German Shepherd

Learning about German Shepherd Breed: Origin, Diet, Characteristics, Life Span

Dogs being the most faithful animal can be the best companion for a human and it has been proven. Dogs have an instinct of being faithful, obedient, friendly, and affectionate towards their owners. This is why a dog is the most loved dog and the one who is mostly kept as a pet.

There is a huge variety of dog breeds. Different breeds have distinct characteristics that differentiate them from each other.

German Shepherd stands at rank 2 amongst the 195 different dog breeds in the entire breed. Labrador Retriever holds the first rank due to some outstanding and unmatched characteristics and features.

German Shepherd has a few distinctive qualities and traits that have taken it to the second rank. It is a muscular, loyal dog having a noble character.

German Shepherds are mostly used for herding and they are also trained to work for the police and army to help them in spying.

As far as the temperament of a German Shepherd is concerned, they are highly intelligent, courageous, obedient, and confident. Having German Shepherd as a pet is a real treat for dog lovers.

About German Shepherd

The German Shepherd dog breed is a descendent of a German Dog family that originated from Germany in the late 19th century,

German Shepherd is a dog with a longer body rather than a tall one like other dog breeds. It has a well-balanced body (when GSD stop Growing) of 24 to 26 inches with harmoniously developed hindquarters and forequarters. German Shepherds are active dogs and they possess a lot of energy for playing and running.

Their breed is noble and of high quality. They can search, rescue, and detect drugs. These herding dogs are excellent at everything they are trained for. Mostly, German Shepherd appears in tan and black or red and black colors with smooth curves on their bodies instead of angles like other dogs.

The life and characteristics of a German Shepherd are quite interesting.

Let us get into deep discussion.

History of a German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherds are the descendants of a German Herding Dog family. The credit for the existence of this great breed goes to one man named Captain Max Von Stephanitz. He was a career captain in the German cavalry in the late 19th century and he had an aim to introduce a German breed for herding dogs. After retiring from the military in 1899, Stephanitz began his second mission of ding experimentation with dog breeds. He studies the British techniques of breeding and went through the different cities of Germany in search of a good breed of dog in the dog shows.

His search ended one day of 1899 when he saw a wolf-like dog. The dog was large, strong, and sharp. Stephanitz bought that dog, named it as Hector Lingshein, and formed a society to find a breed out of its ancestors.

Stephanitz intended to breed this dog as a herding breed but in those days, industrialization started growing fast in Germany and the need for herding dogs started reducing. Therefore, he decided that this breed will be a working dog that will work for the military and police.

He had strong connections being in the army. So, he convinced the government to accept and use this breed. In World War 1, German Shepherd worked as a messenger, guard, Red cross dog, and supply carrier. After this war, German Shepherd got famous in the USA and was taken home by many soldiers. So WW1 became the reason for the popularity of the German Shepherd.

Americans appreciated the dog but didn’t like its German roots. So its name was changed to the Shepherd Dog by the American Kennel Club in 1917. England named it as Alsation Wolf Dog. In 1931, the American Kennel Club changed its name back to the German Shepherd dog and British Kennel Club did the name in the year 1977.

Since then, the German Shepherd got famous in the whole world. A German Shepherd named Rin Tin Tin worked in more than 40 movies and made the breed renowned in the whole world.

The personality of a German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd is a human loving animal. It creates strong bonding with its owner and if left alone, it shows symptoms of restlessness and sickness. They are shy and reserve and do not make friends so early. But once they get attached to someone, they become extremely loving and loyal.

German Shepherd is a watchful, alert, intelligent, and active dog with strong muscles and a tall body. Usually, they are not aggressive but can show aggression for the strangers or any strange situation.

As they are highly intelligent, they need activities to keep their mind and body engaged. Otherwise, they get frustrated out of boring and show their frustration with different unlikable acts like digging, chewing, and barking.

Health Care of a German Shepherd

German Shepherds are strong dogs with good health and do not fall ill so early. But like other animals, some diseases (how long GSD live) can reflect upon German Shepherds as well like:

  1. Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  2. Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus
  3. Megaesophagus
  4. Osteoarthritis
  5. Degenerative Myelopathy
  6. Bone Cancer

These a few diseases and are caused in exceptional cases. You can always protect your dog from falling ill due to these deadly diseases by taking some extra care of your dog.

