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German Shepherd Dog

Also known as: Alsatian, Deutscher Schaferhund

Life expectancy: Around 10-13 years.



About the breed: Origin, description and nature of the breed
The origin of this large-sized dog is Germany. Relative origin of this breed is new dating to somewhere around 1899. During the standardization of the dog breeds, in Germany, local shepherds, selected and bread dogs with traits necessary for herding sheep with speed strength and high sense of smell as prime characters, this breed originated from there. German shepherd is a working breed of dog used for herding and guarding sheep. Strength, intelligence, loyal, protective and obedience of well trained German Shepherd makes it ideal for defense and police roles (guard, search and rescue) around the world. Also it is one of the most widely used breed for scent related work roles like search and rescue, cadaver searching, narcotics, explosive, accelerant and mines detections. They are suited for this kind of work due to keen sense of smell and ability to work regardless of the distractions. German Shepherd is a very strong and well proportioned dog breed. There was a time when German shepherd were almost exclusively chosen as a dog for visually impaired, reason for their success is strong sense fo duty, mental abilities, fearlessness and attachment to the owners. There's a nice description regarding the origin of German Shepherd on Wikipedia read it here.

Body parameters: General body description
The body of German Shepherd has a sturdy, muscular, and slightly elongated with a light and solid bone structure. German Shepherds are the large sized dog and are generally are between 55-65 centimeters (22-26 inches) at the withers and weigh between 22-40 kilograms (49 and 88 lb).The ideal height is 63 centimeters (25 inches). The head should be in proportion to its body, with domed shaped forehead, a long square-cut muzzle and a black nose. The jaws are strong with the teeth that meet in a strong scissors bite. The eyes are medium-estimated and tan with an energetic, astute, and confident look and are dark, almond-shaped, and never protruding. The ears are large and stand erect are open at the front and parallel but they frequently are pulled over at movement. The ears of puppies under six months may drop slightly. They have an extended neck that is raised when excited and let down when moving at a speedy pace. The tail is thick and gets to the hock. The front legs and shoulders are muscular and thighs are thick and sturdy. Feet are round and have very hard soles.

German Shepherds might be in a verity of colors, the most normal of which are tan-black and red-black. Most color assortments have dark masks and dark body markings which can go from an excellent "saddle" to a for the most part "blanket." Rarer color differences combine the sable, all-dark, all-white, liver, and blue mixtures. The all-dark and sable mixtures are worthy consistent with most norms, then again, the blue and liver are acknowledged as serious faults and all-white is ground for disqualification. There are three different varieties of German Shepherd with respect to coat: rough-coated, long rough-coated, and the long-haired. German Shepherds sport a twofold layer. The external layer, which is shed lasting throughout the year, is close and thick with a thick undercoat. The coat is accepted in two variants, medium and extended. The extended-hair gene is recessive, making the extended-hair variety rarer.

Temperament: Nature of dog and care to be taken while having German Shephard as pet
This breed is known for its intelligence; they interpret instruction and learn various tasks much better in comparison to other large dog breeds. It stands on third position with respect to intelligence among dog breeds followed only by Border Collies and Poodles, as low as five repetitions are considered well enough for this breed to follow and obey 95% of the times. When trained and socialized this breed is considered very safe. But there are various reports suggesting biting and tendency to attack smaller breed of dogs worldwide. Bite of German Shepherd has an overall force of over 238 pounds (108 kg) (compared with that of a Rottweiler, over 265-328 pounds (120-149 kg) of force, a Pit bull, 235 pounds (107 kg) of force, a Labrador Retriever, of approximately 230 pounds (100 kg) of force, or a human, of approximately 86 pounds (39 kg) of force).

German Shepherds are very active breed of dogs, and are depicted in breed measures as confident and is courageous, keen, alert and fearless. They are extremely faithful and brave. They have a high learning ability. The breed is checked by a readiness to memorize and an eagerness to have a reason. This breed needs his people around and should not be left isolated for long periods of time. They only bark when they feel it is necessary. They are inquisitive or curious in nature which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions. German Shepherds have a dedicated nature and bond well with folks they know, most incredibly especially with the one individual to whom they regard the alpha of the family unit. This is exceptionally significant, as they are reproduced to ensure those in their pack and feel stressed if they do not have a 'master'. Then again, they can end up over-defensive of their house and territory, specifically if not socialized effectively. They are not immediately friendly with strangers. German Shepherds are remarkably clever and devoted. It is believed that they need a "firm hand" but it's also seen that they respond better to positive, reward based training techniques.

