About German Shepherds
An intelligent and loveable breed, German Shepherds are a loyal and friendly companion that need a fair bit of attention from their owners. With a rich history dating back to the late 1800s, German Shepherds are known for their intelligence and protective nature.
- German Shepherds are highly active dogs, so you need to be sure you’re ready for the extra exercise! At least two hours of exercise a day will keep your dog active, ensuring a long and happy life.
- This breed is highly intelligent, so be sure to get them trained early on to benefit from their brains. This is also vital in socialising your German Shepherd to avoid a standoffish personality or aggression towards others.
- As a large breed, German Shepherds are susceptible to health problems such as hip dysplasia. Be sure to take your dog to regular veterinarian checkups and look out for signs such as limping, decreased range of motion or irregular walking.
Appearance: German Shepherds are a large breed of dog, and are often muscular in appearance. Considered a well-proportioned breed, German Shepherds can reach to over 60 centimetres tall, and around 40 kilograms in weight. Their features are distinctive with their thick black, tan or grey coat and upward-pointing ears.
Temperament: The personality and temperament of German Shepherds depends on their upbringing, training and socialisation. However, this breed is friendly with animals and people they have been raised with, and generally more fearful of strangers. German Shepherds often stick to their owner’s side, making them a great guard dog.
Activity Level: German Shepherds are extremely active dogs and require an abundance of physical activity and mental stimulation. Without enough exercise and attention, your German Shepherd could start to develop unwanted habits that are difficult to manage, such as digging. To keep your German Shepherd happy and healthy, we recommend at least two hours of various exercises a day. You can incorporate durable treat toys, activity mats and puzzle toys along with frequent exercise to keep your German Shepherd’s mind sharp.
Health: Like other large breeds, German Shepherds are vulnerable to orthopaedic diseases, along with stomach and digestive issues such as gastric dilatation and volvulus. Gastric dilation occurs in dogs when air, fluid, food or foam collects in their stomach, which makes it expand. As a result, the dog’s stomach can twist and trap their stomach contents and therefore restrict blood flow to vital organs. Symptoms often include a swollen upper abdomen, excessive drooling & panting, anxiety & agitation along with being unable to vomit. Be sure to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you see any signs of gastric dilatation in your German Shepherd.
This breed can also be susceptible to other conditions such as spinal cord diseases and epilepsy. However, some of these conditions can be avoided by speaking with a reputable breeder, along with a healthy lifestyle and veterinarian visits.
Lifespan: The lifespan of a German Shepherd can vary, but is generally from 9 to 13 years. There are many things you can do to extend your German Shepherd’s lifespan, such as keeping them on a healthy diet, giving them plenty of exercise and taking them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups.
Browse our German Shepherd essentials
Sporn Halter Harness Large 43-61cm
Does your dog pull incessantly whilst on a lead? If walktime has become uncomfortable for you and your dog, the Sporn Halter Harness could help. It's unique design has the ability to control any sized dog.
This particular harness is suited to large breed dogs and the shape is designed to prevent pulling whilst being comfortable to wear. The restraints go under your dog's arms and stop him from yanking the lead. The restraints are covered with specially designed padded sherpa sleeves.
Benefits of the Sporn Halter Harness
- High quality braided cord and nylon webbing is long lasting.
- Easily transforms into a normal collar after walks.
- Prevents your dog from pulling whilst on lead.
- Doesn't put pressure on the neck.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food 11kg
Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food is a complete dog feed for adult and mature German Shepherds - Over 15 months old. This premium dry dog food is formulated specifically to support the health and wellbeing of German Shepherds
Contributes to supporting digestive health while taking into account the German Shepherds digestive sensitivity, thanks to highly digestible L.I.P. proteins and a selection of specific fibres to limit intestinal fermentation while promoting a balance in the intestinal flora.
Bone & Joint Health
This specific formula helps support healthy bones and joints and helps maintain ideal weight. Enriched with EPA and DHA.
