What You Need To Know About The German Shepherd Breed | AuthorityDog

What You Need To Know About The German Shepherd Breed

Are you thinking of getting a new pet? Perhaps you are thinking about getting a dog, but you're not exactly sure of what type of breed would be suitable for you. If you are contemplating adopting or purchasing a German Shepherd dog, and are wondering whether this is the best choice for you, then you are not alone.

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Lots of people wonder whether German shepherds are family-friendly, kind to strangers and agile. The short answer is that yes they are family dogs, no they don't enjoy strangers coming into their territory, and yes they are incredibly agile dogs. 

Ultimately, German shepherds are loyal to their owners, and while they're not aggressive towards strangers, they do make it known that they don't enjoy trespassers. German shepherds are also very protective of the family or pack.

So ultimately don't be surprised when you hear a somewhat vicious sounding bark when someone knocks at your door. Ultimately, they will not hesitate to protect their family, and they are especially protective of children in the home. 

If you are contemplating getting a German Shepherd as a family pet, you better be up for it. This is mainly because German shepherds have tons of energy and require daily exercise. So if you do not have time for daily walks or play time, then it's probably not the best option for you.

German Shepherds that are cooped up inside the house or do not get their daily dose of exercise tend to act up by barking, running wildly and merely being destructive. 

One thing that I must point out about German shepherds is their intelligence. On one specific occasion, more than 100 different breeds of dogs were rated by over 200 AKC  judges, and the results showed that:

German shepherds ranked third when it came to most intelligent dogs in the world.

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So if training is not one of your strong points, you'll be pleased to know German shepherds are incredibly responsive and can learn simple tricks in as little as five repetitions. 

German shepherds are relatively large dogs. However, for the first two years of their life, they remain quite thin. After that, they start to fill out and become heavier often weighing between 50 to 90 pounds. These powerful creatures can often pull an adult to the ground while chasing after something if they are not adequately trained.

However, the most common condition is known as hip dysplasia. The number one cause of this condition is usually poor breeding.

So if you adopt a German Shepherd puppy from anyone, always ask to see the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals hip papers, just to ensure that the puppy did, in fact, have parents with good hips

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German Shepherd Dog Breed Facts and Characteristics 

Adaptability

Overall speaking, German shepherds tend to adapt pretty well to new environments, if they are introduced to it early enough. In addition to this, they also need to be well trained, they should be taught how to socialize, and should be given plenty of time to spend with the family. Ultimately, the Shetland sheepdog and other breeds tend to be more adaptable than the German shepherds. 

Apartment-Friendly

If you would like to know whether a German Shepherd can be kept in an apartment or not, then there's no straightforward yes or no answer. The fact of the matter is that German shepherds are large dogs,, and aside from this they are also extremely active and need a lot of stimulation. So ultimately, if your apartment is big enough for them and you are prepared to take them on their daily walks and playtime, then it should be fine. However, if you have a hectic schedule and would probably not have time to give them the exercise that they require, then it is best to keep them in a house that has a fenced up the yard, where they can run around at will.

Beginner owners

Considering the fact that the German Shepherds are very intelligent and easy to train, they would probably be suitable for first-time owners however, with that said, you need to learn as much about them as you possibly can, prior to adopting one. Although they are intelligent, easily trained and eager to please, they also have strong personalities, so proper training, especially in terms of behavior is highly recommended.  

Sensitivity balance

German shepherds are extremely sensitive dogs, contrary to popular belief. While they are not clingy dogs, they do require a lot of time, affection and investment on the owners part. They also tend to get extremely anxious even if left alone even for a short period. So in a nutshell, German shepherds are sensitive and need plenty of stimulation, socialization and ongoing training and development. This should begin in their puppy stages and continue well into adulthood. 

Loneliness adaptability

German Shepherd dogs do not respond well to being left alone. Not only do they require stimulation physically, but also mentally. This is also mainly because German shepherds are extremely social dogs and love being around you and others. So ultimately, when it comes time for you to leave the house, they will suffer from separation anxiety, which is why it is best to ensure that they are entertained while you are away.  

Adaptability life in a building

Because German shepherds require so much of physical stimulation, it may be hard for them to adapt to life in a building. However, there are ways that you can work around this if you really want to get a German shepherd and live in an apartment Building. Ultimately, If you live near or can easily get to a dog park, walking path and enjoy weekend trips such as hiking trails, then you would probably be able to pull it off. As long as you remember the number one rule of owning a German Shepherd is to always give them plenty of exercise and activity.  

Cold weather

German Shepherd puppies do not respond to the cold as well as adult German shepherds do. Ultimately, all dogs  are designed for cold weather. This is largely due to their double coat of fur. Their circulatory systems are different to a human's and tend to move more blood to the paws, which keeps them insulated. However, this does not mean that you can leave your German Shepherd out all day in winter.

Hot  weather

Overall speaking, German Shepherds can tolerate heat pretty well. However, considering they are constantly moving around with a double coat of fur, it is best to keep activity in the heat at a minimum. Also ensure that your GS has plenty of hydration and shade if you are playing outside. It is also not uncommon for your GS to want to lay down on the cold tile inside your home after even 20 minutes of activity in the heat. You can wipe him down with a wet towel to cool him down.


Territorial

Yes, German shepherds are extremely territorial. This is mainly because they are very protective of their person or owner. They also tend to be protective of the family and the pets inside the home. So when it comes to any signs of threat to their person or family, they definitely will stand their ground. Ultimately, German shepherds are loyal, amazing and loving towards kids, and very easily trained.

Friendliness

Affection with Family 

German shepherds tend to be devoted and loyal companions. Ultimately, they are family dogs and once they're settled in to their environment, they tend to become very protective of the family and other pets inside the household. Ultimately, they are extremely affectionate and highly intelligent dogs that require just as much affection and social time from you as they are willing to give. 


Kid Friendly 

While German shepherds are sometimes considered fierce dogs, they are also very friendly with people that they know. So ultimately, they are extremely friendly with the kids inside the home. Ultimately, German Shepherds make great pets for kids. It is also recommended that you introduce them to other kids that may come over to the house frequently and neighbors so that they become familiar with family friends.

Dog friendly 

While German shepherds are very friendly towards their own family and other pets inside the household, they can tend to become very assertive and aggressive towards other dogs. They also have a very dominating demeanor towards other dogs. However, ultimately It should be noted that the personality and temperament of the German Shepherd is also related to how it was raised.

Cat Friendly 

German shepherds are extremely adaptable and intelligent breeds. However, when it comes to making friends, they will take direction from their owner. Ultimately, most German shepherds are friendly towards dogs and cats inside the household, however, it should be noted that some German shepherds display predatory behavior towards other cats. However, as the owner you definitely can give your German Shepherd more guidance as to who it can trust.

Friendly towards Strangers 

It should be noted that German shepherds are not friendly towards strangers. They are extremely protective of their person or family and therefore if a stranger approaches their territory, they will stand their ground. Ultimately, it is up to the owner to introduce certain people to the German Shepherd and let them know that these are friends of the family. That said, the next time your German Shepherd sees the mailman, or neighbor next door they will definitely greet them with a wagging tail.

Health Grooming

Shedding  

German shepherds tend to shed their fur quite heavily and quite frequently. In fact, it is not uncommon for the German Shepherd to shed fur the entire year round. Ultimately, they also blow their undercoat twice a year. This is the dense, thick fur underneath the topcoat. So your German Shepherd Should be brushed at least twice a week and raked regularly during shedding season.

Drooling  

When it comes to drooling, it is safe to say that German shepherds drool no more or less than any other breed. So ultimately, there is no way to differentiate whether a German Shepherd drools like a terrier, poodle or any other breed. The short and simple answer is that yes, German shepherds do drool, and this is completely normal.

Grooming Needs 

If your German Shepherd is extremely active and tends to get out a lot, then you definitely need to groom him more often than a German shepherd who is not as active. Ultimately,  the more active a German shepherd, the more grooming is required. Some owners prefer to groom their German shepherds at least 3 to 4 times per week while others do it twice a week. It all depends on you and the routine that you have developed. Ultimately, since most German Shepherds have a double coat, they will shed a lot of hair and therefore will need to be groomed more often that dogs who don't have a double coat.

Grooming difficulty 

In most cases if you groom your dog regularly there shouldn't be any problems or complications. However, it should be noted that some German shepherds are groomed easier than others. This is especially true if you have a long-haired German Shepherd. There is a specific breed that has long hair. So if you want to avoid your German shepherds hair getting knotted, ensure that you brush regularly to keep the fur looking healthy and knot free. Also try to get your dog accustomed to the grooming process so that they don't snap at you while you are grooming them.

