Information on the german shepherd
German Shepherd Dogs are everywhere! As one of the most active dog breeds working today, you see GSDs in airports, subway stations, and even Times Square. These dogs serve as police K-9s, military working dogs, search and rescue dogs, and much more.
Have you ever thought about why this particular breed is so suited for this kind of hard work?
The breed dates back to the 1890s, where it worked as a herding and farm dog. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA), the official parent club and “guardian” of the breed in the United States, the very first registered German Shepherd Dog in Germany was a “working sheepherder, requiring no training other than direction and finish to become proficient at the task.” GSDs were prized for their “utility and intelligence” and later used heavily in the World Wars, demonstrating their trainability, loyalty and courage.
The GSDCA describes the breed best as approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand.”
These qualities have been bred into German Shepherd Dogs for over a hundred years, endearing the breed to a wide public in practically every country of the globe as a companion, protector, and friend.
The all-time ACE (Awards for Canine Excellence) winning breed is the German Shepherd Dog, with 13 awards. The Awards for Canine Excellence celebrate canine heroes in appreciation for the inspiring ways in which they contribute to our lives. Each year, five loyal, hard-working dogs are commemorated for making significant contributions to an individual or their communities.
Get to know the German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog is hailed as the world's leading police, guard and military
dog, however, this dependable breed is more than its 9-to-5 job. Consistently one
of the United States most popular breeds according to AKC® Registration Statistics,
the German Shepherd Dog is also a loving family companion, herder and show
competitor. The breed is approachable, direct and fearless, with a strong, muscular
body. The GSD may be most colors, but most commonly is black and tan.
A Look Back
The German Shepherd Dog originated in 1899 at Karlsruhe, Germany due to the
efforts of Captain Max von Stephanitz and others. Derived from the old breeds
of herding and farm dogs, the first German Shepherd Dog exhibited in America
was in 1907. The fame associated with Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, two members
of the breed whose movies played on variations of the boy and his dog theme,
shot the popularity of the breed sky-high.
No breeder in the world can guarantee that the puppies won't develop dysplasia, and if they do... beware. environmental factors. That means that it's caused by a combination of genes that may not show up in any litter previously. No matter the certifications in the pedigree it is possible that your puppy could be predisposed to hip dysplasia. Treatments (both surgical and drug) can be done early to alleviate problems down the line. If in doubt, find an orthopedic specialist. Be wary of a breeder that says their puppies will definitely not have hip problems. I can promise you I have researched my dogs and have inspected the parents and check the background of my dogs looking for OFA in their background. OFA is an Xray done on a dog at 2 years old that will show quality hips. I added microchipping, first vet visit. Lacey is my first dog I started with in the 6 years I have had her no one has any complaints on the health of their puppy or the training that has went into them. No one has called me and told me their dog had hip dysplasia or gotten sick. All my dogs are highly active, running, jumping, hiking and swimming. I always encourage potential owners to come see the health and temperment of the parents. No signs in weakness of hips and Lacey is 5 years old. I have seen it in a mixed breed white shepherd I had. He had it as young as 6 months old. He had it so bad by 6 years I had to put him down. I have worked with this and know the problems related to it. None of my dogs shows any signs of weakness or tenderness in their joints. discipline and dog sport involving 3 phases; obedience, tracking and protection. It is supposed to be a fun experience for both the dog and the handler. All my girls have the bloodlines from champion wins in Germany for such events. Note that titles that say VA1 are considered world champions. Also 2X VA 1 are rare champions thta won world champion TWO TIMES! Ancestors are real German Shepherds. These champions are judged on what they accomplish, not just their looks. Note; Schutzhund is a way of measuring their abilities, SCH 3 is tops. Im not into the show that the dog runs in a circle and is judged for its beauty. These are extremely intelligent working dogs. Will my German shepherd puppy's ears stand?
Hip dysplasia is considered to be polygenic and is also influenced by
Although some puppies' ears stand as early as 8-10 weeks, don't be concerned if your pup's ears don't stand until 6-7 months (especially pups with large ears) after teething. Some pups ears never stand. This is known as a "soft ear". Sometimes taping is successful. "Soft ears" are a genetic trait, and dogs with soft ears should not be bred even if taping is successful. It is a disqualification in showing but does not affect the dog' health in a negative way. I have had a puppy that took until he was 9 months for his ears to stand up.
No breeder in the world can guarantee that the puppies won't develop
dysplasia, and if they do... beware.
environmental factors. That means that it's caused by a combination
of genes that may not show up in any litter previously. No matter the
certifications in the pedigree it is possible that your puppy could be
predisposed to hip dysplasia. Treatments (both surgical and drug) can
be done early to alleviate problems down the line. If in doubt, find an
orthopedic specialist. Be wary of a breeder that says their puppies
will definitely not have hip problems. I can promise you I have
researched my dogs and have inspected the parents and check
the background of my dogs looking for OFA in their background.
OFA is an Xray done on a dog at 2 years old that will show quality
hips. I added microchipping, first vet visit. Lacey is my first dog
I started with in the 6 years I have had her no one has any complaints
on the health of their puppy or the training that has went into them.
No one has called me and told me their dog had hip dysplasia or gotten
sick. All my dogs are highly active, running, jumping, hiking and
swimming. I always encourage potential owners to come see the health
and temperment of the parents. No signs in weakness of hips and Lacey
is 5 years old. I have seen it in a mixed breed white shepherd I had. He
had it as young as 6 months old. He had it so bad by 6 years I had to put
him down. I have worked with this and know the problems related
to it. None of my dogs shows any signs of weakness or tenderness in their
discipline and dog sport involving 3 phases; obedience, tracking and
protection. It is supposed to be a fun experience for both the dog and
the handler. All my girls have the bloodlines from champion wins in
Germany for such events.
Note that titles that say VA1 are considered world champions. Also
2X VA 1 are rare champions thta won world champion TWO TIMES!
Ancestors are real German Shepherds. These champions are
judged on what they accomplish, not just their looks. Note;
Schutzhund is a way of measuring their abilities, SCH 3 is tops.
Im not into the show that the dog runs in a circle and is judged for
its beauty. These are extremely intelligent working dogs.
Will my German shepherd puppy's ears stand?
Make sure to research to the german shepherd breed before deciding on getting one. Look up their genetic issues that they can get. Common issues of health such as allergies breeders are not going to just start a conversation with you on. German shepherd are prone to skin and ear allergies. I have a few dogs that have allergies. The allergies a few dogs have is a yeast infection on the skin or ears. Mostly in the ears. A few weeks of keeping the dog clean with an antifungal, antibacterial shampoo has worked very well with me for skin allergies. Ear infections I buy antifungal, antibacterial ear wash and on occasion will get drops for the ears from vet. I do not retire a dog with simple allergies. My pack is examined by at times several vets during the year, if at any time the vet recommends the dog has genetic issues that should not be breed I immediately retire them and find them a home. Genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia, seizures, degenerative myelopathy dogs should not be breed. Research the temperament, drive and energy it takes to own one. Make sure you are prepared for any health issues, temperament and overall issues a german shepherd can bring in your home. Getting from any breeder no matter how well known they are, still has pups with possible genetic issues. Do not get a dog expecting perfection. Getting from a reputable breeder limits the possibilities of getting the genetic disorders but does not guarantee that. Breeders that guarantee hips and genetic disorders of the dog will put the dog down and give you a new pup. I am not that kind of breeder. I do my best with vets advice on the health of my dogs and the health of my pups to limit any issues they may get. I keep records of owners letting me know any health issues the dog has and keep an eye on possible genetic issues between my breeding pairs. I discuss possible issues with my vet in deciding if its an issues that a dog needs to be retired or just not breed with a certain other dog. I make it very clear to my owners that even though I do my best in having happy, healthy, well balanced dogs my main focus for my pack is forever homes. These dogs are abandoned way too often because of health issues, temperament issues and lack of training issues. Do not get a dog from me expecting perfection in the dog. Getting a dog from me, expect someone with experience in the health issues for support, a trainer dedicated in keeping your dog in its home guiding you in the right direction for training and being an overall support system for you and your dog.
