What is a German Shepherd like?
Much like your introverted friend, German Shepherds might not be the quickest to socialise. They do not warm easily to strangers, and is hence often regarded as aloof and distant. Yet, once they have decided that you are worthy of their trust, the can be one of the most loyal dogs around. It is also precisely why German Shepherds make for such great family pets. They protect both adults and children in the family with a heightened sense of alertness, and make for great watchdogs.
German Shepherds are also an incredibly smart dog breed. They are highly receptive to training, and can handle an impressive range of different tasks. It’s no wonder they are frequently employed by the police forces. Yet, their abilities go beyond just search-and-rescue missions. They are often also used as guide dog for the blind or disabled.
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Coexisting with a German Shepherd
German Shepherds are large dogs that can easily weight up to 40kg. Their muscular limbs and bodies are built for outdoor runs and other activities. Yet, despite their sturdy frames, they are made of smooth curves, rather than squarish lines that are prevalent in other well-built dog breeds like the French Bulldog.
The coats themselves are thick and hard, and the colours remain a mystery when they are young. Until the puppy sheds its outer coat, the colour is not known. Typically however, it is a combination of both black and brown colours.
I’ll do best in a home with children aged 8 and up.
I’ll do best in a house with no cats.
Basic profile of a German Shepherd
01. Exercise Requirements
As dogs that were historically breed for their athleticism, German Shepherds have higher-than-average exercise needs. They don’t do well in a small apartment, and would prefer to have backyards where they can run around in. Yet even then, these would still be insufficient to meet their need for activities.
Outdoor runs, games of fetch, and even frisbee, are more suitable activities. Your German Shepherd will be more engaged. If possible, try to enrol them into canine activity classes, such as agility and tracking training. Not only do these activities keep the German Shepherds occupied, they are also fun and rewarding.
03. Potential Health Issues
German Shepherds are generally healthy dogs that go on to enjoy fulfilling lives with their owners. As long as frequent visits to the veterinarian are mandated and regular checkups are done, there should be little cause for worry of any long-lasting medical conditions.
Something to note is that at some point, your German Shepherd might develop a condition called “Panosteitis”. These are random episodes in which your dog might feel sudden lameness in the legs. This weakness will cause them to walk funnily, or sometimes not at all. However, most German Shepherds eventually grow out of this with age.
02. Obedience Training Style
Blessed not just with intelligence, but also an incredible work ethic, German Shepherds are highly receptive to trainings. As long as these sessions are started when they are young, preferably when they still puppies, the chances of success are going to be high.
With positive reinforcement trainings, breaking in these German Shepherds should be no problem. More tricky, however is when it comes to socialising. Since these dogs are typically more introverted, it will take more patience to get them to bond with not just humans, but also other dogs.
04. Nutritional Requirements
It is easy to make the mistake of feeding German Shepherds lots of table scraps. After all, their large and intimidating statue suggests they need lots of food for daily sustenance. Indeed, their calorie intake is high, ranging between 1,700 to 2,100. That’s almost thrice the amount required by toy dogs like the Chihuahua.
Yet, pet adopters should be careful in what they feed to the German Shepherd. Table scraps, with their high fat content, could easily cause digestive upsets. As such, they should be given most sparingly. Meanwhile, cooked bones such as chicken wings, are definite no-nos.