German Shepherd Information
Large breed, working dog bred for herding and guarding sheep that originated in Germany. (Also known as Alsatian or Deutsche Schaferhund)
The original breed was created by the cross breeding of working sheep dogs by an ex cavalry officer called Max von Stephanitz whose aim was to create a working dog for herding with great stamina.
Fantastic companion dog and also the working dog of choice as they excel in any kind of training .In 1928, the first trained guide dog for the visually impaired was a GSD.
Today, they work in many different fields including herding, police work, guiding the visually impaired, search and rescue and drug detection.
At a glance
- Natural Guarding Instinct
- Stellar Pupil
- Loves Exercise
German Shepherd Temperament & Size
Large athletic dog that is highly active and very sociable. They are good with children especially when socialised from an early age.
They can found in a number of colours including white which is classified as a conformational fault in many Kennel Clubs.
German Shepherd Life Span & Health Problems
GSD’s have an average life span of 10 – 13 years. Despite being strong and well-proportioned irresponsible breeding has led to some health problems in this breed.
Common Illnesses include;
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia – Genetic conditions that cause abnormal development of the elbow and hip joints in young dogs. This can lead to early onset degenerative joint disease.
- Panosteitis – Excessive bone production in long bones of young dogs resulting in shifting lameness.
- Degenerative Myelopathy – Spinal cord degeneration in older dogs beginning with hind limb weakness and progressing to paralysis.
- Allergies – Causing skin and ear problems.
- Anal Furunculosis – Sinuses that track through the skin around the anus, making defecation extremely painful.
- Bloat (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, GDV) – Twisting of the stomach resulting in rapid swelling of the abdomen causing pain and eventual death if not treated.
- Retinal atrophy – Degeneration of the retina causing night blindness then total blindness.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – Clotting disorder.
- Cardiomyopathy – Disease of the heart muscle leading to eventual heart failure.
- Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency – Deficiency of certain digestive enzymes which stops adequate nutrient absorption.
- Cauda Equina Syndrome – Compression of nerves causing lower back pain.