Before adopting a German Shepherd, there are several important things to consider.
- Working dogs
- Size issues
- Health problems
All puppies will need effort, attention, and lots of time. While there are breeds that could be considered lower maintenance, there is no such thing as a truly low-maintenance dog. Shelters are filled with animals previously owned by people who failed to take this into account.
No dog is born a good pet; they must be socialized and trained to be companions. Failure to control and discipline any dog will make the animal unsuitable for living with people. There are many things to consider before adopting a German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd breed is the product of an attempt to standardize dogs for the job of herding sheep. This means that they are (genetically speaking) working dogs with instincts developed to handle tasks. Largely as a result of this breeding, they are highly active dogs requiring lots of exercise and direction.
German Shepherds are intelligent, alert, and relatively easy to train but they need to have a role. If not provided with sufficient discipline and guidance German Shepherds become bored and may test their owner’s authority or become destructive.
German Shepherds are fairly large dogs. Breed size should definitely be taken into account when adopting a puppy. If the owner is not a physically strong person a large dog may be difficult for them to control when on a leash.
It may also be difficult to discipline a large dog when it gets older. Another issue with big dogs is feeding. They require more food and are therefore more costly to feed in the long run.
German Shepherds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. In fact, they are the dog breed most prone to these conditions. In hip and elbow dysplasia the joints become loose and may become partially dislocated. This may result in partial or complete crippling of the dog.
Initial signs may include pain, inflammation around the joint, and lameness. Care should be taken to get pups only from reputable breeders as proper breeding should reduce the chance of getting an animal with the gene for hip and elbow dysplasia.
Another minor nuisance with German Shepherds may include the issue of shedding. These are hairy dogs and owners will have to pay attention to grooming and cleaning up after them.
All animals come with some degree of responsibility, and ownership should only be undertaken after careful planning and research. It is the owner’s responsibility to find the animal and breed that suits their lifestyle as well as the amount of time they have to invest.