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Responsible dog ownership demands more than just good food and right medication. Save the breed from unscrupulous brokers and backyard breeders who have limited knowledge. Most of the so-called German Shepherd breeders do not even know the art and science involved in breeding these beautiful animals, which is one of the most serious issues Save the breed from novice owners. Educate the new GSD owners ragarding the breed and make this planet a better place for German Shepherd Dogs and their owners. Stop buying from novice breeders. Discourage buying non-registered dogs. Read More...
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German Shepherd Dog FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About GSD SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


 

GSD FAQ - Questions and answers about German Shepherds

 

 If you have any question about German Shepherd Dog breed, you are on the right place. With a view to make the website "About German Shepherd Dog" the largest online resource for information on German Shepherd Dogs, we have planned to leave not a single stone unturned to find what people are actually looking for and have analyzed the most common questions that we are frequently asked about the GSD breed. These are not just a set frequestly asked questions about German Shepherd breed, but you can also come across a few questions that you probably have never thought of, but may be of utmost importance for you, as for many other GSD owners. Answers to the FAQs have been sparingly spread through out the entire website under varried topics and pages. This FAQ section can be an endless list of questions, as the GSD breed is one of the most technical dog breeds in the world. Owing to its unflagging popularity across the globe these amazin dog breed has found its place not only in farm houses but also in aesthetically adorned drawing rooms. The novice and new owners of GSD face too many problems while keeping them and sometimes end up with stigmatizing the breed, planning to get rid of their dogs. Before this happens with you, we have researched out a set of most important questions and answers for you.

 

If you don't find the answers to your own questions on this page, please do not hesitate to instantly write to us. We will make your question live along with the most descriptive answer. your name will be published here too! This way you can also contribute to make this website the best place for German Shepherd Dog lovers, owners and breeders. If you allow us we will display your name, place and other information below the question you will suggest us to enlist in this GSD FAQ page.  Read on...

 

Questions and answers about German Shepherds

1) Can German Shepherd Dogs make good companion and a good family pet?

 

Absolutely... German Shepherd Dog is one of the most intelligent breed in the world. They can make a perfect family companion. They have the natural instinct to protect their pack. Interestingly, a GSD puppy can be the most amazing companion for your kids as they all grow up together. One thing that has to be kept in the forefront of your mind... let Fido know that the human members of the family are the "Alfa" members and Fido is the 'Omega' member of the pack.

 

 2) Do German Shepherd Dogs develop attacking tendencies?

 

Yes and No both. It all depends on the way you and the other members of the family treat with him. Another reason that makes a GSD an attack dog is not properly socializing. Improper socialization degrades Fido's confidence level and can make him shy and he can attack strangers. Strangers should not be allowed to challenge them. GSDs don't tolerate challenges.

 

 3) What is "SOCIALIZING"? Why is it essential to SOCIALIZE German Shepherds at the young age?

 

To SOCIALIZE your GSD means to expose him to the wide range of outdoor experiences. These includes meeting with strangers all ages and get pampered by them. Get your GSD puppy SOCIALIZED to people of all complexions, races and both genders. SOCIALIZING also includes meeting with other dogs and animals. SOCIALIZING also includes exposing him to a wide range of sounds like car horns, crackers, thunder clashes, etc. Start Socializing your puppy at the very young age - from three to four months. SOCIALIZATION should start at the age of 12 - 14 weeks of age. Socializing is important because that increases the dog's confidence level, reducing the chance of becoming a shy canine companion. A Shy or fearful dog usually becomes aggressively devastating... a nightmare!

 

 4) What is the life expectancy of a German Shepherd Dog?

 

10-13 years of age is the maximum life span of a well maintained German Shepherd dog. An Alsatian dog reaches his "Middle-age" between 5-7 years old; "Geriatric" at around 10 years of age.

 

GSD FAQ 5) Should I get a male or female?

 

The choice is yours. But don't forget to take into consideration certain points. * Males are usually much more territorial than females. * Females are generally much more pack protective. * Males are usually more powerful than females. * Females are less stubborn. Bottom line is... if trained properly there's pretty much no difference between the two genders; both can make awesome family dogs.

 

 6) What are the general inherent traits in a well bred GSD?

