German shepherd dog

One of the most popular breeds in the world. It is a smart and loyal dog, perfect for security and family life.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 25—30 kg
male: 35—45 kg
female: 60 cm
male: 65 cm
requires little time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
6—8 puppies
in 1899
Life span
Life span:
10—13 years


German Shepherds are all-purpose dogs. They combine a lot of qualities: intelligence, loyalty, calmness, and courage. Shepherds are loyal only to one person. They love and respect their owner. At the same time, they remain affectionate to other people. These pets do not like loneliness. Without attention of people, these dogs fall into depression. They need a constant contact, active games and walks. 

Shepherds show aggression only if they feel danger. These dogs are very friendly. They get on well with other animals and like playing with children. However, sizes of German Shepherds should be taken into consideration, so that it does not accidentally hurt the kid.


Intelligence of German Shepherds allows them to become working and family dogs. These pets need to be trained from a young age. Puppies can start being trained one month after their birth. At that age, the model of behavior of a dog is forming. The pet learns how to behave with the owner and other animals. Training should take 10–15 minutes a day.

You need to show your dominance without aggression. Shepherds cannot be hurt. They grow up mentally up to three years of age. After they turn six months old, you can start teaching your Shepherd basic commands like «come here», «go to your place», «no», «stay close», «sit down», «lay down», «walk», «fetch». After completing a command, the dog should be praised and be given a treat. It is important not to forget to teach your dog to walk on leash and in a muzzle.

When dog`s bones become stronger, your pet can start being trained to overcome obstacles. However, this work should better be done by professional dog trainers.


German Shepherds are of medium size. Their body is strong and muscular with a rosy chest.
Short, of double thickness. The undercoat is thick.
Black and tan, black with red and brown, brown, yellow and light-gray patches. Solid black and dark-gray are also acceptable.
Wedge-shaped, proportional to body length. Its length is equal to 40% of the height from the withers.
Of medium size, almond-shape. The color is dark.
Big and straight, of triangular shape.
Strong and muscular.
Strong and muscular. Front legs are straight, hinds ones — slightly more bent.
Wide and long. It hangs down from a slight curve.

Basic Care

German Shepherds do not need much time to be groomed. Their thick undercoat should be brushed once a week. During the moulting time — in spring and fall — every day, using a brush for thick hair. Then pet your dog with wet hands to take off left hairs.

These dogs should be given a bath 2–3 times a year, or when they get dirty, with a special shampoo and in warm water. Their claws need to be trimmed once a month. Brush their teeth with a special paste, or give your dog raw bones to chew on. Eyes and ears need to be cleaned once in two weeks with wet cotton pads. 

German Shepherds should be fed with either high quality dry feed or natural food. Taking into consideration the size of these dogs, they need to get a lot of proteins. Such natural ingredients can be given: not greasy meat — beef or lamb; grains — buckwheat, rice and wheat porridge; fat free dairy products — kefir, cottage cheese or sour cream. Boiled fish should be given once a week. It is important to clean it from bones. Vitamins and minerals should be added to dog`s diet, but it is better to consult a vet first.

German Shepherds can live either inside, or outside. If your dog lives in a yard, it needs to be protected from precipitation and wind. If a German Shepherd stays inside, it needs to have a place for sleep. Put a mattress or bedding for that. You should definitely buy toys for your dog. German Shepherds need to be walked for at least 30 minutes 2–3 times a day.

Health and Illnesses

German Shepherds can live up to 13 years if treated well. Their health is strong, but some hereditary issues are present. Because of popularity of this breed, its gene pool was damaged by bad breeding work. 

Hip dysplasia is a common disorder that deforms a dog`s joint. Head of femur is not located in the socket, which leads to erasure of the bone. This can immobilize the pet. Some German Shepherds are born with this disorder. However, it cannot be immediately diagnosed. If your dog starts limping — you should consult a vet.

Corneal dystrophy is a hereditary health issue that reduces transparency of dog`s cornea. This disorder does not affect the eyesight, but might cause some discomfort.

Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary health issue of blood that disrupts its clotting. If a dog gets injured, a heavy bleeding starts. The disease can be diagnosed only with a genetic blood test. 

With time, such disorders might develop: intussusception, cataract, epilepsy, pancreatic insufficiency, hind legs paralysis, cancer. It is important to take your dog to a vet once in half a year and get it vaccinated from rabies and helminths in time.

History of the Breed

German Shepherds is an old breed. Dogs that looked similar to representatives of our modern pets were mentioned in the 4 th century AD. They were called «Indian wolves» and lived on the territory of modern Central Europe. These dogs were tamed by local tribes for protection from attacks of enemies. Later, tamed wolves were used to protect cattle from predators. For that purpose, cattle owners picked the most intelligent and enduring pets. The popularity of guard dogs was growing. Hovawarts were mentioned in the 7 th century. In translation from German, it means «yard guard». Death penalty threatened everybody who would kill a dog.

As time passed, appearance and behavior of dogs changed. The first German Shepherd participated in a show in Hanover in 1882. A dog named Greif became the first in the pedigree book of the breed. Later, owners of the «Ganau» breeding place showed two more large Shepherds — Pollux and Prima. They gave birth to more than 20 puppies that became champions and winners of shows.

In 1891, Max Emil Frederic von Stefanitz established the first club of German Shepherd lovers. His influence on the breed was nationwide. In 1899, an «updated» German Shepherd participated in a first dog show. The breed won in 1925. Von Stefanitz died in 1936. He was killed by members of the Nazi Party. They were against the idea of popularizing German Shepherds abroad. In 1939, WWII began. As a result, a lot of German Shepherds and breeding places were destroyed. Followers of Marx kept some purebred dogs and continued developing the breed. International dog shows started being held again in 1946. Five years later, a German dog Rolf vom Osnabrücker became the champion and the founder of the modern breed.