Welcome to Breed Basics where each week we will highlight a breed of dog to assist clients in finding the canine companion best suited to their lifestyle. We encourage potential pet owners to responsibly research dog breeds prior to purchase or adoption. If there is a breed you are considering, or are simply curious about, and would like our assistance in your research, please let us know, we would be happy to help!
This week’s featured breed – German Shepherd Dog
Captain Max von Stephanitz and other breeders bred the first German shepherd in Karlsruhe, Germany by crossing a number of long-haired, short-haired, and wire-haired herding and farm dogs. This breeding produced an obedient, responsive, handsome dog, which were first introduced in Hanover in 1882. The first Deutsche Schaferhunde, which is German shepherd dog in German, named Horan, was registered in 1899 by von Stephanitz. People used to show all three varieties of German shepherds, long, short, and wire haired, but now only the short coated variety is recognized in the show ring. The German shepherd can live to be around 13 years old, but because of indiscriminate breeding, they are prone to quite a few hereditary diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, blood disorders, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), and dwarfism. Some herding breeds can also carry the MDR1 gene, which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that other breeds would be fine taking, but can actually kill them, if positive for the gene. Male German shepherds are about 24 – 26 inches whereas females are about 22 – 24 inches. Both sexes usually weigh somewhere between 77 – 85 pounds. The German shepherd dog loves activity and does best with daily walks and play sessions. They are very intelligent and crave challenges. They also do best if they have some type of job to do because when they get bored, they can become destructive. The German shepherd is courageous, fearless, and eager to learn. They can be weary of strangers, but are very loyal to their family. German shepherds do need a strong pack leader and training, but can be a wonderful addition to any family!
Ask us at Animal Central for more information on the German Shepherd Dog or visit: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/germanshepherd.htm
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff