About the German Shepherd

- Deutscher Schäferhund -

About the German Shepherd

The Gеrmаn Shepherd Dog is one of the UK's fаvоritе brееd. It is a working brееd admired for itѕ superb intеlligеnсе, devotion аnd loyalty to itѕ оwnеr, соurаgе, ѕtеаdу behavior, vеrѕаtilitу.  The Gеrmаn Shepherd Dog is is suitable in реrfоrming special ѕеrviсеѕ in lаw еnfоrсеmеnt and military work, guiding, аѕѕiѕting, ѕеаrсh аnd rescue, оbеdiеnсе competition, and of course аѕ a family pet. Thеѕе аrе ѕоmе оf thе сhаrасtеriѕtiсѕ thаt givе thiѕ breed thе mаjеѕtу thаt other dоgѕ cannot роѕѕеѕѕ.

As the name suggests, German Shepherd Dogs originated in Germany where shepherds used them to herd and guard sheep.

If you are considering adding a German Shepherd to your family, take some time to familiarize yourself with the German Shepherd temperament.

German Shepherds do well with experienced owners, but they are not generally recommended for novice dog handlers or first time dog owners.

German Shepherd Facts

Weight: 22 kg – 32 kg (Female) 30 kg – 45 kg (Male)
Height at Withers: Male 25 inches average and Female around 23 inches.
Exercise Requirements: 40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Life Span: 10-13 yrs.
Drooling Trend: Low
Snoring Trend: Low
Barking Trend: Low
Digging Trend: Low
Social or Attention Needs: Moderate
Coat: Double coat, medium length
Grooming Needs: Moderate

Popular Coat Colours:
Black and tan, Black and red, Black and gold, Sable, Liver, Black, White, Blue

Coat types:
Short coat, semi long-haired, longer haired double and single coats. Double coats have inner wool like undercoat. 

Moulting and Grooming:
Short coat German Shepherd shedding is something that happens every day of the year while long coats shed heavy twice and due to their double coats, many shedding hairs on long coats remine caught in the long coat and cause matting and knots so these need to removed, knotting can be found under the hind legs and front elbow and behind their ears. 

They need daily brushing to keep their coat in excellent health. German Shepherd shedding is moderate throughout most of the year, but German Shepherds shed profusely once or twice a year during shedding season.

During this time, their undercoat comes out in handfuls. Brushing, bathing, and professional grooming can help keep the shedding under control. However, at the end of the day, these dogs shed a lot, so if you cannot handle dog fur, this is not the breed for you.

German shepherds are similar to humans in the sense that they need to eat consistently. And just like us, they, too, have a specific feeding amount and nutrient requirements. You can’t just make them eat whatever you lay your eyes on. However, as their owner, you can’t always rely on your keen observation.

They can be a bit dishonest sometimes. They may even hide their hunger. That’s why you won’t figure out their needs by simply observing. That’s why you need to have clear standards, especially on how you feed them. Overeating can cause sugar levels to spike. The opposite can cause malnutrition.

Cost to keep a German Shepherd
German Shepherd cost about £60 per month to keep in food, treats can cost another £10 per week plus the cost of regular flee and worming treatments and annual booster. Yearly a German Shepherd would cost around £1500 per dog. 

German Shepherd Temperament and Personality

Learning about the GSD temperament is the best way to understand what to expect should you decide to bring home a full grown or puppy German Shepherd.

Here are the top temperament traits you should be aware of. Most are positive and some can be problematic if you do not offset these tendencies with proper training and socialization.

Courageous, Fearless and Focused

The German Shepherd is known for its courage. Originally, its job was to defend sheep against wolves … and those genes are still alive and well. German Shepherds make excellent watchdogs. They are also a favorite with the UK's military and law enforcement.

It may come as a surprise, but German Shepherds also excel at jobs at the other extreme — for example, as guide dogs for the visually impaired and search and rescue.

Because they have a very well developed sense of smell and tend to stay focused on the task at hand, they are also widely used in search and rescue missions as well as narcotics and explosives detection.

