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German Shepherd Lifespan – How Long Do They Live For?

The lifespan of a German Shepherd typically ranges from 9 to 13 years, with an average lifespan of 10-12 years. However, some factors can impact their lifespan, such as genetics, diet, exercise, environment & healthcare.

A male and a female German Shepherd

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a German Shepherd

  1. Genetics: Genetics plays a significant role in determining a German Shepherd’s lifespan. Breeders should be responsible for their breeding practices, ensuring that they produce healthy puppies with no genetic disorders. To ensure the longevity of the breed, it is essential to identify any hereditary conditions before breeding.
  2. Diet: A healthy and balanced diet is crucial to a German Shepherd’s lifespan. It is essential to feed them a high-quality diet with the right balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Feeding them a diet that is low in quality or unbalanced can lead to obesity, which can shorten their lifespan.
  3. Exercise: Regular exercise is essential for a German Shepherd’s health and longevity. They require plenty of exercise to stay fit and healthy and it is important to provide them with enough exercise to prevent obesity and other health issues.
  4. Environment: Providing a safe and clean environment is vital to a German Shepherd’s longevity. They need a comfortable living space that is free from hazards and harmful substances. It is essential to keep them away from toxic substances, such as household cleaners or plants that are toxic to dogs.
  5. Healthcare: Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care can help ensure a German Shepherd’s longevity. It is essential to provide them with routine check-ups, vaccinations and preventive care to detect any health issues early and provide prompt treatment.

Common German Shepherd Health Issues

German Shepherds are prone to several health issues that can affect their quality of life and shorten their lifespan. It’s crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of these conditions early and provide prompt treatment to manage them effectively. Here are some of the most common health issues seen in German Shepherds:

  1. Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects German Shepherds. It is a genetic condition that can lead to arthritis and chronic pain.
  2. Arthritis: Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints and can cause pain and discomfort.
  3. Cancer: German Shepherds are prone to cancer, including hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.
  4. Bloat: Bloat is a condition that affects the stomach and can be life-threatening. It is essential to seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your German Shepherd is suffering from bloat.
  5. Degenerative Myelopathy: Degenerative myelopathy is a condition that affects the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis.

Leading Causes of Death in German Shepherds

German Shepherds are prone to several health issues that can affect their quality of life and shorten their lifespan. Identifying the leading causes of death in German Shepherds can help pet owners take preventative measures to ensure their dog’s longevity. Here are the most common causes of death in German Shepherds:

  • Cancer: Cancer is the leading cause of death in German Shepherds, with hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma being the most common types.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders: Musculoskeletal disorders, such as hip dysplasia and arthritis, can cause chronic pain and mobility issues, leading to a decreased quality of life and eventually, death.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive condition that affects the spinal cord, leading to paralysis and eventually, death.
  • Old Age: As with all living creatures, old age is a natural cause of death in German Shepherds.
German Shepherd with puppies.

German Shepherd Life Expectancy Compared to Other Breeds?

German Shepherds have a similar lifespan to other large dog breeds such as the Great Dane, Rottweiler and Bernese Mountain Dog. However, they tend to live longer than other breeds of similar size such as the Saint Bernard or Mastiff.

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