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German Shepherd Dog Breed Characteristics & Information
German Shepherds, with their regal stature and unwavering loyalty, stand as one of the most beloved dog breeds globally. Their versatility, intelligence, and striking appearance have made them a popular choice for various roles, from devoted family pets to working alongside law enforcement.
This article aims to provide comprehensive information about German Shepherds, including their characteristics, training, health problems, and care.
What is the History of the German Shepherd Dogs?
German Shepherds were bred for herding and guarding livestock. Today, they are widely used as police and military dogs, as well as search and rescue dogs. They can be a good choice for first-time owners, provided they are willing to put in the time and effort to socialise them.
They are generally safe dogs, but like any breed, they can become aggressive and hard to control if not trained. They can be both calm and hyper, depending on their environment and personality.
What are the Characteristics of German Shepherd Dogs?
It is essential for owners to understand the needs of German Shepherds before welcoming them home. Their characteristics are as follows:
- Lifespan: German Shepherds have a lifespan of around 9 to 13 years. Their lifespan also depends on how healthy they are and how properly they are taken care of.
- Height: The average height of a male German Shepherd is 24 to 26 inches, and for females, it is 22 to 24 inches.
- Colour: German Shepherds come in a variety of colours, including black, white, sable, and tan.
- Weight: The average weight of a male German Shepherd is 30-40 kg, and for females, it is 23 - 32 kg.
- Behaviour and Personality: They are loyal, protective, and intelligent dogs. They are good with children and can coexist with other pets if socialised properly.
- Living Condition: They can adapt to different living conditions, but they need space to run and play. They are not suitable for small houses with limited outdoor space.
- Temperament: They are not naturally aggressive, but they can become protective of their family. They can also be bossy, but they are energetic and can be good pets.
- Coat: German Shepherds have a double coat that sheds moderately. Their fur can be wavy, silky or wiry.
- Breed Group: German Shepherds belong to the herding group. Their herding instincts make them a breed with high energy levels.
How to Train German Shepherd Dogs?
German Shepherds are intelligent dogs that are easy to train if consistency and positive reinforcement are used. Here are some key points to consider when training German Shepherds:
- Start Early: The best age to start training a German Shepherd is between 8 and 12 weeks.
- Behaviour Training: Address any behaviour issues, such as jumping, biting, and barking, and teach them discipline. Correcting unwanted behaviour is important.
- Train to litter: Start potty training as early as possible, using positive reinforcement. Take them out frequently, or you can also use a litter box for them.
- Use Clear Commands: Teach your German Shepherd basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and stand, using clear and consistent commands.
- Crate Training: Crate training can help to provide a safe space for your German Shepherd.
- Vocal: Teaching your German Shepherd to bark on command can be useful for protection or search and rescue work.
- Socialisation: Socialise your German Shepherd with people and other pets to prevent aggression and anxiety.
What are the Health Problems with German Shepherd Dogs?
German Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, but like any breed, they are prone to certain health problems. Here are some key points to consider:
- Ear Infections: German Shepherds are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears. Regular cleaning and inspection can help prevent infections.
- Cancer: German Shepherds are prone to various types of cancer, including bone cancer and lymphoma.
- Gastric Dilation: Also known as bloat, this condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention and a healthy diet.
- Degenerative Myelopathy: This is a progressive spinal cord disease that affects many German Shepherds and causes mobility issues.
- Allergies: German Shepherds can be prone to allergies, including food and environmental allergies.
- Pannus: This is a common eye condition in German Shepherds that can cause blindness if not treated early.
How to Take Care of German Shepherd Dogs?
Taking care of a German Shepherd requires commitment, time, and effort because they are a high-maintenance breed. Here are some key points to keep them healthy:
- Diet and nutrition: They need a balanced diet that meets their nutritional and health needs. You can give them vegetables, chicken, grains, eggs, lamb and turkey.
- Feeding: Adult German Shepherds require two meals a day and should not be overfed. In comparison, puppies need three meals a day.
- Grooming: Brush your German Shepherd's coat regularly to prevent matting and shedding.
- Exercise: German Shepherds need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.
- Dental Care: Regular brushing and dental checkups can prevent dental problems. Brush their teeth twice a week with dog-safe toothpaste and dental wipes.
- Ear Care: Clean and inspect your German Shepherd's ears regularly to prevent infections. Use cotton and pet ear cleaner to remove excessive ear wax.
German Shepherds are remarkable companions, embodying loyalty, intelligence, and versatility. Their needs demand commitment, but the rewards of a well-trained, healthy, and loving German Shepherd by your side make every effort worthwhile. Understanding their traits and needs ensures a fulfilling relationship with these remarkable dogs.