German Shepherd Breed Information: A Complete Guide

German Shepherd Breed Information: A Complete Guide

The German Shepherd is a breed of dog that is very popular all around the world. They are often used as working dogs and have been trained to perform a variety of tasks such as police work, search and rescue, herding, guarding, and tracking. German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs. They have excellent senses which makes them good at detecting drugs or bombs like in the case with bomb detection dogs.

In Germany, they have a variety of names including Deutsche Dogge, Deutsch Dogue de Bordeaux, Deutsche Doggehöfener and Deutscher Schäferhund. They were originally bred to be working dogs by German farmers as well as large game hunters. German Shepherds have a variety of coat colors, which include black and tan, red and white, brindle (a pattern of stripes), black and white, and brown. They are often tri-colored with black, white, and tan or red mixed in with the other colors. Many German Shepherds also have rust markings on their back or on their heads, which may be tan or brown in color.

Read on to find out all about the German Shepherd.

Overview Of The Breed

Breed Type

Height Weight Lifespan


Herding Dogs 22 to 26 inches 75 to 95 pounds 10 to 12 years $500 to $2500

German Shepherd History

The breed was first developed in 1899 by Max von Stephanitz, a German national. Von Stephanitz was a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Prussian Cavalry and a dog breeder. He had been breeding dogs since 1889 but it wasn’t until 1899 that he decided to focus on developing a new breed of dog – the German Shepherd Dog or Alsatian, as they were once known.

The Alsatian was purpose-bred for a single job – to protect their master, the military officer. They would be trained and used primarily as sentry dogs in German army camps, patrolling the grounds while on duty. They were originally developed to fight jackals and wolves in order to protect Prussian officers but dogs of all kinds could be found at the army headquarters.

The German shepherds were chosen in 1899, and the Schutzhund training was utilized in 1910 to separate the shepherd dogs from those not suitable for military service. The first two purebred German Shepherds were imported into England by Captain Walter Goebel in 1903 and these dogs became known as Alsatians. From this time onward, the breed became available across Europe. In 1931, the American Kennel Club reverted to the old name of German Shepherd Dog; the British Kennel Club would not do so until 1977.


German Shepherds are medium-sized dogs. The average weight is between 75-95 pounds and the height ranges from 22 to 26 inches.

German Shepherds are large, muscular dogs that are taller than they are tall. They have a sprinting stride that allows them to cover a lot of ground while working. Their muzzle is long, their skull is square, and their ears are upright and pointed. They have long, bushy tails and slightly slanted back and rear legs.

German Shepherds are divided into two types: German and American. German genetics generate dogs that are heavier, have straight legs and backs, and have longer coats. The American kind features finer bones, a sloping back, and inclined hind legs.

When you think of German shepherds, you probably imagine “short-haired” German Shepherd dogs. The vast majority of German shepherds have hair that is relatively short to medium in length.

There is also a long-haired version of German Shepherds, but they are far less common than the short-haired ones. Some long-haired German Shepherds also don’t have an undercoat, and because of this, they might be more expensive. Other than that, they’re practically the same dog.

German Shepherds’ coats are often black and brown, with deep, rich hues. Solid black or solid sable, red tints, and a variety of mixes are some of the other coat options. Black masks on their muzzles and a black saddle patch on their backs are also prevalent.

White German Shepherds, although not allowed to compete in AKC shows, are growing increasingly fashionable.

Find out all about the German Shepherd coat colors in our article, ‘German Shepherd Colors: Get to Know All 13 Popular Coat Colors of German Shepherds’


German Shepherds can make for great family dogs. They are very obedient, intelligent, and loyal. They were bred to herd animals and guard the homestead, so they can be very protective of their family. However, they can also be stubborn or aggressive if not trained properly.

Pros of Owning a German Shepherd

1. German Shepherds are the perfect companions for people who love to hike or go on long walks. They are very active and require a lot of exercises, so they’re perfect for people who like to stay active.

2. The German Shepherd is a loyal dog who will protect their family and home from any threats that come their way. They are also great at hunting down criminals because they have an excellent sense of smell and can track them down with ease.

3. German Shepherds have been recognized as one of the top 10 smartest breeds of dogs for many years. They have an excellent memory and can learn new commands very quickly.

Cons of Owning a German Shepherd

1. German Shepherds are very intelligent and independent which can make them difficult to train.

2. German Shepherds require a lot of exercises and if you don’t provide it for them, they will find it on their own – sometimes in the form of chewing up your furniture or digging up your garden.

3. German Shepherds are not the best choice for people who live in small apartments. They need room to run around and get exercise on a regular basis.

German Shepherds are known to be strong and protective dogs. This means that they might not be the best option for families with small children who cannot defend themselves from the dog’s advances. However, German Shepherds make excellent pets for families with older children who can take care of themselves.

