If you have arrived at this page to find great pictures and information on this remarkable breed of dog, or you may be thinking about getting one for your family, you have certainly come to the right place.
First of all, I will include a link right after this sentence so that you have an idea of who we are and our aims in life.
German shepherd history.
Compared to many other dog breeds such as the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier, the german shepherd is quite a modern breed. Even though this breed is not much older than one hundred years old, the intelligence and ease of training, as well as a stable, reliable temperament, has already made this a Uk favourite.
Research shows that their origin is dated back to 1899 and was developed as a working dog for herding sheep etc. And until this very day they continue to be used in working roles, such as assisting the police as well as the army, along with search and rescue, security and a whole host of other areas and disciplines.
I find it quite remarkable that during the first world war the British wouldn’t entertain the dog’s original name ( german shepherd ) renamed it as an alsatian, and it didn’t revert to its original name the german alsatian or GSD for short until 1977. This dog is the seventh most registered dog with the kennel club today, classed as a medium to large dog these are mighty animals along with being extremely intelligent as well.
These are active dogs and are described in the kennel club breeds standards as self-assured; they have an eagerness to learn and need to have a productive purpose in life. They are well known and used all over the world for their guarding abilities due to their size, power and curious nature. They need to be socialised correctly as puppies to ensure they don’t become overprotected of their human family members, and they also don’t take to strangers straight readily.
There are GSD purists that believe this breed of dog should have stayed a working dog and not have been so readily available for the family home. But then you could say that about all the large breed of dogs such as the Rottweiler as well as others, and that’s just utterly ridiculous in my eyes.
A Few Common health problems.
These are remarkable dogs for the right people, and like all dogs, they are susceptible to specific health problems, the types of issues differ slightly from breed to breed but here are the most common to this breed.
- Hip dysplasia – This is where the hip doesn’t fit together correctly and unfortunately will cause problems, eventually leading to arthritis. All dogs being considered for breeding from should undergo screening to minimise the risk of adding to the Uk’s pool of breeding dogs.
- Elbow dysplasia – This is another joint problem, and it is when the elbow joint hasn’t formed correctly, causing pain and further problems later on. screening for this condition is also available.
- ( DM ) – Also known as canine degenerative myelopathy as well as ( CDRM ) chronic degenerative radiculomyopathy causes a weakness in the back legs ultimately resulting in paralysis, and once again there is a screening test available for this also.
- Haemophilia – ( A & B ) This is a bleeding disorder which will stop the blood from clotting and hence causes the wound to bleed longer than it should, screening tests are available for this condition also.
- Pituitary dwarfism – This is a hormone deficiency that will cause severe growth restrictions and can ( and often does ) reduce the dog’s lifespan.
- Epilepsy – seizures caused by a brain disorder.
- Anal furunculosis – Ulceration around a dogs bottom, a rather painful disease which occurs mostly in middle or old age.
- Inherited eye disease – multifunctional retinal dysplasia, including cataracts, there is also screening tests for this.
Caring for your GSD.
It is easy to see what makes these dogs remarkable and unique and also why they are so popular, being easy to train as well as good at performing tasks, researchers carried out tests to find out the different abilities and skill sets between two popular dog breeds, the GSD and labrador retrievers. The Labrador retrievers scored higher in emotional stability and recovered quickly from frightening situations, whereas the GSD was superior in aggression and defending situations.
Which also suggested from these results that labrador retrievers were ideal for guide dog work and the GSD for police work. I think over the years that this has been proved correct as well.
Mostly all dogs bark and german shepherds are no exception, and they were initially bred for herding as well as guarding so they can be quite vocal because they either want to scare off intruders or/and alert you to something, this is quite normal for the breed.
Still, if the barking becomes too excessive, then it might be wise to contact a behavioural specialist. Your veterinary practice should be able to help you with some contact details but failing that I’m sure that a search on the internet will come up with a result for you.
Regardless of whether you bought your dog as a puppy or adopted an older dog, clear boundaries need to be set so that they are both happy and safe. These dogs are very loyal to their owners and family and also have a powerful guarding instinct, and as with all dog breeds, careful training and socialisation is a must and as with any training consistency at all times is the way to go.
Considering getting a GSD.
Make sure you do plenty of research, these are big dogs and as with all dogs need a big commitment, Make sure that the space that you have available is enough, plenty of exercise and attention along with a proper diet will keep your german shepherd happy and fit. In the right hands, this breed is very easy to train, but you must be prepared to put in the time and effort.
There are lots of rehoming/rescue centres across the Uk, and a few specialise just in the german shepherd breed, below are a couple of links for you.
If you are thinking of purchasing from a breeder then again this will also require research perhaps even more so, beware of unscrupulous dealers that have more interest in your money than what sort of home their puppy is going to. You’re going to want to know all the ins and outs of the puppy and its parents.
