German Shepherds personality
-Written By Tiami Coleburg
-Photographed and Co Written By Tanna McGill
For experienced involved dog owners
Average Life Span:
Male and females should weigh between 62 to 80 pounds, height is 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder. The breed is seen larger, but this would not be a breed standard
Color And Coat:
The German Shepherd has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. This breed requires regular brushing and sheds a lot. The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Black and tan are the most common. The sable, gold with black coloration is seen frequently also. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. White German Shepherd dogs are not allowed to be shown at AKC events.
Typical Health Problems:
The more frequent health problems found in the breed are: Hip and elbow dysplasia, spinal disorders, low thyroid, skin problems (allergies to fleas, etc), ear infections, canine epilepsy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, panostitis(this seen in large bone dogs.)
The German Shepherd Dog originated in northern Europe around one hundred years ago. The dogs were originally used to protect flocks of sheep and are still used for this purpose. More modern day uses also include: Police K9 work, seeing eye dog.
The German Shepherd breed has a distinctive personality. They should be direct and fearless, but not aggressive. They should be self-confident but often have an aloofness that does not always lend this breed to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The German Shepherd should be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing non aggressive confidence. They generally have a good sense of right and wrong and the ability to tell if something is amiss. They are a loyal and dedicated dog if they have a loyal and dedicated owner.
You will find three distinct "types" of bloodlines in German Shepherds. The working bloodlines, the American show lines, and the German show lines. The show lines tend to be more angulated in the hindquarters. If not from good breed lines this may contribute to health problems such as hip dysplasia and spinal disorders. The working bloodlines are often more dog than the average pet owner can handle. They have been bred for high prey drive and high activity level. If the working dog does not have an outlet for this drive, they will get themselves into trouble (chasing cars, bikes, barking, chewing, aggression, digging and other destructive and unwanted behavior). A shepherd from either working or show lines needs obedience training, proper socialization with both people and other animals, daily exercise and play and they must be a part of your family. These are working dogs that need a job, even if they are to be a family dog. Boredom and loneliness can lead to behavior problems. The German shepherds personality and activity levels vary from dog to dog. Genetics, training, socializing and the care they receive are a large part of the what determines each dogs personality.
Why are these dogs typically in animal shelters?
The majority of German Shepherds in shelters arrive there as strays. Owner turn-ins of German Shepherds to shelters are due to a variety of reasons. Currently, 2 of the most common reasons is that the owner is moving. Rental housing is difficult to find if you live with a German Shepherd. Landlord and insurance restrictions on many breeds, including German Shepherds, are now common. Also, new baby and child versus dog conflicts are another frequent reason.
Other common reasons that owners leave their German Shepherd at a shelter are: Owner's inability to provide for this breed's intense emotional needs, socializing, training requirements and improper behaviors, which usually develop out of frustration, lack of proper training and inadequate exercise. Basically too much dog for an inadequate owner. Behavior problems can range from simple, such as house training, excessive activity level, digging, cat and dog aggression, property damage, to serious, such as human or stranger aggression and fear biting. Serious human or stranger aggression can be caused by their guarding tendencies, lack of socialization, abuse, or bad breeding. Some German Shepherds arrive at shelters because of owner neglect and abuse.
How do these dogs handle rescue or shelter life?
Typically, German Shepherds are not happy in a strange kennel setting. Being an extremely people-oriented breed, separation from their owners can cause severe distress. These dogs have a strong sense of belonging and when taken from their home, they grieve and show this sadness in different ways. Many will bark, cry, scream, pace and show stress or depression. If you go to a shelter to look at a German Shepherd you should ask that the dog be taken out of the kennel allowing you to visit, interact and play with the dog. The first impression, looking through the kennel door, isn't usually the dog's actual personality. However, this breed can do better in a home foster care situation, in part because they tend to bond more quickly with new people in a less stressful environment. How well they tolerate a rescue or shelter depends heavily on the amount of human attention, contact and exercise they receive, as well as on the individual dog's temperament, training levels and past life experience. An unsocialized, untrained German Shepherd will not fare well in the shelter environment. A German Shepherd with a good foundation often will succeed in adapting to the changes that have come into its life. German Shepherds are sometimes shy or reserved in shelter facilities. However, they should not exhibit aggression.