German Shepherds are protective dogs that can be good with other dogs, as long as they are properly trained and socialized. As for other pets, German Shepherds have a strong prey drive, which means they will chase animals that they perceive as prey. This is not usually a problem for big cats but could be for small animals like rabbits or hamsters.

Bite Force

With a high bite force of 329 PSI and large teeth, the German Shepherd has a strong jaw that can exert great pressure. In some cases, the power of this breed’s jaws can cause injury to someone else. The powerful jaws of these dogs are also capable of dislocating joints or breaking bones when they clamp down on an attacker.

Aggression is a natural instinct in German Shepherds. It is their way of protecting themselves, their territory, and their pack. Aggression in German Shepherds is not more prevalent than other breeds of dogs, but they are more likely to show aggression because they are often used as guard dogs.

You must know that German Shepherds are also not aggressive by nature. They are actually very gentle dogs who love to be around people and other animals. However, they can be protective and territorial which is why some people believe that they can be aggressive. But they aren’t inherently aggressive.

However, German Shepherds, like any other dog breed, can be aggressive if not properly trained or socialized.


German Shepherds are known for their natural ability to learn and obey commands. Training this breed is an excellent way to build a good relationship with your pet which will help you keep your dog under control and prevent any unwanted behavior. Though the training process can be challenging at first, with time, the links between training and rewards will make the task easier.

German Shepherds are very independent spirited which means that they won’t readily submit to your commands without proper training and without being assertive. This means you need to be firm in your commands with them or you could end up with a disobedient dog.

German Shepherds also have a tendency to bark incessantly although it may take some time for them to learn how to stop. This is not always a problem because they will stop when their barking gets on the nerves of their owners.

German Shepherds are intelligent animals and they see the world in a different way to other dogs. They also have an impressive ability to remember objects, locations, and people. This is why it’s easy for them to be trained as military dogs and narcotics detection dogs among others.

A German shepherd is typically very obedient, so these dogs have little difficulty following commands from their owners. The dog is intelligent enough to pick up on your cues and understand your expectations. It’s when you step back into the shadows that this breed begins to display their stubborn streak.


German Shepherds are very adaptable animals that can live in any environment as long as they have enough exercise and mental stimulation. They have a strong sense of self-preservation so they will not hesitate to protect their family from danger. They are also very intelligent. Many have even suggested that the dog’s capacity for learning is greater than that of a 2-year-old child. They learn commands very quickly, can be trained in a variety of tasks, and are able to pick up on subtle cues from their owners.

German Shepherds have a high energy level and need lots of exercises to keep them healthy and happy. This is why they love being in the company of their family or doing activities with them, such as running, hiking, or jogging.

German Shepherds are smart, but they can be stubborn and willful at times. They need firm, consistent leadership during training and with their owners so they don’t get too domineering or become destructive to things around them. Also, these dogs should not be left alone for long periods of time without high-level stimulation such as chewing toys or playing fetch with them. They need to be kept busy and stimulated.

German Shepherds also have a high prey drive which means they will chase small animals if given the opportunity. This trait makes them unsuitable for households with small pets like hamsters or guinea pigs as well as households with other smaller pets like cats or rabbits that could get injured by the dog’s strong jaws and sharp teeth.


When a German Shepherd is being groomed, it means that they will be given a bath and the coat is combed or brushed. This will remove any dirt or debris that may be trapped in the hair and prevent any mats from forming. Grooming is not limited to bathing and brushing as a whole; it can include trimming nails, brushing teeth, and caring for ears.

German Shepherds shed quite often. As such you will need to brush their fur regularly. This will remove dead hair, dirt, and other particles that are stuck in their coat. You should also make sure to give them a bath at least once every month or so.

Bathing Your German Shepherd

One of the first steps in a German Shepherd grooming process is to bathe your dog. This could be done either by giving your dog a bath in the tub or with an industrial-sized sprayer that has water at a temperature between 55- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

The following are some bathing suggestions for your German Shepherd:

  1. Before you begin the bath, double-check that you have all of your bathing necessities within reach.
  2. Make sure your dog doesn’t slide and fall wherever you wash them.
  3. If possible, wet their coat completely with a spray hose.
  4. Never use human shampoo to bathe your dog. A dog shampoo should be used and massaged into your dog’s coat.
  5. Ensure that your dog’s coat is clean by rinsing it well.

Brushing And Combing Your German Shepherd

Take a gentle brush and start working through your dog’s coat to remove loose hair and the dirt that has accumulated on your pet Next, use a metal comb to get through all of the tangles in their fur, as well as any areas that are particularly matted or dry.

After this step is complete, you can either take the time for some grooming with your own hands or use a set of grooming clippers. Start with one side of your dog’s body, and work around the ears. Then move on to the rest of the body. If you are using a metal comb instead of clippers, use it to remove any long hairs from your dog’s back legs or belly.