Depending on how your German Shepherd was bred, they may experience a range of health complications, the most common being hip dysplasia. Other common health issues in German shepherds include digestive problems, blood disorders, eczema, epilepsy, flea allergies and keratitis. This is why it is extremely important to only deal with breeders of the highest standard. Most of these health conditions arise when German shepherds are bred indiscriminately.

Weight Gain 

Usually for the first two years of your German shepherds life, he will be bordering on the thin side. Thereafter,  he should start to steadily gain weight. This is provided that they are on the right dog food. Since German shepherds are very active and have a high metabolism, you should feed them food that is high in protein and low in filler. Lots of owners prefer to leave food out the entire day for their German shepherds.  You may opt to do this and feed them wet dog food at least twice a day.

Trainability

Intelligence  

On one specific occasion, more than 100 different breeds of dogs were rated by over 200 AKC judges and the results showed that German shepherds were Ranked third when it came to most intelligent dogs in the world. The terrier and poodle were ranked first and second in the list.

Prey Drive 

Unfortunately, prey drive is a very misunderstood topic when it comes to dogs overall speaking. It refers to the dog's natural ability to chase and kill prey. However, interestingly prey drive in German shepherds and other breeds is an intensely debated topic. Overall speaking, German shepherds do have prey drive since they have the innate ability and instinct to protect their owner, family and anyone else that lives in the household.

Barking Or Howling Tendencies 

The German Shepherd is a brilliant and hard-working dog. However, they depend primarily on affection and spending quality time with their person or family. If your German Shepherd is left alone for lengthy periods of time, they will suffer from separation anxiety. This will be evident from the uncontrollable barking, howling and overall destructive behavior. So the only time you can expect your German Shepherd to bark or howl unnecessarily is if they are suffering from anxiety, boredom or loneliness - or they are trying to warn you about something that is amiss.

Obedient  

German Shepherds are loyal and healthy strong dogs. And because of their intelligence levels, they require both stimulation and boundaries to be happy. Obedience training plays a vital role in how well-adjusted your German Shepherd grows up to be. Ultimately, obedience training is not done because your dog is bad, but it is done to show your dog that you are the alpha in the pack and to reassure your German Shepherd that you can provide the structure that he needs to keep him safe.

Curious  

Yes, German shepherds are extremely curious. So they will not think twice about investigating or exploring the bushes if they desire. However, they are notably more curious when they are puppies.

Courageous  

German shepherds are extremely courageous. Initially, they were raised by German farmers to defend sheep against predators. Even today they are still bred for this very same purpose. And the courageous genes continue to thrive. Since German shepherds are brave, they are undoubtedly very good family guard dogs.

Alert  

German shepherds are very alert. This is usually why they need plenty of mental stimulation. Ultimately the stimulation helps to combat boredom, therefore avoiding destructive behavior such as uncontrollable barking and howling. So, since German shepherds are so alert and aware of their surroundings, they make excellent watchdogs and are very easily trained.

Confident  

German shepherds are very alert. This is usually why they need plenty of mental stimulation. Ultimately the stimulation helps to combat boredom, therefore avoiding destructive behavior such as uncontrollable barking and howling. So, since German shepherds are so alert and aware of their surroundings, they make excellent watchdogs and are very easily trained.

Watchdog Ability 

German shepherds make good watchdogs for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they are extremely loyal creatures which means that they will do whatever it takes to protect their family or pack. Secondly, since they are ranked third most intelligent dogs in the world, they are easily trained. Lastly, German shepherds are also very alert which means that they will bark at the slightest inkling of trouble.

Exercise Needs

Playfulness  

Due to the fact that German shepherds are extremely energetic, they are also very playful. So rest assured that your German Shepherd is always up for a game of frisbee, a walk and they definitely will love being chased around the house.

Energy  

German Shepherds are one of the most energetic breeds out there. So you need to ensure they get their daily dose of exercise every single day. If you fail to get them outdoors or give them regular activity, they tend to get bored and act out. So helping them get rid of that pent-up energy is imperative to having a healthy and happy dog.


Intensity  

German shepherds are definitely intense. This is due to their high energy levels and vigor. This also means that they will require high intensity workouts and definitely more than just one walk around the block.

Trainability  

German Shepherds are very easily trained as they are alert and intelligent. It is still advisable to train them as soon as you get them. You should start training them the same day you bring them home or at the latest as soon as they are settled into their surroundings.