German Shepherd Dogs are naturally herding dogs. To 'herd' is their natural inherent instinct. If you have a German Shepherd Dog or if you have seen one, I am sure you have seen the dog leading his owner, giving occasional backward glances to ensure if things are right with the owner. German Shepherd Dogs "follows ahead" his handler. Alsatians are naturally protective, loyal and intelligent, with sound nose, which makes the dog a worthy police dog and tracking dog. They are royal, calm and have a sound nerve, which stimulates their protective instinct. Their high degree of intelligence can sometimes be nightmare, if not well trained. In the hand of a novice person a well bred German Shepherd Dog can be difficult to manage due to his smartness and intelligence. Also don't miss reading 5 Basic Instincts of German Shepherd Dogs.

 

 7) What to look for while purchasing a GSD puppy?

 

So many factors! First: Is GSD the right breed for you? Second: Does the breeder have genuine grip on the subject of breeding? Third: Check out the dam and the sire of the puppies. Make sure that none of them are dysplastic. Remember that 'Hip Dysplasia' is a polygenic disease... (caused by the genetic combination that may not show up in any of the previous litter(s). It is hence required to study the parental lineage of the dogs bred to check out if there's any specimen with Dysplasia withing five generation for both the dam and the sire. Fourth: Don't purchase a puppy from the breeders who emphasize more on the the "oversize and big-boned" progenitors. German Shepherd Dog is a technical breed - remember, 'Bigger's not always better.' Fifth: Make sure that the female dog was well fed and well maintained during the time of her pregnancy. Sixth: Make sure that the puppies are taken enough care since their birth.

 

 8) What are the signs of a healthy puppy?

Quick Facts About GSD - Rank on 10

Approaching 10 - Higher ; Approaching 1 - Low

  • Popularity - 10
  • Size - 7
  • Easy to Train - 10
  • Itelligence - 10
  • Shedding - 10
  • Watchdog - 10
  • Guard Dog - 10
  • Agility - 9
  • Working Ability - 10
  • Good with Children - 10
  • Territoriality - 10
  • Consistent in behaviour - 8
  • Dominant to strange dogs - 9
  • Problem solving ability - 8
  • Active indoors - 8
  • Daily exercise requirements - 9
  • Sociability with strangers - 2
  • Instant friendliness with unknowns- 2

 

  • Healthy puppies are always very active and in sprightly mood.
  • Puppy shouldn't have any skin rashes or lesions
  • Puppy should have a have a clean, shiny, smooth coat. Remember that a shiny coat is the prime symptom of sound internal health.
  • Puppy should have the puppy bright, clear, open eyes that should not water
  • Don't pick a puppy with running nose or cough. Kennel cough is fatal.
  • Stay back in the kennel until the puppies are fed. Puppies should have a healthy appetite.
  • Bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting warrants a caution. These are signs of giardia, coccidea or parvo.
  • Ask the breeder when the puppies have been weaned. Recently weaned puppies will have softer stools - sometimes irregular. If they are not weaned recently stool should be normal and the puppies will flash off toxins regularly. 
  • Puppies should not lick the urinary tract. If it does its a sign of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). 
  • Check out the gum and tongue. The color should be pink. Pressing the gum with your finger for a second will make it white, but should turn pink immediately on release. Pale or whitish gum and tongue are the signs of low RBC count - Anemia. Whitish tongue indicates acidity and flatulence 
  • Sit back in the kennel, ask the breeder to release all the puppies... notice them moving around. Limping is a sign of hip or patellar problem, commonly found in GSDs
  • Notice the puppies when all released. Don't pick the one who stays away from the pack, even though it is healthy to every bit.
  • Don't pick over-angulated puppies.
  • Don't pick the puppy with potbelly. Its a sign of heavy infestation of internal parasite. I know, it is tough to say whether the potbelly is due to just having food. Experience speaks. It's better to take someone who is experienced. 
  • Puppies should eagerly come to chew your finger.

 

 9) What is the appropriate age of a puppy to be picked?

 

Grammar is - puppies are to be weaned at around 6 weeks of age, but the period following weaning is very important, because they start to learn 'PACK' behavior. At the age of 8 weeks the puppies become smart enough to leave the litter mates. For GSD 10 weeks is the optimum period.

 

 10) How big will the GSD puppy be when matured?

 

Depends. Depends largely on the genetic configuration of the dam and sire. According to the International Standard an adult male shepherd is 24 to 26 inches; and for bitches, 22 to 24 inches at the wither. A relaxation of 0.99 inches over and under the standard is premissibile. GSDs are longer than taller. The desirable proportion of the length(L) : height (H) = 10 : 8.5. Remember the length is measured from the "Prosternum Point" until the rear edge of the Pelvis.