Article about ear support
I decided to make an article on ear support for german shepherds. Ive been successfully with my own pack by massaging the ears and helping them form correctly. I have seen many people get these dogs and are very harsh with rubbing and pulling on their ears. I had one couple that I told that the ears are very delicate that you need to be very careful with them while the puppy is young or you can unknowingly break the cartilage in the ear and the ear not stand up. They were surprised that I said that. In a lot of people’s minds you have this big strong german shepherd and I am just being overprotective on the dogs ears. The ear is a growing cartilage that needs to be delicately worked with until the dog is older, and the ear obviously is strong enough to support itself. I have had 5 dogs over the years that the ears didn’t stand up for owners. For whatever reason they didn’t stand up I wanted to research how I could help with this. One the owners must understand be gentle with the ears, honestly mostly leave them alone unless you want to massage them in an upward position to work the cartilage to stand. I have had dog ears stand up at 9 months and stay up. But instead of working with the ear I wanted to try to figure out something that worked well with the dog as well as the owners. One of my dogs had an operation and I kept him in a cone for about a month forming his ear cone like towards his head. Going to the vet he taped the ears. Every week we had to rip off the tape, clean his ears and reattaching tape. It was an awful experience that I would rather my dog have floppy ears than do that again. Taping can cause ear infections and over all it is not something I would do again.
I got a few of my dogs in California and met up with a breeder. I am always talking to breeders for more information on how I can take better care of my pack. The breeder told me if the owner tells her at 6 months the dog’s ears didnt stand up she inserts an ear support in the ear and she showed me how to do it. I liked the method so much I wanted to try it to see how it worked and if it was something I could support and tell people about. Over a year later I got 3 pups. By 6 months both Mitzi’s ears were floppy and usually I start working the ear to start strengthening the cartilage. I added the form instead. Willow had one ear that was floppy at 7 months. I added one form to ear that wasn’t standing. Through a week trial I noticed that Willow’s strong ear flopped with the other ear supported. About a week and a half, the forms fell out. So I cleaned the ear out with alcohol and noticed when I put the form back in between the alcohol and the glue it had a slight burn to it. With the form falling out so soon we carefully added more glue. Now the trick to this method is reading the instructions on the glue. You need to put glue on ear and form letting it sit 5 minutes before putting in ear. During this time, you need to keep the ear formed otherwise the ear will stick together while glue is drying. Make sure when adding glue to ear look at where the ear needs the most support and make sure when you add support to get it in the right spot to help the ear. Being very careful add glue without it running into the ear… It is a pretty thick glue but you do not want any runs into the ear. With any method like this you can damage your dogs ears so please if you need a more professional help go to your vet and ask for help. Hopefully your vet will help otherwise just leave the ear alone. The ear does not change who the dog is, it is just cosmetic…
After we added more glue to the form and ear, we put the form back in the ear. Willow ear flopped so I decided to add the form to both ears. One thing I noticed which I mentioned early make sure to note where the ear needs the most support, if you don’t put the support in the right spot you will need to pull support off to reinstall it. We had to take off the form with Willow noticing it didn’t support the ear the way we wanted it too. With cleaning the ear with alcohol, I did not install the form right away with the burning it caused between the glue and the alcohol it was much better to let it dry for a few hours before installing the form again. We kept the forms in about 2 months. After the first few weeks of learning how to use the glue and cleaning the ears the forms didn’t fall out. So, I decided to pull off the form after about a month. Total time with forms was 2 months. Keep in mind this is with 2 dogs that the ears I feel would have stood up in time they had stood up and flopped which is normal for their ears.
Through the entire time of doing the ears the ears did not get red, infected or irritated. I am not a vet keep that in mind, but I do not see why this method wouldn’t work on a young adult dog. You are basically splinting the ear to help strengthen it to stand on its own. They are not considered adults until 3 so they are still growing and maturing during that time.
The forms you can buy online at redline k9 ear support or I experimented with getting a breathable firm material from Joannes. They sale a foot squared material or even a thin foot squared foam material that will work but I feel with lack of experience it is better to buy the actual formed piece shaped for the german shepherds’ ears. The form cost around $20. Glue I bought on amazon but you can get it in certain stores. Osto-bond skin bonding glue. Also, with doing anything like this as well you do not know if your dog possible can have an allergic reaction to the glue or even the form you get. Keep an eye on your dog. Look in the ear for any swelling or redness. You may get a little redness the first day. I did not. The main reaction I got was they didn’t like the smell of the glue and I got a mild reaction when I cleaned ear with alcohol and put glue on after cleaning ear. After letting glue sit for 5 minutes, add form to ear, let sit for another 5 minutes before letting dog get up. At least with my dogs they scratched a little but after a few minutes they were comfortable maybe slightly annoyed. something was in their ear. After about 15 minutes they were ok with the form.
