The German shepherd, a breed renowned for its unwavering loyalty, consistently tops the list of the most beloved dog breeds in America, and it is not hard to understand why. These protective and attentive canines possess a serene and assured demeanor, making them amenable to training and eager to please.

It is no surprise that German shepherds are the second most favored dog breed in America, as they are self-assured, brave, clever, and kind-hearted. These sizable dogs are fiercely devoted and safeguarding of their human counterparts, although they approach strangers with caution. With a rich history as working dogs initially bred for their tenacity and laboriousness, German shepherds have served in a variety of capacities, aiding law enforcement agencies and militaries worldwide. Nevertheless, even if one is not engaged in such high-stakes endeavors, a German shepherd’s unflappable and composed nature still makes them an exceptional companion for active owners who enjoy spending hours together at the dog park or on long hikes.

german shepherd in North Carolina


Among the most widely recognized breeds in contemporary times, the German shepherd is renowned for striking the perfect balance between power and elegance. Weighing in at a robust 50-90 pounds, these large canines exude a presence that is unmistakable, thanks to their alert yet kind facial expression, complete with perked-up ears and dark, almond-shaped eyes. According to the American Kennel Club, German shepherds boast a “double coat,” consisting of a rough outer layer of hair that works in tandem with a thick, soft undercoat, making them adaptable to a range of climates. However, their luxurious coat means that German shepherds have a proclivity for shedding and necessitates being brushed several times a week, particularly during spring and fall, to keep your dog as well as your abode looking its best.

German shepherds are typically seen with black and tan fur, but the breed also comes in a variety of other colors, such as all-black, black with red, sable, and even the rare white German shepherd, as reported by the AKC.

german shepherd outside


The German shepherd is a popular breed due to its brave, intelligent, and gentle nature. As a versatile working dog, they are eager to please and can learn quickly. Although they have the potential to be dominant, with consistent training and obedience sessions, German shepherds can become loyal companions for life.

German Shepherds were originally bred for working purposes and are always ready to perform tasks. However, they can also make wonderful family dogs if their owners can commit to consistent obedience training and at least an hour of vigorous exercise every day. This breed is not suitable for a sedentary lifestyle and requires regular physical activity to maintain their happiness.

Here at German Shepherd Puppies NC, we suggest that owners should provide their German shepherds with at least two hours of exercise every day. This can include going for long walks or runs, or participating in agility training competitions to satisfy their herding instincts. Despite their serious appearance, German shepherds are playful dogs that enjoy spending quality time with their owners. They are known as Velcro dogs and tend to stick close to their owners, so they should not be left alone for extended periods of time to avoid developing separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior.

It’s important to socialize your German shepherd properly from a young age like with any breed. According to the AKC, a well-adjusted German shepherd will be patient and gentle. While German shepherds are not aggressive by nature, they are very protective of their people due to their guarding tendencies. They make natural watch dogs and will protect their territory, alerting you to intruders. German shepherds are known to be gentle with children and other pets, including cats, especially when introduced as a puppy. However, it’s crucial to teach children how to properly interact with dogs. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America advises that tugging on their tail or pinching their ear painfully should always be discouraged, even if your pup appears to tolerate it.

german shepherd temperment

Living Needs

Although German shepherds were originally bred for demanding jobs that required long hours of work, such as serving in the military or as K-9 units, they have become just as much a family dog as they are a working breed. Despite their versatility, the German shepherd’s large size and high energy make them better suited for living in a house with a physically fenced-in yard. However, they can also adapt to apartment living as long as they receive adequate daily exercise. While they can coexist with other pets in the household, proper training and introduction are crucial, and German shepherds often prefer being the only dog in the home.

German shepherds are known for their loyalty and protective nature towards their owners. However, due to their size, energy level, and strength, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some people choose this breed solely for their protective instincts without realizing that German shepherds require a high degree of control and training for good behavior. If not properly trained, they can become a legal and financial liability. To ensure a well-behaved German shepherd, owners should dedicate time to obedience training and provide at least an hour of exercise per day. If you frequently need to leave your dog at home alone for long periods of time, this breed may not be the best fit for your lifestyle.