Taking Care Of Ears, Teeth, And Nails

You’ll also need to learn how to look after the ears of your German Shepherd dog. Your dog’s ears are more prone to get inflamed and infected if they aren’t properly cared for. Here are some things you need to consider:

  1. You must constantly remove the hair off their ears. This can also help keep your dog’s ears from being clogged with wax.
  2. Cotton swabs should never be used as they push the debris deeper into your dog’s ears.
  3. You can use liquid ear cleaning solutions.
  4. Cotton wool should be used to clean the outside portion of your dog’s ear.

It will be your responsibility to keep your pup’s teeth clean, as chewing on toys is insufficient. Daily 3-to-5-minute brushings with an effective canine toothpaste and tiny brush or finger-brush, a daily dental chew, and optionally a canine plaque-fighting water supplement will be part of at-home dental care.

The frequency with which you must clip or file your German Shepherd’s nails will vary. If their nails aren’t examined often and are allowed to grow too long, they might begin to curl back into their skin. Furthermore, if they are not kept at the right length, they are more prone to break. Nails should be cut every 6 weeks or so, on average. It is a cue to trim their nails if you hear the click-clack of nails on a hard floor surface.


German Shepherds are prone to some diseases and conditions that you must be aware of.

German Shepherds have a high incidence of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This is due to their large size and weight which puts a lot of strain on their joints. They also have a higher risk for developing cancer because they age more quickly than other breeds due to their larger size.

German Shepherds can be prone to epilepsy, eye problems like glaucoma, skin conditions like demodectic mange or seborrhea dermatitis, or diabetes mellitus type 2 if they are overweight.

German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. With proper care and treatment, they can live a long and healthy life.

5 Most Common Health Issues In German Shepherds

1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:

Hip Dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joint. This is when the ball and socket of a dog’s hip joint do not grow normally. This leads to joint laxity or instability, which can further lead to joint degeneration over time.

Elbow dysplasia is a condition in which a puppy’s elbow joint develops abnormally. As a result, the joint deteriorates over time, resulting in symptoms such as lameness, discomfort, and restricted joint mobility.

2. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV):

When the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists on itself, this condition is known as gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). Also known as bloat, the condition can be fatal if the dog does not receive immediate care.

Deep-chested and big breed of dogs, such as the German Shepherd, are the breeds most susceptible to bloat. Swollen abdomen, retching, salivation, and stomach discomfort are all symptoms.

3. Degenerative myelopathy:

The ailment known as degenerative myelopathy is next on the list of prevalent health issues in German Shepherds. The spinal cord is affected by this severe and debilitating disease, which generally strikes dogs between the ages of 8 and 14.

The dog’s hind legs show signs of weakness and loss of coordination at first. The condition might advance to the point that the rear legs become paralyzed.

4. Osteosarcoma:

Osteosarcoma is a kind of tumor within the bone.

Although the cause of osteosarcoma is uncertain, there is a definite pattern of osteosarcoma occurring more frequently in big dog breeds. Lameness, swelling, tiredness, lack of appetite, and a sudden unwillingness to run or play owing to tumor discomfort are all possible side effects.

5. Diabetes:

Because of their huge stature, German Shepherds are more prone to overeating anytime they get their paws on some food. This is why Diabetes is widespread in this breed. Dry mouth, weariness, excessive eating and peeing, and swollen feet are all symptoms of diabetes.


The cost of a German Shepherd puppy ranges from $500 to $2,500. The cost is mostly determined by the pedigree of the dog and the experience of the breeder. These puppies actually don’t cost much to breed, but their great demand drives up the price.

You’ll have to pay for things like food and vet expenses on a monthly basis. A few upfront fees are also required for most pups. These include products such as dog beds and cages, as well as less expensive items such as dog bowls and collars. While many of these expenses are little, they may rapidly mount up.

According to Pet Budget, a German Shepherd puppy will likely cost anywhere from $450-$1,900, with an average of $800. The first year’s costs will be roughly $3,815, while the second year’s will be around $1,765 (or $147/month). The average cost of owning a Maltese is $17,935 throughout the course of the dog’s life.


German Shepherds are known for their loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. Their purpose is to protect its family from any harm. This breed has an excellent sense of smell which makes them perfect for search-and-rescue missions or drug detection tasks.

German Shepherds make excellent family pets when they have been properly trained and socialized from a young age. These dogs are very active and need plenty of exercises as well as mental stimulation to maintain their physical and mental health.

Thank you for reading the article.

For more interesting facts about the German Shepherds, check out ‘10 Interesting German Shepherd Facts That Makes Them truly Special’

Do you have a German Shepherd? What do they look like? Are they good family dogs? Are they trained? We want to know it all! Share with us your experience in the comments!

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