Breed Spotlight: German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of America’s most recognizable breeds because of their popularity both as pets and work dogs. Originating in Germany in the early 20th century, they were originally bred to herd and protect sheep, as well as serve as working dogs. German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, strength and abilities in obedience training, but that doesn’t stop them from being extremely cute puppies and great pets. Are you curious if a German Shepherd is the dog for you? Take a look at these facts to learn more.


German Shepherds are considered to be self-assured and are willing and eager to have a purpose. They are known for their distinct personalities and fearlessness. They are also curious and protective dogs, and if not socialized properly, they can become over-protective of their family and territory. Their protective nature makes them great guard dogs and police dogs, but it is important to train them in social situations and help them recognize that not all strangers present a danger. Once they have befriended someone, they are extremely loyal and devoted.


Most German Shepherds live for 9-13 years, but you should pay close attention when choosing a breeder to buy from, as some build breeding programs more conscientiously than others. Inbreeding has led to some common diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy and more. These risks are reduced if dogs are purchased from more conscious breeders who work to improve the overall health of their dogs. German Shepherds are large dogs and tend to stand between 22 to 26 inches. Males weigh an average of 66 to 88 pounds and females weigh 49 to 72 pounds. As with most Shepherds, shedding is common, and with a double coat of fur, it is likely you will find dog hair around your house.


Since German Shepherds are known for their high intelligence, training them is fairly easy if done with diligence and at an early stage in the dog’s life. Effective training requires firmness and respect, and positive, reward-oriented training is strongly recommended.  While it may take some time and dedication, once trained, German Shepherds are loyal companions. They are not known to bark more than other breeds but will bark at strangers if they are feeling protective. It is extremely important to socialize them early to avoid this and other bad behaviors.

Exercise Needs

German Shepherds were originally bred as work dogs, which means they tend to have a lot of energy. As with any high-energy dog, it is important to keep them active. They will likely require daily walks and regular runs to stay in shape and let out pent-up energy. German Shepherds are their happiest when they can be given constant physical and mental stimulation, making them most suitable for families who spend a lot of time at .

German Shepherds are known for their history of being working dogs, which is why many police departments and search and rescue teams still use them today. While they make for great work dogs, they are also a faithful companion at home. If you have the time and energy to dedicate to training and playing with a dog, a German Shepherd may be the right choice for you. Consider your schedule and day-to-day responsibilities before committing to a pet, and remember that just like humans, German Shepherds thrive in environments full of love and attention.

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