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Breed German Shepherd
  • Breed Group
    Herding Group
  • Temperament
    Intelligent, Confident, Courageous, Loyal
  • Personality
    • Height22-26 in
    • Weight50-90 lbs
    • Lifespan7-10 years
    • EnergyAverage
    • GroomingModerate
    • SheddingHigh

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Facts and Best Dog Food - NutriCanine

As the name suggests, German Shepherds originated in Germany back in the late 1800s. The breed was developed by a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, who was determined to create the ideal German herder. Von Stephanitz used various traditional German herding dogs he believed had the necessary traits of a working dog such as intelligence, speed, strength, obedience and a keen sense of smell. 

As part of the herding group, German Shepherds were responsible for herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. German Shepherds continue to be used for a variety of different work including law enforcement, military, dog sports, disability assistance and in active family homes. German Shepherds are known as one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. The German Shepherd was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908.

Create the perfect meal plan for your German Shepherd


German Shepherd Appearance 

German Shepherds are fit and agile with a signature square muzzle, pointed ears, piercing dark eyes and a bushy tail that reaches to the hock. These medium to large-sized dogs are longer than they are tall. German Shepherds weigh around 75 - 95 pounds with a standard height between 22 and 25 inches.


German Shepherd Temperament 

German Shepherds are highly active dogs with an aura of authority and nobility. German Shepherds tend to be aloof and cautious around strangers at first. But once you’ve gained their trust they are devoted, diligent and have an unwavering loyalty to their family. German Shepherds have natural guarding tendencies and make great watch dogs.

Learn how diet effects your dog’s behaviour


Grooming Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds sport a double-layered coat. Its dense coat consists of coarse, close-lying hairs and a soft inner coat. German Shepherds come in a variety of different colours, with the most common being tan/black and red/black. German Shepherds shed  all year round but have two heavy shedding periods in the spring and fall. Weekly brushing is required to combat the frequent shedding. German Shepherds also need regular nail trimming, ear cleaning and dental care.

Give your dog a shinier coat with fresh food


Training & Exercise for Your German Shepherd 

German Shepherds are eager to please and quick to learn. To ensure their protective tendencies are not misdirected, German Shepherds need to be well socialized from a young age with consistent training and positive reinforcement. As long as they receive proper obedience training, German Shepherds can make for great family dogs. 

German Shepherds are highly active and need ample exercise to maintain their health and happiness. German Shepherds can adapt to various living situations but are best fit for a home with a physically fenced-in yard. It’s recommended that you dedicate 2-3 hours focused on physical and mental activity. This is a great way to keep your German Shepherd healthy and mentally stimulated.


Health Considerations for German Shepherds

German Shepherds have a life expectancy of 7-10 years. Many common ailments found in German Shepherds are a result of early inbreeding. Some of these include bloat, degenerative myelopathy, elbow & hip dysplasia, epilepsy and von Willebrand disease. It’s important to be aware of these health problems to provide the best care for your German Shepherd.

Allergies 

Food and skin allergies are a common problem amongst German Shepherds. Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) in German Shepherds can be triggered by environmental factors or food-based allergens. Some common symptoms of allergies in German Shepherds include excessive scratching, chewing, rubbing the face and sneezing. German Shepherds who consume dog food full of artificial flavours, byproducts and other harmful ingredients are more likely to encounter health issues. Therefore, it’s important to feed your German Shepherd a healthy, well-balanced diet, so they can develop a strong immune system. Being able to recognize the signs of allergies in your German Shepherd and treat them accordingly will ensure they enjoy a healthy and comfortable life. 

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV or Bloat)

Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome, is a life-threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested breeds. including the German Shepherd. This condition is caused when the dog’s stomach fills with air and twists. This cuts off the circulation of blood and can be deadly if not corrected. Some of the signs of bloat to be aware of in your German Shepherd include salivation, obvious pain, a distended abdomen and retching. Ways to prevent this condition from happening to your German Shepherd include encouraging slower eating, providing easy to digest dog food and refraining from exercise immediately after eating. If you suspect that your German Shepherd has bloat, immediate veterinary attention is required. 

Degenerative Myelopathy

Another common health issue German Shepherds are prone to is a condition called degenerative myelopathy. This neurological disorder affects the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis in your German Shepherd’s hind legs. Some early signs to look for in your German Shepherd include difficulty standing up, stumbling, knuckling of the toes and progressive weakness of the hind legs. Although there’s no cure, physical therapy can help manage the symptoms and prolong the use of the hind legs. 

Elbow & Hip Dysplasia 

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most common canine ailments. It’s a genetic condition that causes an abnormal formation of the hip socket, which can eventually lead to lameness and arthritis of the joints. Elbow dysplasia occurs when a German Shepherd's elbow does not fuse properly during their development. 