  • Always buy a dog or puppy from a reputable breeder to ensure the best breed to take along.
  • Provide high-quality food to your dog. Do not compromise on it if you want your dog to be healthy and active. You can take advice from a vet for a better food choice.
  • Take your dog for regular checkups to a vet. It will allow you to know about a disease that might have just begin.
  • Obesity is not a problem for a German Shepherd but try to avoid feeding your dog too much. Provide healthy food with low calories between 1700 and 2200.
  • Provide a chance of proper exercise to your dog. This will keep it satisfied, happy, and active.
  • Involve your dog in running, jumping, fetching, and similar physical activities to utilize its outbursting energy.
  • Keep your dog clean and tidy. Do not bath your dog too often. It will affect the coats of oil needed to keep the dog healthy. Bathing it every 4 months will be enough.
  • Trim its nails once in a month.
  • Check the ears regularly. Do not let dust, dirt, redness, or bad-odor cause infections in the ears of your dog.
  • Provide safe chew toys or bones that will help to protect teeth for building tartar on them. Brush its teeth with dog toothpaste.
  • Take your German Shepherd for a walk regularly. It will strengthen its body and also its immunity.

Further Reading

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Physical Needs of a German Shepherd

German Shepherd is an active dog that loves jumping, running, and playing. It has a lot of energy that needs to be utilized. If you do not involve your dog in physical activities, it will get bored and can turn out to be aggressive and frustrated.

Try to provide a proper open place for your dog to play, run, and jump (how high can GSD jump). Provide it with dog toys and treats to get pleased with.

The adaptability of a German Shepherd

A German Shepherd remains reserved when it is adopted by a new family. But later on, it adapts the environment and starts making strong ties with its owner. It loves to be cuddled and cannot live alone.

A German Shepherd loves to play, run, and jump in open places and cannot live in small apartments.

A German Shepherd is strong and healthy and can adapt to any weather condition. Its body is protected by the double coat hair but you should provide proper shelter to your dog in extreme weather, rain and snowfall.

Feeding of a German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd is a tall and healthy dog with a fairly high appetite. It needs plenty of food to remain active and do exercise. Do not feed your dog too much. It can cause obesity and make your dog lazy.

You can always ask for the nutritional needs of your growing German Shepherd from a vet. You will get better guidance for the proper food quantity and quality needed for your dog.

An adult German Shepherd weighing 60 to 90 pounds, needs 3 to 5 cups of dog food (how much GSD cost) in a day. These 3 to 5 cups make 1 pound of dog food.

Breeding Cycle of a German Shepherd

A female German Shepherd goes through the heat period twice a year. The heat period can last for 21 days.

The breeding cycle of a German Shepherd consists of 4 phases. Proestrus, Estrus, Metestrus, and Anestrus.

  1. Proestrus is the stage where a female is preparing for mating. It attracts the males but doesn’t allow for mating. It lasts for 4 to 20 days.
  2. Estrus is the mating stage of German Shepherds. It lasts for 5 to 13 days.
  3. Metestrus is the stage at which a female German Shepherd gets pregnant. Her pregnancy lasts for 60 to 65 days.
  4. Anestrus is the period of sexual and hormonal dormancy. It lasts for 2 to 3 months.

Lifespan and Growing Cycle of a German Shepherd Dog

A German Shepherd has a life span (How long GSD live) of about 9 to 13 years where a dog year is equal to 14 human years.

There are six phases in the growing cycles of a German shepherd.

  1. Neonatal Phase covers the first 2 weeks.
  2. Transitional Phases occurs between 2 to 4 weeks.
  3. Socialization Phase lasts from 3 weeks to 3 months,
  4. Juvenile Phase lasts from 3 to 6 months.
  5. The adolescent phase lasts from 6 months to 2 years. Longest phases.
  6. Maturity Phase makes a Gsd mature at 2 and a half to 3 years of age.

Coat and Colors of a German Shepherd

A German Shepherd has a double coat of medium length. The coat has straight hair and lies very close to the body.

There is a variety of colors and patterns of a German Shepherd coat. It comes in colors like black, black and tan, black and red, and black and silver.

German Shepherd shed twice a year. This shed is like a blow of hair. That is why if you are keeping a GSD, you must expect hair everywhere in your home.

Friendliness Level of a German Shepherd

German Shepherds are by nature friendly, loyal, and loving. They have a good bonding with kids and can serve as their babysitter and a protector both. Keep an eye on them as the dog can mistakenly hurt your kid while playing.

A trained German Shepherd is also friendly with the other pets living at home. It has never been found attacking its fellow pets out of jealousy.