The German Shepherd is one of the most famous breeds. A versatile service dog, an excellent shepherd, an excellent helper, protector, and companion – all these are the characteristics of the German Shepherd.
The peculiarity of the breed is a strong affection for the owner, the ability to feel and understand their mood. And in order to appreciate all the advantages of German Shepherds, you need to learn more about them.
Brief History Of Origin
The homeland of the German Shepherd is Germany. Initially, the representatives of the breed were used as a shepherd and service-search breed. However, these animals are now widespread throughout the world and perform many other functions.
The history of the German Shepherd breed dates back to 1899 – then it was first presented at an exhibition. But the exact origin of the German Shepherd is unknown. According to the official version, it was bred on the basis of the Middle and South German shepherd dogs. Some experts believe that wolf blood flows in their veins.
Germans are rightfully considered the No. 1 breed in the world. The following interesting facts are associated with these brave animals:
- Working German Shepherds have saved many people. In doing so, they often sacrifice their lives.
- Representatives of the breed develop their maximum speed almost instantly. They do not lose balance during sharp turns, they never stumble.
- During the war, dogs worked as sappers, orderlies, messengers, and brought cartridges.
- The clamping force of the jaws during the bite exceeds 250 pounds / m².
- A powerful animal with a muscular body and dry bones, it can reach speeds of up to 31 Miles / h.
- Several monuments have been erected for the Germans. One of them is in Togliatti – here the dog has been waiting for its owners on the side of the road for 7 years.
The Physical Characteristics of German Shepherds
Weight and Height Standards
The size of the German Shepherd allows it to be classified as a large breed. This category includes animals whose weight exceeds 62 pounds, and their height reaches 23 inches.
The breed standard sets out the following physical parameters:
- the height at the withers in males is 23–25 inches, in females 21–23 inches;
- the average weight is 75–100 pounds and 55–80 pounds, respectively.
Important. The German Shepherd Standard excludes animals above or below the specified parameters by more than .39 inche.
The breed has a pronounced sexual dimorphism. Males differ not only in weight and height at the withers but also in physique – they are stronger and more massive than females. The difference is easy to see if you put a female and a male next to each other.
German Shepherds grow up to 11-12 months of age. But the formation is completed only by the age of 1.5-2 years.
The weight of an adult German Shepherd Dog must not exceed the permissible mark. Extra pounds impair working qualities, provoke the development of many diseases. Any deviation affecting performance is considered a serious defect.
Color and varieties
German Shepherds come in three colors – black and yellow, gray, black. However, there are many subspecies within each suit. According to the standard, none of the colors has many advantages over the other. There is only one requirement – good pigmentation.
The most common color of the German Shepherd is black-backed (black and yellow). These are the dogs that appear in movies and commerials. The back of the animal is covered with a V-shaped black mantle that captures the sides and top of the tail. The lower part of the body is light – most often fawn, but can be brown or gray. There is a black mask on the face.
Other colors of the German breed:
- solid black is one of the rarest colors. The shade of the coat is deep and rich. Blotches of a different color are unacceptable;
- zoned gray – with a gray color, there are darkening on the back and a black mask on the muzzle;
- zone-red – the red-haired dog, like the zone-gray, has darkening on the back and a black mask on the muzzle.
The White German Shepherd is out of the breed. It’s distinguished by an unstable character, shyness, and fearfulness, therefore, she is not suitable for performing official duties.
Depending on the structure of the coat, there are two types of dogs:
- longhaired – guard hairs are rather soft. Feathers form on the ears and limbs, and pants on the hips. The tail is fluffy with a characteristic dewlap at the bottom
- smooth-haired – the fur is thick, dense, with a good undercoat. Slightly longer at the neck, thighs, and tail. The hair does not bristle but fits snugly to the body.
In Germany, only short-haired dogs are allowed to participate in exhibitions.