Dysplasia is typically hereditary that can be magnified by factors including excessive growth rate, age, types of exercise and improper weight and nutrition. While mild conditions can be managed with prescription medication and physical therapy, more severe cases could require surgery. To prevent or reduce the severity of elbow and hip dysplasia, it’s important to ensure your German Shepherd gets a proper diet and the right amount of exercise.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disease that’s often, but not always, inherited. Commonly found in German Shepherds, this disorder affects the brain’s electric activity and can cause your German Shepherd to suffer from epileptic seizures, which are brief bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. An epileptic episode can typically last between one and several minutes. It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of seizures to get your German Shepherd medical help as quickly as possible. Some common signs to look for include twitching, tremors, shaking and convulsions. Treatment might involve lifelong anti-seizure medication; however, this will  help your German Shepherd maintain a good quality of life. If your German Shepherd is having a seizure, call an emergency vet and make sure they can’t injure themselves.

von Willebrand Disease (vWD)

Von Willebrand Disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder found in dogs, particularly in German Shepherds. This disease is a clotting disorder that causes excessive bleeding. It happens when there’s a deficiency of the protein von Willebrand factor. When an injury occurs, this protein is needed to help the platelets form blood clots to seal broken blood vessels. Symptoms can include nosebleeds, bloody urine or stool and prolonged or excessive bleeding during or after surgery. German Shepherds often develop the mild form of the disease and if managed correctly the symptoms are rarely fatal.

Strengthen your dog’s immune system


What Makes a German Shepherd Unique?

Highly intelligent

It’s a well-known fact that German Shepherds are a highly intelligent breed. These dogs are easy to train and eager to please their humans. 95% of the time, German Shepherds will obey the first command given to them. Due to their intelligence, versatility and obedience, German Shepherds are widely trained as police and service dogs. German Shepherds are scientifically proven to be one of the smartest breeds in the world! 

Rin Tin Tin

Near the end of WWI, U.S. Army corporal Lee Duncan rescued a German Shepherd and her litter of five from a badly damaged kennel outside of Lorraine, France. Corporal Duncan kept two of the German Shepherd pups naming them Rin Tin Tin and Nanette.

Duncan took Rin Tin Tin with him to several dog shows and trained him to work in silent films. Rin Tin Tin got his first starring role in the film Where the North Begins. The film was such a success that he went on to perform in 27 more Hollywood films. This famous dog forever left an indelible mark on the art of cinema and film. 

War dogs

German Shepherds played a significant role in World War I and II serving with the military. As a result of their strength, intelligence and trainability, German Shepherds were used in a variety of different working capacities. They served as sentries, messengers and ammunition carriers. In 1917, a German Shepherd named Filax of Lewanno was honoured at Westminster for bringing 54 wounded soldiers back to safety during his service. The Americans were so impressed by what the German Shepherd dogs could do that they brought some back home and also started deploying them.

First service dogs

In 1928, a German Shepherd named Buddy became the first guide dog to a man named Morris Frank. Buddy had been trained by an American expat named American Dorothy Harrison Eustis, at a school she operated in SwitzerlandFrank’s success with Buddy soon sparked the popularization of seeing eye dogs in the U.S. Soon after, Dorothy Harrison Eustis and Morris Frank co-founded The Seeing Eye, which was the first guide-dog school in the U.S.

Top dog breed in Canada

For many years, German Shepherds have been one of the most popular dog breeds in Canada. German Shepherds first came to Canada back in the early 1900s. After the war, German Shepherds continued to grow in popularity as a result of their impressive skill set. Some traits people really value in a German Shepherd include their loyalty, courage, intelligence and versatility.

Create a custom German Shepherd Meal Plan


Why NutriCanine Is Great For German Shepherds

  • Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd Puppy (1-4 years)

    As a very active breed, growing German Shepherds require a high-quality protein diet. German Shepherds will typically reach their full adult size around 18 months old, which makes the type of dog food you feed your German Shepherd during this growth period of utmost importance. It can help to evaluate the German Shepherd’s health history when deciding the proper dog food for your German Shepherd puppy. For example, this particular breed is prone to developing certain health conditions as they reach their adult years, such as allergies and elbow and hip dysplasia. With this in mind, it's important to consider a nutrient-rich dog food made with real, fresh ingredients such as meat, fruits and vegetables.

    When choosing dog food for your German Shepherd puppy, NutriCanine’s fresh dog food recipes are an ideal pick. Our fresh dog food recipes are made with fresh whole foods including chicken, salmon, turkey, beef and lamb. As you search for the right dog food for your German Shepherd, animal protein should be at the top of the ingredient list. In the developing stages, German Shepherds need a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet that will work to support their accelerated growth rate and will help prevent the various health issues this breed is susceptible to.

    NutriCanine offers a variety of dog food recipes designed to meet the nutritional needs of your German Shepherd pup. Our raw dog food recipes will help to strengthen your German Shepherd's immune system while reducing any allergies and intolerances. But if you’ve got a picky eater, a pup with a sensitive stomach, or an immunocompromised family member at home, NutriCanine’s gently cooked dog food is a great option as well. All NutriCanine dog food recipes are freshly prepared with real, human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. NutriCanine’s dog food is always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.