It is exceptionally significant to socialize with this breed well beginning at puppyhood. Bites and assaults on individuals are because of poor handling and training. Problem emerge when a owner permits the dog to believe that he is pack owner over people as well as tries not to give the dog the mental and physical day by day exercise to make them stable. This breed requires owners who are instinctively definitive over the breed in smooth, but firm, certain and dependable way. A stable, decently-balanced, and trained dog is for the most part usually great with different pets and superb with children in family. They should be firmly taught in compliance from an early experience. German Shepherds who have passive holders as well as who's natures are not being met can ended up timid, touchy and would be inclined to fear, biting and develop guarding issues. They might as well be developed and socialized from an early experience. German Shepherds will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their possessor, however they also will not respond well to harsh discipline. The owner needs to have a natural sense of authority over them. German Shepherds are one of the most brilliant and most exceptionally trainable breeds. They require to place and channel their mental and physical vigor. This is not a breed that will be happy simply laying around your living room or locked out in the back yard. German Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least a large yard.

Care and management: Pet care in general, nutrition, grooming, exercise

General care and Grooming: It is important to a very well care of German Shepherds and that has to start form the young age, for sure the dog will pay beck in terms of love, affection, faithfulness and loyalty. The training should be done from puppy stage and if one is not comfortable enough to train the dog by themselves they can always take professional help. German Shepherds are always in need of both physical and mental health exercising and should thus be given both in ample measure. To keep the coat of the German Shepherd shining it should be given healthy diet. Its ears should be checked as well as cleaned every week and using an ear solution may help remove wax from the ears. One should also check its teeth every month as well as during its annual veterinary check-up and feeding it hard cookies will help keep the teeth and gums in good health.

Since the German Shepherd has two coats of hair and the outer coats shed periodically while the inner coat sheds twice yearly, it's important to take care of regular grooming. It is advisable to brush the coat daily to take care of dead hairs as well as for giving massage to the skin. However, bathing daily is not necessary and occasionally could be done to splash away the mud and dirt.

As part of general care, nails should be trimmed every three months and for removing external parasites the owner may use dusting powders or other anti-flea aids or tick-collars after consulting veterinarian. The dense coat of a German Shepherd may make them prone to flea infestation therefore care must be taken and must be examined very closely for any signs of early infestations.

Nutrition: The German Shepherd needs a good and balanced diet and it should preferably be served dry food which will help to prevent tooth decay. Commercially sold meals or kibble foods are also recommended as they have required nutrients as well as added vitamins and minerals that help to keep the pet healthy. Fresh and clean water should always be available for the dog and should be regularly changed.

Housing: Housing should be done in cool and shady area, since this breed loves exercise, it should be taken out for walk daily if possible, and it's good if it can be done in the evening. German Sheperd should always be kept on leash since they are very protective of their master and may attack other those appear as potential threat.

Exercise: German Shepherd love strenuous activity, ideally combined with exercise. They need to be taken every day for long walk, jogging or running. They should be directed to walk beside or behind the person holding the leash because as in dogs mind the leader always leads and the leader needs to be a human. They love to play with ball; 10-15 minutes of fetching along with daily walk will suffice the exercise part and will also give a sense of purpose, which is crucial for German Shepherd. Some form of daily constructive exercise is must for this breed of dog and it should be considered well in advance before you plan to have one. If proper exercise not given or not mentally challenge enough it could lead to restlessness and destructive nature. They do well when they have a job to do.

Health issues: General diseases, Vaccinations,
The most common ailments of German Shepherd are the result of inbreeding. One such regular issue is hip and elbow dysplasia which might lead to pain and might cause arthritis in later part of the life and is seen very commonly in the breed. Spinal stenosis is also considered very common ailment of this breed. They are also prone to degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disorder and Von Willebrand Disease, a common inherited bleeding disorder. Owed to the impressive and open nature of their ears, German Shepherds are inclined to ear infections. Like all other large breeds, they are also prone to bloat. Predispositions are also seen in case of epilepsy, chronic eczema, keratitis in this breed. They are also to some extent prone to panosteitis, progressive posterior paresis, cauda equina, pyotraumatic dermatitis, skin allergies, malignant neoplasms, pannus, cataract, gastric torsion, perianal fistulas, cardiomyopathy and also prone to potentially fatal systemic fungal infection from Aspergillus.s

Further suggested reading:

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Shepherd

SelectK9 Page: http://selectk9s.com/german-shepherd

Vonfalconer Page: http://www.vonfalconer.com/germanshepherdhistory.html

Lago GSD : http://www.lagogsd.com/page3.asp

Disclaimer:
Information given on this page is for reference only; kindly refer to the guidelines before attempting any medical interventions.

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