All the screening tests should have been carried out, and all the relevant paperwork should be there for you to view, there should be no excuses about not providing it and certainly do not settle for the paperwork to be sent to you at a later date as its been misplaced.
Spend some time with the puppy making sure that this is a well-socialised puppy, and while you’re checking out how the puppy behaves also watch the owners, see how they handle it, they should be gentle and caring and be talking to the little bundle throughout your time there.
The breeder needs to be asking just as many questions about you and your family as you are asking about the puppy, this will show the level of their interest in where their puppy goes and the type of family that you are.
There are many classified advertising websites on the internet where good quality honest reliable and trustworthy breeders advertise, but once again do your research and sort the wheat from the chaff and beware of unusually cheap puppies, below is our pets advertising website link which we recommend as a help in your search. German shepherds are such a popular dog and its a remarkable fact that over ten thousand searches online take place each month for puppies for sale.
To keep these remarkable dogs in tip-top condition is going to need preventative healthcare, so you need to include regular visits to your local veterinary practice to catch any problems early and to ensure that your dog continues to remain fit and healthy. They need vaccinations and top-ups if and when the vet suggests as well as regular flea and worming treatment.
Some vets offer a health care plan which might be something that you want to consider to help spread the cost over the year instead of paying out lump sums here and there. Another thing to consider is pet insurance, vet costs for treating an injury can become horrendous even more so if surgery is required. You’re talking about charges that can and often do run into thousands of pounds.
There are many different types of pet insurance out there and don’t just settle for the first one that you see, again research the subject and check everything that it does or does not cover.
Training is essential, and both you and your dog could benefit by going to a weekly training class, this would be beneficial to the socialising aspect of training and gives you the first indication of any behavioural problems or quirks which then allows you to address them at the first opportunity.
If you go away on holidays each year, you may also have to think about boarding costs, and Then there’s the dog walking services costs if you are unable to give your dog the exercise that it needs each day due to either injury or sickness you may rely on one of these. Grooming is another regular cost if you use a groomer whether they be at a permanent location or are mobile.
Your first task.
Assuming you now have your puppy at home, one of the first tasks should be the basic obedience training, and this lets your dog know who is in charge and bonds you together. As we know these were originally working dogs and even today they want to know what their job is and where they fit into the pack ( your family ) for this to happen you have to treat your puppy how you want him to act and behave.
Its no use trying the brute force and ignorance way by yelling and threatening, this will not work and you end up with a dog that cows at your appearance and will be aggressive and unpredictable. It’s far better that you give plenty of attention and praise and firmly but lovingly corrected, and are rewarded for good behaviour will give you far better results and a much better well-adjusted dog.
If your plan is to crate train your puppy right from the start, then you need to have the whole family on board because for the first few nights there’s going to be some howling until your puppy comes to realise that this is not a punishment but their den. It’s an essential part of house training. A dog crate trained is much easier to travel with and makes the puppy feel secure.
When you are not paying attention to your puppy, put him in the crate, more likely than not he isn’t going to like it, but it won’t take long before he is used to it. Make sure there is a small bowl of water in the crate and let him have a few chew toys, don’t leave him in there for hours because he needs to have access to fresh water and food during the day. When your puppy is let out of the cage, stick to the same routine such as outside in the garden for his toilet.
Without a doubt during the training period and possibly beyond there will be the odd mistake it’s almost inevitable, so while your at your local pet superstore pick up some stain remover and read the directions carefully to make sure it not only removes stains but the scent as well because if the dog can still smell the smell of wee, then it will again think that this is the toilet area.
Your GSD needs to be getting the proper nutrition from its food, these are large dogs, and they must have adequate nutrition all through their lives, Make sure that you buy healthy food and not food that is full of fillers. It doesn’t matter whether it is a wet food or dry, quality is the order of the day, and a proper inspection of the packaging and ingredients will inform you of that. Your veterinarian will give you all the advice that you ask.
Try to resist feeding scraps from the table, what foods are right for us humans are not necessarily good for our dogs and can have an impact on their lives later on. As your puppy grows older, its dietary needs will change, so feeding the appropriate food for the age of the dog is a must, and again this information will all be available on the quality dog food packaging.
When you decide to change from puppy food to an older dog mix then do it gradually adding a small amount of the older dog mix to the puppy mix, this ensures that there is no stomach upset which would more than likely happen if you did the change all in one go.
Try not to feed just one big meal in the day but several smaller meals throughout the day remembering to take them for their little trip to the garden each time afterwards. As well as make sure their food has had enough time to go down before a trip to the park for exercise, we don’t want to encourage the risk of bloating if we can help it.
I know its tempting to give your puppy or older dog for that matter a tempting treat, especially when they are looking at you with those big round eyes and you’re finding it hard to resist the urge, so why not give some low calorie treats then, such as pieces of crunchy vegetables put into a treat toy that makes them work for it, this not only allows them to have a treat but also stimulates the mind at the same time.
I hope you find this blog helpful we have a few other blogs that might interest you listed below.