Sequoyah German Shepherds
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decide that you are ready to add a puppy or dog to your family, it
is extremely important to find a breed that will suit your needs.
If you don't, you will create an unhappy situation for both you and
your new canine friend.
Here I will
attempt to give you some general information about the German
Shepherd breed, its origin, and its health issues. Many of
these things, I am personally familiar with and have seen as a
veterinarian. If you have any questions that arise either
about my dogs, my bloodlines, or about German Shepherds in general,
I will be glad to help in any way I can.
Some of the main
things to consider when purchasing a German Shepherd:
They are an active breed and do need adequate exercise.
Though they can be content watching T.V. with you in the
evening, you need to plan to spend time daily allowing them to
run and play.
-- They are immensely intelligent. German Shepherd Dogs are
thinkers. They need work to do and problems to solve. You must plan to start
some type of socialization and training as soon as you acquire
your new Shepherd. They will try to sneak by with whatever
you will let them -- like an extremely bright child, and you
must by "smarter" than they are. They will tend to "keep
you on your toes".
German Shepherd shed heavily. Make sure you can "deal"
with the extra amount of hair in your house or on your clothes
after playing with your canine friend.
shepherds eat ALOT -- a good quality food can easily run
$45-$60 per month.
chew ALOT (and often on things they shouldn't).
dog house, crates, and toys are simply more expensive than
that of a smaller dog
outgrow their collars, leashes, dog bowls, and dog beds
their first 6 months.
heartworm preventative and flea and tick control cost more
because of their size.
If you are not an "experienced" trainer, plan on seeking some
training assistance with your new pet at some point.
German Shepherds are very talented and willingly learners, but
their talents must be challenged and they must be kept busy or
they often will learn to "entertain" themselves. As is characteristic of a sheep-herding breed, the GSD
needs a job. The dog will keep busy, and if you don’t teach a job and make
it accessible for the dog to perform, the GSD will devise one.
Often times this self-assigned job is NOT constructive!
AND, You MUST
socialize them -- take them around other people, go through
drive-thrus with them, introduce them to other animals and kids,
expose them to loud noises, and anything else that you can think
of that they might experience in the next 12 years of their
life. If you’re not going to formally and thoroughly train
with your dog, the GSD is the wrong choice.
Plan ahead. Make sure that you have someone or some place
that is willing to keep your new friend while you are out of
town if you are unable to take him with you.
If you can cope
with all of these things, then the German Shepherds might be the
ideal dog for you. But, GSDs are heavy-duty dogs.
Because of their intelligence and ease of training, they have effectively
worked beside police officers, soldiers, search and rescue handlers,
blind people, and done their jobs effectively protecting lives and
property all over the world. They adapt quickly to most any situation.
Their devotion and undying loyalty make them exceptional protection
dogs when trained properly. But, if you don't have the time,
money, or dedication to devote, or if hair is an issue, then maybe
you should reconsider your purchase of a German Shepherd.
These dogs need
to be important to you. It is preferable that they stay with
you for the rest of their lives. They can change homes if the
new home is a good one, but it is a hard adjustment for a adult GSD
to make and it takes time. These dogs give you their loyal hearts. They genuinely desire to
please you. A well-bred and well-trained German Shepherd Dog is
unforgettable. Many people have gotten hooked on dog training by
owning, loving, and training with one of these marvelous dogs.
If you can't
make a lifetime commitment or if you need a "lighter-duty" dog, it
might be that another breed would suit you better or maybe this just
isn't the right time in your life for a dog. You owe it to
yourself and your dog to might the right decision.
Even if you never have a German
Shepherd Dog of your own, chances are your life will be made better
because others have lived and worked with them.
Interesting Information German Shepherds
Max von Stephaniz founded the breed in
the 1890s from sheep-herding dogs that met his criteria for working
ability and conformation.
After World War I, Germany had many blinded war
veterans and well-trained German Shepherds. Not
surprisingly, German Shepherds began working as guide dogs.
The sport of Schutzhund was designed as a testing program to help
select breeding dogs with the correct genetics for police and
military work. It still serves this purpose, but has become a
contest of sophisticated training.
Though a great many German Shepherds are produced in the
United States, the dogs working in police departments and
other vital functions are often imports from Germany.
Several types of German Shepherd Dogs are bred.
Some of these types include
long-coated dogs, conformation show dogs, bloodlines specialized for
guide work, dogs bred for police and military work, and at least two
groups registered as completely different breeds. These are the
United Kennel Club registered White German Shepherd and the Shiloh
Shepherd (bred for larger size).
