Dog

Everything About German Shepherd – Food, Traits, Grooming, Adoption and More

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German shepherd dog (GSD) is one of the most loved dog breeds in the world for several reasons.  We have seen him in the police force, war fields, crime scenes and award shows. They are strong, highly intelligent, loyal and large which makes them both agile and efficient. 

According to the book ‘the intelligence of dogs’ written by Stanley Coren, the German shepherd is the third most intelligent dog in the world following Border Collies and Poodles.

A German shepherd is a dog of many names. They have different names in different places. Although they are commonly known as German shepherds, they were also called ‘Deutscher Shaferhund’ in Germany. In England and Ireland, they are referred to as ‘Alsatians’. They are also called ‘Berger Allemand’ in some parts of the world.

Type of Dog Working dog/Herd dog
Colour variants Black, Black and Tan, Sable, Grey, Red, Black and silver
Height Male- 60-65cm, Female- 55-60cm
Weight  Male- 30-40kg, Female- 22-32kg 
Temperament  Intelligent, stubborn, Loyal, Alert, confident, watchful, brave
Lifespan  9-13 years
Price  10000-70000INR (depending on the age, breed, performance and certification)

Physical traits of German shepherd  

  • German shepherds are medium to large-sized dogs weighing 25-40 kilograms. 
  • According to the American kennel club, GSD sport what is known as a double coat, they have a thick outer coat and soft undercoat which equips the dog to survive the extreme climate. 
  • They show alert yet kind expressions marked by their perked-up ears and dark, almond-shaped eyes. 
  • They are prone to shedding especially during the spring and fall. 

Pet grooming 

  • German shepherds are extremely active dogs with high energy levels; they must be kept busy and active
  • They are very intelligent so both physical and mental exercises are recommended, involve them in playing, learning, and working. 
  • They love to be followed by their human companion most of the time, hence it is not advisable to own them if you are likely to stay away from home frequently or for a longer period. 
  • You don’t need to bathe him frequently. Once in a month bathing is adequate.

Daily care 

  • The German shepherd is also known as ‘German Shedder’, they shed a lot so keep them brushed every day. 
  • Brush them daily and ensure oral hygiene.
  • Keep the nails trimmed.
  • They tend to chew aggressively so keep chewable toys handy. 

What to eat

  • Feed them twice a day up to two cups of dry good quality dog food depending on the age and level of activity.
  • Do not feed them everything at once as they are more prone to bloating and digestive issues.
  • Better not to feed them raw food.
  • Let them drink clean, freshwater. Do not let them drink chlorinated/tap water.
  • Do not let them be obese. 

Recommended Food Products 

German shepherd food products flavours
Royal Canin German shepherd Adult    Meat flavour
Pedigree PRO expert nutrition Active Adult Large Breed Dog   For young and active dogs
Chappi adult Dry dog food, Rice and chicken With chicken and rice (without egg)
Purina super coat Adult dry dog food Chicken flavour
Chappi puppy dry dog food For puppies

 

Vet consultation 

  • They are prone to bloating and digestive issues; this may lead to anxiety, depression, restlessness and an abrupt heart rate. 
  • According to AKC, GSDs are less likely to inherit health conditions
  • Hip dysplasias, elbow dysplasia, keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) are the commonly observed diseases 
  • This breed is more prone to tumours on the spleen 
  • Some German shepherds suffer from different kinds of allergies; they tend to be allergic to certain food items, things, or climate. 
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is another genetic disease among the German shepherds, it is a condition in which the cells that produce digestive enzymes are being destroyed and the dog will no longer absorb food or digest it. 
  • Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord; a specific part of the cord which communicates to the brain regarding the back legs becomes weak. This results in the inability to walk. It could be also because of the lack of vitamin supplements like Vitamin E and Vitamin 12. 

Vaccinations

Be sure to get the puppy Rabies vaccinated as Rabies is one of the major threats for Indian dogs and humans. The first dose of rabies vaccination should be taken when the puppy is three months old and the booster doses should be given annually. 

7- in-1 vaccination is also recommended as it will prevent seven diseases such as Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Corona Viral Enteritis, Para influenza, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis.  

Puppies are more prone to Parvovirus. Try not to let your puppy go outdoors until the first round of vaccination is complete. 

How to raise a German shepherd 

  • German shepherds love learning new things and a daily dose of exercise
  • They are very emotional dogs therefore they get bored and anxious quite often, and they express their anxiousness through barking, chewing, and digging. 
  • They won’t let you be a couch potato, they are very active and they want their human to be as active as they are. 
  • A German shepherd should never be shy or inactive, you need to give them early training and socialization. 
  • They may not be compactable with other pets in the family. 

Living in a home/apartment

  • German shepherds would do better at homes than apartments. 
  • They would be better off in a home where there is a fenced yard for play
  • They love their freedom and they prefer to roam around the house and yard than sitting and resting. 
  • It is an ideal breed for active households 
  • They are a perfect companion for kids and elderly people. 
  • They shed heavily, so it would be better to keep them clean and brushed most of the time and let them be outdoors. 
  • Though they are not apartment-friendly dogs, they could be one if you provide them with adequate training and socialization exercises. 

German shepherd and travel 

  • Make sure that the place you are going to stay in pet-friendly.
  • You can use a crate while travelling if your puppy is tiny. 
  • Do not assume that the dog would involuntarily enjoy the journey, GSD tend to be impatient while travelling. Wear a seat belt.
  • Do not forget to carry chew-safe toys to curb boredom. 
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car
  • Microchip or tag the dog
  • Do not forget to consult your vet before the travel. 
  • Hydrate them well, they might survive without food but not water.
  • Do not feed them just before the travel. 

Adopt your pet, don’t buy

Welcoming a new member is one of the most beautiful feelings ever. The joy of having a companion, playing and walking around with them, talking to them, hug and cuddle them makes everyone’s life a bit beautiful. Having a puppy is the ideal way to achieve all this. 

Several animals are looking for their own home. Always keep your needs and amenities in your thoughts before choosing a pet. If you have any doubts, research it. Do not jump to a conclusion because looking after a pet is a long term commitment and it demands a lot of patience and effort. 

Things to remember 

When you adopt/buy a pet always remember certain things. Try to directly contact the breeder. Do not encourage brokers and unauthorised pet shops. It would be great if you can avail the dog from nearby places, otherwise you will end up spending a lot of money as shipping/cargo charge and the risk of getting cheated is high.  

You can also register your puppy in Kennel Club of India (KCI). This will ensure the certification and breeding quality of the dog which will help in breeding and selling the puppies in the future. 

Kennel Club of India (Registration Link) – https://www.inkc.in/single-dog-registration/

The process of adoption in India

  • Search for the nearby shelter/rescue homes
  • Visit them several times and talk to them about your needs and concerns 
  • Ask the authorities about the history and medical records of the dog
  • Follow the official adoption process
  • Take your companion home

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