German Shepherd Dog: Background & How to Care For Them

The Ultimate Guide To The German Shepherd Dog Breed
88 / 100

The German Shepherd Dog is a versatile and intelligent breed that is prized for its loyalty, bravery, and trainability. Originating from Germany, they have been used for various roles, including military, police, search and rescue, and as loving family pets. With their distinctive appearance, strong work ethic, and friendly disposition, they have become one of the most popular breeds in the world.

This article from the Canvas Personalized goes into detail about the breed to help you decide if a German Shepherd is suitable for you and your family.

1. Overview Of The German Shepherd Dog

Key traits

Key Traits Of The French Bulldog Puppies
Key Traits Of The French Bulldog Puppies
OriginGermanyGood WithFamilies, children, cats, and other dogs
Dog Breed GroupHerding, Guard DogTemperamentGentle; friendly; playful; anxious and aloof
Common nicknamesAlsatian
Alsatian Wolf Dog
Energy LevelAverage
HeightMale: 24-26 inches
Female: 22-24 inches
WeightMale: 65-90 lbs
Female: 50-70 lbs
Tendency to DroolLow
CoatMedium-length double coatSnoreHigh
ColorTan with black saddle, sable, solid black or bi-colorBarkFrequent
Life span10-14 yearsEasy To TrainHigh
Other traitsEasy to groom; high prey drive; apartment-friendly; cold weather tolerant; strong loyalty tendencies and good hiking companion
Key Traits Of The French Bulldog Puppies

The German Shepherd Dog, or Alsatian in the United Kingdom and certain other parts of Europe, is one of the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the United States and perhaps one of the best-known dog breeds in the world.

Sourced By The American Kennel Club

There’s a solid reason why it is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are an intelligent breed of working dogs with courage and loyalty. Moreover, their adaptability is remarkable.

While German shepherd puppies display many admirable characteristics, not everyone feels the same. This dog has a lot of energy and needs to run about and play all day, as it was initially intended to herd sheep. If they are bored or frustrated, they may act out in ways you find unacceptable, like barking or chewing furniture.

German Shepherd Puppies
German shepherd dog vs. Australia shepherd dog – Copyrighted By

A German Shepherd puppy’s appearance and personality may vary slightly depending on whether its parents were bred in the United States or Germany. Based on the key traits of this breed, we will show you how it differs from the Australian Shepherd dog:


  • Intelligence: The German and Australian Shepherd are brilliant dogs that want to please their owners and are easy to train.
  • Loyalty: Both breeds are known for their commitment and protective nature. They are frequently used as working dogs by their family.
  • Energy Level: Both breeds have high energy levels and require plenty of exercise and physical activity to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Herding instincts: Both breeds have strong instincts, often used in herding livestock or obedience and agility trials.


German Shepherd DogAustralian Shepherd Dog
CoatThick and long double coatThe single and medium-length coat
TemperamentGentle; friendly; playful; anxious, and aloof. They tend to be more reserved and cautious with strangers.Friendly; willful; playful; intelligent. They are often more outgoing.
PurposePolice work, military work, and search and rescueCommonly used for herding livestock
TrainingTrained for more complicated tasks like tracking and protectionPrepared for obedience and agility trials
Key Differences Between The French Bulldog Puppies & Australian Shepherd Dog

It’s important to note that individual dogs can vary greatly, even within the same breed. How a dog acts independently depends significantly on its temperament, training, and other things.

>>Go beyond with the best guide to take care of Australian Shepherd Dog Breeds!

Best For
It’s recommended that families with children and/or adults who can devote the time and energy necessary to teach a German Shepherd puppy take on this breed.


German shepherds, widely recognized as one of the most popular dog breeds, are lauded for their unique strength and elegance. These giant dogs, which weigh approximately 50–90 pounds, are easily recognizable because of their perked-up ears and dark, almond-shaped eyes, which convey an alert yet friendly look.

Appearance Of The German Shepherd
The appearance of the German Shepherd

The American Kennel Club states that German shepherds have a double coat of coarse outer hair and a thick, soft undercoat that allows the dog to survive virtually any temperature—brushing your German shepherd multiple times a week in the spring and fall because of their excessive hair is essential.

