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German Shepherds

Breed information & advice

German Shepherds or Alsatians are loyal dogs with German heritage dating back to the 1800’s. Their initial purposes were flocking, herding or working alongside the military in the first world war as messengers and guard dogs. This loyalty and protective nature has never wavered, making them the tenth most popular dog in the UK.

German Shepherds are great with children and incredibly intelligent so, for the most part are obedient and easy to train. However, their intelligence does also mean they may look for other ways to entertain themselves if they are not stimulated enough mentally. This means that you will need to establish who is in charge in your household and have one clear source of direction. Treat your German Shepherd with kindness and consideration and they will love you unconditionally.

Recommended exercise & nutrition

Due to their size, German Shepherds require a lot of attention when it comes to exercise. It is recommended that you take your dog for a one hour walk twice a day. German Shepherds are eager to please and love learning new things, so keep them occupied with interactive toys and playtime. These dogs are great for people who lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a canine companion to keep them on top of their fitness.

As with most animals, the size and build will affect how much your dog should be fed. A 44kg dog can eat up to 650g of food per day but a 26kg dog will only need around 430g. Whether you choose to feed your German Shephard dry food or wet food is at your discretion. Treats that you give your dog as part of their training should be accounted for and food should be balanced with plenty of exercise.

Grooming Tip

Did you know that a German Shepherd has two coats of fur? Their outer layer is usually the one that sheds throughout the year.

Common health problems & illnesses

There is no reason for your German Shepherd not to lead a happy, healthy life. However, make sure that you stay on top of your dog’s health and look out for early warning signs of the most common problems found in German Shepherds. Pick from our selection of dog insurance policies.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is a condition that affects the hips of dogs and can lead to severe mobility issues. Animals that suffer from dysplasia have hips and elbows that haven’t formed properly through their adolescence. This can cause pain in the affected dog, but can often be fixed with surgery.

Blood clotting is the biggest symptom associated with haemophilia, but it can lead to internal bleeding which often goes unnoticed. If haemophilia is something that runs in a dog’s family, then it is important that you get your pup checked out. It is mostly male German Shepherds that are vulnerable to haemophilia.

German Shepherds can sometimes suffer from pituitary dwarfism and indicators usually show within the first sixteen weeks of their lives. Your dog won’t grow and won’t develop its teeth, body and legs at a normal rate. Pituitary Dwarfism usually occurs due to a lack of the right hormones so hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment, but unfortunately, there is no long-term solution.

Your German Shepherd might suffer from seizures as part of a larger epilepsy issue. As with epileptic humans, this happens when there is an uncontrollable burst of electrical activity in the brain. A vet can usually prescribe medicine to help control the seizures, so ensure you take your pup to see a specialist straight away if they start exhibiting signs.


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