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German Shepherd Dog Breed Information

German Shepherd has achieved a legendary status as the ideal working dog due to his acute intelligence, courage and amazing versatility. This athletic and fearless breed excels almost anything he is trained to do like police and military service, search and rescue, competitive obedience, drug detection and, last but not least, faithful companion.

German shepherd’s abilities go far beyond its origin as a herding dog, as they have done extremely well in every canine sport, including obedience, agility, rally, tracking and, of course, herding. These protective but loving dogs are great choice for families with children, as well as singles and couples who love the outdoors. If you also want to be a proud owner of this amazing dog breed, then this article is a must read for you as it explains all important information about this energetic dog breed. Let’s begin.

Breed Name German Shepherd
Common Nicknames: Alsatian, Berger Allemand
Group (Of Breed) Herding, Working
Breed Type Purebred
Colors Most commonly tan with black saddle
Life span 7 to 10 years
Height Male: 24–26 inches (60–65 cm)  Female: 22-24 Inches (50-60 cm)
Weight Male: 22–40 kg                                       Female : 22-40 kg
Good with Kids Yes
Litter Size 5-10 puppies

As his name suggests, the German shepherd originated in Karlsruhe, Germany. This breed was created in the 19th century by Captain Max von Stephanitz, who wanted to develop a dog breed that could be used for police and military work. The end result was a dog that encompassed good looking, responsiveness, obedience, versatility and acute intelligence. 



In April 1899, Captain Max von Stephanitz registered dog with name Deutsche Schäferhunde, which means “German Shepherd Dog” in English. The first German shepherd dog was shown in America in 1907 and the breed was recognized by AKC in 1908. This dog breed was also used in movies Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin, which brought a lot of attention, making it very popular


Well proportioned and very strong breed, German shepherd has a muscular, sturdy, and slightly elongated body type with a light, solid bone structure. Their forehead is little rounded and nose is most often black. Their teeth meet in a strong scissors bite and dark eyes are almond-shaped, and never protruding. The ears of German shepherd are wide at the base, and upright, pointed and turned forward. The bushy tail of this muscular breed reaches below the hocks and it hangs down when the dog is at rest.

German shepherd’s thighs are thick and sturdy and front legs and shoulders are muscular. On the basis of coat type, there are three varieties of the German shepherd: plush coat, double coat and longhaired coat, which most often comes in black with tan, sable or all black as well as white, blue and liver color, but white, blue and liver colors are considered a fault according to most standards.

They have a double coat of medium length and the outer is dense. The hair of coat is straight, harsh and lying close to the body. The head of this dog, including the inner ear and muzzle and legs are covered with short hair, and their neck is covered with longer hair and thicker.

Living Conditions

The German shepherd is a big dog breed that needs ample space to play and exercise, therefore, this breed of dogs is more suited to an environment with plenty of room and a garden. They can also be kept in an apartment, if sufficiently exercised. These dogs are relatively inactive in indoors and do best with at least a big garden or yard.


German shepherd dogs shed bits of hair constantly and are known as seasonal heavy shedder. These dogs should be brushed on daily basis otherwise you will have hair all over your home. Bathe only when necessary; because, over bathing of this breed can cause skin irritation due to oil depletion. You should check their ears and trim claws regularly.


German shepherd dogs are keen, courageous, alert and fearless that makes them perfect working dogs. In addition to this, these dogs are obedient, cheerful, tranquil, confident, serious, clever and eager to learn. Extremely faithful and brave, this dog breed will not think twice about giving their lives for their owner. They love to be close to their families, but can be wary of strangers.

German shepherds need their owner and they should not be left isolated for long time period. Often used as police dogs, this breed is known for its strong protective instinct, and is extremely loyal to its handler. They only bark when they feel it is necessary and their aggression on people is due to poor handling. These dogs will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, therefore, owners need to have an air of natural authority to their demeanor.



German Shepherds love strenuous activities that combined with training of some kind. These dogs need to be taken on a daily long walk or jogging. Most of these dogs love to play ball or Frisbee. Fifteen to twenty minutes of fetching along with daily pack walks will tire these dogs out quite nicely as well as give them a sense of purpose. You must be willing to provide some form of daily exercise, whether it is Frisbee catching, ball chasing, obedience training, or participation in a canine playgroup. If under-exercised, this breed of dogs can become restless and destructive.

Health Problems

German shepherd dog breeds are generally healthy, but like other breeds, they are prone to certain health problems. It’s important to be aware of following disease if you are considering this breed. However, not all German shepherds will get any or all of these diseases.