In 2010, long-haired Germans were recognized as a separate breed. Previously, such animals were considered defective. Experts point out that fluffy German Shepherds are overly excitable and nervous. Therefore, they are less often used as service dogs.
Important. it is forbidden to cross long-haired and short-haired animals.
There are dwarf German Shepherds. It is an unrecognized variety that has emerged as a result of a genetic malfunction. Animals are not allowed for breeding, however, some people have them as pets.
German Shepherd Character and Behavior
The AKC standard describes the character of the German Shepherd as self-controlled, balanced, calm. Dogs are confident in themselves and their strengths, friendly to people. They show aggression only in extreme situations.
At the same time, the character of the breed is courageous, fighting, firm, and hardy. These qualities make the Germans ideal service and guard dogs.
Of all the variety of positive qualities of German shepherds, in the first place is their incredible loyalty to the owner. It is enough to remember only two stories.
In 1976, the entire Soviet Union was shocked by the news of a German shepherd dog abandoned at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. By that time, the dog had already lived near the runway for 2 years and met every flight of Il-18 aircraft. It was on this that her master flew away. It later became known that the necessary documents were not corrected for the dog, it was not allowed on the plane and the man left the shepherd on the airfield. The airport staff named it Palm and fed it. But the dog did not approach anyone and did not make contact.
it just waited for her master, never realizing that he had betrayed her. Fortunately, everything ended well – Palm was taken to Kiev, where she gradually recovered from stress and even left offspring.
And the second story happened in Argentina. In 2006, the owner of a German shepherd named Captain died. When the relatives returned from the cemetery, they did not find a dog in the house. The search yielded nothing, and the family decided that the dog had escaped. A week later, they visited the grave and found their shepherd there. How she got to the churchyard, no one understood. He settled next to the grave and lived like that for 10 years. At the end of his life, the kidneys of the shepherd began to fail, but she still did not leave the grave for a long time. After the death of Captain, they cremated and buried him near the owner, to whom he remained faithful for all the years.
Along with such examples of nobility and selflessness, all other merits of German shepherds fade. A devoted friend is the best thing that can happen to a person.
Many people live in the misconception that Germans from birth know all the commands and do not need training. However, the lack of upbringing will necessarily affect the behavior. An uncontrollable dog is dangerous – it causes problems for both the owner and those around it.
German shepherd and children
Representatives of the breed easily find a common language with children. They steadfastly endure petty pranks, without expressing aggression. However, it is better not to leave the child alone with the dog. A large dog can accidentally push or scare a baby.
The German is an excellent guard dog. Physical data, endurance, temperament led to its widespread use in this capacity. The animal is able to instantly recognize the threat and quickly develop a plan of action.
On a note. The security and sentry qualities of the breed are appreciated by law enforcement agencies and security forces.
How To Choose The Right German Shepherd?
To choose the right German Shepherd puppy, you need to study the breed standard and find a reliable kennel or breeder. It is advisable to consult with experienced dog handlers to get a complete picture of these animals.
Only a purebred German Shepherd has the inherent qualities of the breed. The sex of the animal is of no small importance. The male requires more thorough training. Without proper upbringing, a dog grows up to be headstrong, harmful, aggressive, and completely useless. Females are more agreeable and calmer, so they are better suited for beginners.
Choosing a German Shepherd puppy should start with meeting the parents. Exceptionally functionally and clinically healthy individuals bring full-fledged offspring. A professional breeder should promptly answer any questions regarding the content, development, temperament, and characteristics of their pets.
When choosing a puppy, you should pay attention to the conditions of detention. If the pups are clean and well-groomed, then the owner spares no time and effort in caring for them. Dogs should not be in cramped cages or isolated from people.
It is best to take a puppy around two months of age. By this time, the first vaccinations have already been made, and the pup is ready to leave the nursery. To participate in exhibitions, you should purchase grown-up juniors, since at 6-8 months it is much easier to determine the purebredness of a German dog.
