Breed overview the German Shepherd

by Amy Cooper
German Shepherd

Are you considering getting a German shepherd? Or are you just interested in the breed? Well, this is the perfect place to start! This post is a short summary of the German shepherd breed characteristics from their size to how much exercise they need.

Breed overview

German shepherds, also known as Alsatians, were originally bred as a herding dog so are classed as a working breed. Since they were bred to heard they are a large breed standing at 26”-31” to the withers, weighing between 23 and 41 kg with a lifespan of 10+ years. They can have a short or long coat so grooming requirements will differ from dog to dog, but they all shed lots! The breed standard colours are bi-colour, black, black and gold, black and tan, bark sable, gold sable, grey, grey sable and sable. However, there are also many non-breed-standard colours like white, blue and liver. 


German shepherds are a double coated breed and can have medium length or long fur. As the nickname “German shedders” suggests they shed a LOT!! Not only do they shed considerable year-round, but they also blow (shed even more) twice a year. There is no way to stop this shedding so if you get a German shepherd make sure you’re prepared to have dog hair everywhere and to brush them at least twice a week! Obviously, German shepherds will also need their nails trimmed and teeth cleaned regularly exactly the same as all other dogs.


As German shepherds are a working breed they need a reasonable amount of exercise, ideally 2+ hours a day. Not only do they need physical exercise like walking or running but also mental stimulation. This can be done by training, which your German shepherd will love or using puzzle toys. 


The health of a German shepherd can vary depending on if it’s from a working or show line. This is because show lines generally have a downwards sloping back which can cause spine problems. Whereas working lines generally have a straight back, reducing the chance of spinal problems. Other than this German shepherds are quite a healthy breed, but like most large breeds they do have some more common conditions. These includehip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, GDV, EPI and allergies. However, all good breeders have both parents genetically tested/screened for these problems. This means that when you buy a puppy you know it’s got a much smaller chance of developing these problems when its older. 


German shepherds are loyal, confident and courageous dogs that love their owners with all their heart. They are not aggressive dogs but can have a natural instinct to protect its owners or territory. However, with proper training and socialisation this won’t be a problem. They are also very smart so will take to training quickly and will love learning to please you. 

So, overall, German shepherds are very smart and easy to train, get along well with children and pets with good socialisation. So will make a great family pet but also assistance dog due to their eagerness to work and please.

P.s. you can shop all our German Shepherd products here!

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