Alert, Intelligent and Trainable

The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent breed. Happily, German Shepherds are very willing to apply their intelligence when being trained. And as a result, you should expect that they will require regular mental stimulation.

There are many options to help keep your GSD mentally active. One of the best ways to keep your dog’s mind engaged is to do daily training sessions. Intelligent breeds such as German Shepherds enjoy learning new things throughout their lives.

You can also prevent boredom with enrichment items such as brain game toys, food puzzles, and Kong toys stuffed with treats.

When you have to leave your German Shepherd home alone, make sure to leave novel toys and puzzles to keep your dog from getting bored or anxious.

If you do not provide enough mental stimulation, your German Shepherd may develop nuisance behaviors such as chewing, barking or digging in the garden.

German Shepherds are sensitive dogs and they can be prone to anxiety-related issues such as separation anxiety.

Exercise, training, and mental enrichment can help reduce anxiety. You can also try products such as calming chews, pheromone plug-ins, and/or a Thundershirt. However, if your dog is displaying extreme anxiety, consult with your veterinarian and a positive reinforcement trainer.

Well-built, Strong and Energetic

German Shepherds are big dogs. They are athletic and strong, with all the qualities of a great working dog. They usually excel, physically and mentally, when working.

Consequently, if you plan to include one in your family, it is essential that you budget at least one hour a day for physical activity with your GSD.

There are numerous benefits to exercising your dog daily and with this breed daily exercise is more a rule than an exception.

A brisk walk or a run would be ideal; throw in obedience training or other fun activities like swimming into the mix and you should have yourself a stable, happy, pet.

Loyal and Protective

The typical German Shepherd temperament manifests as indifference to strangers coupled with a strong protective instinct of her family.

GSDs are very loyal — particularly to one person in the household. It is therefore vital to socialize your German Shepherd from an early age to prevent this protective instinct from turning into outright aggression.

Without proper socialization and management, a German Shepherd could pose a bite risk to strangers.

Enroll your GSD puppy in a puppy socialization class at the earliest opportunity. Use treats to help your German Shepherd to develop a positive association with strangers.

The German Shepherd with Children
With proper socialization, supervision, and management, German Shepherds can be wonderful companions for children. 

The German Shepherd Temperament with Other Dogs and Cats

German Shepherds can generally coexist peacefully with other animals as long as they receive proper introductions, training and management.

Expose your German Shepherd to other animals at a young age.

If your GSD is reactive to other dogs on leash, try socializing him at a doggie daycare.

He will get to socialize with other canines off leash and his interactions will be monitored by professional staff members.

Another great option for socialization is to sign up for a group obedience class. Your GSD will learn how to focus on you even amidst the distraction of other dogs.

Male vs. Female German Shepherd Temperament

Every dog is an individual. There are really no consistent differences between male and female German Shepherd temperaments.

It is more important to get to know the individual dog that you are considering.

Many rescues and breeders conduct temperament tests to get a sense of a dog’s individual temperament.

If you adopt your GSD from our rescue our  foster homes and kennels will be able to give you a very good sense of your dog’s personality.

German Shepherd Obedience Training

German Shepherds are incredibly smart and motivated. This makes them a rewarding breed to train.

German Shepherd training should be fun for you and your dog. Always use force-free, positive reinforcement methods.

Avoid trainers that use “dominance-based” methods training methods.

Never use painful tools such as prong collars, choke chains or shock collars.

Do not use physical tactics such as spanking or “alpha rolls.”

Instead, sign up for a positive reinforcement obedience class. This type of class will help you strengthen your bond with your dog. It is also the most effective method of training.

Why Rescue or Adopt A GSD?

German Shepherds are extremely common in UK rescues.

Most of these GSDs are homeless due to no fault of their own. Many are given up to rescues when their owners move or fall upon financial difficulties.

Some owners are forced to surrender their GSDs due to landlord or homeowners insurance restrictions. German Shepherds are frequently on the list of “dangerous breeds” that are prohibited by certain insurance companies and property managers.

Make sure you know the rules and regulations for your residence before you acquire one of these dogs!

With so many German Shepherds needing new homes, please make adoption your first option.

Did you know

The UK-GSR  has never put a healthy dog down.