Healthy Skin & Coat
This formula helps support the skins "barrier" role (exclusive complex) and maintain skin & coat health (EPA & DHA).
The kibble's shape, size, texture and formula are adapted to the German Shepherd.
NexGard Spectra Chewables for Large Dogs (15.1 - 30kg)
NexGard Spectra is a gentle, monthly treatment that provides your dog with excellent flea, tick, mite and worm prevention and control in a delicious soft chew. It is a delicious, gentle, monthly chew that provides your dog with excellent flea, tick, mite and worm prevention and control.
NexGard Spectra contains afoxalaner and milbemycin to provide complete protection against the most common internal and external parasites of dogs in New Zealand. Like NexGard, NexGard Spectra kills fleas fast, consistently and persistently for the entire duration of the treatment. It also treats ticks and mites. It has the added benefit of protecting against roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. When used monthly, NexGard Spectra is 100% effective in preventing flea tapeworm. As this is an oral treatment, it is not affected by bathing or swimming. Can be given with or without food. Please choose the correct weight range for your dog.
- Rapidly kills fleas
- Treats and controls ticks
- Treats and controls mange and mites
- Prevents heartworm disease
- Treats and controls roundworm, hookworm and whipworm
- Prevents flea tapeworm infestations
- Tasty monthly chew that dogs love
- Protection from 8 weeks of age and 2 kg bodyweight
Grooming German Shepherds
As they have a thick coat, German Shepherds require frequent grooming throughout each week. By brushing their coat several times a week with a good quality pet brush, you can remove the dead and loose hairs stuck in their coat to ensure they remain comfortable. Likewise, regular brushing allows for you to experience less impacts from their shedding patterns.
Shedding patterns: As with many double coat and thick-coated breeds, German Shepherds tend to shed year-round no matter the weather. However, this can be easily maintained through regular brushing. In the spring and autumn, you can expect that your German Shepherd will shed more than usual, as they prepare for new weather conditions. During this time, you should brush your German Shepherd at least once a day to avoid the effects of mass shedding, along with brushing them with an undercoat rake to catch those loose hairs.
Bathing tips: Luckily, German Shepherds don’t require frequent bathing as the natural oils from their coat are vital in keeping their skin and fur healthy . This is to ensure that their coat remains healthy, and is able to protect them from elements such as the sun and dust. Therefore, it is recommended that you bathe your dog every 3 to 4 months with a gentle shampoo, or when they need it, such as if they get muddy whilst playing outside!
When you do need to give your German Shepherd a bath, we recommend getting them tired by having a play session or long walk before you get them in the bath. As they aren’t the biggest fans of bath-time, being fatigued is preferred. Be sure to constantly reassure your dog when in the bath through praise and lots of treats.
Nails: It is important to check your German Shepherd’s nails regularly, as overgrown nails can cause a lot of pain. If their nails aren’t worn down naturally, be sure to trim or grind their nails as needed. We recommend introducing nail trimming early on with your dog, and to be reserved when cutting their nails so as to not over-trim them.
Tools: As this breed needs regular brushing and grooming, we recommend investing in good quality and relevant tools. An undercoat rake and shedding blade, along with a high quality brush will be sure to keep your German Shepherds coat looking fresh and healthy.
If you, or anyone in your household, suffers from allergies relating to dog hair, we recommend that you keep up with a regular grooming routine to avoid any extreme reactions to the shedding of fur. If you have severe allergies, consider hypoallergenic breeds such as poodle or hairless breeds
Barking Behaviour In German Shepherds
German Shepherds can be vocal breeds, but they only bark for a reason. You should be aware of the many reasons that your German Shepherd may be barking, and address them to reduce stress for your dog, and discomfort for those around you.
Anxiety: If you are experiencing excessive barking to many different triggers at once, your German Shepherd may be experiencing anxiety. This is something to be diagnosed by your veterinarian, as management should be guided by their expert advice. To help reduce your German Shepherd’s anxiety, you can implement calming music, pheromone collars or homoeopathy along with prescribed medicine from your veterinarian.
Browse our wide range of vet-recommended Anxiety Products for Dogs here.
Preventing possible triggers: When possible, we recommend reducing your German Shepherd’s exposure to their triggers. This could be loud noises, garbage trucks or even other dogs barking.
Excited/play barking: It is possible that your German Shepherd will become over-excited during playtime and begin to bark. To ensure that this does not become excessive, you can condition them by stopping play until they have calmed down.
Our training tips: Whilst it may become frustrating listening to the barking of your German Shepherd, we do not recommend any type of punishment or shouting at your dog. This can lead to your dog being scared of you, and causing mistrust.
We recommend managing these barking behaviours through teaching an alternative behaviour with a “quiet” cue, redirecting their attention to something else, or trying to desensitise them to their triggers with treat-based training.
Training a German Shepherd
It is vital that you get your German Shepherd into training as soon as they receive their last puppy vaccination, or in a controlled environment before 16 weeks, especially for socialisation purposes. Training your German Shepherd from an early age allows for easier obedience training later in life, such as barking management and managing unwanted behaviours.
Intelligence: German Shepherds are a highly intelligent breed, and are known for their ease of trainability. As they are very eager to please, training them with positive reinforcement methods is highly effective in training new behaviours in your German Shepherd.
Socialisation: It is extremely important that your German Shepherd is socialised with other people and dogs at a young age. This ensures that your dog is friendly and confident around other dogs and people, leading to a more happy and healthy life.
It is recommended that you socialise your German Shepherd between 12 to 16 weeks, as this the most crucial time for puppy socialisation. Be sure to introduce your German Shepherd to other dogs and people in a safe environment during this time.
Obedience: With their high intelligence and eagerness to please, your German Shepherd will naturally excel at obedience training. It is recommended that you begin this training at an early train with commands such as sit and stay, along with establishing a strong and reliable recall.
Benefits of puppy school: A great way to not only socialise your German Shepherd at a young age, but also teach them basic commands, is enrolling them in a puppy school. This is one of the simplest ways to manage the behaviour of your puppy, and also familiarise them with other dogs and people.
Most veterinary practices run puppy school classes, so you can be rest assured that your puppy will be in a safe environment. Introducing your pup to a puppy school program or classes has shown to be very successful for their training as they grow older.
Common training issues: Whilst German Shepherds are highly intelligent and often easily trained, you could have a stubborn pup! In this case, we recommend avoiding training spaces that have too many distractions. This means a quiet and relaxed environment, where they can focus on you.
We also recommend using positive reinforcement methods of training with your dog, as they are most effective and humane. This involves a positive reward for wanted behaviours, such as verbal and physical praise or treats, and then ignoring unwanted behaviours. Continuing to stay patient is vital in a positive training experience for both you and your dog.
Browse our training products
Savourlife Australian Chicken Training Treats 165g
SavourLife’s Australian Training Treat Range are delicious, bite-size, meaty chunks; perfect for training and rewarding (and great as toy stuffers too!). Based on our popular Strips Range recipes we make them right here in Australia, from ingredients including real Australian meat, and they contain no artificial colour or flavours. Great to have on hand when you are walking, playing or having fun! We have done the hard work for you!
These tasty morsels are perfectly sized in little cubes to easily train and reward. No more cutting up meat or trying to break treats with your hands! Our Training Treats are high-value; that’s training speak for ‘your dog will do anything for the taste!’ Not only do dogs love them, they are healthy too! They are enriched with vitamins and minerals, plus we have added fish oil, packed with Omega 3&6, for a shiny and healthy coat. As an added bonus they are low in fat and salt.
Exercise Needs For a German Shepherds
German Shepherds are extremely active dogs, and require at least two hours of vigorous exercise a day. This ensures that they not only remain happy and healthy, but it also prevents unwanted behaviour.
