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German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog Breed Information

A headshot photo of a happy German Shepherd

In a Sentence:

German Shepherds are a loyal and intelligent breed known for their protective instincts and versatility in various roles such as police work, search & rescue and as family pets.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Also Known As:Alsatian
Type:Mammal

Size:

German Shepherds are considered a Large dog read more >>
Weight:22-40 kg (49-88 lbs).
Height:60-65 cm (23-25 inches) at the shoulder.
Length:55-65 cm (21.5 – 25.5 inches).

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is between 9 and 13 years. read more >>
A full length photo of a German Shepherd being measured for dimensions

Behavior:

What type of dog is a German Shepherd, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

German Shepherds are intelligeny, loyal & courageous. They are highly trainable and make excellent guard dogs, have a strong work ethic and are often used in police and military work.

  • Personality: German Shepherds are highly intelligent and loyal. They are eager to please and bond closely with their owners. They are also very protective and can be territorial.
  • Temperament: German Shepherds are usually friendly and gentle with their owners and family members. They can be aloof and suspicious of strangers, but can be socialized to be more accepting of others. They are also very alert and can be easily trained.
  • Behavior: German Shepherds are active and need plenty of exercise. They are also very intelligent and need mental stimulation. They can be very protective of their owners and may bark or growl at strangers. They can also be very territorial and may try to guard their home and family.

Intelligence

German Shepherds are very intelligent and are often ranked as one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds. They are highly trainable and excel in obedience, agility and other activities. They are also very loyal and protective of their owners. read more >>

Trainability

A German Shepherd being trained

German Shepherds are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. They are also very loyal and eager to learn, so with consistent and positive reinforcement, they can learn basic commands and tricks quickly.

Sleep

German Shepherds typically sleep for around 12 to 14 hours per day, although this can vary depending on their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and older dogs may sleep more, while younger and more active dogs may sleep less. It’s important to ensure that your German Shepherd is getting enough rest to maintain their physical and mental health. read more >>

Bark

German Shepherds are known to be vocal dogs and they can bark quite a bit. However, the amount of barking can vary greatly depending on the individual dog and its environment. Some German Shepherds may bark only occasionally, while others may bark frequently. read more >>

Drool

German Shepherds don’t tend to be heavy droolers, but like most dogs they can drool in certain situations. This includes when they are excited, anxious or eating something they enjoy. read more >>

Lick

German Shepherds are known to be affectionate dogs and may lick their owners as a way of showing love and affection. However, the amount of licking can vary from dog to dog and may depend on their personality and upbringing. Some German Shepherds may lick more than others, but excessive licking can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. It’s important to observe your dog’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns. read more >>

Jump

German Shepherds are renowned for their athleticism and agility and they are capable of jumping up 1.8 meters (6 feet) high. However, the height that a German Shepherd can jump depends on various factors such as their age, weight and overall health. read more >>

Dig

German Shepherds can be prone to digging, especially if they are bored or anxious. The amount of digging they do can vary greatly depending on the individual dog, but it is important to provide them with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and companionship to help reduce their desire to dig.

Good Fit for You?

A German Shepherd playing with owner

Is a German Shepherd the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a German Shepherd.

Exercise

German Shepherds are an active breed and need a lot of exercise. They need at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day, including a long walk, a run or a vigorous game of fetch. They also need mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys, training sessions and interactive play. read more >>

Space

German Shepherds need plenty of space to run and play. They need a large yard with a secure fence or access to a park or other open area where they can get plenty of exercise. They also need a comfortable place to rest indoors, such as a crate or dog bed.

