My Shepherd BFF

The Ultimate Guide to Owning a German Shepherd Dog

woman holding a german shepherd puppy

Are you thinking about getting a German Shepherd? Or do you already have one?

This guide will show you everything you need to know about them, including:

  • What you need to know before getting a GSD (and how to tell if it’s the right breed for you)
  • How to find a good German Shepherd breeder
  • How to train your puppy
  • What to feed your German Shepherd (and what to avoid)
  • How to potty train, groom & take care of your pup?
  • And much more

You’ll even learn the names of some famous German Shepherds and celebrities who proudly own and flaunt their GSDs.

But before we get into that, ask yourself this: why do you want a dog in the first place?

Do you want a dog that is protective and can be a good guard dog?

Do you want a dog that is good with children and can be a family companion?

Do you want a dog that is easy to train and obedient?

If you answered yes to any of those, a German Shepherd is the best choice for you.

This guide will show you everything you need to know to raise your furry companion.

Since it’s a long, and comprehensive article, feel free to refer to the Table of Contents above for easy navigation.

Here is a concise overview of what you can expect when you own a German Shepherd.

everything you want to know about owning a german shepherd

What To Expect With A German Shepherd Puppy

what to expect with a gsd puppy

Here’s what you’ll learn in this section:

German Shepherd History

German Shepherds were first developed in Germany in the late 19th century by a cavalry officer named Captain Max von Stephanitz.

gsd history

He was looking for a dog that was intelligent, obedient, and versatile, and that could be used for a variety of tasks, including herding, guarding, and police work.

Captain Max von Stephanitz found what he was looking for in a dog named Horand von Grafrath, which became the first German Shepherd.

He began to breed German Shepherds and created the first breed club, the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, in 1899.

German Shepherd Size

German Shepherds are large-sized dogs with males typically growing larger than females.

Below is the breed standard for German Shepherd size, according to the American Kennel Club.

  • Males: 24-26 inches, 65-95 pounds.
  • Females: 22-24 inches, 50-70 pounds.

Height for dogs is measured from the ground to their withers (the highest point of a dog’s shoulder blades).

It is important to note that while breed standards exist for the German Shepherd, there can be variations in size and build based on factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise.

Tracking the growth of a puppy is an important aspect of their overall health and development.

Here’s a German Shepherd growth chart that you can refer to monitor and track the growth of your pup.

RELATED: Male vs Female German Shepherd: Key Differences

How Long Do GSDs Live?

The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is around 9 – 13 years. 

However, with proper care and attention, some German Shepherds have been known to live up to 15 years or even longer.

Factors that can affect a German Shepherd’s lifespan include genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health.

For example, dogs with a family history of health issues may be more prone to developing certain conditions as they age, which can affect their lifespan.


Are German Shepherds Smart?

gsd reading book

German Shepherds are widely considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

In fact, they are often used as working dogs in law enforcement, the military, and other fields because of their intelligence, trainability, and adaptability.

German Shepherds are known for their problem-solving abilities, and they can quickly learn and execute complex tasks.

They are also highly responsive to training and can be taught a wide range of commands and behaviors.

Additionally, German Shepherds have an excellent memory and can remember specific commands and routines for long periods of time.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Smart?

German Shepherd Temperament

German Shepherds are known for their intelligent and loyal nature and also have a gentle side that makes them excellent family pets.

RELATED: Do German Shepherds Like To Cuddle?

These dogs were originally bred to be guard dogs, and as a result, they have a strong sense of loyalty to their family and can be protective of their home and property.

German Shepherds are also known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise and mental stimulation.

They are active dogs that thrive on physical activity and play, and they need plenty of opportunities to burn off their energy.

Are German Shepherds Easy to Train?

Yes, German Shepherds are generally considered to be easy to train. They are highly intelligent and eager to please their owners, which makes them quick learners.

German Shepherds are often used as working dogs in various roles such as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and service dogs due to their trainability and versatility.

Their natural intelligence, coupled with their strong work ethic and loyalty, makes German Shepherds excel in obedience training.

They can quickly pick up commands and are known for their ability to understand and perform complex tasks.

They thrive in structured training environments that provide mental stimulation and consistent, positive reinforcement.

However, it’s important to be consistent and patient when training a German Shepherd, as they can be sensitive to harsh treatment or punishment.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Easy To Train?

Are German Shepherds Good with Children?

german shepherd with a child

German Shepherds can make excellent family pets and can be great with children when properly trained and socialized.

Here are some things to consider when introducing a German Shepherd to children:

1. Choose a Pup with a Good Temperament

GSDs can make excellent companions for children, but it’s important to choose a dog with a good temperament and socialize them early on.

A well-socialized German Shepherd can be calm and gentle with children, while an unsocialized or aggressive dog can be dangerous.

2. Always Supervise Children with Dogs

Children should always be supervised when interacting with the dog. 

This is especially important for younger children who may not understand how to interact with a dog.

3. Training is Necessary

Proper training is essential for a German Shepherd to be a good family pet. 

They should be taught basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come, and trained not to jump or mouth on people.

4. Safety First

While German Shepherds can be great with children, it’s important to remember that they are still animals and can be unpredictable.

Children should be taught to respect the dog’s space and to avoid behaviors such as pulling on their tail or ears.

