German Shepherd Facts (Essential Info on a Big, Lovable Breed)
You could make a good argument that no dog fosters a deeper sense of breed loyalty than German Shepherds. Fun, lovable, and fiercely protective, these big pooches possess plenty of qualities people desire in a canine. Of course, there are some things you should know before you bring one home.
The Basics Behind the Breed
Research indicates that the big dogs are the 2nd most popular breed out there. A lot of the reasons behind this stem from the pooch's intelligence work ethic, loyalty, and good looks. These character traits combine to produce a dog that is widely admired by pet owners as well as people in some pretty important professions.
The Physical Nature of German Shepherds
Obviously, a German Shepherd is a big dog - both the males and females can average two feet in height and can weigh up to 75 to 95 pounds. Unlike other large breeds that seem content to just chill around the home, a German Shepherd yearns for physical activity and mental stimulation. Without a proper outlet for him to burn off energy, he’ll be miserable.
Because of this, you should think twice about getting a German Shepherd if you live in an apartment or if you don’t have much of a backyard. You should also take into consideration how active you want to be with your dog through activities like walking and exercise. If you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to provide a German Shepherd with the type of active, open environment he needs, consider a different breed.
Another physical element behind German Shepherds that must be considered has to with his coat - specifically, his capacity to shed. This breed will constantly discard fur throughout the year, which could leave your carpet and furniture virtually buried under a sea of dog hair unless you’re willing to vacuum frequently. If you find yourself reluctant to bring out the vacuum cleaner as it is, bringing a German Shepherd into the fold may cause you more stress than pleasure.
The Pluses and Minuses of a German Shepherd’s Loyalty
One of the most alluring features of a German Shepherd is that they are fiercely loyal to their owners. While this manner of intense devotion is charming, it also serves to highlight a potential downside of owning the breed. Specifically, they aren’t too fond of unfamiliar types.
On one end of the spectrum, this sense of aloofness can manifest itself in the form of loud, vicious-sounding barking. On the other extreme, a German Shepherd can become extremely aggressive to the point where physically destructive or harmful behavior could manifest. These protective behaviors may intensify given certain social settings, such as if the dog is owned by a family with children.
Because of this, it is extremely important to take the time to properly train your German Shepherd. It should be known that a trained German Shepherd will more than likely still exhibit an aloof attitude toward people he doesn't recognize. However, a well-trained German Shepherd will not cross the line into unpredictably dangerous behaviors.
Major Health Issues Concerning German Shepherds
The rise of poor breeding practices has also given rise to the commonality of certain medical conditions that can afflict a German Shepherd. The most common issue with the breed is hip dysplasia, which is a condition marked by malformed hip joints leading to degeneration. Other disorders associated with German Shepherds include issues involving the pancreas, vertebrae, and the spinal cord.
In order minimize these issues, you should always do a careful analysis of the dog’s bloodline if you are getting your pooch through a breeder. Doing so will help you determine whether or not your dog will be more susceptible to these diseases. In the long run, it will minimize the chances of you bringing home a pooch whose life may be cut unexpectedly short.
They Will Love You Unconditionally!
Once you bring a German Shepherd into your home and establish a proper bond with him, you will have a dog that will be your buddy for the rest of his life. Just be sure to reciprocate that sense of loyalty by treating him with respect, providing him with the space, exercise, and training he deserves. And yes, some people may think he’s a bit of a grouch, but you’ll know the real story.