Keep your strong, devoted pup happy and healthy with these tips.

By Bridgette Uhlemann
Updated November 20, 2020
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There's a reason why you probably have seen a few German Shepherds in your town or even your neighborhood. They're one of the most popular dog breeds in the country. The American Kennel Club calls Germend Shepherds the "finest all-purpose worker." The breed is big, athletic, and very smart. They're also loyal and courageous, so if you have a German Shepherd, you know that you're bonded for life. Like all dogs, German Shepherds are unique and need special care to ensure they have the best life possible. If this is your first time owning the breed (congratulations!), you'll definitely want to go through these tips. If you've had a German Shepherd before, this will be a good refresher.

Three German Shepherd puppies sitting in the grass
Credit: photopix/Getty Images

German Shepherd Care

German Shepherds need specific care to be happy. But don't worry, there's nothing too complicated, and you'll be an expert owner in no time. Here is what all German Shepherd owners need to know about their pup.

German Shepherd Training

Training your German Shepherd is important as they are incredibly smart. Basic obedience training will strengthen the bond between you and your puppy and make your dog a better companion. With more rigorous obedience training, a German Shepherd can be used for a number of special jobs, including serving as a police dog, service dog, or obedience dog.

Care and Grooming

German Shepherds are energetic and require regular mental and physical exercise. German Shepherds also require regular grooming whether they are a long-haired German Shepherd or not. Expect to brush your German Shepherd's hair regularly, especially during shedding season. German Shepherds have strong, fast-growing nails that require regular trimming or grinding to prevent overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Teeth should be regularly brushed with a dog-specific toothpaste ($10, Chewy).


With a life-span of 10 to 12 years, German Shepherds are generally a healthy breed. Like all purebreds, German Shepherds may have health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia or eye disease. These issues can be minimized by working with a responsible breeder that knows the specific health concerns and diseases within the breed.

German Shepherd Food

Good nutrition, including proper food, is important throughout a German Shepherd's life-span. Typically, a male German Shepherd should weigh between 65 and 90 pounds; 50 to 75 pounds for a female. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas ($75, Chewy), depending on the size of your dog. The German Shepherd is a large-breed dog, so consider working with your veterinarian to determine the best diet to make sure your pet remains healthy.


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