Regular walks: Walks are a great way to reach your German Shepherd’s daily exercise quota! We recommend spreading walks and exercise throughout the day to ensure that your dog doesn’t get bored and restless. Try to combine both on and off leash walks into your routine to help your German Shepherd get the most out of their exercise.
Puzzle solving activities: Along with physical activity, you should try and keep your dog stimulated with training and puzzle solving exercises. As German Shepherds are a very intelligent breed, they need regular mental stimulation to keep their mind sharp and reduce boredom. We recommend looking at puzzle toys for your German Shepherd, along with regular play every day.
Training & agility courses: To help with not only their daily exercise, but also socialisation, you can enrol your German Shepherd in training and agility courses in your area. This is a great way to keep your dog’s mind sharp, and also get some experience interacting with some other dogs in a controlled environment.
Creating a routine: With such an active breed, it is essential that you establish a daily and/or weekly routine with your German Shepherd. This can include a routine morning and afternoon walk, a weekly agility class or even just a time of day you go and play fetch outside. Whatever the activity, a consistent routine ensures that your dog receives the appropriate amount of exercise.
German Shepherd Behaviour Issues
By far, the majority of behavioural issues in German Shepherds often stem from boredom, lack of mental stimulation and lack of exercise.
Chewing: As frustrating as excessive chewing can be, especially on furniture, you should first understand the causes of your German Shepherds chewing habits. Destructive behaviour could be the result of separation anxiety or the general “mouthiness” they have when they are puppies. German Shepherd puppies will often go through a phase where they chew excessively, as they will be teething and have irritation from early teeth eruption.
We recommend redirecting your German Shepherd with chew toys and puzzle solving activities to keep them mentally stimulated. If excessive chewing persits, and you presume it’s anxiety, consult with your veterinarian on your next steps.
Aggression: Whilst unlikely for socialised German Shepherds, you may experience some aggression with your dog. This can stem from triggers such as lack of exercise or being left alone for too long, along with lack of socialisation with other people and dogs.
To avoid spouts of aggression, we recommend keeping up with a regular exercise routine and spending time with your pup! Likewise, taking your German Shepherd out at an early age to become socialised will help with these aggressive tendencies.
Jumping: When your German Shepherd gets overly excited to greet you, or during playtime, they may begin to jump. Whilst cute as puppies, this could be dangerous as they get bigger.
To combat this behaviour, be sure to redirect the behaviour to a desired one, such as sitting or keeping all four paws on the ground. This can be done with the positive reinforcement method with treats or praise.
View our behaviour management products
Adaptil Dog Stress Relief Spray 60ml
Adaptil Dog Stress Relief Spray 60ml provides targeted, comforting support for your dog either at home or on the go. It is ideal for any time you would like to give your dog some extra reassurance when you have visitors, are travelling long distances, adjusting to a new environment, visiting the vet or hospitalisation.
Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural canine appeasing pheromone that puppies are exposed to after birth when feeding from their mother and helps treat and prevent fear and stress related behaviours that result in destruction, house soiling, vocalisation such as whimpering or whining as well as anxiety. Adaptil is designed especially for dogs, is odourless, non-sedative and can be used alongside all types of medication. It can be sprayed directly on bedding, inside crates, indoor kennels or in the car.
Directions of Use:
- Spray 8-10 pumps 15 minutes before the dog is introduced into the environment.
- Effects should last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Renew application after this time or if you notice a reduced effect.
- Always spray directly on an object or surface. Do not spray in the air or on your dog.
- Each 60 mL bottle of Adaptil Spray contains +/- 50 applications.
- Use alone or in combination with an Adaptil Diffuser & Refill for added support.
Aristopet Stop Chew Spray 125ml
Aristopet Stop Chew Spray, 125ml
Save your furniture, shoes and any other household items from destructive chewing with this stop chew spray. Aristopet have developed this easy to apply spray that's safe to use and effective.
