The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. As many as 48,000 were enlisted in the German army during the First World War – but don’t let that put you off. This wolfish breed is a pussycat at heart with a knack for saving lives. The German Shepherd is a smart, eager beast and reportedly easy to train, big and strong but relatively light and nimble, making a great guide dog and a police dog. Let’s walk through the characteristics of the German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd has a seriously impressive set of skills. As well as herding flock, this breed has also found fame in search and rescue missions and sniffing out explosives and narcotics. A German chap called Max von Stephanitz bred the dog intentionally with the goal of creating a shepherding breed with a wolfish appearance and workaholic nature. He achieved his goal in 1889.
German Shepherds live on average 10-12 years.
Common health problems include hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, digestion (bloat), epilepsy, skin and eye issues and allergies. German Shepherds are also prone to spleen tumours and Von Willebrand’s disease.
The eager beaver
It’s no surprise the German Shepherd has made itself indispensible in so many different roles. With appropriate training, the sky’s the limit. Intelligence can quickly turn to mischief when this breed isn’t kept occupied, so any prospective owner will need to take those needs into account.
Not for part-timers
Strenuous exercise and mental stimulation are needed to keep your German Shepherd happy. Be mindful around other dogs too – this breed is extremely loyal and protective of its owners and can be assertive.
This breed’s thick, double coat is one of its defining features. Regular brushing is needed to keep yours looking glossy and glorious.
German Shepherds are famously easy to train, as long as the owner takes a strict approach to asserting authority.
German Shepherds are usually easy to housebreak – their intellect and instinct to please is ready for you to tap into with appropriate training.
Where to find German Shepherds
German Shepherd Groups
Looking for fellow devotees of this all-round brilliant breed? Find a German Shepherd breed group below.
German Shepherd Dog League of Great Britain
The British Association for German Shepherd Dogs
The German Shepherd Club UK
Adopt a German Shepherd
Want to adopt a German Shepherd in need of a loving home? Find a rescue centre below.
German Shepherd Dog Rescue
German Shepherd Rescue Elite
UK German Shepherd Rescue
Vigil German Shepherd Rescue
German Shepherd Rescue Hampshire
Sold on the smarts of the classy German Shepherd? Find an approved German Shepherd breeder below.
Kennel Club Assured German Shepherd Breeders