The German Shepherd Dog (also known as Alsatian, GSD or Deutscher Schaferhund) is a large breed dog with a lifespan of approximately 10-12 years. Males normally weigh between 30-40kg’s and females between 22-32kg’s. The most common coat colour is Black and Tan or Black and Gold, however you will find GSD’s with white coats and those that are all black.
Bred as a working dog, the GSD was originally used for sheep herding and guarding, however the German Shepherd Dog is now more commonly seen in the police force. The breed also excels in other jobs, such as search and rescue, guide dog for the blind, herding, tracking, drug dog and military.
You will always find the German Shepherd Dog in the ‘top 10’ favourite breeds for New Zealand, Australia, UK and the USA, which is why this loyal, highly intelligent animal is a popular family pet. As well as being a loving family pet, the German Shepherd Dog is a favourite in the showing ring as well as competing successfully in agility, tracking and obedience.
The GSD can be dated back to the 1800’s and was originally created as a herding and guarding dog, combining the best of intelligence, loyalty, endurance, strength and trainability. Bred from German herding and farm dogs, it wasn’t until 1899 that a breed society was set up for the German Shepherd Dog, which laid out the requirements for the breed standard, registration and more.
Renowned for their loyal protection to their ‘family’ and ‘home’, the German Shepherd ticks the ‘very high’ boxes for trainability as well as watchdog and protection ability. This breed of dog is considered friendly and approachable, however he does not tend to make immediate friends with strangers.
Upkeep & Health
With such high energy levels and intelligence it is agreed that the German Shepherd Dog requires daily mental and physical challenges. Daily exercise is very important, along with obedience training from a young age. This breed does require plenty of room for exercise and activity, and while mostly suited to living outdoors, you wont find many German Shepherds not wanting to stay inside with the rest of the family!
The true German Shepherd dog has a short coat, which requires minimal grooming, however the “Long Coat’ German Shepherd is growing in popularity, and while the Long Coat does not meet the breed standards, it is a wonderful family pet but does require more grooming.
As a large breed dog, the German Shepherd does have a hearty appetite and is best fed on a diet approved by your vet.
German Shepherds seem to be more prone to developing health conditions such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia and other arthritis type conditions, which is why potential owners of this breed should ensure that both parents have had their hips certified. Other health concerns that the German Shepherd may experience during his lifetime can include blood disorders, digestive problems, chronic eczema and flea allergies.