German Shepherds are known for their fierce loyalty, steady nerves, self-assurance and relaxed nature. They are considered very easy to train, being highly intelligent dogs, and are often used as police and service dogs because of this combination of characteristics; in fact, they were originally bred in Germany back in the 1800s for this purpose.
They do require consistent training, though they highly respect authority and will become a home’s greatest defender – even happily looking after any other pets in the home, which they’ll treat as a member of the family (making them a great breed to add to a home that already has cats.)
They’re striking and easily recognisable dogs, with strong, well-muscled bodies of a medium to large size; hitting as high as 45 kilograms fully grown. They come in a range of colours – most commonly black and tan, but may also have a reddish tan, black/gold to light grey markings. They have a double coat, the top coat being straight, dense, harsh and lying close to their body.
Caring for a German Shepherd
Their working dog background and strong build means making a commitment to regular and rigorous exercise and play to keep them mentally and physically healthy. They also benefit from a large backyard – which they’ll happily ‘patrol’. Do be aware they are enthusiastic barkers; all part of the guard dog service.
While the breed is known for being quick and enthusiastic learners that respect authority, it is very important that they receive this – like most highly intelligent breeds, they could quickly become unmanageable as pets or working dogs without it. That said, they are incredibly loyal and protective of all those they love.
German Shepherds benefit from a healthy and nutritious diet, best fed as smaller regular meals instead of all at once. They also require daily brushing to remove loose hair (do not expect clean floors with a German Shepherd in the house – they are heavy shedders, and this daily brush will help!)
In terms of common health complaints, German Shepherds should be watched for hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and bloat.
- Height: Male: 60 - 65 cm, Female: 55–60 cm
- Weight: Male: 30 - 40 kg, Female: 22–32 kg
- Life expectancy: 10 – 13 years
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