When trying to figure out what dog breed to adopt, many people consider the distinguished German Shepherd. Any time that you are weighing the pros and cons of a dog breed, it’s worth it to review the history of the breed.
The History of German Shepherds
As the name implies, German Shepherds were bred to be herding dogs. The modern breed owes its establishment to a German cavalry captain named Max von Stephanitz, who was looking for a dog in the late 1800s. He attended a dog show and noticed an exceptional canine that he couldn’t take his eyes off of. Captain Stephanitz believed that dogs should earn their place and be able to work within rules and boundaries. He purchased the dog and went on to train him as a herding canine. His success led him to breed “Horand von Grafrath,” and today’s German Shepherd was literally born.
Common German Shepherd Needs
As with other pure breeds, German Shepherds have very specific needs related to their personality, size, shape and instincts. When your family and lifestyle meet these needs, it makes for a long and satisfying relationship. But when any of these needs are not met, just like people, a German Shepherd may not live up to their potential, become depressed or simply not fit in well with your household. Therefore, it’s important to be realistic about whether your family can meet the following common needs of a German Shepherd.
German Shepherds aren’t the kind of dog to lounge around the house all day, napping. If you compared a German Shepherd to a human, they would be the type to have a favorite sport, a gym membership or a hobby of jogging or running marathons for charity. A German shepherd will be happiest when they can exercise several times a day (not just an hour-long walk around the block). They enjoy fetching, playing tug of war, and even searching for hidden items in the yard. In short, a German Shepherd is happiest living in a house with access to the outdoors, rather than an apartment.
German Shepherds typically have thick coats that grow even thicker in the colder months. This means that they need regular brushing to prevent matting. On the plus side, German Shepherds don’t require as much bathing as some other breeds. The thickness of their coats successfully keeps out dirt and debris from reaching in toward their skin.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent and they respond well to training. In fact, it could be said that, like a child eager to learn, a German Shepherd craves knowledge. The best German Shepherd owners understand that this dog breed feels a sense of pride and accomplishment as they learn more and more. And commonplace dog tricks are child’s play for a German Shepherd. They are capable of much more advanced learning, which is why they are the dog of choice for police K-9 units. German Shepherds make excellent search and rescue dogs, make excellent household protectors and more. If you do decide to adopt a German Shepherd, be sure to challenge them with new skills and training their entire life. They will thrive with new opportunities to learn.
Tips for Living Happily Alongside a German Shepherd
If you like what you’ve learned so far and want to move ahead with adopting a German Shepherd, here are some tips for happily living with this breed.
Spend Quality Time
German Shepherds are capable of developing deep and lasting bonds with their human family, but you have to put in the work. This isn’t a breed that will follow you around with a wagging tail just because you’ve got Jiminy’s treats in your pocket. You and your German Shepherd will need to bond through shared experiences, just like your human best friend. So be ready to go on adventures together and invite your German Shepherd to join your family on excursions.
Crating is a popular habit for dog owners these days. But German Shepherds don’t respond well to being kept captive when you aren’t around. In fact, this goes against their instincts to protect your property when you aren’t home. In addition, crating this breed prevents them from being active for hours at a time. A crated German Shepherd won’t be a happy German Shepherd. Instead, take the time to properly train your German Shepherd to follow the rules in your home about access to furniture, certain rooms, etc.
Allergies are unfortunately just as common in dogs as they are in humans. Some breeds of dog are more susceptible to developing allergies, and the German Shepherd is one of these. Learn more about German Shepherd Allergies in our post: How To Help Your German Shepherd With Allergies
Finally, you should know that German Shepherds as a breed are prone to hip dysplasia. This is a common inherited condition that could mean hefty vet bills as your German Shepherd ages. For this breed, pet health insurance is highly recommended.
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Beyond that, our products are eco-friendly, humane, and safe for dogs of all sizes. So, you can definitely feel good about feeding your dog Jiminy’s – and your dog will enjoy our tasty Cravin’ Cricket and Good Grub flavors.