German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dogs, otherwise known as “the German Shepherd,” is a hard-working dog breed with a long history and a reputation for bravery. Many make excellent household pets but their background as a smart war dog left them with a keen intelligence and an intense drive to work. Potential pet owners considering this breed should know it requires regular training and thrives when given a job to do.

It’s also recommended that you research breeders extensively. Excellent breeders are completely transparent about their puppies’ health and genetic background. If you still want to parent a puppy, here are a few key facts you should consider.

German Shepherd Dog Size

Since humans bred German Shepherds as workers with vigorous jobs to do, they had to be medium-sized and muscular; if they were too large, they’d sacrifice speed and agility.

Today’s male dogs can grow to 90 pounds, while females generally reach 70 pounds. Its body is strong and substantial, with thick fur adding to its bulk. A healthy diet free of overfeeding will ensure their growth is stable.


German Shepherds come in a variety of shades, ranging from dark-brown and black to light tans and beige. Color does not affect temperament.

Owners seeking to show their dogs must know certain shades, like white and gray, are not acceptable. If you’re just looking for a great pet, these dogs—no matter their color—still make wonderful family friends.

German Shepherd Temperament

Confidence and loyalty are hallmarks of a properly-bred German Shepherd Dog. If introduced to children early, these dogs will tolerate kids, but supervision is always recommended when dogs and youngsters play together.

Because of their protective nature, German Shepherds are not always receptive to strange dogs or people, so proper socialization is key.

Still, German Shepherds are great for active first-time owners willing to take the time to train them. People looking for a couch potato pet might want to pass on this breed. These pups are happier with a long daily walk and a few intense mental fitness sessions. Too little stimulation forces smart dogs to find their own entertainment—and it may not be to your liking.

Quality breeders understand that genetics plays an important role in temperament and will always breed for desirable traits; however, like people, dogs come equipped with their own personality quirks that must be expected and respected. But be aware: You want to ensure you get a dog that’s bred specifically for your needs. Sporting lines won’t perform well in a show ring and working lines won’t make docile family pets. Thorough research ensures everyone ends up happy.


This breed, although hardy, has become known for several genetic issues. These issues could negatively impact health, shortening your pet’s lifespan and running up your vet bills. Serious breeders understand these issues and work to improve the dog’s quality.

But even a carefully bred dog will have health problems; German Shepherds are no exception. This breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, painful joint deterioration diseases. Heart conditions, cancer, and paralyzing neurological disorders are common.

A good breeder will test their puppies’ parents for many conditions. Good breeders provide you with medical records to prove their dogs are healthy. Once you find a reputable breeder and a stable dog, you can prevent or slow down the development of chronic health problems by vaccinating your pet, feeding quality food, and providing regular age-appropriate exercise. To safeguard yourself, ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents. Choosing not to introduce the mom or dad is a breeder red-flag.

Additional German Shepherd Dog Facts

Most people are familiar with German Shepherd Dogs because of their presence as police dogs, service animals, and reputation for stardom (think: Rin-Tin-Tin); as a result, they’re currently the American Kennel Club’s most recognizable dog breed.

While German Shepherd Dogs would make fantastic family pets, it is a “one man dog” that strongly prefers its main caregiver.  Vigilant owners know this stern-looking canine needs plenty of socialization to ensure a safe and pleasant life.

Be aware, also, that their beautiful, thick coats shed year-round, so regular grooming is essential. Get out your Swiffer and have a brush at the ready.

German Shepherds, when obtained from reputable breeders and purchased by responsible owners, are great dogs for people wanting a clever, active pet. Choosing the right dog is based on thorough research and knowledge, so take your questions to an experienced breeder and get ready to bring home a pup.

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