Additionally, it’s important to teach children what to do in case of an emergency, such as if the dog becomes aggressive or if someone is injured.

Overall, German Shepherds can make great family pets and can be great with children when properly trained, socialized, and supervised.

With the right care and attention, a German Shepherd can be a loyal and loving companion for your family for many years.


Common German Shepherd Behavior Issues

German Shepherds are a highly intelligent and loyal breed, but like any dog, they can exhibit behavior issues if not properly trained and socialized.

Here are some common German Shepherd behavior issues and tips for addressing them:

1. Aggression

German Shepherds are protective by nature and can become aggressive towards people and other animals if they feel threatened. 

This can be a serious issue if not properly addressed.

Exposing them to a variety of people, animals, and environments from an early age can help them become more well-adjusted and less reactive to new situations.

2. Separation Anxiety

German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and can become very attached to their owners.

This can lead to separation anxiety when the owner leaves the house.

Separation anxiety can result in destructive behavior such as chewing or digging, excessive barking or howling, or even urinating or defecating inside the house.

RELATED: How To Help Your GSD Overcome Separation Anxiety

3. Excessive Barking

German Shepherds are known for their vocalization and can become excessive barkers if not properly trained.

Barking can be a form of communication, so it is important to understand why the dog is barking before trying to address the behavior.

Some common reasons for barking include boredom, anxiety, or excitement.

RELATED: Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?

4. Jumping Up

German Shepherds are high-energy dogs and can often jump up on people as a way of greeting them.

While this behavior may seem harmless, it can be dangerous for small children or elderly individuals.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Dangerous?

5. Pulling on Leash

German Shepherds are strong dogs and can easily pull their owners on walks if not properly trained.

Pulling can be dangerous for both the dog and the owner, as it can result in injuries or accidents.

German Shepherds are wonderful dogs, but like any breed, they can exhibit behavior issues if not properly trained and socialized.

RELATED: How To Stop a German Shepherd From Pulling on The Leash

Are German Shepherds Good with Other Pets?

german shepherd with a cat

German Shepherds can get along well with other pets, but it depends on their temperament and socialization.

Early socialization and training can help German Shepherds learn to get along with other animals, including cats, dogs, and even small animals like rabbits or guinea pigs.

Here’s an easy-to-follow guide that can help you to effectively socialize your GSD pup.

However, it’s important to note that German Shepherds are a breed that was originally developed for herding and protecting livestock.

This means that they may have a strong prey drive and may be prone to chasing small animals.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Good With Other Dogs?

It’s also possible that they may not get along with other dogs of the same sex or with dominant personalities.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Good With Cats?

Do German Shepherds Shed?

Yes, German Shepherds do shed. They have a double coat, which consists of a thick, dense undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat.

The undercoat sheds seasonally, typically in the spring and fall, and during this time, you may notice an increase in shedding.

However, German Shepherds do shed year-round, and regular grooming can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy.

If you are considering adopting a German Shepherd, it’s important to be prepared for regular grooming and cleaning to manage shedding.

This may include daily brushing, regular baths, and frequent vacuuming or sweeping.

Is a German Shepherd the Right Dog for You?

Before adopting a German Shepherd, it is important to consider if they are the right dog for you and your lifestyle. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Activity Level

German Shepherds are active dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation.

If you have a sedentary lifestyle or are unable to provide your dog with adequate exercise and playtime, a German Shepherd may not be the right fit for you.

2. Space

German Shepherds are large dogs that need plenty of space to move around and play.

They are not well-suited to small apartments or homes without a yard.

If you live in a small space, you may want to consider a smaller breed or an older dog that requires less space.

3. Time Commitment

German Shepherds require a lot of time and attention. 

They are highly social dogs that thrive on human interaction and can become destructive or anxious if left alone for long periods.

If you are unable to spend a significant amount of time with your dog, a German Shepherd may not be the right choice for you.

RELATED: Can German Shepherds Be Left Alone?

4. Family Dynamic

German Shepherds are protective of their families and can be wary of strangers. 

If you have young children or frequently have visitors in your home, a German Shepherd may not be the best choice.

Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

No, German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic dogs are breeds that typically produce fewer allergens, causing fewer allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

German Shepherds have a double coat and shed throughout the year, which releases dander and hair into the environment. This shedding can potentially trigger allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to allergens from dogs.

How Much Do German Shepherd Puppies Cost?

german shepherd puppies

The cost of a German Shepherd puppy can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the breeder, location, pedigree, and age.

Generally, German Shepherd puppies can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 or more.

Some factors that can impact the cost of a German Shepherd puppy include:

1. Breeder’s Reputation

The reputation and experience of the breeder can affect the price of a German Shepherd puppy.

Reputable breeders who perform health testing and provide socialization and training may charge more for their puppies.

2. Pedigree

German Shepherds with a pedigree or lineage that includes champion bloodlines or working titles may cost more than those without.

3. Location

The cost of a German Shepherd puppy can vary depending on the location. 

Puppies from breeders located in areas with a high demand for the breed may be priced higher.

4. Age

German Shepherd puppies that are older than 12 weeks may be priced lower than younger puppies, as they may be more difficult to sell.

RELATED: How Much is a German Shepherd Puppy?

Estimated Yearly Expenses in a GSD’s Adult Years

The estimated yearly costs to maintain a German Shepherd in its adult years can vary depending on factors such as the dog’s age, health, and lifestyle.

However, here are some general expenses to consider:

1. Food

German Shepherds are a medium to large breed and can require 2-3 cups of high-quality dog food per day.

The cost of dog food can vary, but you can expect to spend around $500 to $1,000 per year on food for a German Shepherd.

2. Grooming

German Shepherds have a thick double coat that sheds heavily twice a year. 

Regular grooming, such as brushing, bathing, and nail trimming, is necessary to manage their shedding and maintain their coat.

Grooming expenses can vary, but you can expect to spend around $500 to $1,000 per year on grooming.

3. Veterinary care

Like all dogs, German Shepherds require regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative care such as flea and tick prevention.

They may also require treatment for health issues such as hip dysplasia, allergies, and digestive problems.

The cost of veterinary care can vary, but you can expect to spend around $500 to $1,500 per year on veterinary expenses.

4. Training and socialization

Training and socialization expenses, such as obedience classes, toys, and activities, can vary, but you can expect to spend around $500 to $1,000 per year on training and socialization.

Overall, the estimated yearly cost to maintain a German Shepherd can range from $2,000 to $4,500 or more, depending on the dog’s individual needs.

Does this sound like it’s doable?

If it’s not, that’s totally ok!

It’s better that you realize this now than realizing it after you get one and then have to give them up.

RELATED: German Shepherd Price: Total Cost of Buying & Maintaining a GSD

German Shepherd Colors

Recognized colors of German Shepherds:

Rare colors of German Shepherds:


German Shepherds in Popular Culture & Workforce

Here’s what we’ll cover in this next section:

German Shepherds in the Workforce

German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, making them a popular breed for various roles in the workforce.

Here are some examples of how German Shepherds are utilized in different industries:

1. Police Departments

german shepherd police dog

German Shepherds have been used by police departments around the world for many years.

They are trained to assist officers in a variety of ways such as tracking suspects, detecting drugs or explosives, and apprehending criminals.

RELATED: Why Are German Shepherds Police Dogs?

2. Military Forces

German Shepherds have been utilized by military forces around the world for many years due to their intelligence and loyalty.

They are often trained as bomb detection dogs or patrol dogs to help protect soldiers on the battlefield.

3. Search and Rescue Teams

German Shepherds make excellent search and rescue dogs due to their strong sense of smell and ability to track scents over long distances.

They can be trained to locate missing persons or survivors after natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes.

4. Therapy Dogs

German Shepherds are highly social dogs and are often used as therapy dogs to provide comfort and emotional support to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities.

5. Herding and Farming

German Shepherds have a natural instinct for herding and can be trained to work on farms or ranches.

They are capable of herding and protecting livestock, as well as performing tasks such as pulling carts or plows.

Famous German Shepherds

German Shepherds have been popular in popular culture and history, and many famous dogs of this breed have left their mark on society. 

Here are a few examples of famous German Shepherds:

1. Rin Tin Tin

rin tin tin german shepherd

Rin Tin Tin was a male German Shepherd who starred in 27 Hollywood films during the 1920s and 1930s.

He was rescued from a World War I battlefield by an American soldier named Lee Duncan who then brought him back to America where he became a movie star.

2. Strongheart


Strongheart was another famous German Shepherd in the early days of film. 

He was known for his performances in action-packed films and helped to popularize the breed in the United States.

3. Buddy

Buddy was a German Shepherd that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was trained to sniff out explosives and became a hero for his service in the Pacific.

4. Bullet


Bullet was the loyal companion of Roy Rogers, a famous cowboy actor of the mid-20th century. Bullet appeared in over 50 films and became a beloved symbol of the American West.

5. Ceasar

Ceasar was a male German Shepherd who played the role of K9 Officer Zeus in the hit TV series “The Wire”. 

He was trained by Steve Essig, a former police officer who has trained over 200 dogs for law enforcement agencies.

RELATED: National German Shepherd Day! How to Celebrate?

Celebrities Who Own a German Shepherd

German Shepherds are popular among celebrities due to their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility.

1. Jake Gyllenhaal

jake gyllenhaal with his german shepherd

Jake Gyllenhaal is not only an accomplished actor and film producer, but he also holds the title of a proud German Shepherd connoisseur. In 2016, Gyllenhaal adopted a remarkable male German Shepherd named Atticus

Since then, this dynamic duo has captivated the public eye, embarking on countless escapades and sauntering through LA streets.

2. Enrique Iglesias


Enrique Iglesias, the sensational singer, and heartthrob, shares his life with a furry companion that holds a special place in his heart – Max, a loyal and loving German Shepherd. 

This dynamic duo has been inseparable since Max became a part of Iglesias’ life. 

3. Cameron Diaz

Source: Pinterest

Cameron Diaz, the beloved actress, and former model, is known not only for her stunning looks and charismatic on-screen performances but also for her deep affection for animals. 

One particular four-legged companion holds a special place in her heart: her loyal German Shepherd.

How to Choose the Right Puppy

Needless to say, choosing the right GSD puppy is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some topics that we will cover in this section:

Types of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility.