To ensure the happiness of a German shepherd, it’s best to find an active owner who wants a loyal companion and enjoys spending time outside, as they make great trail buddies. Before committing to any dog, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle, but it’s a good idea to talk to a German shepherd breeder or rescue group to ensure that this breed is a good fit for your lifestyle and expectations.

german shepherds


German shepherds have a dense, double-layered coat that needs to be brushed weekly to manage shedding, says the AKC. During the spring and fall shedding season, it’s recommended to brush them once or twice daily to keep up with the shedding. As long as they don’t get into something unpleasant or muddy, German shepherds usually don’t require frequent baths since most dirt and debris can be removed with a brush.

Brushing your German shepherd’s coat regularly not only helps with shedding, but it also allows you to check their overall health. During brushing, you can check for a healthy coat sheen, inspect their nails, and ensure their ears and teeth are in good condition. While some German shepherds’ nails may be naturally worn down through activity, if you hear them tapping on the floor, it’s likely time for a trim.

To keep your German shepherd happy and healthy, it’s important to provide them with mental stimulation and plenty of exercise on a daily basis, given their high energy levels and intelligence. Additionally, it’s crucial to start socializing and training your German shepherd at a young age due to their protective nature. Consistent and positive reinforcement training can help mold your pup into a well-behaved adult dog. It’s important to understand that dog training is a continuous process that extends beyond group classes, and that the structure of day-to-day interactions with your dog is key to their behavior. Dogs are part of the family and should abide by the same rules established from the day they come home.

german shepherd temperament


The German shepherd is known as a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years. However, like any breed, German shepherds are prone to certain health issues. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America, which is the official breed club, highly recommends that breeders test for conditions such as elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological disease that is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. In addition to these tests, German shepherds should also undergo regular temperament tests and annual heart exams to maintain their overall health and well-being.

German shepherds are known to be susceptible to certain health issues such as epilepsy, vision problems, bleeding disorders, immune-mediated diseases, hemangiosarcoma, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. However, not all German shepherds will develop these conditions, so it’s important to be aware of them when considering this breed. It’s recommended to obtain dogs from reputable breeders who can provide information about the dog’s parents and siblings, and for those adopting, to request all available health history from the rescue.

German shepherds are at risk for developing bloat, a life-threatening condition that is more common in larger breeds. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the organs. Symptoms of bloat include restlessness, vomiting, a distended abdomen, and weakness. If you suspect your German shepherd is suffering from bloat, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.

german shepherd on couch


The German shepherd is a well-known and easily recognizable breed, with origins in Germany dating back to the late 1800s. Captain Max von Stephanitz, a German cavalry officer, is credited with creating the breed by breeding a “wolflike dog” with excellent herding skills and natural obedience. Initially, the German shepherd was bred as a working dog for herding, but von Stephanitz eventually shifted his focus to breeding a breed that was more suitable for military and police work. German shepherds have since become popular among police and military forces worldwide, and many served as messengers, search and rescue dogs, supply carriers, and sentries during both world wars.

German shepherds were first brought to the United States in the early 1900s, and their popularity surged after World War I when returning soldiers brought them home. However, in 1917, due to anti-German sentiment, the AKC officially changed the breed’s name to “shepherd dog” and in England, the breed was renamed “Alsatian Wolf Dog”. The AKC didn’t revert to the original breed name until 1931. After World War II, a rift formed between American-bred and German-bred German shepherds, with American breeders focusing more on appearance rather than working abilities, resulting in the iconic sloped back that is commonly associated with the breed today.

No matter their lineage, German shepherds are intelligent and determined dogs that enjoy having a task to accomplish. Their gentle temperament and protective instincts also make them a popular choice as a family pet.