German Shepherd - PetFirst
PetFirst Pet Insurance, German Shepherd
Breed Spotlights

German Shepherd

by MetLife Pet Insurance
6 years ago

Life Expectancy: 10 – 14 years
Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Weight: 75 – 95 lbs.
Height: 22 – 26 inches

Where Does the German Shepherd Rank?

See where this beloved breed ranks in comparison to other breeds in 7 key categories.


9 out of 10 rankingOverall, the German Shepherd is an easy-to-train, eager to please breed.

Shedding Friendliness

2 out of 10 rankingThe German Shepherd is a heavy shedder. To reduce the amount of fur which is being shed, be sure to groom your German Shepherd two to three times per week.

Ease of Grooming

Your German Shepherd should be brushed two to three times per week to remove any excess fur. Your German Shepherd’s nails will need to be clipped regularly. Cleaning your German Shepherd’s ears weekly will prevent ear infections in this breed.


2 out of 10 rankingGerman Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, as well as blood and digestive disorders, epilepsy, eczema, and dwarfism.

Exercise Needs

9 out of 10 rankingYour German Shepherd will need a minimum of 60 minutes of activity per day to remain happy and behavior-free. This could be playing a game of fetch or going for a walk.

Good with Children

10 out of 10 rankingThe German Shepherd is very good with children and quickly becomes part of the family.

Barking Restraint

8 out of 10 rankingBarking is not generally a problem with German Shepherds.


What You Need to Know About German Shepherd Dogs


The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in America. He is extremely intelligent and capable of partnering with us in even the most difficult positions. He is extremely courageous and devoted to his pet parent as well as his family or ‘pack.’ German Shepherds are seen working alongside police officers, military, search and rescue and those with disabilities.

German Shepherds generally are not immediately friendly but once they get to know you, they become extremely loving and dedicated. He is extremely loving to his family and threatening to strangers which make him an excellent guard dog.

German Shepherds require a great deal of attention and are not the dog for you if you will be gone for long periods of time. Without companionship, German Shepherds will develop behavior problems and may become destructive. German Shepherds require activity, both mental and physical, to remain happy and healthy both mentally and physically.

Puppies need early socialization and exposure to many different sounds, experiences, and people at a young age. This will assist your German Shepherd in becoming a well-rounded dog.


German Shepherds are extremely intelligent and eager to please their pet parent; however, they can be difficult to train at times due to their ‘stubborn streak.’ Overall, training is extremely successful with time and bonding opportunities.


German Shepherds were originally bred to endure harsh climates. They have a double coat to protect them from weather conditions. German Shepherds shed continuously; and have a shedding period twice a year, when they shed excessively. Brushing your German Shepherd two to three times per week will assist them in maintaining a healthy coat and reducing the amount of fur found around the house.

Health Problems

Hip Dysplasia (as found in many large dog breeds)

Elbow Dysplasia – This is a condition common to large breed dogs. This may be caused by different growth rates found in the three bones of the elbow. .
Bloat – Bloat is most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. Bloat is a life-threatening condition which needs to be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Bloat may occur if your dog eats too quickly or drinks large amounts of water at a time.

Degenerative myelopathy – Degenerative myelopathy is a disease of the spinal cord; the portion of the spinal cord which communicates information to the brain regarding a dog’s hind legs. Dogs with degenerative myopathy are unable to move their hind legs properly and may not be able to walk as the disease progresses.

Top 10 Most Common Health Issues for German Shepherds

  1. Otitis – middle ear infection
  2. Dermatitis – inflammation of the skin
  3. Pyoderma – a bacterial infection of the skin
  4. Colitis – inflammation of the inner lining of the colon
  5. Gastroenteritis – inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that involves the stomach and small intestine
  6. Conjunctivitis – pink eye
  7. Panosteitis – a bone disease characterized by bone proliferation and remodeling
  8. URI – upper respiratory infection
  9. Allergies
  10. Mass

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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