German shepherds are the second most popular breed in the United States. Highly recognizable, these great dogs get noticed wherever they go. People are often drawn to their beauty, strength, and intelligence. They’re also recognized for their use in movies, television, law enforcement, the military, and more.
Whether you’re an owner, are thinking of getting one, or prefer to stay a distant admirer, there are common questions that are often asked about this breed. Despite their popularity, there’s some mystery surrounding these dogs. Some of the most common questions are found below:
1. How big do German shepherds get?
German shepherds are medium to large sized dogs. The American Kennel Club breed standard stipulates that, when full grown, male dogs have a height of 24 - 26 inches and weigh 65 – 90 pounds. Females have a height of 22 -24 inches and weigh 50 – 70 pounds.
There are many great German shepherd dogs that can be found larger than the breed standard. These dogs often weigh 100 pounds or more. They may be AKC registered, pure bred dogs. However, if you’re looking for the breed standard, the dog will weigh much less.
2. Is it easy to train a German shepherd puppy?
This is not an easy question for a couple reasons. The simple answer is, yes. German shepherd puppies are easy to train because they are very smart. However, because they are so smart, they require lots of time and attention. Training should start the day they are introduced to their new home.
Some people are caught off guard about how energetic German shepherd puppies are. They’re simply not prepared for the time it takes to raise one. German shepherd puppies also develop strong bonds to their new family and don’t do well alone for long periods of time.
When they’re puppies, a common training concern is preventing puppy biting and mouthing. They’re also curious, and experienced owners know that they need lots of supervision because they’ll get into everything they can.
It’s very important to socialize them around other dogs and people so that they grow up to be stable, well-mannered adults. All problems should be addressed immediately while young. They respond well to consistent positive reinforcement, praise, and treats.
3. At what age should I get a German shepherd puppy?
German shepherd puppies should stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks. Some breeders will keep them for up to 12 weeks. In general, the AKC also recommends waiting until puppies are 8 – 12 weeks old before going to their new home.
Dogs learn important social skills and go through developmental stages as puppies. It’s important to their overall physical and mental health to stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks of age. You should be wary of any breeder willing to release the puppy before 8 weeks.
4. Where can I buy a German shepherd?
There are numerous German shepherds in rescues, shelters, and up for private adoption across the United States. If you want to adopt, you can start by checking with German shepherd rescues, shelters, and adoption events. Joining German shepherd social media groups may also be helpful in locating a great dog in need of a home.
If you want to purchase from a breeder, start by doing your homework and talking to other German shepherd owners. Look for a breeder who health tests and is transparent with you. Always get breeder references. There are different lines of German shepherds. Some do better as working dogs while others are suited best as family pets. Reputable breeders will screen you and help you decide if one of their puppies is the right fit for you.
If you don’t think you have the time for a puppy, there are many adult dogs looking for a home.
5. How do I know if a German shepherd is right for me?
German shepherds are powerful, active dogs that live 12 – 14 years. They require lots of exercise, training, and attention throughout their life. They are very loyal dogs that bond closely to their family. When left alone too much, they can develop serious behavior and anxiety problems.
If you’re looking for an independent dog that doesn’t take up much time, they’re not the breed for you. If you’re looking for a companion, playmate, exercise buddy, and constant shadow trailing you around the house, they might be the perfect match.
6. Are German shepherds expensive?
German shepherds range in price depending on their breeding. However, that is just the beginning. Notoriously sensitive, they do best on high quality dog food, treats, and supplements. Because of their size, vet care, medications, as well as flea, tick, and heartworm control is more expensive.
You should also consider where and how you will exercise them, if you will hire a trainer, groomer, dog sitter, daycare, dog walker, or buy health insurance. They go through their toys faster than most dogs.
7. Do German shepherds have health problems?
As with all dogs, German shepherds can suffer from health problems. Some health problems include allergies, hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, pannus, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, allergies, bloat, perianal fistula, osteoarthritis
cruciate ligament disease, and megaesophagus.
8. Are German shepherds vicious?
No, German shepherds are not vicious. They make loyal family pets but must be trained and get plenty of exercise. As herding dogs, they are naturally protective and will defend their family. They can be leery of strangers, which is one reason socialization is mandatory. Care needs to be taken that they don’t develop resource guarding behaviors. When raised right, they are loving family members that will vigilantly protect their home.
9. Do German shepherds need lots of exercise?
German shepherds are intelligent working dogs. They require an outlet for their physical and mental energy or they will develop behavior problems. They are easily frustrated when their needs aren’t met.
The good news is, they can burn off their energy with training, playing, walks, hikes, jogs, runs, dog sports, and more. However, they need someone willing to burn off their energy each day without fail. Sadly, many dogs in shelters came from homes that were unable to provide this.
10. What do I feed a German shepherd?
There is a lot of debate over the best dog food. At minimum, they need a high quality, age specific food. Despite their strength, they tend to be on the sensitive side when it comes to food. A good dog food supplemented with small amounts of fresh eggs, vegetables, fruits, and raw yogurt can be beneficial.
11. Do German shepherds shed?
German shepherds shed all year long and twice a year, blow their coat. They require weekly brushing. If dog fur in the house, car, and everywhere else is a problem for you, you shouldn’t get a German shepherd. Most owners manage with a good vacuum and brushing twice a week.
We could fill a book with questions and information about German shepherds. The bottom line is, they are the most loving and loyal dogs for people who have the time for one. They need training, guidance, and lots of attention. They need exercise or they develop behavior problems. They don’t do well being left alone or out in a yard by themselves. However, in exchange for all you give, they’ll become your best friend and companion. They’ll protect you with their life and love nothing more than being by your side.
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