Apartment

German Shepherds can make good apartment dogs, but they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They also need a lot of space and can be quite vocal. If you have the time and energy to provide them with proper exercise and training, they can make great apartment dogs. read more >>

Left Alone

German Shepherds can tolerate being left alone, but it is not recommended. They are very social animals and can become anxious and destructive if left alone for too long. It is best to provide them with companionship and plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, German Shepherds are generally good with kids and families. They are loyal, intelligent and protective, making them excellent family pets. They can be quite protective of their family, so it is important to socialize them properly from a young age and provide them with plenty of positive reinforcement. read more >>

Perfect Fit

A German Shepherd would be a perfect fit for an active household that enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, running and playing fetch. They are also great for families with children as they are loyal and protective. German Shepherds need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, so they would do best in a home with a large yard or access to plenty of open space.

Pros and Cons:

Before deciding to bring a German Shepherd into your home, it’s crucial to consider both the advantages and challenges that come with owning this breed. Here’s a table summarizing some of the primary pros and cons:

ProsCons
1. Highly Intelligent: Easy to train1. Require lots of exercise: Can be demanding
2. Loyal and Protective: Excellent family protectors2. Potential for Aggression: If not properly trained
3. Versatile: Excel in various roles and jobs3. Can be Vocal: Frequent barking may occur
4. Great Work Ethic: Often used in service roles4. Prone to Certain Health Issues: Like hip dysplasia
5. Affectionate: Strong bond with their owners5. Shed a Lot: Regular grooming needed

Cost:

The cost of a German Shepherd in Australia can vary greatly depending on the breeder, the age and quality of the dog and other factors. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 for a German Shepherd puppy. read more >>

Breed History:

An ink on paper drawing of the evolution and breed history of the German Shepherd

German Shepherds were originally bred in the late 19th century as a herding dog for farmers in Germany. They were bred to be intelligent, loyal and hardworking and have since become popular as police and military dogs, guard dogs and family pets. German Shepherds are known for their strength, agility & obedience and are often used for search and rescue, tracking and drug and bomb detection.

Current Usage

German Shepherds are often used as working dogs. They are used as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, guard dogs and service dogs. They are also used in the military and in drug detection. German Shepherds are also used as therapy dogs, as well as for herding and as show dogs. They are also popular as family pets.

Guard Dogs

Yes, German Shepherds are considered to have excellent guarding instincts and make great guard dogs. They are loyal, intelligent and protective of their family and territory. They are also highly trainable and can be taught to respond to commands and protect their owners when necessary. However, it is important to note that proper training and socialization are crucial for any dog to become a good guard dog. read more >>

Where Are They Found?

German Shepherds are popular in many countries around the world, but some of the countries where they are most popular include:

1. United States6. France
2. Germany7. Brazil
3. Canada8. Russia
4. Australia9. Italy
5. United Kingdom10. Spain

These countries have a large number of German Shepherd breeders and enthusiasts and the breed is often used for various purposes such as police work, search and rescue and as family pets. read more >>

Climate

German Shepherds are best suited to a temperate climate with moderate temperatures. They can adapt to different climates, but they are not well-suited to extreme heat or cold. In hot weather, they may be prone to heatstroke and in cold weather, they may suffer from hypothermia. It’s important to provide them with proper shelter and access to water and shade in hot weather and warm bedding and protection from the elements in cold weather. read more >>

Population

It is difficult to determine the exact number of German Shepherds globally, as comprehensive data is not available for every country. However, based on the information from breed registries, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) and various international canine organizations, the estimated number of German Shepherds is likely in the millions. read more >>

Physical Appearance:

A key characteristic of the German Shepherd is its muscular and athletic build, which contributes to its strength, agility & speed. The breed’s sturdy frame is supported by strong legs and well-padded paws. The head of the German Shepherd is wedge-shaped, with a strong jaw and a black nose. Their facial expressions often reflect their intelligence and alertness. read more and view all German Shepherd images >>

Coat:

A close up photo of German Shepherds coat hair

Colours:

German Shepherds can be black and tan, sable, black and silver, black and cream, liver and tan, blue and white.

Hair/Fur Length:

German Shepherds have a double coat of medium to long length hair. The outer coat is made up of straight, harsh guard hairs, while the undercoat is soft and thick. The length of the coat varies from dog to dog, but generally ranges from 2 to 3 inches in length.