 

 11) Until what age will the GSD puppy grow?

 

Well fed, well maintained GSD pup reaches close to the adult size by 10-18 months. But the puppy will continue to fill out until he or she reaches the age of 3 years. Beware of fast gowing puppies. Statistical 'correlation coefficient' is high in correlation studies of faster growth rate and Hip or Elbow Dysplasia. Low growth is not desirable either. Experience Speaks again, when it comes to recognizing a puppy with desirable growth rate.

 

 12) What precautionary measures should be taken for a GSD puppy?

 

A lot! Some of the prime points are:

  • Immunization - Right vaccine at the right time.
  • Socializing your puppy - Exposing the puppy to varied range of experiences. Your puppy can develop what is called "Adolescent Shyness" at the age of 4 to 5 months, which can last until 12 to 19 months. Proper Socialization is hence necessary.
  • General Obedience Training - Cute behavior of a 10 pounds lovely little pooch may give you pleasure, but eventually turns really dangerous with a 75 pound adult Shepherd.
  • Keep stuff like chocolate, mothball, insecticides, onions and plants like cactus and poinsettias out of the reach.
  • GSDs are gulper. Heavy exercise (any type of physical exhaustion) immediately before and after meals may be fatal sometimes. Bloat or Gastric Torsion is dangerous.

 

 13) What is the sign of Bloat?

 

Bloat or Gastric Torsion is a common problem in deep chested breeds... GSD is one among them. The abdomen becomes distended and the dog can't blech or pass gas, leading to stomach twist. This is a condition that requires immediate action.

 

14) When will the ears stand erect?

 

As early as 8-10 weeks of age. But do not be concerned if the ears don't stand until 7 months of age. Puppies with larger ears stand late. But sometimes ears do not stand. These are called "Soft Ears", which is a genetic trait.

 

 15) Are German Shepherds easy to train?

 

GSDs are amongst the most intelligent breed of the world. Unlike many other breed they are eagerly enjoy training sessions and easily learn new things. But GSDs have more dominant personalities that makes them a bit more stubborn at times. Training those shepherds becomes little tedious. GSD that thinks that he is the Alfa member of the pack is tougher to train.

 

 16) What is the difference between a German Shepherd Dog and an Alsatian?

 

German Shepherds and Alsatian dogs are the same. There is a wide spread misconception that German Shepherds and Alsatian dogs are different, but they are the same breed. Please check out the history of German Shepherd Dog Names names

 

 17)Is it a rule of thumb to use the word "dog" in the name of the breed? Many other breed does have the word "dog" siffixed with the name, for instance Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Pommerinian!

 

It's not a rule to use he word "dog" in the name of the breed. Quite often you say German Shepherds instead of German Shepherd Dogs. As a matter of fact the German name of the breed is "Deustche Schaferhund", the English translation of which is "German Shepherd Dog". The word "dog" is in fact an integral part of the breed's name.

 

18) One of the female GSDs with my friend has been diagnosed with Pyometra, when she was taken to the vet due to odd discharge. Can you provide me with the information about the condition and what causes this?

(Question contributed by Stephanie Clifton, UK, London. Thank you Stephanie)

 Stephanie, we are honored to have your name displayed on this page of frequently asked questions about German Shepherd Dogs, as a contributor to the growth of this website. 

Pyometra is a uterine disorders in dogs (irrespective of breed). The abnormal uterus of the dog gets infected, accompanied by accumulation of pus. Pyometra is actually a chronic ailment in female dogs, although it may appear acute. Pyometra usually develops slowly over a long span of time, without showing any clinical evidences.
Symptoms - First stage:
Development of cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH), which is an abnormality of the uterine lining of the dog. With the repeated heat cycle this abnormality gets worsen, and becomes noticeable until the condition deteriorates to a great extent.   
Cause that worsens the condition:
Once the uterus gets infected, it gets more infected easily. Normally the dog's vagina is not sterile, and the cervix that connects the vigina and uterus remains closed in normal situation. The cervix gets opened when the female is in heat. This allows bacteria (commonly E.coli) to move into the uterine region from the vigina. After heat period is over, the cervix closes up and bacteria gets trapped within the uterus, which worsen up the uterine infection.
Age:
Female dogs of and over 5-6 years of age are prone to Pyometra
Clinical Symptoms:
On maturity the symptoms of pyometra includes depression, lack of appetite, occassional vomiting, and heavy water intake, frequent urination and discharge of pus through vaginal passage. Quite often in older females the fluid becomes purrulent even without bacteria being found on testing.
Cure:
Most vets recommend ovariohysterectomy as the best treatment for canine pyometra. Vets will suggest the best antibiotics to treat canine pyometra

 

 19) What are the different GSD breed line types?

