German Shepherds, sometimes called German Shepherd Dogs, GSDs or Alsations, are an ancient breed of working dog originating from Germany in the late 1800s.
The dogs were originally bred to herd sheep and other livestock, but they’ve evolved over the years into multi-purpose working dogs that enjoy acting as outdoor guardians and are often used in protection or detection work.
While they might be great protectors, GSDs are also ideal family dogs, and many of them get along well with children and other animals. As a result of their versatility and friendly natures, German Shepherds are the 7th most popular dog in America right now and have traditionally been loved by owners and handlers all around the world.
If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd Dog but aren’t sure if they’re right for you, or you just love the breed and want to find out more, here are some great facts.
Training Is Crucial
As mentioned, German Shepherds were originally bred for herding and have developed strong protective instincts over the years. This breed is also highly intelligent, so they require a firm hand and a lot of training and socialisation from the beginning. They are often used as police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, service dogs, and more because of their brains. Their intelligence and trainability make them excellent workers, but in the wrong hands, they can become bored and stressed. Regular training and ongoing socalisation will help them to become well-rounded dogs that fit perfectly into your family life.
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Obesity Is Common In GSDs
German Shepherds are prone to a variety of health issues, including digestive and skin problems. While many of these aren’t preventable and can arise at any age, one common health problem that owners can manage is obesity. German Shepherds love food and are prone to obesity, especially if their exercise routine changes. So, owners need to be vigilant and make sure their dog doesn’t eat too much. If you’re switching your dog to a new diet, such as raw dog food, make sure you use a raw dog food calculator to ensure you feed the right amount. You’ll then be able to make sure they have enough food without gaining any extra pounds. Remember, German Shepherds enjoy meals and will pretend to be hungry for an extra snack, so learn to turn away those puppy dog eyes!
German Shepherds Shed!
Many potential dog owners want to know if a dog sheds hair, as this can require more cleaning and lead to potential flare-ups from allergies. If you’re looking at a German Shepherd but don’t want a dog that sheds, then find another breed! German Shepherds have a double-layer coat that sheds year-round and often finds its way into almost every part of your home. Their outer coat is straight, dense, and weather-resistant, while the undercoat is soft for insulation, making them fluffy and ensuring they’re always happy in any temperature. Weekly brushing helps manage shedding, but it won’t get rid of it, and even shorter-haired German Shepherds will shed.
There Are Lots Of Colours To Choose From
When you’re buying a dog, colour should never be a priority, but it is nice to have a choice. Most people are aware of black and tan GSDs, but the breed standard allows for several colours, including black, sable and even blue. Some colouring is considered superior for showing and breeding, such as black and tan or sable, while all white is considered a disqualification from dog shows, but is sought-after by many dog buyers. When choosing a puppy or rescue dog, colour and appearance need to take a back seat against personality, but remember that lighter-coloured dogs may require more regular bathing and grooming.
You’re Not Alone In Loving GSDs
German Shepherds are popular around the world, and many celebrities own these stunning dogs. Thanks to their great temperaments and stunning looks, these beautiful dogs are a great choice for everyone and have fitted into the lifestyles of many famous stars and world leaders. Celebrities with German Shepherds range from Tom Hanks to Miley Cyrus and everyone in between. GSDs are also the preferred breed of President Joe Biden, so you’ll be in illustrious company if you choose to get yourself a German Shepherd Dog. The breed has also appeared extensively in pop culture, with German Shepherds being the stars of in many popular TV shows and movies, from classics like Rin Tin Tin to modern movies like I Am Legend.
German Shepherds Are A Long-Term Commitment
The average lifespan for a German Shepherd is between 10 and 14 years, which is normal for a breed of their size. Proper care and health screening can help ensure a long life for your dog, so if you’re buying a puppy from a breeder, make sure that they carry out the relevant health testing. If you’d like a GSD but want a shorter commitment, or to care for an older dog that’s a bit calmer than a puppy, then you could consider rescuing or rehoming a dog from a shelter. Whatever your choice, it’s vital that you remember that you’ve undertaken a long-term commitment.
Bringing home a German Shepherd puppy is an exciting time, but prospective owners should understand the importance of proper care right from the start. Though intelligent and eager to please, German Shepherds need extensive training and socialization to become well-behaved companions. Provide your puppy with structure by establishing a routine for feeding, exercise, training, and playtime.
German Shepherds thrive when given a job to do, so be prepared to actively engage with your pup through activities like agility, obedience training, or even dog sports. With the right care and attention, German Shepherds can be loving members of any family, so make sure you do your research before you get one! If you do want to add a German Shepherd to your pack, take the time to research reputable breeders that carry out rigorous health testing, or consider giving a rescue dog a new lease of life.