Shedding:

Yes, German Shepherds do shed. They are considered to be a moderate to heavy shedding breed and they will shed year-round. They will also shed more heavily during the spring and fall when they are blowing their coat. read more >>

Grooming:

The German Shepherd requires regular brushing and combing to keep its coat in good condition. You do not need to cut its hair, but it may need to be trimmed occasionally to keep it looking neat.

Hypoallergenic:

No, German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic. They shed a lot and produce dander, which can trigger allergies in some people. read more >>

Speed:

A German Shepherd running

German Shepherds can run at speeds of up to 48 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour). read more >>

Health:

German Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, but they are prone to certain health issues. These include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia: a genetic condition that causes the joints to become malformed and painful.
  • Bloat: a condition in which the stomach becomes distended with gas and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
  • Allergies: German Shepherds are prone to skin allergies, which can cause itching and discomfort.
  • Epilepsy: a neurological disorder that can cause seizures.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans: a condition in which the cartilage in the joints becomes damaged, leading to pain and lameness.
    read more >>

Teeth:

German Shepherds have 42 teeth. read more >>

Eyesight:

German Shepherds typically have very good eyesight, which aids in their roles as working dogs in various fields including search and rescue and police work. They can see in low light and have a wide field of vision. They are also able to detect movement from a distance. read more >>

Nipples:

Like most dogs, German Shepherds typically have between 8 and 10 nipples. This number can vary and both males and females have nipples. read more >>

Gestation:

German Shepherd with puppies.

Litter Size:

The average litter size for a German Shepherd is between six and eight puppies.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for German Shepherds is approximately 63 days. read more >>

Heat:

Female German Shepherds, like most dog breeds, typically go into heat or estrus approximately every six months, although this can vary between individual dogs. It’s common for the first heat to occur between the ages of six months to a year, but it can sometimes be as late as 18 months, especially for larger breeds like German Shepherds. Each heat cycle can last for about two to three weeks. read more >>

Male vs Female:

A male and a female German Shepherd

Male German Shepherds tend to be larger and heavier than female German Shepherds. Males also tend to be more dominant and territorial, while females are more submissive and less territorial. Males also tend to have a more aggressive nature, while females are more gentle and loyal. Male German Shepherds also tend to have a thicker coat than females. read more >>

Tips and Advice:

Caring for a German Shepherd requires a commitment to their physical, mental and emotional health, given their active, intelligent nature and strong protective instincts. Here are some key tips and advice for taking care of a German Shepherd:

  1. Exercise Regularly: German Shepherds are an active breed that needs plenty of exercise daily. This can include walks, runs, playtime and mentally stimulating activities like agility training.
  2. Balanced Diet: Feed them a high-quality diet appropriate for their age, size and health status. Consult with a vet for specific dietary recommendations.
  3. Regular Vet Checks: Regular veterinary care is essential to keep track of their health and catch potential issues early. This includes regular vaccinations, deworming and flea and tick prevention.
  4. Mental Stimulation: German Shepherds are highly intelligent and need mental stimulation. Provide toys, puzzles, training sessions and opportunities for exploration.
  5. Training: Begin training and socialization early. Consistent, positive reinforcement training techniques work best. Socializing them with a variety of people, pets and situations helps develop a balanced temperament.
  6. Grooming: German Shepherds have a double coat that sheds heavily, especially during shedding season. Regular brushing helps manage shedding and keeps their coat healthy.
  7. Dental Care: Regular teeth brushing is recommended to prevent dental disease. Use dog-safe toothpaste and toothbrush.
  8. Hydration: Always ensure your German Shepherd has access to fresh, clean water.
  9. Love and Affection: German Shepherds bond deeply with their family and require regular interaction, love and attention.
  10. Safety Measures: Given their protective instincts, it’s important to ensure they are safely contained in a yard or similar area and can’t escape to chase perceived threats.