However, there are different types of GSDs that you should be aware of before choosing a puppy.

There are five different types of German Shepherds, but we can sort them into two bloodlines, the show line and the working line.

The Show Line German Shepherds include:

  • American / CanadianGerman Shepherd Show Line
  • West German Show Lines (also known as European Show Line)

The Working Line German Shepherds include:

The Show Line dogs are bred for their appearance and conformation to breed standards rather than working ability.

On the other hand, Working line German Shepherds are bred for their working ability. These dogs have a more intense drive and energy level than show line dogs.

When choosing a puppy, it’s important to consider what you want from your dog. If you’re looking for a companion or family pet, a show line may be more suitable.

However, If you are an active person or have experience with high-energy breeds, a working line German Shepherd may be a good fit for you.

This comprehensive article covers each of the 5 types of German Shepherds in a lot more detail.

Also, there are several mixed breeds of German Shepherds, including the Shepadoodle, Shug, Shepkita, Gerberian Shepsky, and the American Tundra Shepherd.

These unique mixes offer a variety of traits and characteristics, combining the intelligence, loyalty, and protective instincts of the German Shepherd with the distinctive qualities of their other parent breeds.


Different Coat Lengths of German Shepherds

German Shepherds typically have two main types of coat lengths: short coat and long coat.

1. Short Coat GSDs

German Shepherds with short coats have dense, straight fur that lies close to their bodies. The coat is generally smooth and requires minimal grooming. This type of coat is more common and is the standard for German Shepherds.

2. Long Coat GSDs

German Shepherds with long coats have fur that is noticeably longer and can be wavy or slightly curly. Their coat may have a fuller appearance, with more feathering on the tail, ears, and legs. The long coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

It’s important to note that while short and long coats are the main types, there can be variations within these categories.

Some German Shepherds may have a medium-length coat that falls between the short and long coat lengths. The length and texture of the coat can also vary slightly depending on individual genetics.

How to Find a Good German Shepherd Breeder

Finding a reputable German Shepherd breeder is important to ensure that you are getting a healthy and well-socialized puppy.

Here are some tips for finding a German Shepherd breeder:


Do your research and find breeders in your area who specialize in German Shepherds.

Look for breeders who have a good reputation and have been in the business for a number of years. Check for online reviews and ask for references from past customers.

Visit Dog Shows or Events

german shepherds in dog shows

Attending dog shows or events is a great way to meet German Shepherd breeders in person and see their dogs.

You can ask questions about the breed and get a sense of the breeder’s knowledge and expertise.

Check Breed-Specific Organizations

There are many breed-specific organizations that maintain breeder directories and provide information on breed standards and health issues.

Look for organizations such as the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) or the United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USCA).

Ask for Health Clearances

Reputable breeders will provide health clearances for both the parents and the puppies.

These clearances will show that the dogs have been screened for common health issues such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.

Ask for documentation of these clearances before purchasing a puppy.

Meet the Breeder and the Puppies

This will allow you to see the environment in which the puppies were raised and to assess their temperament and socialization.

A reputable breeder will be happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have.

Avoid purchasing from pet stores or online sellers as they may not provide adequate care for the puppies.

Instead, look for local breeders who specialize in breeding high-quality German Shepherds.

Adopting From a Shelter or Rescue Organization

If you’re considering adopting rather than buying from a breeder, there are many shelters and rescue organizations that specialize in German Shepherds.

These organizations often have a thorough screening process to ensure that the puppy is going to a suitable home.

They may also provide information about the puppy’s temperament and behavior.

While adopting a puppy can be rewarding, it’s important to remember that these dogs may come with their own set of challenges.

RELATED: Rescuing and Adopting a German Shepherd: A Step-by-Step Guide

Many shelter dogs have been abandoned or mistreated, which can lead to behavioral issues such as anxiety or aggression.

RELATED: Can a German Shepherd Kill You?

Evaluating the Puppy’s Temperament & Personality

Observe the Puppy’s Behavior

Spend time observing the puppy’s behavior in its environment. Note how the puppy interacts with its littermates, its mother, and other people.

A well-adjusted puppy should be friendly and curious, and should not show any signs of fear or aggression.

Conduct a Temperament Test

A temperament test can help to assess a puppy’s personality and temperament.

A good breeder will be able to conduct a temperament test and provide you with the results.

The test should evaluate the puppy’s reaction to different stimuli, such as sudden noises or movements, and how it interacts with people.

Look for Confidence

A confident puppy is more likely to grow into a well-adjusted adult dog.

Look for a puppy that is not afraid to explore its surroundings and interact with people and other animals.

Consider the Puppy’s Energy Level

German Shepherds are a high-energy breed, but individual puppies can vary in their energy levels.

Choose a puppy that matches your lifestyle and energy level.

If you are an active person, a higher energy puppy may be a good fit. If you are more laid-back, a calmer puppy may be a better choice.

Ask the Breeder

A good breeder will be knowledgeable about their puppies and should be able to answer your questions about the puppy’s temperament and personality.

Ask the breeder about the puppy’s background, its parents, and any training or socialization that has been done.