Simply spray the liquid onto objects that you want your dog to stop chewing or licking. When your dog's mouth comes in contact with the spray they will get a disgusting bitter taste in their mouth. After a couple of times of tasting this horrible spray, they should stop trying to put the object in their mouth.
- It uses Denatonium Benzoate as the active ingredient - same as in products used to stop kids from biting their nails and sucking their thumb.
- Safe to use on bandages to prevent self-mutilation from licking or nibbling a sore spot.
- Spray bottle evenly covers area to be protected.
PAW Complete Calm Chews for Dogs
Unwanted feelings of nervousness, anxiety, stress and fear can all impact your dogs mental wellbeing. Help your dog adapt to changing situations and bring them back to a place of calm with PAW Complete Calm for Medium and Large Dogs.
These tasty chews contain tryptophan to help reduce stress-related behaviour and anxiety-induced aggression, as well as B group vitamins to support the general health and nervous system function in your dog. These nutritious chews contain a rich source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Highly palatable chew formulated with tasty fish and chickpea protein that is easy to give to your pet on a daily basis.
Tryptophan has been demonstrated to benefit dogs displaying signs of:
- Stress related behaviours such as vocalisation, marking and changes in appetite.
- Anxiety induced aggression.
- General anxiety driving changes in serotonin levels (eg. separation anxiety, travel anxiety).
For animal consumption only. Read the label carefully before use.
German Shepherd Nutritional Guidance
With their high energy levels and large frame, it’s important to feed your German Shepherd high-quality dog foods across all stages of their life. High quality foods for German Shepherds will contain high levels of protein and fat to fuel their active lifestyle and strong build.
Avoid table scraps: To keep your German Shepherd healthy, we do not recommend feeding your dog table scraps from your own meals. Along with not providing them with sufficient nutritional value, many human foods are not safe for dogs to consume.
Hydration: Providing your German Shepherd with fresh and clean water regularly is extremely important. It is recommended that your German Shepherd consume around 2.5 litres of water a day when they are fully grown.
Meal frequency: As German Shepherds are susceptible to health problems such as bloating and stomach issues, it is recommended that they receive frequent nutritional meals throughout the day. This minimises the likelihood of these health problems.
Portion sizes: The portion of highly nutritious food you feed your German Shepherd will depend on their activity levels, current stage of development and weight. Generally, for adult German Shepherds it is recommended that you feed them 2.5 to 3.5 cups of dry kibble each day, spread across two meals. This will vary on a scale depending on activity levels and age.
Quality over quantity: To ensure your German Shepherd lives a happy and healthy life, we always recommend researching the food you’re giving your dog. Ensuring your dog food is rich in vitamins and minerals, along with providing nutrients for your German Shepherd is extremely important. Be sure to read the back of the packet, and consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure on which dog food to choose.
Browse our range of food and nutritional products
Vet Recommended Dog Food - Prescription Dry & Wet Food
Shop our wide rage of vet recommended Dog food. We stock leading brands such as Royal Canin, Advance, Hill's and more, all of which offer prescription diets that can be beneficial to your dog's health. Enrich your Dogs lives by providing them with a vet endorsed diet, with our many different products and treats made for your dog.
Dog Treats - Premium Vet Recommended Treats
Check out our large range of Dog treats to help keep your energetic Dog busy and happy. We stock a large range of Greenies Dog Chews, and Veggiedent Fr3sh Dog Treats, which are perfect for keeping your dogs teeth clean and healthy. We also stock delicious treats perfect for training your dog, including Vet Best Rewards Treats, Prime100 Treats, and Savourlife Training Treats. We have a wide range of chews your Dog is guaranteed to love, shop online today.
Dog Health Products - Probiotics, Supplements & More
Whether you have a German Shepherd or you're thinking about getting one, we hope you learnt something by reading our article. Whilst this guide is great start to learning about German Shepherd ownership, never stop seeking out new information from reputable sources. Share your experiences with other German Shepherd owners, and always continue to learn more about your dogs breed, temperament and how best to care for and love them.