German Shepherds have become a very popular family pet. However, many might be a little concerned about some things about them, such as whether they have a good temperament. This article will explore more behind German Shepherd pups and some important information about them to ensure that they will make a good addition to your family.
The History of the German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is believed to have originated in the mid-1800s in Germany. They were bred due to a local dog breeding society, known as the Phylax Society, as a way to help protect farm animals and herd sheep. The first German Shepherd in existence was believed to have been a dog named Hektor von Schwaben. This dog gets its name from the country is was first bred in as well as from its original purpose of helping to herd sheep.
How Big Do German Shepherds Get?
German Shepherds can be a medium or large-size dog depending on the dog itself and whether it is male or female. For males, the common height is 26 inches, while for females it is 24 inches. Males can also weigh anywhere from 60-88 lbs. and females have an average weight of 50-70 lbs.
Do a German Shepherd’s Ears Automatically Go Up?
If you’ve seen a German Shepherd, you’ll more than likely notice that their ears point straight up. While some might think that this is done through a special procedure, it’s actually natural. Most of their ears will go up by themselves anywhere from four to seven months of age. Sometimes they might flop back down again occasionally but will usually go back up a short time afterward. You need to make sure your puppy gets plenty of calcium which is what helps to keep their ears up as it keeps the cartilage in it strong.
The Personality and Temperament of German Shepherds
There are a few interesting personality and temperament aspects of German Shepherds.
They are Gentle
While many think that German Shepherds might be aggressive, they actually tend to be very gentle. However, they need to be properly trained and socialization as a GSD puppy. Otherwise, they might be a little rough when playing or being around other animals and people.
They are Loyal
German Shepherds are very loyal dogs. In fact, they will form a very strong bond with their owners and try to please them in any way they can. Because of this, it also makes them very easy to train because they want to make you happy.
They are Smart
This dog was bred to protect and herd animals which means they need to have a strong intelligence. Due to this, they are extremely smart dogs and are actually considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. They are always willing to learn which makes it easy to train them. This is often why they are used as police dogs because they learn things quickly.
They Like to Be on the Move
As mentioned above, this dog was bred to be active. Because of this, they love to be active and move around, even if it’s just going on a walk.
They are Friendly
German Shepherds are extremely friendly dogs and calm when around other people and animals. They especially love kids and can interact with them safely if they are socialized often.
The Energy Levels of German Shepherds
German Shepherds are very energetic which is why it’s important you give them plenty of exercise. Due to this, it’s important that you only add a German Shepherd puppy to your home if you can give them enough exercise and keep them active. Otherwise, they might end up acting out, such as being aggressive or chewing things, as a way to help release this strong energy.
It’s important to make sure your dog has at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. This will help them to get most of their energy out and relax.
Common Health Ailments of German Shepherds
This breed has a few common health ailments that you’ll need to watch out for. Below are some health problems to keep an eye out for.
German Shepherds tend to suffer from various digestive ailments due to their digestive tract being a bit sensitive. Due to this, they might end up vomiting, having diarrhea, or suffering from weight loss because they are in pain and their stomach is unable to handle the food being put into it.
This could also lead to bloat. This means your dog’s stomach malfunctions by expanding itself with air. It will then twist around which can cut off their circulation. If you find your dog might be suffering from this, take them to your vet immediately as if not treated quickly could prove to be fatal.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Another common ailment that German Shepherds suffer from is elbow and hip dysplasia. This causes abnormal functioning of these two joints which can result in severe pain for your German Shepherd. In fact, if not treated, it could lead to the joints being dislocated or even causing problems such as arthritis.
Sometimes German Shepherds can have problems with their immune system which can lead to Lupus. This is when the immune system attacks the body because it’s malfunctioning. This can result in inflammation around your dog’s body which can cause red spots, severe itchiness, a decreased appetite, and even organ failure.
German Shepherds are predisposed to this condition which affects their spinal cord and could eventually lead to them having lameness in their feet or limping. While they are predisposed to this condition, it is rare, so there’s no need to fear that your dog will automatically get it.
While these are concerning health conditions, there are many medications and treatments to help heal them. You could use natural remedies as well, such as CBD oil, to help with certain conditions, such as skin allergies.
The Grooming Needs of German Shepherds
If you are thinking about adding a German Shepherd to your family, you’ll need to keep in mind that they have some very specific grooming needs. Below are some important grooming aspects to consider.
Wash and Brush Their Hair
German shepherds have a thick coat which means it needs to be washed and brushed often. Because they have a double-coat, it’s important to brush them every day. This will help to remove loose hair, dead skin, and other particles that might be in their fur.
You want to be careful not to give your German Shepherd too many baths as doing so could end up stripping their skin of natural oils that help to keep it hydrated. Because of this, it’s ideal to give them a bath every four months. However, if they end up getting dirty in some way, a bath to remove the particles and dirt from their fur is fine.
When it comes to brushing their hair, always make sure to use a soft brush. This will help to prevent tough bristles from irritating their skin which could lead to scratches. When brushing, make sure to move the brush from their neck down to their tail. Other motions could end up making it difficult to brush their fur and could cause skin irritations.
Never Shave Their Fur
Pet owners need to make sure to never shave their German Shepherd. Because they have a double coat, shaving their fur will end up causing it to grow back in irregularly. This can end up damaging their fur and its appearance. Due to this, you only want to brush, wash and trim their fur.
