06 Jun 2011

Breed Profile – German Shepherd

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Before buying or adopting any puppy or dog of any breed it is important to know what breed is right for you. Here is a checklist, if you answer yes to all these questions; you are a step closer to finding out whether a German Shepherd is right for you.

Do you have a house with a large garden?

Do you have an hour or two to walk your dog?

Do you have time to train your dog?

Do you have ten minutes every other day to groom your dog?

Could you cope with ongoing vet bills from a health issue such as hip dysplasia?

Can you afford food and vet bills, which increase as the dog size does?


German Shepherds can be black and tan, black and sable and all black, some can be white but this colour is deemed unacceptable. They have long muzzles with a black nose, strong jaws, almond eyes, a bushy tail and large erect ears.


Male German Shepherds can be around 30-40 kg in weight and 60-65 cm in height.

Female German Shepherds can be around 22-32 kg in weight and 55-60 cm in height.


German Shepherds need strenuous activity combined with mental activity like training. They require long walks daily whether it be a brisk walk, jog or running alongside a bike and some ball play.


Due to their breeding, German Shepherds experience hereditary hip and elbow dysplasia. Being a large dog they are also susceptible to bloat. They also can develop eczema and ear infections. The life span of a German Shepherd is around 9 – 13 years.


German Shepherds have a willingness to learn and a loyal nature. They bond well to those they are close to. However, they can be overprotective if not socialised correctly. German Shepherds respond best to positive reward training.


The German Shepherd was bred for intelligence and so is a quick learner. They are used as police dogs and for search and rescue. Training activities can include scutzhund, agility and flyball.


German Shepherds can come in three types of coats: rough, long-rough and long-haired. German Shepherds seasonally malt; however, they will shed hair all year round. Therefore, brushing every day will result in less vacuuming but brushing once or twice a week is good enough. German Shepherds should only be bathed when necessary due to sensitive skin and should be checked for nail trimming regularly.

All these factors need to be taken into account when discussing whether a German Shepherd is the right dog for you and your family.

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