The German Shepherd Dog is a large breed with a strong, muscular build. Some of the key features of the breed’s appearance include:

  1. Coat: German Shepherd puppies have a double coat that is thick and dense. The outer coat is medium to long, and the undercoat is dense and soft. Coat colors include black and tan, black and silver, sable, and solid black.
  2. Ears: They have large, erect ears, a distinctive breed feature. The ears are sensitive and can pick up even the slightest sounds.
  3. Tail: German Shepherd Dogs have a bushy tail that is carried low when the dog is relaxed and lifted when the dog is alert or excited.
  4. Head: They have a strong and well-defined head, with a broad skull and a well-defined stop (the point at which the skull meets the muzzle).
  5. Muzzle: They also have a solid, square-shaped muzzle with a scissors bite (the top incisors overlap the bottom incisors).
  6. Body: German Shepherd Dog has a solid and muscular body, a deep chest, and straight, strong legs.

The German Shepherd Dog comes in various sizes and shapes, as the breed is not uniform in appearance. However, the breed standard established by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America provides guidelines for breeders and enthusiasts to follow when selecting and breeding a dog.


The Temperament Of The German Shepherd Puppies
The Temperament Of The German Shepherd Puppies

The German shepherd dog is a shy dog that takes some time to warm up to meet new people, but they become devoted companions once they do. They are kind and accessible around their loved ones, but German Shepherds are naturally distrustful of outsiders, so if they feel their family is in danger, they will go into “guard dog mode.”

This breed is brilliant and easily trained. The versatility of the German Shepherd means it can be taught to perform everything from finding an avalanche victim to alerting a deaf person to the doorbell ringing.

German Shepherd Early Socialization
German Shepherd Early Socialization – Copyrighted by German Shepherd 101

Like other dogs, they can spend extended periods alone. When people don’t have social interactions, physical activity, and opportunities to use their brains, they can quickly feel lonely and depressed. If your German Shepherd doesn’t get enough exercise and attention from you, it may act out in undesirable ways.

Like other dog breeds, German Shepherd puppies benefit significantly from early socialization or exposure to various people, places, things, and activities. Your dog will develop into a balanced adult dog with proper socialization. Hence, this dog is incredibly trainable and has the potential to make a wonderful family pet.

2. What To Expect When Caring For German Shepherd Puppies?

Health Issues

Generally speaking, German Shepherds can live up to 14 years, but they are prone to many health issues throughout that time. Understanding the most common canine health problems will help keep your dog healthy and extend its life. Some of the health issues to be aware of include the following:

  • Hip dysplasia: The dog has a highly genetic condition that affects the hip joint and can cause pain, lameness, and arthritis.
  • Elbow dysplasia: This is similar to hip dysplasia but affects the elbow joint instead.
  • Bloat: This type is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition in which the stomach twists on itself and cuts off blood flow.
  • Degenerative myelopathy: German shepherd puppies can have a progressive spinal cord disease that can cause hind-end weakness and paralysis.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans: This joint disorder can cause pain and lameness in the front legs.
  • Allergies: German Shepherds can have skin allergies that can make them itch, lose hair, and get skin infections.
  • Epilepsy: This is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and exercise, can help keep your German Shepherd dog healthy and reduce the risk of these health issues. Buying a German Shepherd from a reputable breeder who checks their dogs for these and other health problems is also essential. 

Caring and Grooming The German Shepherd Puppies

In terms of grooming, German Shepherds require more frequent and intensive grooming than most other dog breeds. Their thick double coat shields them from the sun and keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. To keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny, you must brush it daily with a pin brush with the proper grooming tools, especially in the spring and fall when your dog sheds the most.

Bathing is also an essential part of keeping your dog healthy. Plan on washing your German Shepherd every three to four months or whenever they get filthy, as more frequent bathing might strip their coat of its natural oils.

>>> Discover more helpful antifungal dog shampoos to keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy!

To avoid tartar buildup, use a canine toothbrush and toothpaste during daily grooming sessions, and have your vet clean their teeth once a year. While a German Shepherd’s ears do not require frequent cleaning, you should check for symptoms of infection while brushing your dog’s fur. If needed, contact your veterinarian once you see any signs of infection.

Safe Chew Toys For German Shepherd Puppies
Safe Chew Toys For German Shepherd Puppies – Copyrighted by The German Shepherd

One thing to keep in mind is that this breed has strong jaws, so it could hurt its teeth, ingest something harmful, or suffocate on the incorrect item. So provide your dog with safe chew toys and bones to keep it occupied when you can’t play with it.


A well-trained German Shepherd is an asset to any family, and training should always feature positive reinforcement (using treats, toys, and lots of praise). So it’s critical to get them started right away with training to begin obedience training and socialization with other dogs and people, including teaching the dogs basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “roll over.”