Food:

German Shepherds typically eat between 2 and 3 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. They are not particularly food-orientated dogs, but they do enjoy treats and rewards. read more >>

Facts:

German Shepherds are a fascinating breed with a rich history and remarkable attributes. Here are three interesting facts about these remarkable canines:

  1. Origins in Herding: Despite their modern reputation as police, search & rescue and service dogs, German Shepherds were originally bred in Germany for the purpose of herding and guarding sheep. Their intelligence, speed and agility made them excellent working dogs for shepherds.
  2. Popular in the White House: U.S. Presidents have often chosen German Shepherds as their pets. Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower all had German Shepherds during their presidencies.
  3. The First Seeing Eye Dogs: The first Seeing Eye Dog in the United States was a German Shepherd named Buddy. She was trained in Switzerland before being brought to the U.S. in 1928, opening the way for the use of guide dogs in the country.
    read more >>

Names:

A box of German Shepherd puppies

Choosing a name for a German Shepherd can be influenced by their distinguished traits such as their intelligence, strength, loyalty & protective nature. Traditional, strong and noble names often suit this breed well. Here are 15 potential names for a German Shepherd:

1. Bruno6. Liesel11. Helga
2. Fritz7. Max12. Schnitzel
3. Kaiser8. Gretchen13. Heidi
4. Greta9. Axel14. Klaus
5. Gunther10. Wolfgang15. Ranger

Famous:

German Shepherds have long held a distinguished presence in popular culture due to their intelligence, loyalty and versatility. These dogs have made notable appearances in movies, performed amazing feats and have even been companions to famous personalities. Here’s a list of some of the most famous German Shepherds:

  1. Rin Tin Tin – The original German Shepherd movie star, Rin Tin Tin was rescued from a World War I battlefield and went on to star in 27 Hollywood films.
  2. Strongheart – The first German Shepherd to star in a major motion picture, Strongheart was a police dog in the 1925 silent film The Silent Call.
  3. Horand von Grafrath – The original German Shepherd, Horand von Grafrath was bred by Max von Stephanitz in 1899 and is the foundation of the modern German Shepherd breed.
  4. Ace – Ace was a German Shepherd owned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was famous for his loyalty and intelligence.
  5. Cairo – Cairo is a German Shepherd owned by Navy SEAL Team Six that was part of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
  6. Max – Max is a German Shepherd owned by former President Barack Obama and is renowned for his calm and friendly demeanor.
  7. Rex – Rex was a German Shepherd that starred in the popular television series K-9 and Company.
  8. Jerry Lee – Jerry Lee is a German Shepherd that starred in the movie K-9 and is known for his heroic acts.
  9. Astor von Junipera – Astor von Junipera is a German Shepherd that won the World Championship for Obedience in 1997.
  10. Flossi – Flossi is a German Shepherd that starred in the movie The Adventures of Milo and Otis and is remembered for her loyalty and intelligence.

Summary:

The German Shepherd is a large, strong and loyal breed of dog that is intelligent and highly trainable. They are often used as working dogs in a variety of roles, including police and military work, search and rescue and as guard dogs. German Shepherds are also popular family pets.

German Shepherds are strong, muscular dogs with a thick double coat that can be either short or long. They come in a variety of colors, including black and tan, sable & white. They have a strong, noble head, almond-shaped eyes and a black nose.

German Shepherds are highly intelligent and loyal dogs that are eager to please their owners. They are protective of their family and can be territorial. They are also very active and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

The German Shepherd breed was developed in Germany in the late 1800s and is believed to be descended from a variety of herding and farm dogs. The breed was initially used for herding sheep, but eventually gained popularity as a working and police dog.

German Shepherds make excellent family pets. They are loyal and protective of their family and they are also intelligent and eager to please. They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and they do best with an experienced owner who can provide them with consistent training and socialization.