RELATED: Buying a German Shepherd Puppy In 6 Simple Steps

How to Take Care of Your New Puppy

In this section, you’ll learn about:

What to Feed Your Puppy

As pet parents, it is important to ensure that our furry friends are getting the right kind of nutrition. it is essential to provide them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Here are some tips for what to feed your new GSD puppy:

Choose High-Quality Puppy Food

Look for a high-quality puppy food that is formulated specifically for large breed puppies. 

These foods will have the right balance of protein, fat, and nutrients to support your puppy’s growth and development.

Feed on a Schedule

Establish a regular feeding schedule for your puppy. Young puppies typically need to be fed three to four times a day.

As your puppy gets older, you can gradually reduce the number of feedings to two times a day.

Monitor Your Puppy’s Weight

It’s important to monitor your puppy’s weight and adjust its food intake accordingly.

Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can cause health problems later in life.

Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your puppy’s weight or feeding schedule.

Provide Plenty of Water

Make sure your puppy has access to plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. It’s important for your puppy to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or after exercise.

Avoid Table Scraps

Avoid feeding your puppy table scraps or human food. These foods can be high in fat and can upset your puppy’s stomach.

Stick to a high-quality puppy food to ensure your puppy gets the nutrients it needs.

If you’re seeking additional guidance on how to properly feed your German Shepherd puppy, this article can provide valuable insights.

RELATED: What Do German Shepherds Eat?

How to Train Your German Shepherd Puppy

Training your puppy is an important part of raising a well-behaved and well-adjusted adult dog.

Here are some tips for training your puppy:

Start with Basic Commands

Start with basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down. 

Use positive reinforcement training techniques such as treats, praise, and toys to reward your puppy for good behavior.

Socialize Your Puppy

Socialization is important for helping your puppy develop good behavior around other dogs and people. 

Introduce your puppy to new people, places, and situations in a positive and controlled way.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a training technique that rewards good behavior and ignores bad behavior.

Use treats, praise, and toys to reinforce good behavior, and ignore or redirect bad behavior.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when training your puppy. Use the same commands, rewards, and corrections every time to help your puppy learn what is expected of them.

Be Patient

Training your puppy takes time and patience. Don’t expect your puppy to learn everything at once.

Break training into small, manageable steps, and be patient as your puppy learns.

Consider Professional Training

If you are having difficulty training your puppy or want to teach more advanced commands, consider professional training.

A professional trainer can help you develop a training plan and provide guidance and support.

If you’re in search of effective training tips for your German Shepherd puppy, this article can serve as a valuable resource: 30 German Shepherd Training Commands

How to Potty Train Your New Puppy

german shepherd puppy potty training

Potty training can be challenging but it’s important for both you and your puppy’s sanity! Here are some tips for potty training your doggy:

Establish a Routine

Establish a routine for feeding and taking your puppy outside to go potty. 

Puppies usually need to go out after they wake up, after eating or drinking, and after playing.

Use a Crate

Use a crate to help train your puppy. Dogs naturally want to keep their sleeping area clean, so a crate can help teach your puppy to hold its bladder until it can go outside.

RELATED: German Shepherd Sleeping With Owner: Is It Safe For You?

Take Your Puppy Outside Often

Take your puppy outside often, at least once every hour or two, to give it the opportunity to go potty.

Use a command such as “go potty” to help your puppy learn what is expected of it.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement to reward your puppy for going potty outside. Give your puppy a treat and lots of praise every time it goes potty outside.

This will help your puppy learn that going outside is a good thing.

Supervise Your Puppy

Supervise your puppy at all times to prevent accidents. If you can’t supervise your puppy, confine it to a small, safe area.

Clean Up Accidents Quickly

If your puppy has an accident inside, clean it up quickly and thoroughly. 

Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of the odor so your puppy won’t be tempted to go potty in the same spot again.

RELATED: How To Potty Train a German Shepherd Puppy Easily

How to Crate Train Your Pup

Crate training is a great way to provide your pup with a safe space while also preventing destructive behavior at home.

Here are some tips for crate training your doggy:

Choose the Right Crate

Choose a crate that is the right size for your puppy. It should be large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so large that your puppy can use one end as a bathroom and the other as a sleeping area.

Introduce the Crate Gradually

Introduce the crate gradually and make it a positive experience for your puppy. Start by placing treats and toys inside the crate to encourage your puppy to explore it.

Use Treats for Encouragement

Use treats, praise, and toys to reward your puppy for going inside the crate and staying there.

Don’t Use the Crate as Punishment

Never use the crate as a form of punishment. The crate should be a safe and comfortable place for your puppy to rest, not a place where it goes when it is in trouble.

Gradually Increase Time in the Crate

Start by leaving your puppy in the crate for short periods of time, gradually increasing the time as your puppy becomes more comfortable.

Be sure to provide plenty of toys and treats to keep your puppy occupied while it is in the crate.

Use the Crate When You’re Away

Once your puppy is comfortable in the crate, use it when you’re away from home to keep your puppy safe and prevent accidents.

How to Groom Your German Shepherd Puppy

Grooming your pup is essential for maintaining their double coat and overall health. Here are some tips for grooming your doggy:


German Shepherds have a thick double coat, which requires regular brushing to keep it healthy and free of tangles and mats.

Brush your puppy’s coat at least once a week with a slicker brush and a metal comb to remove loose fur and debris.


