Whether you’re a German Shepherd parent or not, you never really stop learning about these canine friends. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to own one of these beautiful dogs already then you know about them, but the more you interact with your dog, the more you uncover about him or her.
However if you want to learn more, or are thinking about buying a GSD, then here to help you are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about German Shepherds.
What is the lifespan of a German Shepherd?
Most German Shepherds manage to live for over 12 to 14 years but it’s not rare for some to die sooner than this. It all depends on how well-cared for the dog is.
It goes without saying – the better the care a German Shepherd receives the long it will live. A good diet with quality food, exercise and regular vet appointments can make all the difference.
How big do GSDs grow?
German Shepherds are considered a medium to large breed with the sizes varying slightly between the male and female dogs. Generally, male GSDs tend to be bigger than their female counterparts both in terms of height and weight.
Males average between 24 and 26 inches in height and weigh in at 65 to 90 pounds. Females on the other hand average 22 to 24 inches for height and 50 to 70 pounds for weight.
When is a German Shepherd Fully Grown?
German Shepherds grow rapidly up to 18th months of age, when they slow down their growth. Beyond that time, the size difference between males and females sets in. While the females are fully grown after two years, male dogs may keep growing for another six more months.
How Fast Can German Shepherds Run?
German shepherds have speeds of up to 30 mile per hour which is among the highest in the canine world. This speed was quite an asset back then when the breed was a herder. And of course these days that speed comes in handy for service and police dogs chasing an assailant.
What colors do GS come in?
While the most common color coat for German Shepherds is black and tan, there are quite a few options out there. There is black, sable, white, liver, bi-color, and gray among others.
Not all of them however are acceptable under the different kennels’ breeding standards. The liver coat, for instance, is considered a defect.
When Should You Start Training a German Shepherd?
There is really no reason to wait. You should start training your German Shepherd as soon as you get them, with simple commands especially around toilet training if you get a puppy. And we recommend training them to sit and wait for their food and to be able to take their food away from them. The same for toys – possessiveness should not be encouraged.
Training develops your relationship, areas such as trust and respect, and helps you bond with your new dog. Remember to keep training sessions short and do them regularly – just 10 minutes a day or so would make the world of difference for a household pet. Of course those dogs going into service such as the military or security animals will undergo much more thorough and specialised training.
What is the GS temperament?
German shepherds are among the smartest breeds. Couple that with their willingness to learn and you get a very easy to train dog – a quality that has made GSDs a favorite police and military work (and even homes). Important to mention also is their obedient nature.
We especially love their loyalty and you yes we think they actually do have a sense of humor – we’re always laughing at the expressions our give us!
Ensure you they have proper socialization with over dogs, they can become overprotective of family and anything they deem part of their territory or pack.
Do German Shepherd Dogs bark a lot?
Well, that depends.
As with any behavior, barking has a lot to do about just how well you’ve trained your dog. Ideally, a well-trained dog should bark only on command or under very specific circumstances. Some common commands you could try are “speak” when you want them to bark and “hush” when you want them to be quite. That way they have a specific command and know what you want.
But generally, we don’t they are barkers. GSDs are naturally inclined to bark though not just as a warning but to also express affection to an extent. Things like boredom and lack of socialization can encourage the problem.
With boredom, it means your dog is not getting the amount of exercise he needs. Remember these dogs are a high-energy breed so little or no exercise means they have so much of this energy pent up. As a result, they might resort to barking and other bad behavior to let it off! You know how you feel when you’ve been pent up at home all day – some fresh air makes all the difference.
Lack of socialization, on the other hand, can lead to a very territorial and overprotective GSD. So he’ll bark at anyone or anything he feels threatens his territory.
Are they healthy dogs – what are some common GSD health issues?
Most German Shepherd health problems we see today are due to the inbreeding that was widely practiced in the early stages of the breed’s history.
The most common problem experienced is called dysplasia that can affect both the hips and elbows joints. Generally developing later on as the dog ages, it causes pain in the hip and elbows which may affect the dog’s movement.
Usually, reputable breeders exclude German Shepherds with dysplasia, this has lowered the prevalence, and you can have dogs certified to show their hip health.
Other common health issues include:
- Thyroid issues
- Degenerative myelopathy – weak limbs that may lead to paralysis.
Do German Shepherds shed?
The short answer is a resounding YES. Buy yourself good hoover!
GSD are double coated dogs – and with their rapidly-growing undercoats, German shepherds do shed a lot for the most part of the year. Twice a year, the undercoat blows out which means even more shedding.
This is why regular brushing is an absolute necessity for every German Shepherd parent. It helps keep your dog neat and comfortable. Most of them even relax into some nice brushing. Do it outdoors, as hairs floating all over your indoors is the last thing you’d wish for!
Are German Shepherds very active?
Yes, German Shepherds are among the most active dogs. They’re a high energy dog means they need exercise on a daily basis. This comes from the fact the breed was developed initially as a working dog.
Without exercise, your life as a pet parent is most likely going to be a bit challenging. As already mentioned, the pent up energy can lead to unnecessary barking maybe even chewing and destructive behavior around the house – generally being a pain! Something you don’t want in any dog.
That said, you have to be careful not to strain your dog – especially if he’s just a puppy. Short walks are the order of the day until your pup is fully grown, and don’t forget plenty of play time at home, then you can enjoy the longer walks as the grow and their bones and muscles develop. Talk to your vet for advice on activity levels.
Are German Shepherds dangerous?
One of the most asked questions…..and pretty much all GSD owners will say NO!
But just like barking, this depends on how well you’ve trained your dog. Without proper training, any dog – not just German Shepherds – can be dangerous. Socialisation, training, setting behavior boundaries all make for a well behaved dog. In our opinion any chance of bad behavior can often come from their desire to protect their ‘pack’ that is, you and your family – observe them ’rounding’ you up if you go out for a walk as a family – they’ll run from the two furthest away in an effort to keep an eye on you all!
Getting your act together as far training goes is important if you want your pooch to be a gentle and loving friend.
Are German Shepherds Good With Kids?
This kind of goes with the previous question and most GSD owners would say YES!
Again it really all comes down to good training and proper socialization. In fact, they’re some of the best family pets, so intelligent and especially loyal. This can lead to them being overprotective so it’s always good to socialize them early on if you have kids, or intend to.
We hope we’ve answers some of your questions – do let us know via the contact page if you have anything else you’d like to ask. Or speak to your vet or experienced and reputable breeder for specialist knowledge.