Training The German Shepherd Dogs
Training The German Shepherd Dogs – Copyrighted by German Shepherd Country

Furthermore, because it was initially developed to herd cattle, training your dog’s sense of smell with puzzle toys and outside smelling excursions is essential. So instead of devoting time to obedience training, try to get out of the house and do some physical activity for at least an hour every day. Remember that an active German Shepherd is a happy dog, and providing them with mental and physical stimulation will significantly improve their quality of life.

If your German shepherd dog remains unruly after a period of training, it means your dog’s training methods are inappropriate. So, the day you bring your dog home should be the day you establish ground rules that everyone must follow.


Because of its size and breed, it is critical to tailor a German Shepherd Dog‘s food to its high energy and activity levels.No matter what you feed it or how much of it you give it; you should ask your vet or a certified animal nutritionist for guidance since its nutritional requirements will shift as your dog ages from a puppy to an adult.

Remember that when your dog is four or seven months old, it will have rapid growth, so feeding them a high-quality, low-calorie meal that prevents excessive growth benefits them greatly. Also, until your German shepherd puppy is at least two years old and their joints are fully mature, avoid letting them run, jump, or play on hard surfaces like pavement.

If you let your German Shepherd dog gain too much weight, it may develop health issues, including arthritis. Moreover, it is prone to skin allergies and digestive problems, so choose a brand that includes skin-supportive nutrients and easily digestible proteins.

Last but not least, don’t forget the sweets, either! It would be best if you didn’t leave out treats when calculating how many calories your dog needs per day, as they are an essential part of any training regimen.

Ideal Living Environment

The most important thing if you want your German Shepherd dog to thrive as a pet is to be willing to devote time and energy to playing with and training the dog. So living in the country or the suburbs, with more room to run around and play, is preferable. Moreover, because of their size and energy level, these dogs are best suited for a home with a fenced-in yard.

Ideal Living Space For German Shepherd Puppies
Ideal Living Space for German Shepherd Puppies

Moreover, German shepherd puppies can live well in apartments if they get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and engage in exciting indoor pursuits. But if you live in a city with plenty of people and dogs, you need to consider it because this dog breed is susceptible to environmental stimuli and can suffer from stress. So you can take it for walks during less chaotic times of the day and along less hectic routes to reduce anxiety.

German Shepherds may look tough, but they’re relatively gentle. If left alone for too long, they may develop severe loneliness. If you are gone for an extended period, consider putting your dog in doggie daycare or hiring a pet sitter.

In terms of the ideal owner, the German shepherd dog would be perfect for someone who is both energetic and interested in spending time outdoors with their dog.

3. German Shepherd Dog Adoption

Ensure the breeder you adopt your German Shepherd puppy from has a solid reputation in the industry. Moreover, the cost of adopting one can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the dog’s age, the source of adoption (shelter, breeder, rescue organization), and the location. This breed can generally cost anywhere from $450 to $1,900. Alternatively, adoption costs might range from $250 to $350.

Adopting The German Shepherd Puppies
Adopting the German Shepherd Puppies – Copyrighted by The German Shepherder

Vaccinations, grooming, food, and pet insurance coverage will add to roughly $3,500 in the first year alone: every year, the price drops by $500 to $1,500.In addition, the average cost of a dog’s lifetime care, including vaccinations, spaying or neutering, regular grooming, and boarding, is $47,000 to $99,000.

Finally, consider that a mixed-breed dog that is part German Shepherd may be the perfect choice for adoption. As a result, you might be able to have a puppy with the traits and appearance you want without as many of the health problems that plague purebred Shepherds.

>>>Check out these amazing country dog names to pick one for your new puppy!

4. Other Fun Facts

  • In the 1920s, the German shepherd Rin Tin Tin acted in several films after being rescued from a battlefield. He is regarded as the driving force behind the breed’s meteoric rise to fame and subsequent media dissemination, most notably in the eponymous 1950s television smash The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.
The German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin
The German shepherd Rin Tin Tin – Copyrighted By New York Times
  • Buddy, a German shepherd dog, and his owner, Morris Frank, are credited as the first American pair to assist visually impaired veterans of World War II after completing the training in Switzerland. The buddy skillfully navigated the crowded city streets with Frank in tow, and the benefits of guide dogs for the visually impaired became widely known.
German Shepherd Puppies
Buddy And His Owner, Morris Frank – Copyrighted by German Shepherd Training

>>>Further reading:

The German Shepherd Dog is an amazing breed with a unique combination of intelligence, strength, and loyalty. They are highly trainable and adaptable, making them suitable for various activities, from search and rescue to obedience training to simply being a loving companion. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded with a loving, loyal, and dedicated companion for years to come. Check out more interesting dog breeds by following the Canvas Personalized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Breeds Dog