German Shepherd dog breed

The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog that can be trained to do just about anything by an experienced dog owner. They are large-sized dogs that have a medium coat, shedding all year round and blowing the coat twice a year. You won’t find a dog breed more loyal, loving, and devoted to its own family than the German Shepherd. With proper training and socialization from an early age, they can work out well among strangers and other dogs too. German Shepherds have a very high energy level, requiring long daily walks and mental stimulation to avoid getting depressed, bored, destructive, and develop bad behaviors

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German Shepherd
Breed height

M: 60 - 65 cm / 24 - 26 in
F: 55 - 60 cm / 22 - 24 in

Breed weight

M: 30 - 40 kg / 65 - 90 lbs
F: 22 - 32 kg / 50 - 70 lbs

Breed lifespan

Healthy dogs of this breed lives
average between 10 to 14 years

Breed group

Herding: These dogs were bred to control other animals movements

Breed size
German Shepherds are large dogs. The males can weigh up to 32 kg / 70 lbs and be up to 65 cm from the ground and up to the shoulders
Coat size
German Shepherds have a medium-sized double coat that is weather resistant. The most common colors are black and brown
Shedding
German Shepherds are well-known for their shedding. They shed the whole year and change their coat two times each year
Trainability
German Shepherds have a high trainability score. They are very intelligent dogs that can learn just about anything with proper training
Breed health
German Shepherds are considered a healthy breed, as long as they come from proper bloodlines and serious reputable breeders
Socialization
German Shepherds are excellent family dogs. They should however be socialized as early as possible with humans and other animals
Energy
German Shepherds are high-energy dogs that require both mental and physical exercise. The German Shepherds love being kept busy
Barking
German Shepherds bark a lot, and they have one of the loudest barks in the canine world. Training can help reduce the need of barking

German Shepherd general information

The German Shepherd herding dog was developed in the 1880s by a German cavalry captain named Max von Stephanitz, from dogs used to guard sheep and cattle. The breed was registered in 1899 as the Deutsche Schäferhund, with the first example being a male dog called Horand von Grafrath. Today it is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, especially in the USA where it’s currently the second most popular dog, only beaten by the Labrador Retriever. Highly adaptable and obedient, the German Shepherd has proved valuable as a guard dog and tracker, used by police and military around the globe. Commonly used as guide dogs for the blind, and for search and rescue missions. With proper training and socialization, they make great family dogs

Breed appearance

The German Shepherd is a large-sized dog that can weigh up to 40 kg / 90 lbs and have a height of 65 cm / 26 in. They have a chiseled strong head, almond-shaped eyes, and pointy ears. Coat colors commonly consist of a combination of brown and black, fully black, or black and red. Other color combinations are also possible, but not so common. The back of the German Shepherd has a slight slope towards the bushy tail that hangs in a curve. Their long body and height give the dog both agility and elasticity, as well as long stylish strides when it run so it can quickly cover large areas when herding other animals

Breed temperament

German Shepherds have a reputation of being fierce, but dogs that come from reputable dog breeders should have a steady temperament. They are very protective and devoted to their family, a trait that makes them great family dogs. German Shepherds are not aggressive without a reason, but they will stop at nothing if their family is threatened, including sacrificing their own life. When it comes to other dogs and strangers, they may be suspicious. As with all dog breeds, giving them proper socialization from an early age is important to teach them how to react in a healthy way when encountering strangers and other dogs. You can read more about socialization at this site

German Shepherd health

German Shepherds are generally a healthy breed, as long as they come from reputable breeders and not puppy mills. It is always important to do proper research on the breeders and bloodlines before getting a puppy. As with all dog breeds, they are prone to developing certain common diseases. This can include eye problems, skin allergies, orthopedic problems, and ear infections. Healthy German Shepherds have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Regular wellness checkups at the vet should be done at least once a year to track the dog’s development and catch any potential health issues early on, which improves the chances of successful treatment. If you suspect that your dog is having issues, or have changed its behavior radically, you must contact your local vet and schedule an appointment as soon as possible for a consultation

Shedding and grooming

German Shepherds are notorious shedders, they shed all year round and blow their coat twice a year. Their double-coat is weather-resistant, with the outer layer being dense and sometimes wiry and wavy. Frequent brushing will help reduce the amount of hair floating around the home, also preventing the coat from getting tangles and mats. Keeping the dog on meat-rich dog foods also helps reduce the shedding amount and prevents dry skin. Meat is digested and absorbed quickly, promoting better overall health in your furry little buddy. If your dog is subject to excessive shedding, contact your local veterinarian and ask for guidance and hear with them if the dog should come in for a checkup

Breed socialization

German Shepherds are not too fond of strangers and other dogs, but they will tolerate them. Against other dogs, they may be dominant and suspicious as it is in their nature. Once the other dog has gained their trust, it’s easy for them to become good friends. It is important to socialize the puppy among people and other dogs from an early age. Bring your dog to your friends and family often and let strangers who want to pet it do so, letting the dog learn that strangers are no threat. When it comes to their own household family, the German Shepherds absolutely love to spend time with them and want to spend all their time with them too. This makes them quite unsuitable to be left home alone for long periods of time, as they can get separation anxiety