Brush Their Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth might sound a little strange, but it’s very important. In fact, if you don’t take care of their dental health, your dog could end up getting various types of dental disease and a build-up of plaque and tartar. There are special dog toothbrush and toothpaste options you can use to brush their teeth. You could also invest in dental dog treats which your dog can chew on to help loosen up plaque on their teeth.
Trim Their Nails
You need to make sure to always keep your puppy’s nails trimmed. This will help to prevent their nails from getting too long which could end up making them scratch themselves to the point of bleeding or even make it difficult for them to walk. You can buy a nail trimming kit to do this job yourself, but make sure to do so carefully. If you cut the nail too low, it could end up causing severe bleeding.
Keep Their Ears Clean
While German Shepherds don’t have floppy ears, they still can be susceptible to ear infections. This is especially so because of the fur around their ears which can harbor bacteria. You can clean their ears with cotton balls and dog-designed ear drops to help dissolve earwax. Be sure to never use water to clean their ears though as it could lead to infections if it gets into their ear canal.
If you’re concerned about certain things in your dog’s ears or want to make sure they are cleaned correctly, many vets offer ear cleaning services.
Dietary Needs of German Shepherd Puppies
German Shepherd dog puppies have a few dietary needs you’ll need to consider to ensure they grow to be healthy and strong. Below are some important food items to give to your puppy to help with this.
All dogs need protein, but this is especially so with German Shepherds. Some of the best proteins for German Shepherds are poultry, beef, and fish. A puppy needs quite a bit of protein and their meals need to be at least made up of about 22% protein. This will help to ensure their body will grow well and their bones will be strong.
Fruits and Vegetables
German Shepherds need to have various types of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Some of the best to include in their diet are carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and strawberries. All of these are packed with incredible antioxidants which will help to keep them healthy and active.
Rice is packed with fiber which is very beneficial for German Shepherd puppies. It’s also filled with plenty of vitamins and minerals to help keep them healthy. Make sure to always cook the rice to help your dog digest it better.
You’ll want to be careful with other types of grains though as they could cause skin allergies to your German Shepherd. It could also make their sensitive digestive system react in painful ways. Because of this, it’s very important to only use grains like rice to help prevent this.
Omega-3 will help your pet’s immune system to stay healthy. It can also make sure their skin is moisturized which can prevent skin allergies and irritations. Because German Shepherds tend to shed a lot, it’s important they have Omega-3s to help prevent their skin from being irritated. Besides this, Omega-3s can prevent other health problems such as arthritis and heart disease. Some of the best food items packed with Omega-3s to give to your German Shepherd are fish oil and flaxseeds.
Cottage cheese is a good thing to give to your German Shepherd puppy as it’s packed with calcium and plenty of vitamins and minerals. You should give them about ½ tsp. to one teaspoon of it per meal for the best results.
Yogurt is also a good thing to give to your German Shepherd. It’s filled with probiotics which will help to keep your puppy’s immune system working well. It can also improve their digestive system which can sometimes not work very well. You can give your pup anywhere from one teaspoon to one tablespoon of yogurt depending on their weight and size. However, if you decide to give them yogurt, it’s best to start out small. This way, you’ll be able to see whether or not the yogurt works well for your puppy.
Other Important Dietary Information to Keep in Mind
A puppy German Shepherd also needs to eat a lot every day. It’s often recommended that they get four small meals per day to ensure they are getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals for their growing body. If you’re concerned about whether you’re giving your puppy too much food, you can look at their rib cage. You should be able to see or feel it. If you can’t, it’s a good idea to cut back a bit on their food.
You’ll also want to make sure a puppy gets about 500 calories per day. As they grow, slowly start to add more calories to their diet until you reach about 1,700 calories. It’s important to do this slowly to help prevent giving them digestive problems.
If you don’t want to make food for your German Shepherd puppy, you’ll find quite a few premade options you can choose from. However, you’ll need to be careful as some premade options might contain fillers and preservatives that could be harmful to your pet’s health. This includes corn, wheat, and animal by-products. Because of this, you’ll want to be careful and look closely at the ingredients in the food to ensure they don’t cause problems to your pet.
Training a German Shepherd Puppy
Because these dogs are very intelligent, they are easy to train. You want to make sure to start training them as soon as possible so they learn commands quickly and learn how to properly behave. Some important things to first teach them are basic commands, like sit and stay, and also to stop biting, which is common in teething puppies. Whenever your puppy does something right, make sure to reward them with positive words and a small reward. They’ll quickly learn what is appropriate behavior and what is not. It’s important to not yell at them if they mess up as this can make them stressed and could cause them to be a little aggressive or even ignore what you are telling them.
Buying a German Shepherd Pup: Where to Get a German Shepherd Puppy
If you’re looking for a German Shepherd puppy, there are a few places you can find one at. One of the most popular options for those looking for German Shepherd puppies is to use the services of German Shepherd breeders. Breeders usually have the entire family on the grounds and can give you more detailed information behind your dog’s health and lineage. Some ways you can tell whether the breeder is reliable to buy from is to make sure they have up-to-date health certifications, allow tours of where your puppy will live and are knowledgeable about German Shepherds and their needs. If you don’t have a German Shepherd breeder near you, you could also visit your local animal shelter and adopt one.
If you’re thinking about adding a German Shepherd puppy to your family, definitely make sure to keep the information above in mind. This way, you’ll know what to prepare for when it comes to things such as their exercise and dietary needs.