  • Elbow Dysplasia: This heritable condition is common among large-breed dogs. This bone disorder is caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the elbow of dogs, causing joint laxity.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Another common large dog breed health problem, Hip Dysplasia happens when the femur does not fit snugly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. This condition can exist with or without clinical signs and X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done in this case.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Usually known as bloat, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus is a life-threatening condition that affects large or deep-chested dogs, especially when they eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. In this condition, stomach of dog is distended with gas or air and then twists. Blood pressure of dog drops and it goes into shock. Without immediate medication of this condition, the dog can die.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: It is a progressive disease of spinal cord, especially the part of cord that communicates information to the brain regarding the hind legs. In this condition, the dogs may act as they do not know where their back legs are, and they cannot move their back leg properly. In a few rare cases, this condition is related to a lack of vitamin E or vitamin-12. In this case, vitamin supplements should be provided to the dog.
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: In this genetic disease of pancreas, the cells that produce digestive enzymes are destroyed that results digestive problem in dog. Few signs of this condition are gas formation, weight loss, loss of appetite, and change in stools. This condition can be easily diagnosed with a simple blood test, and its treatment is quite simple, too in which the pancreatic enzymes are added to the dog’s food.
  • Allergies: Some German Shepherds suffer from contact allergies and food allergies. If your German shepherd is licking at his paws, scratching, or rubbing his face, then it is a sign of allergy and has him checked by your vet.

Some important facts about German shepherds


  • German shepherd dogs love children that make them great family dogs. They should be given early socialization and training.
  • In addition to black and tan color, these dogs can be of sable and solid black color. Dogs with white, blue or liver-colored coats are frowned upon by breeders.
  • German Shepherds is not the suitable breed for you if you are away from home frequently or for long periods of time.
  • These active and intelligent dogs must be kept busy in learning, playing, and working. Further, daily exercise, both physical and mental (such as training sessions), is a must for them.
  • These dogs are known for being a great watchdog

How to care German shepherd?

  • Initially bred to herd flocks all the day, German shepherd dogs are built for action. That means they have got lots of energy that he needs to burn off with daily exercise. Therefore, German shepherds need exercise both for his body (jogging) and for his mind (training exercises like agility or obedience competitions).
  • Like other herding breeds, German shepherds are barkers. Barking is not necessarily a problem with this breed, but it can be if he is bored. The “Quiet” command teaching should be part of every German shepherd’s obedience training.
  • The chewing habit of German shepherd dog can destroy most materials and if they pick the wrong thing to gnaw on, they can also damage their teeth. You can save your dog, and your belongings, by giving him various dog chew toys and bones so that he can entertain himself when you are not playing with him.
  • Brush these dogs at least twice weekly throughout the year, as they shed lightly all year long. Spring season is the shedding season of these dogs and during these seasons, they require brushing once or twice a day to avoid matting.
  • Don’t let your German puppy jump, run, or play on hard surfaces like pavement until he is at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. It is fine for puppies to play on grass, though, and puppy agility, with its inch-high jumps, is okay.

How to feed your dog:

  • It is recommended to provide your German shepherd 3 to 4 cups of high-quality dry food a day, which is divided into two meals. The quantity of food that your dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level.
  • The quality of dog food also makes a difference. The better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your German shepherd.
  • If your German shepherd starts to put on weight, cut back food; and if he looks too thin, add a little more food in his diet.
  • German shepherds grow rapidly between four and seven months that make them susceptible to various bone disorders. Therefore, they should be given high-quality, low-calorie diet (22-24% proteins and 12-15% fat) that keeps them from growing too fast.

German Shepherd Training Tips


1. Home– You should provide a quiet environment when bringing your German shepherd puppy home. Preferably bring puppy home on a weekend so that you can spend more time with them.

2.Toilet Signs– Your puppy will need to go to the bathroom as soon as they start eating or drinking anything. The puppies will show signs of needing to go, sniffing, circling, scenting. You should remain observant and look out for these cues. Some puppies learn potty training quickly, others don’t, so be prepared to stock up on puppy pads for those incidents.

3.Toilet Stops– You should an area outside of home that will be become your puppies’ toilet area and take them to that place after every drink or meal and praise your puppy for this. Your puppy will soon learn that this is their toilet spot.

4.Bedtime– It’s quite common for your puppy to whine when you first bring him home. Being alone in for the first time will be pretty frightening for your puppy, therefore, to ease their fears include bedding, preferably with the mother’s scent if available.

5.Routine– German Shepherds are confident dogs and they need to be shown that you are their leader early on. From toilet times and feeding to playtime and walks, proper routine should be introduced in all aspects of the normal day. You should keep in mind that consistency is the key to train dog.


From Delhi, Rahul is an animal lover at heart. He is a writer and most of his writing revolves around making people aware of animal issues like health, training and grooming.

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