The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd Dog is the 2nd most popular breed in the US, and most popular breed in some cities. Experts attribute their popularity to their loyal, courageous, and teachable nature. If you are considering adopting a German Shepherd Dog, here is what you need to know.
A Little History
In 1889, Max von Stephanitz registered the first German Shepherd Dog. Aiming to develop a superior herding dog, Stephanitz achieved quite a bit more. German Shepherd Dogs were officially recognized by the AKC in 1908. During WWI, in part due to their versatility, they were selected by many countries as war sentries. To distance the breed from Germany, the AKC briefly called them “Shepherd Dogs” but eventually reverted in 1931. The star of many films, the German Shepherd was even featured in Batman comics between 1955 and 1964 as “Ace the Bat-Hound.”
What are German Shepherd Dogs Like?
While the German Shepherd Dog is best for experienced pet-owners, it is also known to be affectionate with children. They tend to be assertive with other dogs, but generally do well with cats. These brave workers make excellent police dog, guides, guards, competitors, and can even detect explosives and narcotics. Such a repertoire makes them ideal protectors.
Weighing anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds, and standing between 22 and 26 inches high, this breed has a strong, elegant build. There are 11 color variants, but the most common combinations are tan (or red) and black. The rarest colors are solids, such as all black or all white.
Caring for German Shepherd Dogs
Be prepared to brush your German Shepherd Dog’s coat often. Over a typical 10-year lifespan, expect to brush your German Shepherd Dog’s coat 1,040 times, or twice a week. This is beneficial for both you and your dog, as their medium-length hair sheds year-round. A weekly bath and nail-trimming will also help maintain a healthy coat and paws. In addition to an active lifestyle, this breed requires mental exercise, so play games that make them think. You should also remember to check their ears regularly to avoid infections from waxy build-up. As they consume 3 to 4 cups of dry food each day, they need all their teeth, so remember to brush them regularly, too!
A healthy German Shepherd Dog lives for about 12 years, but proper veterinary care is critical. Routine visits help identify health concerns and prevent unnecessary illness. The conditions most common among German Shepherd Dogs are Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)1 and Elbow Dysplasia1. They are also prone to a fatal fungal infection called Aspergillosis1.
It costs about $1,150 to adopt a German Shepherd Dog, and you can expect to spend another $550 on supplies, initial veterinary expenses (vaccines, spay/neuter, exams, etc.) and insurance. After that, each additional year can cost around $975. Given their propensity for certain medical conditions, a Pet Insurance Policy from 4Paws Insurance can help to offset unexpected veterinary expenses.
Sandy Says: Comments from our Chief Pet Officer
The German Shepherd Dog is a great addition to the family for experienced pet-owners. Their intelligence makes training an enjoyable experience, and you might be surprised by how quickly they learn. Very few breeds can perform so many complex tasks, so if you are looking for a distinguished companion, it just might be the German Shepherd Dog.