THE GERMAN SHEPHERD

Bold, confident and intelligent, the German Shepherd has a firm place in the hearts of the nation. They are the second most popular dog in America, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

As its name suggest, it was bred in Germany to be a versatile working dog. Its fearless and courageous nature, and medium-large build, has lent it well to a number of purposes; from farm life to military work, as guard dogs and as family companions.

Brief History

Bold, confident and intelligent, the German Shepherd has a firm place in the hearts of the nation. They are the second most popular dog in America, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

As its name suggest, it was bred in Germany to be a versatile working dog. Its fearless and courageous nature, and medium-large build, has lent it well to a number of purposes; from farm life to military work, as guard dogs and as family companions.

Physical Features

Characterized by pointy ears, a wide shaped head, square-cut muzzle and black nose, the German Shephard is acknowledged for its strong presence and powerful body, which is medium to large in size and well proportioned. It has a long and descending tail that shows its alert nature.

Its double coat is dense and medium in length, although some breeds are known to have long hair. This is often found in; black, red and tan, or less commonly, solid black, sable, liver, white or blue.

Their paws are pretty robust, making them versatile for all terrains.

Average Height:

22-26 inches

Average Weight:

50-90 lbs

Life Expectancy:

9-13 years

Temperament

This is a confident breed that is highly intelligent and not afraid to approach conflict head-on. Many owners compare their personality to that of a horse!

It does however require socialization and training as young as possible, and plenty of daily exercise to curb unwanted behaviors and aggression.

Owing to its background and intellect, this is a highly trainable dog, that is notoriously reliable and hardworking. They will reach their full potential with positive reinforcement.

If raised with children, they tend to get along well with them and are fiercely protective of them. At home, you may grow and tame your German Shepherd to be friendly in nature while only exhibiting aggression when faced with danger.

With its excellent senses and ability to focus without distraction, it is often used in the service industry and has undertaken some great work in communities. Commonly used as a dogs for the blind they make wonderful leaders; they are also used by the police and military for drug detection and other roles, and are often involved in search and rescue efforts as a notable service dog.

Special Needs

Due to its protective nature, a German Shepherd can be alert around strangers. Socialization is essential from a young age, to prevent a highly strung or nervous dog that is prone to over-guarding. Because of this, it is advised to only buy this breed from a reputable breeder.

Your German Shephard is best walked on a lead and possibly with a muzzle, in public spaces. Strangers should be informed to approach your dog slowly by introducing themselves, to show that they mean no harm.

Behavior aside, this is a dog that needs plenty of exercise; they are active and like to have a purpose. Plenty of long walks and runs will help satisfy their demands.

This is also a dog that benefits from company, and should not be left along for long periods of time. As such, they do not bode well living in small spaces or apartments.

Possible Health Concerns

Unfortunately, German Shepherds are prone to many health problems. They need proper dog beds with adequate cushioning, since they suffer from arthritis.

Owners should also take their German Shepherd to regular screenings for diseases such as; hemangiosarcoma, von Willebrand’s Disease, cardiomyopathy, pannus, cauda equina, degenerative myelopathy, malignant neoplasms, gastric torsion, perianal fistulas, cataract, skin allergies and fungal infections, which they are likely prone to.

Exercise

Your German Shepherd thrives on physical activity, and due to their extreme intelligence, loves learning new tricks and partaking in sports.

This is not a lap dog, nor one that benefits from lounging. It is therefore best suited to active owners that share its love for an active life.

As a smart dog, games with a puzzle component are good for this problem-solver.

Nutrition

German Shepherds require a lot of meaty protein in their diets. In fact, the protein proportion should be approximately 22%. Unprocessed fat in the diet is also necessary to maintain its required body weight and to also keep it fur healthy, since it tends to shed a lot throughout the year. Aim for a fat content anywhere between 5% to 8% – seeking guidance from your vet.

Grooming

This breed has moderate demands when it comes to upkeep, since it is fairly clean and odorless. Expect to brush it daily to prevent shedding and matting; although they will heavily shed about twice a year.

Bathing this dog will strip it of natural oils, so once or twice a month (or whenever dirty) should suffice. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once a month, teeth cleaned daily and ears cleaned monthly.

With plenty of training from a young age, lots of exercise, and a devoted owner, the German Shephard can flourish into one of the most dedicated and versatile dogs.

Fiercely loyal and intelligent, your German Shephard loves having a purpose, and can be easily trained for a number of beneficial roles in the community.

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