Where Did the German Shepherd Originate?
German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) originated in Germany in the late 1800s. Originally, GSDs were not companions, rather they worked for farmers to herd sheep and protect them from predators.
After World War I, people realized how easy German Shepherds were to train, thus establishing them as a popular household pet.
What Are German Shepherds Bred For?
German Shepherds are bred primarily as working dogs. They’re extremely trainable and their drive to protect cannot be understated.
If you have a German Shepherd, you already know they’re fiercely loyal and make for a wonderful companion.
How Big Do German Shepherds Get?
Male German Shepherds typically get to be 24-26 inches at the shoulder, while females are usually between 22-24 inches tall – either way that’s a lot of dog!
How Much Do German Shepherds Weigh?
Full-grown male German Shepherds typically weigh 65-90 pounds while females – who don’t think it’s ladylike to discuss weight publicly – usually weigh in at 50-70 pounds.
How Long Do German Shepherds Live?
Healthy German Shepherds can live 9-13 years. It’s important to feed them a high-quality diet and provide them with regular exercise to keep their bodies and brains stimulated.
How Energetic Are German Shepherds?
German Shepherds are extremely active and energetic dogs – which is part of what makes them such great guarding and herding pups! They have a need to work and are doggone good at it too.
German Shepherds are often described as being full of self-confidence. They’re smart (and they know it) and fearless to boot. This makes them extremely trainable dogs – and they learn quickly too. It’s not surprising for your German Shepherd to recall a new cue after only a few training sessions.
They have a naturally protective instinct, so they make great family pets – though German Shepherds are also described as “aloof.” Because they are so loyal to their families, don’t expect them to give a warm, tail-wagging welcome to strangers, but once they’re your friend, that bond cannot be broken.
The saying “a tired dog is a good dog” is especially true for these easily-bored pups. If a German Shepherd spends too much time alone or without stimulation, you can expect to see the evidence in a shredded couch or ripped up carpet. They love to work, so giving them something to do helps tire them out and keeps them well-behaved.
As a pure breed dog, German Shepherds are at a higher risk for certain health and genetic conditions. Hip dysplasia and cataracts are some of the most common issues to plague this pup. German Shepherds are more susceptible than other breeds to a condition called gastric dilatation volvulus, more commonly called “bloat.” This is when the stomach twists and cuts off blood flow. If your German Shepherd is known to scarf down their food, consider getting a slow feeder bowl or keep an eye on them at mealtimes.
And like other large-breed pets, heart issues like murmurs, valve disease, and enlarged hearts are very common.
Fearless and adventure-seeking, German Shepherds can run themselves ragged, which leads to unexpected injuries like torn cranial cruciate ligaments.
Because of their large size and how quickly they grow, German Shepherds are also prone to osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee, which is usually diagnosed in puppies between four to eight months of age and almost always requires surgery.
Risk Factors and Costs for Common German Shepherd Health Issues
From cardiomyopathy to compulsive disorders, here are some common German Shepherd health issues. Information based on Embrace claims data.
|Condition||Risk Profile||Cost to Diagnose and Treat|
|Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) of the Knee/Spine||High||$2,000-$4,000|
|Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder||Medium||$2,000-$4,000|
Average Cost to Insure Your German Shepherd
For comprehensive accident and illness coverage, the majority of our German Shepherd pet parents pay between $39 and $86 per month.* Pet insurance may cost more or less depending on where you live, your pet’s age, and what policy parameters you choose. Policies for German Shepherds can cost more than those for mixed breed dogs because German Shepherds are much more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
*Insurance cost based on a 3-year-old male German Shepherd with a $10,000 annual maximum, $500 annual deductible, and 80% reimbursement rate.