Get professional advice before deciding to try something like this. Meaning discussion with your vet not your breeder…. Get their opinion on what you are wanting to try before making the decision. I had a breeder give me advice to use tearmender fabric and leather adhesive on the form to put in ears. I put it on my wrist before trying it on my dog. It burned very badly and was horrible advice. It actually caused a blister on my skin. DO NOT use tearmender glue even though someone advertised to use it for ear supports for dogs.
Parasites: Mainly giardia, occasionally coccidia…
Over the years as a breeder my main health issues has been Giardia. With a lot of different vets over the years different methods and so forth it can really be difficult. I have talked with a lot of different breeders, Akc inspector, k9 handlers, specialist vets and so forth. I had one k9 handler tell me that he would take his dog to the training with the dogs in kennels and his would come back home with giardia.. I had a specialist vet tell me in his opinion majority of people and dogs carry giardia and don’t know it. He also told me having such a large group of animals together it is almost impossible to eliminate parasites. It will always be difficult with any large group whether people or animals.. the biggest issue with parasites is with such intelligent animals they eat poop which is the biggest problem with getting rid of it.
When I have pups is when I have the biggest spread of giardia. I even deworm mom a week before she has pups and a lot of times this will get the litter to be clear but not always. I have tried not giving mom dewormer because honestly I don’t like giving the moms anything when they are ready to have pups but it does protect the pups.. I have had entire litters not have it with no issues then I have pups that get it and I can clear it before they go home and I have had pups that go home and no matter how much I deworm them, sanitize their kennel and constantly change bedding through out the day they still go home with it. My main expense as a breeder is treating parasites. All my litters are treated for giardia, coccidia and basic wormers.. I use toltrazuril which is extremely effective against coccidia. I haven’t had pups go home with that since I started using it.. (recommended by a specialist) Pyrantel which is for basic round and hook worms, and fenbendazole for giardia. Occasionally I will give metronidazole which is an antibiotic effective against giardia. But I haven’t seen good results from that.. Using metronidazole with fenbendazole is well used with a lot of vet offices. I also use a probiotic with the deworming..
With constant research nothing in the United States eliminates giardia 100%. It is spread all the way across the United States and even in the eastern states they call it Beaver Fever. I do my best to keep my kennels clean, sanitized, free of flies which is a huge carrier of it, All stool is cleared twice a day, with puppies 4 to 5 times a day… Pups will get a weekly bath starting at 4 weeks to keep any parasites of skin and coat..
The best thing for pups is getting them away from the litter in a clean environment, keep them bathed, giving them a probiotic and dewormer when they go home..I recommend a 7 day treatment of fenbendazole, this is a step I do when I bring pups into my home, immediate cleaning them from the environment they came from and a week of dewormer. You can buy Panacur (fenbendazole) at any store that sales dewormer.. It does not have to be Panacur… Panacur is a name brand that vets recommend. The name of the dewormer is fenbendazole… this dewormer is the main dewormer to cure giardia. Pumpkin is also awesome at helping your new dog or pup with sensitive digestion system with their new home. German shepherds have the most sensitive digestion systems I know about. Ive had a lot of different breed dogs over the years the german shepherd is the most sensitive on digestion I have been around. This is one of the main issues I have had to retire several dogs over the years is because their digestion issues where pretty bad and test after test ran on them and nothing was found wrong… they just always had runny stool.
Be aware of this whether you get a pup from me or someone else. They do have very sensitive systems and research it, understand how to regulate their food, understanding stool what is good and what is extremely concerning.. Watery stool is very concerning. Not an immediately vet visit if you only see it once but it is a warning sign something is wrong, your dog may have ate something bad, has a pretty bad case of parasites… parvo etc…. soft stool I keep and eye on. If I see it for more than 3 days I will deworm the pack.. unless it is only one dog. Then I will separate the one dog and watch closely for any concerns, if it doesn’t get better after 3 days I will take a stool sample to vet.
Watching the stool of your dog and its eating habits are the most critical concerns to watch for to keep your dog healthy and happy.