 (Question contributed by Rachna D'Souza, Delhi, India. Thank you Rachna)

Rachna, we are honored to have your name displayed on this page of frequently asked questions about German Shepherd Dogs, as a contributor to the growth of this website.

The growing popularity of GSD breed consequently led to the creation of a wide array of bloodlines and types throughout the world. There are basically three major types of lines prevailing across the world, which are:

  • International working lines - bred for their working ability, thereby putting leass stress on their appearance.
  • International show lines - bred for appearance for the purpose of joining dog shows. Hence more stress are laid on appearance than the actual working ability.
  • North American show lines - bred for their appearance, although they noticeably different from the world standards. They have sloped back, accompanied by excessively sharp hock angulation.

 

The working lines and show lines have again been categorized into various types... 

  • The German Shepherds working types are East German ("DDR") working type, West German working type and Eastern European ("Czech/Slovak") working type
  • The German Shepherds show lines are West German show lines (high lines), North american show line.

There are also variants of the German Shepherd Dog breed that have been derived by crossing lines and types. These are actually non-German Shepherd Dogs, for instance King Shepherds (Shiloh Shepherd - an American attempt of creating giants size shepherd dogs resembling true type GSD), Panda Shepherd (currently registered by AKC), Sarloos Wolfhond (Dutch breed currently recognized by FCI, developed by crossing German shepherd Dog and European wolf), Utonagan (European attempt - cross between GSD, Alaskan Malamute and Siberian huskies), American Tundra Shepherd (American attempt - cross between the North American wolf and German Shepherds), Kunming Shepherd Dog. (Attempt made by Communist China to recreate the prototype of GSD with the square, leggier structure used to be found in very early GSD types).

 

 20) My GSD has downed pasterns. What causes this and how to correct it?

(Question contributed by Suchitra Choudhury, Kolkata, India. Thank you Suchitra)

Suchitra, we are honored to have your name displayed on this page of frequently asked questions about German Shepherd Dogs, as a contributor to the growth of this website. Downed pasterns are commonly found in German Shepherd puppies. There are different schools of thoughts in this regard. Some think downed pasterns are results of heavy meal, which increases the body weight thereby putting stress on the soft bones of the pastern region. Other thinks this is a hereditary problem. Well we would choose to vote for both. German Shepherd puppies should not be overfed and proprtionate dose of protein, vitamins, minerals and calcium should be maintained. On the other hand, puppies from over angulated bloodlines may show overly angulated pastern, which aperantly seems to be downed pasterns.

Take care of the dogs' food; consult a vet; check out the combination. Notice the protein level, which should be at least 20% to 24% for the dogs with downed pasterns. Vitamin B12, vitamin c, Vitamin D3, vitamin e, phosphorus calcium and Selenium/Magnesium are must. Avoid heavy feeding and plan a repeated feeding at an interval of 4 - 5 hours. Limit the exercise. Be patient, treatment may take some time before your puppy gets back to normal. You can overcome downed pasterns in German SHepherd Dogs with the correct treatment, correct food type, patience and time.


 21) My name is Anna Harris. Our 25 week old male german shepherd has a Salter Harris fracture of his ulna. The vet suggested finding out at what age the bone of a german shepherd stops growing. Your site is amazing, however I couldn't find this information. I am hoping you can help us.

(Question contributed by Anna Harris, Location - Not Mentioned. Thank you Anna)

Anna, we are honored to help you by providing with the desired info. Thank you for considering us to be the genuine source of information. In most pets, including dogs, the longitudinal growth in the growth plate usually occurs until 8 months of age. Salter Harris Fracture (fracture related to growth plate) beyond this age may not turn out to be as dangerous. Since your pooch is just 6 months (25 weeks). It is strongly suggested that you consult your vet who may recommend for necessary surgery. In case of ulna and radius - the points where the bones are paired in the fore leg(s), the Salter Harris Fracture may finally result to twisted wrist, accompanied with a slight bulged out of bone.

Surgery is usually recommended by experienced veterinary practitioners. Post surgery care involves restricted movement, hot packing, bandaging and administering of necessary vitamins, minerals & calcification. We love your dog. We wish, he will get well soon.

 

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