Caring for a German Shepherd: Training and Grooming

Get Tips to Help You Take Care of This Popular Dog Breed

Pet owner with dog

The German Shepherd continues to stay upon the "Most Wanted List" because of the breed's regal intelligence.

Blessed with the ability to serve humans in many different ways, this breed works in the field with both the military and police, serves on search-and-rescue missions and enjoys recognition as an excellent service dog for the impaired. A German Shepherd was bred to herd and protect. They very loyal and would gladly stand in harm's way to protect someone they have bonded with.

German Shepherds generally come in sable, black and black and tan. They stand between 22-26 inches and their weight ranges between 60-95 pounds. Here's how to take care of this animal.

  1. You should only purchase German Shepherd dogs from reputable breeders. Poor breeding can lead to temperament and health problems. Look for a breeder that is a German Shepherd Dog League member and OFA certified.

  2. You should take your German Shepherd to your veterinarian, who will vaccinate your dog, worm her and talk with you about any dog health problems to which this breed may be susceptible, such as skin irritation and dryness, HD and elbow dysplasia, diabetes and OCD (a degenerative bone disease).

  3. German Shepherds can make good indoor dogs. Their keen intelligence makes them fairly easy to house train. German Shepherds may not work well inside a home that has small children; these dogs naturally get along with all children, but young children can sometimes become rowdy and loud, which could upset the dog. While the German Shepherd is not a demanding dog, they do adore their human family and ache for human interaction.

    Though they serve well as indoor dogs, German Shepherds do require a good amount of exercise and activity to be happy. Plan physical activities that stimulate the dog's mind as well, since this breed is so intelligent.

  4. German Shepherds require very little dog grooming. They will shed, so regular brushing is required. Shedding will be most severe in the Spring. You should use a rubber brush that will help strip out the dead coat. You should also expect to have to vacuum regularly and you may want to purchase a lint roller for your clothes and furniture.

  5. Because German Shepherds are so strong-minded, they should receive obedience training when they are young.  However training a German Shepherd can be done later as well because they are such intelligent dogs and enjoy learning new things. Their high intelligence, loyalty and long attention span make them easy to train and eager to please. The German Shepherd can be trained to do practically anything. Be sure to also encourage healthy social behavior when your dog is young; regular exposure to people can promote better temperament in a mature dog.

  6. German Shepherds do not eat very much. They usually eat only one meal per day, with a dog biscuit or other food treat for the other meal. You can offer more food, but your dog may not eat it. Always be sure to provide fresh water.


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