The German Shepherd has a complex temperament and sloppy
breeding can make the temperament go wrong. Bad breeding has also
produced huge numbers of dogs crippled by hip dysplasia and
afflicted with other genetic health problems. Such dogs fail as
working dogs, and can be heartbreaking for people who adopt them as
companions. BE CAREFUL when picking out your new German
Dog training was practically invented for this breed. There is
something wrong when a German Shepherd Dog is not trained. GSDs need to believe they can trust you. They need to view the
training as fair and they need it to make sense. They do wonderfully
well training in realistic situations where they can see the logic
of the task.
You need a lot of training WITH the dog in order to
handle this breed responsibly. Whether or not you
engage the services of a private trainer to teach you how to
train your dog, you need to work with your dog regularly --
but, in the case of German Shepherds, training is usually
fun and they will amaze you in how fast they learn.
German Shepherds love to talk. They are one of the
most (if not the most) vocal breed of dogs. "Anxiety" whining in common in GSDs.
They have a huge vocabulary of pitches and tones. The best way to handle
is to give the dog something to do that pleases you or ignore
him/her. Many times they learn to be vocal because
when they started vocalizing, their owner immediately starts
asking them "What is wrong?" in that concerned pitch that
humans use and this re-affirms the dog's concerns. Never punish the dog for whining
because that increases anxiety and will usually make the whining worse in
the future. Realize that your new dog is fond of "talking" and
will do a great deal of it his/her first year especially.
After suffering so long at the hands of the inept
and the illicit, where does the German shepherd
stand today as a potential canine companion?
Currently, potential German shepherd owners will
find an array of temperaments (from the very good to
the very bad), different levels of energy (from
highly active to relaxed companions), a variety of
conformation (from near perfection to something that
might be confused with a shepherd mix), and a mixed
bag as far as health.
But before you panic that
the search for a German shepherd will be too taxing,
take heart in knowing there are excellent breeders
and quality puppies and dogs out there. The goal is
to find a conscientious breeder who values dogs with
balanced temperaments and outstanding health — with
conformation and soundness ranking a very close
Your typical German shepherd
Is This the Dog for You?
All who know and love the German shepherd will
readily admit that the breed is not for everyone.
And, though veteran German shepherd owners regularly
take the breed's challenges in stride, those who are
new to the breed may be surprised or alarmed by some
of the shepherd's characteristics. If you are
considering owning a German shepherd, it's best to
become familiar with both the pros and the cons
associated with this dog.
Things You'll Love
The German shepherd can be a fantastic companion
to all kinds of people. The following are some of
the positive traits this breed carries:
|Protective of family
|Gentle with children
|Gets along well with other pets
|Plays nicely with other dogs
|Easy to train
|Long-lived (12 to 14 years)
|Versatile; can compete in many performance
|Easily washable coat
|Adaptable to small and large homes
While German shepherds make great pets when
well-bred and given the proper care, some dogs still
exhibit challenging traits and habits, including:
|Tendency to escape
|Destructiveness when bored or lacking
|Not suited to living only outdoors
|High activity level
|Demanding of attention
|Requires training throughout life
|Frequent barker; uses lots of vocal
|Significant shedding, especially during
change of seasons
|Severe separation anxiety*
|Aggressive toward other dogs*
|Aggressive toward people*
|Fearful, fear biting**
|Poor hips; high rate of hip dysplasia**
|High rate of spondylosis**
*Many of these traits can be moderated or
prevented entirely with good socialization skills
and training from an early age.
**These traits are most often found in poorly
bred German shepherds and can be avoided almost
entirely by purchasing a puppy from a quality
breeder or adopting an adult German shepherd from a
reputable breed rescue.
Weighing the Good and the Bad
No breed is perfect. Furthermore, no individual
dog is perfect. Every breed and every dog have
characteristics that can challenge any owner. The
questions you need to ask yourself are these: How
challenging will owning a German shepherd be for
you? How challenging will this dog be for your
family? For your significant other? Can you meet
this breed's specific needs? Are you willing to
change those things in your life or lifestyle that
don't match a German shepherd's needs?
The correct name of the breed in the United States is German Shepherd
Dog (GSD). The German shepherd is the only breed
to have the word “dog” as part of its full name.
When reading about this breed you will commonly
see the acronym GSD used to refer to this breed.
If you find the German shepherd is the right dog
for you, and you are ready and willing to invest the
time, money, and patience involved, your efforts
will be rewarded tenfold with the experience of a
great pet. When good dogs are paired with good
people, there really is no other breed like the