Breed barking level

German Shepherds bark a lot, and they have a very loud bark. They may in fact not even hear you while they are barking. When working as a guard dog, the ferocious bark is enough to scare most criminals and predators away. Common reasons for dogs barking are protection, alerting, being bored, fear, seeking attention, separation anxiety, or just saying hello. You can read more about barking at this guide from WebMD Pets: Understanding why dogs bark. All dog breeds can be trained to reduce barking, another thing that should be focused on learning from an early age. There are plenty of online resources where you can learn how to reduce barking, like YouTube, online courses, and websites. You might also want to shop for books that address this issue too

German Shepherd training

German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs that can be learned to do just about anything by an experienced dog owner or trainer. For novice and inexperienced owners, this breed may not be a good choice as they require firm leadership from a handler with authority. Training the German Shepherd should be done in a firm and consistent way from an early age to learn the dog who is the pack leader. Failure to establish dominance over dogs may result in stubbornness and bad behavior. The first step on the long road is signing up for a puppy class, here you will learn the basics about dog care and training, most classes also have supervised playtime among the puppies for socialization. You can also watch free dog training videos from professional trainers, attend some online dog training courses, or maybe get yourself a dog training book

Exercise requirements

German Shepherds are high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise every day throughout their lives. German Shepherds are happiest when they have a job to do, as that is what they were bred for in the first place. Due to their high energy levels, they require hourly daily walks to burn off their energy. Restless dogs may become bored and destructive. If you live an active lifestyle with lots of outdoor activities, like hiking, running, golfing, and biking, this breed will make an excellent companion. Preferably, this breed should live in houses with lots of space to roam around, and a yard where they can run freely. If you live in an apartment, giving the dog enough exercise is a must, both physical and mentally. Learning new tricks and commands indoors is a great way to keep your Shepherd from getting bored when the weather is bad

Caring for dogs

Grooming is not the only maintenance your dog requires throughout its life. Complete examinations at the vet should be done at least once a year for adult dogs. Puppies should come in every 3 or 4 weeks until they are around four months old. Contact your vet and they will set you up with schedules.
Trimming the claws should be done whenever they touch the ground when the dog is standing up, or make it a frequent routine to keep them short
Brushing the teeth should be done on a daily basis to prevent gum diseases. Chew bones and toys will also help strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums
Cleaning the ears to prevent ear infections is also another important part of the dog’s routine maintenance. You can have your vet show you how to do it

Socializing dogs

No matter what kind of dog breed you have, socializing it from an early age is the most important thing you can do in order to get a well-behaving buddy that reacts to the world around it in a healthy way. Until your puppy is around 16 weeks old, it should encounter different kinds of people, situations, and locations, learning that the world is a wonderful place to live. Puppies have a short developmental window in which their experiences will form their future selves. Puppies should however not be forced into situations they might feel uncomfortable with, as bad experiences may imprint and stay with the dog for the rest of the life. You can watch free videos from professional dog trainers on how to socialize your new puppy and learn how to do so the correct way

German Shepherds on Instagram

Here are some pictures of the German Shepherd on Instagram. See even more pics of this breed by exploring #GermanShepherd or using Google Image Search

Video of the German Shepherd

Here is a video of the German Sheperd with a breakdown of it’s top 10 traits. If you are considering getting a German Shepherd, take a look at this video first

Frequently asked questions

Are German Shepherds good family dogs?

German Shepherds are great family dogs, you won’t find a dog that is more devoted, loving, and loyal than the German Shepherd. Young children should be tought to treat the dog nicely to avoid upsetting and making the dog agressive, playtime should also be monitored for the safety of both parties

Are German Shepherds hypoallergenic?

There are no dogs that are hypoallergenic, some breeds can however cause fewer allergic reactions than other breeds. The proteins that dogs produce are what causes the allergic reactions. These proteins are found in the hair, saliva, dander, and urine. Some individuals may have an irritant response to the actual dog hair, the solution for that is getting a dog with a low level of shedding. You can continue reading about allergies and reactions at HealthLine

Do German Shepherds shed much?

German Shepherds shed a lot. They are well known for their large amount of shedding, all year round. They also blow their coat twice a year. Regular brushing and grooming will help reduce the amount of lose hair

Are German Shepherds intelligent?

Yes. German Sheperds are highly intelligent dogs that can be trained to do just about anything by an experienced down owner or handler. As they are quite complex, they might not be the best choice for a novice or inexperienced owner

Are German Shepherds good for apartments?

German Shepherds are not the best candidate for apartment living due to their high energy levels. Long daily walks and much playtime to wear it out is required for apartment living

Can German Shepherds be left alone?

German Shepherds do not handle being alone very for long periods of time, due to their strong bond with their family. Bored dogs may also become destructive and suffer from anxiety separation

Are German Shepherds aggressive?

German Shepherds can be aggressive if they feel threatened or insecure, just like any other dog breed. By nature, they are somewhat more aggressive than other breeds thou. Proper training and socialization from an early age is important to avoid bad behavior towards strangers and other dogs

References and resources

You can absorb more knowledge about this dog breed from the resources below. Websites, books, and social media sites where you can ask dog owners questions

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