Important. If a German Shepherd puppy looks thin and haggard, does not show interest in strangers, is frightened by unfamiliar sounds and smells, most likely it’s sick. It is better to refuse to buy such a dog.
To identify a German Shepherd puppy, you should carefully examine it for compliance with the standard:
- a well-formed skeleton;
- not too long coat;
- brown eye color;
- saber tail without kinks;
- strong back, shortened lower back, developed hips;
- scissor bite.
Experienced dog handlers identify a German Shepherd puppy by the structure of its paws. Pedigree dogs have elongated, straight, and large limbs. If you take a responsible approach to the choice, a real shepherd dog will grow from a cute baby – a loyal friend and a formidable defender.
Who is better: a male or a female german shepherd?
Features of males and females:
- the male is larger and more massive, prone to dominance. During adolescence, you will have to be firm in order to establish the correct hierarchy. The pet can be aggressive in stressful situations and lose composure when meeting a female in heat. Purebred males are interesting to breeders – they are used for mating;
- A German shepherd female is more affectionate and friendly. It’s more attached to people, learns easily. However, during estrus, it needs to be protected from communication with males in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
Who is better – a male or a female – is difficult to answer unequivocally. The choice depends on the goals for which the person starts the dog and their experience.
German Shepherd Weight and Height Table by Month
With the help of the table, you can clearly see the dynamics of development. Slight deviations from the specified parameters are permissible depending on individual characteristics.
|Age (month)||Height (Inches)||Male’s weight (pounds)||Female’s weight (Pounds)|
Care and Maintenance
German Shepherds are considered unpretentious animals. Caring for the coat is reduced to combing a couple of times a week, during the shedding – daily. Mandatory hygiene procedures:
- ear cleaning;
- examination and rubbing of the eyes;
- trimming claws, if the pet does not grind them off on its own;
- maintaining dental health with special treats.
Dogs are given quality prepared food or natural food. In the latter case, the diet includes:
- lean meat and offal;
- sea fish;
- porridge – buckwheat, rice, barley, oatmeal;
- fresh or stewed vegetables;
- dairy products.
The dogs are fed twice a day at the same time.
On a note. It is permissible to combine natural food and ready-made food. But giving different types of food in one meal is prohibited.
Training and education
German Shepherds are easy to train, but training is a long process that requires patience and effort. The puppy begins to educate from the first days of its appearance in the house. It’s taught to follow the rules of cohabitation, the mode of activity, and rest.
Important. An adult dog is more difficult to wean from unwanted habits, so you can’t postpone parenting until later.
When the dog gets comfortable in a new place, they begin to work out the basic commands. classes are built in a playful way so that the pet is interested. for the correct actions, it’s generously praised and encouraged with delicacies.
Show dogs need handling. It is worth taking a few lessons from a professional so that the dog gets the necessary skills. Correct posture of the German Shepherd shows strength, harmony, and alertness. The animal is placed with one hind leg extended to show its special topline.
Can I keep a German Shepherd in my apartment?
At home, the German Shepherd feels cramped – it is a large breed that needs a lot of space to play. However, the dog can adapt to any condition. The question is whether the owner is ready to spend more time walking and caring for the pet.
With a lack of movement, finding a shepherd in an apartment will turn into a real disaster. An active puppy will chew on anything it can reach. To avoid this, you should remove vulnerable objects from the reach zone in advance and do not leave the pet alone for a long time.
At home, the German Shepherd receives less sunlight and fresh air. Therefore, she must be taken outside at least twice a day. The optimal duration of exercise is 1 hour.
German shepherd on the street
The Germans are well adapted to life on the street. However, the pet should have a kennel where it can hide from bad weather or bright sun. There is no need to make the booth too spacious – in winter the dog will be overcooled due to excessive heat consumption for heating.
It is not recommended to keep your German Shepherd puppy outside during winter – the small dog is not yet ready to withstand severe frosts. But if the dog lived with his mother in the fresh air, it is permissible to leave him in the yard.
