German Shepherd (Alsation)
A quick history lesson!
A picture of a German ShepherdIn 1899, Von Stephantiz from Germany came across a dog at a sheepdog trial that had all the characteristics of a German shepherd, agility, alertness, quick learner and a powerful dog. I was registered later as a German shepherd breed. The German shepherd breed was used as a police working dog and from then on its breed was renowned for as a working dog in many forms i.e. guide dogs for the blind, guard dogs and police dogs. In 1906 the breed reached America but in the event of World War 1 and World War 2, the originality of the breed was not appreciated so admirers of the breed introduced the breed as Alsatian wolfhound. To this day the breed is still sometimes referred to as Alsatian.
Identifying the breed:
German shepherd dogs come in a wide variety of colours such as black and red, black and cream, all black, all white, black and silver, liver and blue. But more commonly known as black and tan colourings with a back that looks like if has a black saddle.
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Are you a suitable owner for a German shepherd?
An owner of a German shepherd needs to be someone who has time to show them the dedication they will show their owner. An owner must be able to give attention to their dog on return from work or being away for long periods of time during the day. Remember! A German shepherd is originally a working dog so exercise is essential; an active body keeps an active mind and that in return provides a healthy pet. Ideally a German shepherd would require a garden that is well fenced in so they could have space to run and play in, but they will equally fit into a home without a garden once brought out regularly for walks and play time.
German shepherd dogs come in both long and short haired coats. Both of which will shed all year round but particularly in spring time and fall. Their coats consist of two layers, the outer layer is thick and course, resisting rain, and the inner layer is to retain body heat in the cold weather, making them very suitable dogs to sleep outdoors all year long. Grooming is not essential, regular light brushing and bathing when needed, always using appropriate shampoo to avoid any skin irritation.
German shepherds are traditionally used as working dogs and quite often guard dogs. This means, in relation to their personality, as a pet they are highly trainable, very loyal and highly intelligent. German shepherds will often consider themselves the protector of the family and will naturally be wary of strangers but that doesn’t translate to them being unfriendly but they will usually assume the owners attitudes towards a person you meet. A German shepherd will very much trust their owner’s judgement and react accordingly.
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German shepherd puppy
Floppy ears that may not stand properly until they are six months old. Your puppy should look well fed but not a big full belly as that could suggest worms, poor feeding or both. Their abdomen should be pink and clean with no scratches or signs of irritation.
On the caution side – get a puppy from someone close to you with a good reputation. It is always a good idea to display both parents and their papers on file. Inquire about their vaccinations and deworming tablets but also enlist the help of your veterinarian to have a look at the puppy once you bring it home.
German shepherd Adult:
Firm pointed ears that are never usually pulled forwards. Long neck and body rather than tall in height. Bushy tail that will often turn upwards at the end. Strong hind quarters/ back legs and well muscled. Weighting between 30 to 35kg for a bitch and 35 to 40kg for a male.
In general, it would be considered that 13 years is a good life expectancy for a German shepherd. Dogs, in general, are considered adults when the reach about three years of age. As your dog gets older, their personality will shine through and their puppy madness will become less prevalent. They will still require and active life in the form of regular walks and runs to maintain a healthy dog lifestyle but in some cases puppy play i.e. pulling toys etc… may become less frequent. They can become calmer and follow you around less than before and be quite happy to be by themselves for sleeps during the day. But there will also be those select few that will have their puppy madness moments and follow you everywhere until it’s time for them to leave us.
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Health conditions German shepherds are prone to:
- Acral lick dermatitis (skin on their legs)
- Dermodicosis (skin)
- Aortic Stenosis (heart)
- Cataracts (eyes)
- Pannus (Cornea)
- Epilepsy (nervous system)
- Exocrine Pancreas insufficiency (Pancreas)
- Hypothyroidium (Endocrine system)
- Gastric Dilatation (Stomach)
- Hip Dysplsia (hips)
- Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (Bones)
- Panosteitis (Legs)
- Von Willebrand’s disease (blood)
Most of these conditions would be detected before a German shepherd is three years of age with regular veterinary visits.