The German shepherd dog, also known as the Alsatian, is renowned for its physical and mental prowess. Originally bred in Germany to herd sheep and farm dogs, German shepherds are extensively used as service dogs by defense units, including drug and contraband detection, search and rescue operations and as guardians and guides.
Enhance your German shepherd's exceptional guarding instincts by training it from a young age. Training can be carried out either at home or at a dog obedience school.2
Feed your German shepherd a natural, homemade diet, if possible. High-quality, commercially prepared meals and kibble foods are also acceptable. Ensure that your dog has a steady supply of fresh water.3
German shepherds are working dogs and should be exercised daily, irrespective of weather conditions, according to the K9 Obedience website. Include a combination of physical activity involving play and mental stimulation into your dog's exercise regimen.4
Brush your dog's coat every day to reduce shedding. Double-coated and long-coated German shepherd breeds require additional grooming.5
Bathe the dog only when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo. Clean the ears weekly with an ear solution to reduce earwax and schedule regular dental checkups to ensure healthy teeth and gums.6
Familiarize yourself with the health problems that plague this breed, including elbow and hip dysplasia, flea allergies, digestive and blood disorders. Incorporate good diet and lifestyle measures, to optimize the approximately 12-year lifespan of your German shepherd.