German Shepherds were first exhibited at shows in Germany towards the end of the nineteenth century but they were hardly Shepherds as we know them today being rough coated, short tailed and rather resembling mongrels. The German Shepherd as we now know it didn’t really appear until after the Second World War.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and oftentimes used as police dogs, rescue dogs and guide dogs. They also make excellent guard dogs and are very loyal to their family. Therefore, they make excellent protectors, barking when someone unfamiliar is approaching.
This FAQ answers all the questions you have regarding this amazing dog. Let us know in the comment if you have more for us!
How Big do They Get?
German Shepherds are big dogs. They can actually be very intimidating when facing them, that’s also why they are great guard dogs.
German Shepherds reach an average height of 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) and a weight of 77 to 85 pounds (35 to 39 kg).
German Shepherds have erect pointed ears, a long body, and a weather resistant coat. Their thick stiff outer coats covered by a softer inner one makes them readily able to withstand extreme climates.
Are German Shepherds Good With Kids?
German Shepherds do make good family pets and will guard the children of their family. They will tolerate the poking and prodding children are prone to do. However, they are sometimes unaware of their size and power relative to a small child and may indiscriminately knock them over.
This is why a German Shepherd and a small child should always be watched to avoid dangerous situations.
How many teeth do German Shepherds have?
German Shepherds have 28 teeths when they are puppies and 42 when they are adults. They have very strong and powerful teeth.
When do German Shepherds lose their baby teeth?
German Shepherds lose their 28 baby teeths at around 14 – 30 weeks. Their new 42 adult teeths grow progressively until their 8th month anniversary.
Can you have a German Shepherd in an apartment?
German Shepherds can survive (and accept) apartment living if given enough exercise regularly and activities. If left alone too long or not stimulated enough, German Shepherds will become bored and destructive. They should have at least 2 hours of exercise per day.
What kind of coat does a German shepherd have and do they have a double coat?
German Shepherds do have a double coat: a thick stiff outer coat covered by a softer inner one. They are therefore capable of facing any type of weather without problem.
Do German shepherds naturally protect their owners and are they territorial?
A German Shepherd is naturally protective and territorial which is something to bear in mind if you have lots of visitors to your house when careful introduction may be required to assure your pet that the visitor is not a threat to his family.
They naturally protect their family and their territory. That makes them great guards and protective dogs.
What are German Shepherds’ exercise needs ?
This is a breed that requires a lot of time, stimulation, training and exercise – you will never wear them out, they will always be ready for more. A bored, lonely German Shepherds can be very destructive and can cause an awful lot of damage to property in a short space of time.
That’s why they’re not great apartment dogs. Each day, German Shepherds need at least 2 hours of exercise. This is a significant amount of time, which means that you can’t let your German Shepherd alone in an apartment.
How Long Do German Shepherds Live?
German Shepherds live an average of 13 years. They unfortunately don’t live as long as other breeds, because of their size – a result of genetic changes engineered by humans. They often develop cardiac issues and can die from heart failures.
How To Train A German Shepherd?
German Shepherds enjoy being in the company of their human family but not other pets. As a working dog that likes to please, a German Shepherd will do very well with obedience training.
There are three conventional methods of dog training that you can choose from in order to train your German Shepherd. They are training with treats, training with treats and clickers, and training with praise. All three methods of training will work; however, there is one that stands out from the rest. That is, oral praise. Why? Because you want your dog to listen to your commands even when you don’t have any toys, clickers, and/or food.
Imagine your dog wanting to jump at your every command simply because it wants your praise and love and not because you are going to bribe it with treats. Once your dog gets used to getting treats for performance, it will cease to perform when you don’t have any more treats left. So, treat your German Shepherd with kindness, and train it with praise!
Do German shepherds bark a lot?
Perhaps some of the less endearing traits of this breed are the tendency to be very vocal which can be a big nuisance and may be a problem with neighbors.
They are guard dogs, which means that they are going to bark and potentially attack intruders. This is why you need to control and train them. However, they will always behave that way.
How To Stop A German Shepherd From Barking?
You need to start obedience training as early as possible. You can use a clicker to teach your German Shepherd when they should and shouldn’t bark. You also need to let them know when they’re doing good or bad with a strict “No” and “Good boy/girl”. You can also develop a special command for this behavior.
Why Do German Shepherds Stink?
There are many reasons why a German Shepherd may smell bad. He may have rolled into something stinky. Their double coat may also be wet or not perfectly dry. Being very thick, those can develop a bad smell if not cleaned regularly or let wet for a while.
Your German Shepherd may also have dental or skin issues, ear infection, or other health problems. You may want to go to your vet to get him checked.
What Do German Shepherds Look Like?
German Shepherds are very elegant dogs, who, just like huskies, look very similar to wolves. With their double coat, they are big but have a thin torso. They have long and pointy ears. They also have a very distinctive black and brown external coat.
Do German shepherds have a lot of health problems?
As with most pedigree breeds, there are some hereditary conditions that can be a problem for German Shepherds as well as other health issues that are more prevalent in this breed which need to be considered if you are thinking of acquiring this type of dogs.