  • Best Dog Food for an Adult German Shepherd (5-7 years)

    For an energetic breed, German Shepherds need high-quality, protein rich dog food to fit this stage of their life.. NutriCanine’s raw dog food recipes are a great solution as they contain rich animal proteins and natural ingredients that will help support your German Shepherd’s lean muscle mass and thick double coat. NutriCanine’s raw dog food recipes provide your German Shepherd with a variety of flavour options including chicken, salmon, turkey, beef and lamb. These raw dog food recipes are formulated to be complete and balanced and are specially designed to meet your German Shepherd’s nutritional needs.

    However, if you’ve got a picky eater, a pup with a sensitive stomach, or an immunocompromised family member at home, NutriCanine’s gently cooked dog food is a great option as well. All our dog food recipes are freshly prepared with real, human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. NutriCanine’s dog food is always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives. Adult German Shepherds need a trusted dog food that can fully support their active lifestyle.

  • Best Dog Food for a Senior German Shepherd

    As your German Shepherd transitions into their senior years, it’s important to ensure they are consuming well-balanced dog food for the best quality of life. With a life expectancy of 7-10 years, choosing the right dog food will ensure your German Shepherd receives the proper amount of nutrients as they age. As a result of the German Shepherds' highly active adult years, their risk of developing certain joint problems such as elbow and hip dysplasia is greater. Keeping an eye on their calorie intake is also crucial to avoid obesity, which if left unmanaged, can put further stress on the joints.

    NutriCanine’s fresh dog food recipes are a great option for your senior German Shepherd. Our raw dog food recipes are specially formulated to accommodate your senior dog’s nutritional needs; however, our gently cooked line might be easier for an older dog to transition to if they’re not accustomed to fresh dog food. Our fresh dog food comes in a variety of delicious recipes that your German Shepherd will absolutely love, including high-quality proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, and chicken and salmon. NutriCanine’s fresh dog food contains human-edible proteins with a unique blend of highly digestible fruits and vegetables.

    For your senior German Shepherd, we recommend you try NutriCanine’s gently cooked beef recipe as it contains a healthy dose of antioxidant-rich berries and highly digestible rice, perfect for your senior German Shepherd’s aging body. Finding dog food that allows your German Shepherd to maintain a full and healthy life is the ultimate goal. NutriCanine’s meals are freshly prepared with real human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. NutriCanine’s dog food is always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.

  • Best Dog Food for an Overweight German Shepherd

    Although German Shepherds are less prone to obesity compared to other breeds, lack of proper exercise can still lead to excess weight gain. To maintain your German Shepherd’s weight they need real, fresh dog food that is rich in protein and moderate in fat. NutriCanine’s gently cooked dog food recipes are uniquely designed to increase your German Shepherd’s energy levels, getting them back to their athletic and energetic nature. It’s important to be aware of dog food brands that contain fillers as this contributes to obesity.

    With your German Shepherd’s optimal health in mind, NutriCanine takes the time to get to know your pup to create a customizable meal plan to best suit their nutritional needs. NutriCanine’s gently cooked dog food recipes are safe enough for humans to eat but specially designed to meet your German Shepherd's nutritional needs. These recipes are freshly prepared with locally sourced ingredients and are always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.

  • Best Dog Food for a German Shepherd with a Sensitive Stomach

    German Shepherd’s have a tendency to experience digestive issues, which is why it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure they lead a healthy lifestyle. The first step would be to consult your veterinarian to determine if there are any underlying health issues causing your German Shepherd to have stomach sensitivity. This is also a good opportunity to consider the type of dog food your German Shepherd is consuming.

    Deciphering which dog food to feed your German Shepherd with a sensitive stomach is made easy with NutriCanine. Our gently cooked dog food recipes are specially designed to meet your German Shepherd’s nutritional needs. With a variety of protein-forward recipes to choose from, a great starting point is our gently cooked beef recipe as it would respond well to your German Shepherd’s sensitive stomach. This unique blend contains antioxidant-rich berries and highly digestible rice, the perfect formula to strengthen your German Shepherd’s immune system while reducing any allergies and intolerances. NutriCanine’s meals are freshly prepared with real human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. NutriCanine’s dog food is always free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.


Top 10 Facts About German Shepherds

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NutriCanine Meals

Raw

NutriCanine raw recipes contain a unique blend of highly digestible fruits and vegetables. Our raw recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition, ideal for all dogs of all ages and sizes. The transition to raw tends to be easier for younger dogs and high energy dogs.

Try NutriCanine raw recipes

Gently Cooked

NutriCanine gently cooked recipes are great for all dogs including picky eaters, sensitive stomachs, or senior dogs with brittle teeth. Our recipes are safe enough for humans to eat but specially designed to meet your dog's nutritional needs.

Try NutriCanine gently cooked recipes