Is a German Shepherd a good family dog?
German shepherd dogs (GSD) are noble, diligent, loyal, and highly intelligent dogs. They are large in size and have very streamlined, athletic builds that make them both strong and agile. Though they are excellent herding dogs, German shepherds are very well suited to work as service animals, such as guide dogs for the blind. They are excellent performing as working dogs, especially in police and military operations. They also make highly effective guard dogs. Of course, the German shepherd dog also makes a wonderful companion in the right home.
IN THIS ARTICLE
HEIGHT: 22 to 26 inches
WEIGHT: 60 to 100 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Coarse, medium-length double coat. Most colors are acceptable, such as bicolor, black and tan, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, solid black, gray, sable. Note that blue or liver is unfavorable based on the breed standard. White is not an acceptable color based on the breed standards.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 7 to 10 years
|Tendency to Bark||High|
|Amount of Shedding||High|
The ancestors of German shepherd dogs acted as both servants and companions to humans for hundreds of years. Developed from the old shepherd and farm dogs, the GSD we know today was first introduced in Germany in 1899. Captain Max von Stephanitz is credited with the breed’s beginnings.
During World Wars I and II, the word “German” was dropped, and the breed was referred to as the shepherd dog or the Alsatian (a name that stuck in some regions). Worldwide interest in the breed began rising in the early 1900s and the GSD was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908. In modern times it remains as one of the most popular dog breeds, currently ranking second in the AKC listings. Cross-breeding these dogs with Shiloh shepherds resulted in king shepherds.
German shepherds have coarse, sometimes wiry, medium length hair with thick undercoats. Their coats should be brushed every few days. German shepherds have a relatively high shedding rate which can be lessened by routine grooming. Be prepared to have hairs on your clothing and furniture and you’ll need to vacuum frequently. Luckily, the coat also resists dirt and debris and you won’t need to bathe your dog more than once a month. In fact, too-frequent bathing will strip out the oils that keep it healthy.
Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Elbow hygroma
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus
- Degenerative myelopathy
Your German shepherd will need two meals a day of up to two cups of dry dog food, but this will depend on the dog’s size, activity level, age, and other factors. As they are prone to bloating and possible stomach torsion, you want to avoid giving one large meal a day and having the dog gulp it down. Be sure your dog has access to clean, freshwater.
If you think you’d like to adopt a German shepherd, you can start by contacting one of the following organizations: