Congratulations on your decision to adopt or soon to adopt a German Shepherd!
German shepherds make great family pets, police/guard dogs, work dogs, guide dogs and on top of all that; are super intelligent.
Get our FREE our “Top 10 German Shepherd Training Tips” eBook over on the right and scroll down for more information on adopting and training.
The German Shepherd
is a relatively new German breed of large-sized dogs originating back to 1899 designed solely for herding sheep. Since then, they’re shocking intelligence, strength trainability and most importantly obedience, has caused them to become the second-most popular dog in the United States and fourth-most popular in the United Kingdom. Most known for being:
- Household pets
- Police K9 Units
- Military Dogs
- Search & Rescue Dogs
- Most Popular Seeing-Eye-Dogs
- Animal Herding
- Plus Much More.
For more Health & Care tips check out our resources HERE
German Shepherd’s are known to have a more aloof personality, but normally non-aggressive. They don’t tend to make friends all to easily, but once they do are extremely loyal. Shepherds are known for getting anxious while being left alone or without a job to do. This can either be a pro or a con depending on your needs.
Males tend to stand 25 to 27 inches while females stand 23 to 25 inches. Weight ranges anywhere from 85 - 100 pounds (35 – 40 kg). Highly dependent on muscle mass.
Shepherds have an average lifespan of 12 – 14 years. Rarely 15-16+
Rescue & Adoption – Click on Your State
Dog and pet laws vary from state to state in the US. Use our free clickable map tool to find German Shepherds up for adoption and learn more about the different laws in your own state!
Click Here for a larger map and list
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Common Health Issues
Indiscriminate breeding has led to multiple hereditary diseases such as blood disorders, Hip & Elbow Dysplasia, Digestive Problems, Epilepsy, Bloating, Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), Chronic Eczema and also prone to Splenic Tumors.
Though a positive health anomaly is that Shepherds tend to show more resistance to some common infections transmuted by ticks and fleas than other dogs. This makes them even more capable when it comes to jobs like police K9 units and search & rescue squads.
Play & Exercise
Bred originally to herd sheep these dogs have extensive amounts of energy that needs to be burned off with some type of daily exercise. Not only for the dogs own health, but to avoid behavioral problems including digging, chewing, scratching, and etc. Same goes for leaving them unattended at home or without a job to do.
Check out our Top 10 German Shepherd Toys article
Plenty of chew toys are recommended. This breed’s sharp teeth and powerful jaw can destroy most anything, so you will want to make sure it’s not your furniture! As with any dog make sure you try and buy high quality toys to avoid your dog choking on ripped off bits or just getting sick from gnawing on toys made from cheaper materials. These dogs have reason to be proud of their very sharp and very strong teeth, so be sure to to find toys they can really use them on.
Shepherds have a semi-thick medium length coat that sheds a lot. This breed has even acquired the nickname “German Shedder” because of it. Shedding is most prominent during the Spring and Summer like most dogs. Grooming is an important step in caring for these animals.
Don’t forget to check out our complete Grooming Guide
Daily brushing and frequent baths will keep the loose hair at bay, though you can’t stop it completely. Some specialty foods also claim to put a damper on loose fur as well. I personally recommend using what’s called a “grooming comb” rather than a regular brush. It’s much more effective in my experience and appears to me more enjoyable to the dog at the same time.
Flea & Tick Protection
With temperatures continually on the rise, Flea & Tick season starts earlier and earlier every year. So make sure your pup is well protected with quality protection products! Different products include topical medications which are applied directly to the skin/fur, oral medications which can be given directly or mixed with your pet’s food, sprays and good old fashioned flea collars are also very effective.
Something a lot of pet owners don’t know is how to remove a tick properly. That’s why we took the time to write out the proper method with detailed instructions in our guide.
Check our our Flea & Tick Protection Guide and keep your pets safe!
Adoption Tips & Resources
Before training even comes into the picture, a dog has to first! Adoption is quite obviously the biggest decision of the whole process. Whether you’re looking to adopt a pure bread pup or a shelter dog mutt, it’s important to know the facts and details first! Things like what color and coat, age, owner history (if any) and all the way down to a dogs individual personality and temperament.
Browse our guide on how to bring home a new puppy!
Are you looking to adopt a puppy or a full grown dog? If you’re looking for a new family member to abide at home with you and your family you’re probably interested in adopting a puppy, which is the smartest decision. If you’re looking to adopt a dog for work purposes such as military or police units, you want to look for a full grown dog, possibility with basic obedience training already done.
Military & Police K-9 Units
Besides being a family pet, the German Shepherd’s most common occupation is being a police or military dog. Before any type of police or military training can start, every dog must have some type of basic obedience training to ensure that they can follow their handlers orders and instructions without hesitation which in some cases can be life threatening.
Along with obedience training each dog is required to have endurance and agility training. This type of training is also fairly common and is even thought in advanced obedience classes. Agility training teaching the ability to jump walls, climb stairs, and run for longer periods of time.
The official stages of military or police is called speciality training. This is where dogs learn things such as drug sniffing, bomb detection, and tracking missing persons or crime suspects. For more information on Military & Police Training Click Here!
Aggression & Bite Training
German Shepherds are aggressive by nature. This when controlled, is why they are popular with police K-9 units and military forces, but sometimes makes them unpopular for household pets. On our blog we go over how to take care of the issues of aggression and discuss how environment and training plays the largest role in this type of personality. German Shepherds make great household pets with the right training and can be as sweet as any other breed. We will show different training techniques to discourage biting at home and how to show your new family member how to play nice and get along with others.
If you are interested in finding out more information on how to not discourage but encourage this type of behavior for police or military use we have plenty of resources on that as well. (view section above for more info)
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