History

Attempts were being made to standardize German Shepherd breeds in Europe during the 1850s. This basically meant that the dogs were being bred to preserve certain traits in them that assisted with herding sheep and protecting the flocks from predators. This was usually done in local communities in Germany. Shepherds basically selected breeds they believed had the necessary skills to be good sheepdogs. So dogs had to possess intelligence, a keen sense of smell and ultimately, speed. The results showed that these dogs were able to perform the job description, however, each one differed in appearance and ability.

The Phylax Society Was founded in 1891 to combat these differences. The intention was to create standardized dog breeds in Germany. The rain of the Phylax society did not last long as members had conflicting ideas of what superior breeds should be like. While many members believed that dogs should have the necessary skills and ability to be good guard dogs, other members believed that dogs should be bred to be appealing in appearance as well. Despite the failure of the Phylax society, it has still inspired many people to continue standardized breeding.


One of the ex-members called Max von Stephanitz strongly believed that dogs should be bred for working. He was also a former student of the Berlin Veterinary College and an ex-cavalry captain. While attending the dog show in 1899, Max was introduced to a dog by the name of Hektor Linksrhein. The dog was a product of generations of selective breeding, and according to Max, it displayed all the qualities that a working dog should have. He was so impressed by the beauty, intelligence, and loyalty of the German Shepherd that he bought it immediately. He then changed the dog's name to Horand von Grafrath. He also founded the Society for the German Shepherd dog. Holland was declared to be the first German Shepherd dog and was the first dog to be added to the breed register of the society.

By the time the UK kennel club was accepting registrations for the breed, and that was in 1919. There were 45 dogs. Seven years later the number had grown to approximately 8000. These German Shepherd dogs became popular shortly after World War I. The breed was further popularized by animal actors such as Rin Tin Tin and Strong Heart. The Queen of Switzerland was the first German Shepherd dog registered in the United States of America.

German Shepherd Temperament and Personality

Although German shepherds were initially bred to be working dogs, they are not as high strung as border qualities and can adapt to domestic living conditions much easier. However, if you are planning on adopting a German Shepherd as a pet, you should take a closer look at their personality traits and overall temperament.

A German Shepherd's guarding instincts

German shepherds are often used as watchdogs In various situations.  They are also used as police dogs. This breed is usually because they are very territorial and it doesn't take them long to get to grips with a specific area. Once you have marked their territory and knew that it is theirs, they will take the initiative to patrol the area, and at the slightest sign of an intruder or something amiss, they will bark consistently to alert you. The barking is also meant to be a deterrent to possible intruders or criminals. Ultimately, this also says that your German Shepherd needs to be well trained from the age of a puppy. They also need to socialize with family members and friends from an early age.

The Prey Drive

Although they were originally trained to be guard dogs over the livestock, German shepherds do have a pretty strong prey drive. This is one trait that made them very good herd dogs. However, this also means that in a domestic environment German shepherds need to be aware of other family pets. This applies to other smaller pets and inside the family home and outside it as German shepherds could easily confuse them as prey.

Intelligence 

The German Shepherd is a natural choice when it comes to selecting working dogs. This is ultimate because they rank in the top five of the most intelligent dogs in the world. Dogs need to be smart to obey commands and be aware of their surroundings. Having high levels of intelligence means that German shepherds are easily trained and can be taught many different skills and powers. '

On the flip-side, because they're so highly intelligent, they can easily become bored with repetitive training. Therefore, they need to be kept stimulated by teaching them new skills and commands, at all times.

So while German shepherds are extremely sociable and just love spending time with their person or family in their home environment, they also need plenty of physical and mental stimulation. To ensure that you give them their daily dose of activity and things to do so that they can be constructive with their time and not become bored. 

Herding Traits

Since German shepherds were used widely as herding dogs throughout history, they still carry that herding trait. This means that they should probably be supervised around livestock. Ultimately, it's not uncommon for German shepherds to want to herd smaller pets, children and perhaps even their owners.

Bonding and Loyalty

When it comes to loyalty, your German Shepherd should never be doubted. They are extremely protective and bond closely with their person or family. If there are children in the family and smaller pets, they will soon start seeing these others as part of the pack and will ultimately do everything they can to protect them. However, they can tend to be wary of strangers and take quite a while before they warm up to them.

German shepherd temperament with children & other pets 

German shepherds have a natural inclination to be obedient to their masters and other members of the pack. So naturally, they are very loyal and protective of children that are inside the home. They also tend to develop a protective instinct towards other pets inside the house. However, they can be defensive and assertive to other dogs outside of the pack. Overall speaking German shepherds are the second most popular family dogs because of their overall temperament and personality.