German Shepherds don’t require frequent bathing, but when you do bathe your puppy, use a mild dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly to avoid skin irritation.

Avoid getting water in your puppy’s ears and use a towel to dry it off.

Nail Trimming

Trim your puppy’s nails regularly to avoid them becoming too long and causing discomfort or injury.

Use a clipper designed for dog nails and be careful not to cut the quick, which is the blood vessel in the nail.

Teeth Cleaning

Dental hygiene is important for your puppy’s overall health.

Brush your puppy’s teeth regularly with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste, or use dental chews or toys to help keep its teeth clean.

Ear Cleaning

Young German Shepherds have floppy ears, which can trap dirt and moisture, leading to infections.

Clean your puppy’s ears regularly with a gentle ear cleaner and cotton balls or gauze.

Professional Grooming

Consider taking your puppy to a professional groomer for a trim or a deep clean. They can also help with grooming tips and advice.

How Much Exercise Do German Shepherd Puppies Need?

German Shepherd puppies need a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise every day.

As they grow older and become more active, they may require more exercise.

It is important to note that exercise should be appropriate for their age and physical ability.

Too much exercise can be harmful to their developing bones and joints.

There are several types of exercise that are suitable for German Shepherd puppies, including:


Walking is a great form of exercise for German Shepherd puppies.

It helps improve their cardiovascular health, strengthen their muscles, and burn excess energy. A 20-30 minute walk once or twice a day is recommended.


Playing is an excellent way to provide mental and physical stimulation for your German Shepherd puppy.

You can play fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek. Make sure to use appropriate toys that are safe for your puppy to play with.


Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on your puppy’s joints. It is also a great way to keep your puppy cool during hot weather.

Make sure to supervise your puppy while they are swimming to ensure their safety.

RELATED: Can German Shepherds Swim?


Training your German Shepherd puppy is an excellent way to provide mental stimulation and exercise.

Basic obedience training and tricks can be incorporated into your puppy’s daily exercise routine.

German Shepherd puppies require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. It is important to provide appropriate exercise that is suitable for their age and physical ability.

The Best Toys for Your German Shepherd Puppy

gsd pup with a chew toy

Providing your GSD puppy with appropriate toys is important for both physical exercise and mental stimulation. 

Look for toys that are durable, non-toxic, and large enough so they can’t be swallowed.

Here are some of the best toys for your GSD puppy:

Chew Toys

German Shepherds love to chew, and providing them with safe chew toys can help satisfy their natural urge to chew.

Look for durable chew toys made of rubber or nylon that won’t break apart easily and can withstand heavy chewing.

Rope Toys

Rope toys are great for playing tug-of-war with your puppy, which can help strengthen its jaw muscles and provide exercise.

Look for rope toys made of natural fibers that won’t unravel easily.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys can provide mental stimulation for your puppy, as they have to figure out how to get the treats or toys out of the toy.

Look for puzzle toys made of durable materials that won’t break apart easily.


German Shepherds love playing fetch, and providing them with a ball can provide hours of entertainment.

Look for balls made of durable materials that won’t break apart easily and are large enough to avoid being a choking hazard.


Kongs are a popular toy among dog owners, as they can be filled with treats or peanut butter, which can provide mental stimulation and keep your puppy occupied for a while.

How To Prepare For a New GSD Puppy

Preparing yourself for a new puppy can be an exciting and overwhelming experience.

In this section, here’s what we will discuss:

Preparing your home for your new puppy

Creating a safe and comfortable space for your puppy is crucial. Here are some tips on how to prepare your home for your new doggy:

Create a designated space

German Shepherds are active and energetic dogs that require plenty of space to run and play.

It’s important to create a designated space for your new puppy where they can sleep, eat, and play.

Consider getting a crate or playpen that is large enough for your puppy to move around comfortably.

RELATED: How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?

Remove hazards

Puppies are curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings. It’s important to remove any hazards that could pose a danger to your new puppy.

This includes anything that can be chewed on, such as electrical cords, and anything that can be knocked over, such as vases and other fragile items.

Puppy-proof your home

In addition to removing hazards, you’ll need to puppy-proof your home by putting up baby gates and closing doors to keep your puppy contained in a safe area.

Make sure any chemicals or cleaning products are stored safely out of reach.

Establish a routine

German Shepherds thrive on routine, so it’s important to establish a routine as soon as possible.

This includes feeding your puppy at the same time each day, taking them out for potty breaks on a regular schedule, and establishing a bedtime routine.

Buying essential supplies for your new German Shepherd puppy

When bringing a new doggy into your home, it’s important to have all the necessary supplies on hand to ensure that your puppy is comfortable, healthy, and happy.

Here are some essential supplies you’ll need to buy:

Food and Water Bowls

Choose sturdy, non-slip bowls that are the appropriate size for your puppy. 

It’s important to choose a bowl that’s large enough to hold enough food and water for your puppy’s size.

Puppy Food

German Shepherds have specific nutritional needs, so it’s important to choose a high-quality puppy food that’s appropriate for their age and size.

Look for food that’s made with high-quality ingredients and free of fillers and artificial preservatives.


A crate provides a safe and secure place for your puppy to rest and sleep. 