How do I find the best German Shepherd breeder and what should I ask my German Shepherd breeder?
If you are buying a German Shepherd puppy, it is important to ensure that you only purchase a healthy dog from a reputable breeder. To make sure it is the case, contact the breeders you find near your house and ask them the right questions : do you offer a genetic garanty, what are your breeding processes, where do your dogs come from…
You can also go on Facebook or on dedicated local forums in order to ask people if they had any experience with the breeders you contacted.
What diseases are common in German shepherds?
There are a number of common conditions seen in this breed – so insure your German Shepherd as soon as you get it.
Inherited conditions such as hip dysplasia are becoming more common largely because of irresponsible breeding so you should look for a puppy whose parents are both hip scored and the lower the score the better – ideally less than ten. This is a distressing and painful condition for a German Shepherd as well as the costs for treating being prohibitive if the animal is not insured. Elbow dysplasia is also a common hereditary condition.
Bloat or gastric torsion is also a real problem and can be a life threatening condition, which has become more common in deep chested dogs over the years. Experts are divided but, good tips for reducing the risk are that it is best to feed 2 small meals rather than one large meal a day and to avoid feeding your German Shepherd before strenuous exercise.
Another disease that can affect your German Shepherd is the anal furunculosis. This is a distressing auto immune condition which can be controlled with expensive drugs for a while but will inevitably progress as a degenerative disease which will ultimately lead to the loss of use of the back legs and then bowel/urinary incontinence.
For whatever reason there seems to be an increasing number of German Shepherds also suffering from PI – pancreatic insufficiency, which leads to chronic watery diarrhea and more. This condition is treatable with expensive pancreatic enzymes and a low fat diet but the regime must be strictly applied.
Epilepsy is also more common these days and although it can be controlled by drugs, there can be serious after effects.
To protect your new puppy and in order to try to minimise long term or future health problems, it is vital that a high quality feeding regime is adopted from the start. German shepherds often have digestive problems so it is important to find a quality food that your dog likes and one that doesn’t upset the digestion.
What Size Crate For A German Shepherd?
Why Do German Shepherds Howl?
We had the same question covered in our Huskies’ FAQ. Howling is actually a natural behavior which comes from dogs’ ancestors.
They use it to let other wolves / dogs know that they’re around. However, they can also howl to express sadness, boredom or anxiety. In some cases, German Shepherds, just like other dogs, can howl because they are hurting.
Some German Shepherds also howl when they hear sirens. It is also a commun and normal behavior triggered by the fact that sirens sound very similar to howling.
If you are bothered by this behavior, you can try training your German Shepherds just like you would do for excessive barking. Use treats and reinforce good behavior.
Why Do German Shepherds Whine?
Most of a time, a German Shepherd is going to whine when he wants something. It can be going outside, getting some food, play… They also may express some discomfort. Make sure your dog doesn’t need anything before freaking out though!
Are German shepherds intelligent?
To this day, German Shepherds are considered one of the most, if not the most, intelligent and versatile breeds in existence. They are exceptionally trainable and work well as a police, guide, search, rescue dog.
Why Do The Police Use German Shepherds?
German Shepherds make great police dogs, because they are very smart. They can learn a lot of routines and tasks. They are thus capable of completing very complex and stressful missions without losing it.
Why Do German Shepherds Ears Stand Up?
It doesn’t mean they are about to attack. German Shepherds’ ears are actually naturally upright. However, puppies have floppy ears until they reach their 16 – 20 weeks anniversary.
Why Are German Shepherds So Smart?
German Shepherds have a great memory and tend to want to please their owners.
They have been employed for many tasks for centuries and have developed their superior intelligence during all that time (well, their ancestors did). Most of those tasks required a lot of attention, a good logic and sharpness.
Why Is My German Shepherd Shedding So Much?
The one thing all German Shepherd coats have in common is that they shed profusely, and shed worse during their shedding season. Daily brushing usually helps combat the shedding, and German Shepherds should only be bathed occasionally. Almost all German Shepherds are described as self-confident and loyal.
Another important part of training your german shepherd is to get him used to being groomed because they shed copious amounts of hair and although they only moult once a year, it lasts for 365 days. So be prepared for dog hair all over your house, your clothes, in your food and buy yourself a very good vacuum cleaner.
What Colors Are German Shepherds?
There are a wide variety of coats in this breed. Some German Shepherds are long haired and some are short haired. The color is most often black and tan, but can also be sable, all black, blue and liver and white.
What was the German Shepherd Bred For?
German Shepherds are often seen as the most versatile breed. They were initially engineered by Germans for herding and guarding sheep (hence their name). But, as time goes on, they were used for more and more tasks, such as military or police work, property protection and more.
What To Know About German Shepherds?
Also known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd is a ‘young’ breed as it is less than a century old. The German Shepherd can trace its roots back to a range of shepherding dogs in Germany. The German Shepherd came to the United States in 1908 with soldiers impressed by the courage and abilities of this dog.