Health

German Shepherd dogs are usually healthy and can live between 12 to 15 years. However, there are some health concerns specifically with this breed of dog. So if you are considering getting a German Shepherd for a family pet, then you need to take note of the possible health conditions that your dog could develop.

Hip Dysplasia

This is perhaps the most common health condition in German shepherds. In most cases, this is a hereditary disease. However, you can check the likelihood of your German Shepherd puppy developing the disease by checking the hip scores of the parents. You should also consider keeping activity and exercise at a minimum during the first six months of your German Shepherd's life

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is also another common condition in German shepherds. However, as serious as it may seem at the beginning, it can be controlled by using medication

CDRM

CDRM is similar to multiple sclerosis in human beings. It affects the hind legs of the dog and begins during middle age. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. 

Anal Furunculosis

This is ultimately an infection that appears around the anus of the German Shepherd. While the cause of this is not clear, many people believe that it is due to the furry tail of the German Shepherd that points down and prevents ventilation to the anus. Ultimately, the condition can be treated surgically or with the use of medication. The infection can recur after it is treated.

Pancreatic Insufficiency

German Shepherds with this condition have a problem digesting their food. This condition causes the German Shepherd to become extremely thin and have an excessive appetite. Ultimately the disease can be treated and is a lifelong condition. Pancreatic enzymes will need to be fed to your dog in the form of powder over the food or capsules mixed into his food.

They do also suffer from a few other health conditions and these all the things which you need to take into consideration if you are considering getting a German Shepherd as a family pet.

Care

German Shepherd dogs are as we have mentioned previously are extremely loyal, and they bring the phrase, "a man's best friend" to life. However, because they form such close bonds to their person or family, they need to be given, love and attention.

Leaving a German Shepherd alone for lengthy periods is not advisable.  This is because they suffer from separation anxiety. During these periods of separation anxiety, they tend to bark, scratch your furniture and do all kinds of destructive things. So it is always advisable to have one eye on your German Shepherd.

So ultimately as much as the German Shepherd has a natural desire and instinct to protect and take care of you and your family, they need just as much caring for you. Your German Shepherd will always want to spend time with you. It doesn't matter whether you are just chilling outside in the shade, or doing some labor-intensive garden work, your German Shepherd always wants to feel like he is a part of the family.

German shepherds also need quite a lot of grooming since they tend to shed their hair quite often. This is largely since they are double coated. So you can expect to brush your German shepherd's fur at least twice a week at a minimum. Ultimately cleaning will minimize shedding, and also ensure that your German Shepherd's hair is tangle free, this is especially if they are the long-haired breed.

Feeding 

As with every other breed, your German Shepherd has certain health and physical requirements that can be met by putting them on a high-quality dog food diet. Ultimately, German shepherds are carnivores and require a diet that is rich in protein. German Shepherds need at least 22% of the protein in their diet.

One thing that you want to avoid is low-quality dog food that has more filler than actual protein in it. German shepherds also require fat in their diet. It is recommended that you give them the appropriate amount of fat.

Recommended for you!  Best dog food for german shepherd

Feeding a German Shepherd too much of fat can be detrimental to his health, alternatively, feeding him too little fat can lead to skin problems in your German Shepherd. 

It is recommended that your German Shepherd get between 5 to 8% of fat in his diet.

If you have a German Shepherd puppy, it's not necessary that you match the daily protein and fat requirements to their diet.Puppies require a high energy diet to keep them an effective and high-protein diet to regulate their body temperature.

Lots of German Shepherd owners are not sure of whether to feed their dog's kibble or wet dog food. Ultimately, they both contain the necessary nutrition for your German Shepherd.

However, you should give your dog a balance of both. Kibble tends to be the more favorable choice of dog owners because it is convenient, comes in larger packages and is more affordable.

However, the risk with kibble is that it does not contain a high quantity of water which could lead to dehydration And ultimately liver problems in your German Shepherd.

So finally it is advisable to feed your dog a balanced combination of both.

Conclusion

So I hope that you enjoyed this post and all the points mentioned above are the most pertinent aspects of owning a German Shepherd that you should know. If you are planning on adopting a German Shepherd soon, then all the information in this post will be sufficient to help you raise your German Shepherd and get them settled into their new home.

So feel free to leave your comments in the comments section and share the post with family, friends and fellow German Shepherd lovers.


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