Choose a crate that’s large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Dog Bed

Soft bedding will help your puppy feel comfortable and secure in their crate or designated sleeping area.

Choose bedding that’s easy to clean and free of loose threads or stuffing that can be a choking hazard.

Collar and Leash

A collar and leash are necessary for walks and training. 

Choose a collar that fits snugly but is not too tight, and a leash that’s appropriate for your puppy’s size.


Puppies love to play, so it’s important to have plenty of toys on hand to keep them entertained.

Choose toys that are appropriate for your puppy’s age and size and are made of safe, durable materials.

Grooming Supplies

German Shepherds have thick, double coats that require regular grooming. 

Purchase a soft-bristled brush and a comb to help keep your puppy’s coat healthy and tangle-free.

You’ll also need nail clippers, a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, and an ear-cleaning solution.

By purchasing these essential supplies before your new German Shepherd puppy arrives, you’ll be well-prepared to provide them with a safe, healthy, and happy home.

Introducing Your Pup to Family Members

Introducing a new pup to family members can be an exciting and joyful experience, but it’s important to do it in a way that’s safe and stress-free for everyone involved.

Here are some tips for introducing your new doggy to your family:

Take it slow

It’s important to take the introduction process slow and give your new puppy time to adjust to its new surroundings.

Allow them to explore their new home and become comfortable before introducing them to family members.

Ask family members to use positive reinforcements

Use positive reinforcement techniques to help your puppy feel comfortable around family members.

Encourage family members to offer treats, praise, and affection when interacting with the puppy.

Supervise interactions

Always supervise interactions between your puppy and family members, especially children.

Teach children to be gentle and respectful with the puppy, and discourage rough play or teasing.

Introduce one at a time

Introduce family members to the puppy one at a time to avoid overwhelming them.

This will also help the puppy to become familiar with each person’s scent and personality.

Keep the environment calm

Keep the environment calm and quiet during introductions to avoid overstimulating the puppy. Avoid loud noises or sudden movements that may startle them.

RELATED: How To Introduce a German Shepherd to Your New Puppy

German Shepherd Puppy Health Issues

Puppies, like kids, get sick a lot more than adults do.

This is because their immune systems aren’t fully developed and they try to put everything in their mouth (including poop).

According to PetMD, here are 7 common puppy illnesses:

  • Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that affects puppies and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
  • Distemper: Distemper is another viral disease that can cause respiratory, neurological, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Kennel Cough: Kennel Cough is a respiratory infection that causes a dry, hacking cough.
  • Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can cause fever, lethargy, and kidney and liver damage.
  • Vomiting & Diarrhea: Vomiting and diarrhea are common puppy health issues that can be caused by various factors, such as parasites, infections, or dietary changes.
  • Parasites: Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and worms, are also common in puppies and can cause various health issues.
  • Adenovirus: Adenovirus is a viral infection that affects the liver and can cause symptoms such as fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

RELATED: German Shepherd Diarrhea: Treatment & Care

Tips To Keep Your Puppy Safe From Falling Sick

german shepherd puppy running
  • Vaccinate your puppy against common diseases like parvovirus, distemper, and leptospirosis.
  • Keep your puppy away from other sick animals, and avoid taking them to crowded places until they are fully vaccinated.
  • Maintain a clean and hygienic living environment for your puppy by regularly cleaning and disinfecting their toys, bedding, and living area.
  • Feed your puppy a balanced and nutritious diet, and avoid giving them table scraps or food that can upset their stomach.
  • Provide your puppy with plenty of clean drinking water at all times to prevent dehydration.
  • Use preventive measures, such as tick and flea preventives, to protect your puppy from parasites.
  • Regularly groom your puppy to keep their coat clean and free of parasites.
  • Keep your puppy away from toxic substances like cleaning products, chemicals, and plants that can harm them.
  • Watch for signs of illness in your puppy, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea, and seek veterinary care if necessary.
  • Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian and schedule regular check-ups for your puppy to ensure their health and well-being.

Common Adult German Shepherd Health Issues

Similar to all dog breeds, German Shepherds can develop various health issues as they age.

Here are some of the most common GSD health issues:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common health issue in German Shepherd puppies. It’s a genetic condition that affects the hip joint and can cause discomfort and pain. (Source)

Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket joint of the hip don’t fit together properly, leading to wear and tear on the joint over time.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia include difficulty standing up or sitting down, limping, decreased activity level, reluctance to climb stairs or jump up, and bunny hopping gait.

To prevent hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, it’s essential to feed them a healthy diet with proper nutrition for bone growth.

Regular exercise is also crucial for maintaining strong muscles around the hips and joints.

Check out this informative article about GSD hip dysplasia.

RELATED: Common German Shepherd Health Issues

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another common health issue in German Shepherd puppies. It’s a genetic condition that affects the elbow joint and can lead to lameness and arthritis later in life.

Elbow dysplasia occurs when there is abnormal development of one or more components of the elbow joint. (Source)

Symptoms of elbow dysplasia include limping, stiffness after rest or exercise, swelling around the elbow joint, decreased activity level, and reluctance to climb stairs or jump up.

Click here to learn more about GSD elbow dysplasia in this detailed article.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive neurological disease that affects many dog breeds including German Shepherds.

