
- Gastric torsion
- Perianal fistulas
A history of the German Shepherd dog breed
If we trace the origins of this breed, we would see that they used to be mountain sheepdogs found in Germany in the 7th century AD! However, the true origin of the dog breed as we know it today can be credited to Captain Max von Stephanitz. Sometimes between the early 1900s and the late 1800s, Captain Max was the individual who developed German Shepherd dogs into a working dog breed that could serve all purposes. As suggested in stories, he used local shepherd dogs of different varieties, such as the long-haired, the wire-haired, and the short-haired varieties.
He found them in various locations in Germany, such as Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and Thurginia. Hence, a combination of these breeds resulted in German Shepherd dogs – a breed we know and love to such an extent. An organization named Verein fur Deutsche Scharferhunde SV should be credited with the success that members of this breed have now. This group worked on developing a herding dog that would be courageous, intelligent, and athletic.
Thanks to Hollywood creations, such as Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin, the dog breed gained popularity. The dog breed has enjoyed being the top-ranked in the USA (United States of America) for many years now.
The breed has lost some of its erstwhile popularity. However, it is a hard-working and versatile breed. You can use it as a guard dog, as a service dog, and in military work, and it would perform equally well on all fronts.
The appearance of German Shepherds
The first impression you get of the members of this breed is how handsome, powerful, and regal they look. They have a smooth outline. Hence, it is longer than it is taller. Thus, they have the appearance of agile wolves. They have straight front legs, and their thighs are toned and full of muscles. Their feet are heavy and large with well-arched toes with protective and thick pads. They have dark and short nails. They have strong and chiseled heads impressively proportioned concerning the remainder of their bodies.
The shape of their eyes is like almonds, and they are dark. However, you also get them in other colors such as light orange or yellow-brown, black, and medium red-brown. Their eyes have an interesting and intelligent expression about them. When they get closer to a year older, their ears start to stand up and stay erect on the top of their heads. They have long muzzles featuring a black nose with jaws that developed immensely strongly. Their teeth are also powerful and meet in a scissors bite.
They have muscular and long necks that continue into powerful and straight backs. They have long and bushy tails that hang downwards with a curve, especially when resting. However, when these dogs get excited or active, it raises and gets curved with definition. The best words to describe their gait are sure and graceful. They come in different colors.
A few words on German Shepherd temperament
German Shepherd dogs are said to be one of the best breeds as far as intelligence is concerned. This breed is notorious for how well they can get trained and for loyalty. They adore the family they are a part of and create huge bonds with them. They generally tend to be wary of strangers.
Because of reasons such as these that they are such exceptional guard dogs and watchdogs. They are ideal companions to boot too! If you train them firmly from an early stage of their lives, you can prevent them from developing undesirable behavior or being overly protective of their personal belongings.
Early training also helps them be good with other pets and dogs who they are not acquainted with. They have a high prey drive, and thus you must socialize them with non-canine pets from an early age. It will ensure that in their later years, no such issues with this arise. In general, they are rather good with kids in their own families but might not trust children they are unfamiliar with.
It is especially so when such kids behave erratically or unsurely. It is crucial to get these dogs from reputable breeders as some of them are known to develop skittishness. It makes them develop a habit of biting out of fear when they grow up. As a breed, they have the desire and the capability to learn a lot. However, coercive training would never be successful with them.
How to maintain German Shepherd properly?
German Shepherds have a double coat that needs regular brushing because they keep shedding around the year. During the shedding season, they would shed even more heavily! You must brush their coat a couple of times every week – at least once is a must! However, if you have a lot of dog hair all around your home, you should brush them quickly once daily. It is rare for this breed to need bathing. Do it once or twice a year. Otherwise, you would be stripping them of the essential oils in their bodies.
You must also challenge them physically and mentally every day. It means consistent training sessions for them or learning games and exercises every day. When indoors, they primarily tend to be inactive. It is a reason why they are so well-behaved as house dogs. Spend time outdoors with them to make sure they do not indulge in any destructive behavior or act out of frustration in any other way. The ideal house for this breed will be one with a medium or large yard where they can run and play.
You can also live with them in apartments if you provide sufficient physical and mental exercise daily.
What makes German Shepherds so special?
German Shepherds are loyal, intelligent, and hard-working. They are a true treasure to own. Undoubtedly, they shine through in every position. These dogs have successfully made their place in explosive detection, search and rescue operations, therapy, and military and police services.
Are German Shepherds loyal?
German Shepherds are loyal to their owners. Their intelligence comes from their ancestors, who were working dogs. As field dogs, they used to work alongside their owners. Still date, this breed plays a significant role in crime prevention in police and military services.
What qualities of German Shepherds make them great?
This dog breed has all the qualities that a dog lover looks out for. Muscular built, agile, courageous, confident, and loyal, German Shepherds are highly intelligent and thus make an all-purpose dog.
What are the common types of German Shepherds?
Are you looking to adopt German shepherds? The common types include East German DDR, West German, European, American, and Czech working lines.
What are the habits of German shepherds?
German shepherds are reserved in nature. They are approachable, easy-going, and loyal. They make excellent work dogs.
German Shepherds require proper training and socialization to thrive, as well as regular exercise and mental stimulation. They can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, and require proper care and attention to maintain their health. With proper care and training, German Shepherds make wonderful companions and are a great addition to any family.