On a note. In winter, the animal needs to be given more nutritious and high-calorie food.
German Shepherd Puppy Care
To raise a healthy animal, you need to properly care for it and provide it with a balanced diet. Small dogs are actively growing, so they are fed more often than adults:
- up to 2 months – 6 times a day, 200 ml portion;
- 2-3 months – 5 times, 300 ml portion;
- 3-6 months – 4 times, 500 ml portion;
- 6-10 months – 3 times, portion 0.75-1 l.
From 10 months, puppies are transferred to two meals a day.
Important. If you know the normal weight of a German Shepherd puppy by months, you can notice in time a lag in development or other pathologies that threaten the well-being of the puppy.
Weight gain peaks in the first 4 months of life. Exhaustion, like extra pounds, is fraught with diseases of internal organs, bones, and tendons, deterioration of the condition of teeth, skin, and hair. The development of a German Shepherd puppy can be traced to the age and physical parameters:
- newborn puppies weigh about 500 g for males and 350 g for females.
- German shepherd puppies: 1 month – pets are developing intensively. Every day, their weight increases by about 100 g;
- at 2 months old German shepherd puppies are still very clumsy. A puppy at 2 months should weigh 10–12 pounds. At this time, it is better to keep it breastfed. Together with milk, dogs receive antibodies that are important for the formation of immunity. By the end of the 2nd month, a German Shepherd puppy should weigh about 20 pounds;
- at 3 months, the weight of a German shepherd reaches 35 pounds, height – up to 18 inches. At 3 months, the German shepherd actively learns the world around him – it’s time to start socialization and training;
- at 4 months, the dog becomes more massive: the skeleton becomes heavier, the chest increases in volume. For full development, she must eat densely and in a balanced manner. A German shepherd puppy at 4 months reaches 21 inches in height, weighs up to 50 pounds;
- 5 months – at this time, they pay attention to the intellectual development of the dog. Growth rates are slowing down a bit, but are still quite high. The weight of a German shepherd dog at 5 months increases to 57 pounds, height – up to 21 inches;
- 6 months – adolescence begins. The dog is already very similar to an adult animal: height up to 23 inches, weight about 65 pounds;
- 7 months – the change of teeth is completed, the reproductive organs are formed. The pet gains muscle mass and grows more in width than in height;
- from 8 to 10 months, the growth practically does not change, the weight of the German Shepherd reaches 82 pounds. Bones are strengthened, the dog is ready to receive more physical activity without harm to health.
By 1 year, growth in height finally stops. However, the pet is still gaining weight due to the increase in muscle. Growing up ends at 2, and sometimes at 2.5-3 years.
Vaccinations and Diseases That Affect German shepherds
Taking care of the initial vaccination of the puppy falls on the shoulders of the breeder.
At 8-10 weeks, babies are protected from the most common diseases:
- infectious hepatitis;
- plague of carnivores;
- parvovirus enteritis;
After about a month, the vaccination is repeated. In six months they give an injection for rabies. Adult animals are annually revaccinated, every 3 months they are treated for worms, fleas, and ticks.
The most common disease of the breed is hip dysplasia. The disease can appear at any age.
Causes of the disease:
- poor heredity;
- rapid growth of a young dog;
- lack of calcium in the diet;
Also, the Germans are prone to problems with the gastrointestinal tract, ophthalmic diseases, epilepsy, hemophilia.
A German Shepherd has a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Pros and Cons of The Breed
|High intelligence||Abundant shedding|
|Good learnability||The need for constant physical and mental stress|
|Excellent sentry and security qualities||Difficult to keep in an apartment|
|Compatible with children||Possible problems with the musculoskeletal system|
|Lack of unreasonable aggression||–|
The German Shepherd is an excellent companion, guard, and protector. But in order for a pet to become a true friend, it needs a lot of attention, proper educate and training.