DM typically begins with weakness in the hind legs which eventually leads to paralysis. The disease is caused by a mutation in the SOD1 gene.

Symptoms of DM include difficulty standing up or sitting down, dragging of the hind legs, knuckling over of the paws, and loss of muscle mass in the hindquarters.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for DM. However, early diagnosis and management can help slow down the progression of the disease.

Click here to learn more about degenerative myelopathy in another informative article on this website.

RELATED: How To Make German Shepherd Back Legs Stronger?

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, also known as bloat or twisted stomach, is a life-threatening condition that can occur in German Shepherds.

GDV happens when the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself, cutting off blood flow to vital organs.

Symptoms of GDV include restlessness, pacing, drooling excessively, bloated abdomen that feels hard to the touch, retching without vomiting or producing only foam or bile.

To prevent GDV in German Shepherds, it’s essential to feed them multiple small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal.

Avoid strenuous exercise before and after meals and limit water intake during mealtime.


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects many dog breeds including German Shepherds.

Epilepsy causes seizures which can range from mild to severe and may occur at irregular intervals.

Symptoms of epilepsy include sudden collapse followed by stiffening limbs and uncontrollable shaking or paddling movements; loss of consciousness; drooling; urination/defecation; confusion/disorientation after the seizure ends.

There is no cure for epilepsy. However, medication can help control seizures and improve the quality of life for affected dogs.

RELATED: Epilepsy in German Shepherds


Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that affects the blood-clotting process.

Hemophilia occurs when there is a deficiency or absence of clotting factors in the blood.

German Shepherds are one of the dog breeds that are prone to hemophilia.

Symptoms of hemophilia include excessive bleeding from minor injuries, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and prolonged bleeding after surgery or injury.

Treatment options for hemophilia include transfusion of fresh frozen plasma or cryoprecipitate containing clotting factors.

RELATED: How Long Does German Shepherd Heat Cycle Last?


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects many dog breeds including German Shepherds.

Diabetes occurs when there is insufficient insulin production or resistance to insulin in the body.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, weight loss despite an increased appetite, lethargy and weakness, vomiting and diarrhea.

Treatment options for diabetes include insulin therapy and dietary management.

RELATED: German Shepherd Diabetes Mellitus: Signs & Treatments


Like any other dog breed, German Shepherds can develop allergies. Allergies in dogs can be categorized into three main types: food allergies, environmental allergies, and flea allergies.

1. Food Allergies: German Shepherds can be sensitive to certain ingredients in their food, such as grains, beef, chicken, or other common allergens. Symptoms of food allergies in German Shepherds may include itching, gastrointestinal issues, and ear infections.

2. Environmental Allergies: Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to environmental factors such as pollen, mold, dust mites, or other allergens in the air. Symptoms of environmental allergies in German Shepherds may include itching, red and inflamed skin, watery eyes, and sneezing.

RELATED: German Shepherd Pyoderma Treatment At Home

3. Flea Allergies: German Shepherds, like many other breeds, can also develop allergies to flea bites. Even a single flea bite can trigger an allergic reaction, leading to intense itching and discomfort.

RELATED: Common German Shepherd Allergies

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common health issue in older dogs including German Shepherds. 

DDD occurs when the intervertebral discs between spinal vertebrae degenerate over time due to age-related wear and tear.

Symptoms of DDD include stiffness, difficulty standing up or sitting down, reluctance to jump or climb stairs, yelping in pain when touched on the back, and dragging of the

Pros & Cons of Owning a German Shepherd

RELATED: German Shepherd Pros and Cons

Owning a German Shepherd can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons before making the decision to bring one into your home. Here are some of the pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd:


Loyal and Protective

German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and protective nature towards their family.

They will do whatever it takes to protect their loved ones.


German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and are easy to train.

They are used in many working roles, such as police and military work, search and rescue, and therapy work.

Active and Energetic

German Shepherds are active and energetic dogs that love to play and exercise. 

They make great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and camping.

Good with Children

With proper socialization and training, German Shepherds can be excellent family pets and are good with children.


GSDs are versatile and can be trained for a variety of roles, including search and rescue, police work, and therapy.


High Energy

While their energy level can be a pro, it can also be a con for those who are not prepared for the amount of exercise and mental stimulation that a German Shepherd requires.

They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior.


German Shepherds have a thick double coat that sheds heavily twice a year. Regular grooming and cleaning are necessary to manage their shedding.

Health Issues

Like all dog breeds, German Shepherds are prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, digestive problems, and skin allergies.

These issues can be costly to manage and may require ongoing veterinary care.

Protective Nature

While their protective nature can be a pro, it can also be a con if they are not properly socialized and trained.

They can become overly protective and aggressive towards strangers if they perceive a threat to their family.

Overall, owning a German Shepherd requires a commitment to providing adequate exercise, training, and grooming, as well as a willingness to manage potential health issues. 

With the proper care and attention, a German Shepherd can make a wonderful companion and loyal family member.


GSDs are loyal, intelligent, and versatile, and can be trained for a variety of roles including search and rescue, police work, and therapy. However, they also require a lot of exercise, grooming, and attention, and may be prone to certain health issues that can be costly to treat. It’s important to carefully consider your lifestyle and ability to provide for a German Shepherd’s needs before bringing one home.


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