German Shepherd Breed Profile

German Shepherd Breed Profile

The German Shepherd is a descendant of the German herding dog originally used for sheep herding and guarding. Today they are commonly used for police and protection work and are generally considered one of the finest all-purpose workers.


German Shepherds are known for being courageous, confident, obedient, extremely faithful.

In general, they excellent companions, are great with older children other pets if introduced properly and well socialised, but can be wary of strangers.

They thrive on being around their family and do not do well being left alone in the backyard. Lengthy periods of isolation will create neurosis.

Physical attributes

A large, muscular but agile dog of high intelligence, the German Shepherd has a double coat that can be medium or long in length.

The coat of a German Shepherd can vary from a mix of colours including black and tan, red, sliver and blue to all white or black.

Their expected lifespan is around 10-14 years.


Due to their high intelligence and eagerness to learn, this is a breed that must be kept mentally and physically stimulated.

They are happiest having a job to do and can be trained for multiple purposes, so incorporating a range of activities from obedience to scenting work, agility and interactive brain games are ideal.

While this breed is very robust, they do not respond well to negative reinforcement training techniques.  They require consistent handling and good leadership.

They need an owner or family who have some experience and are willing to put in the training and effort required to keep them healthy and happy.

Lifestyle considerations

Given these guys love being around their family, they will be happy with a smaller living area inside with you and chilling out, but as they are a herding and working dog they should be getting a couple of hours exercise a day and have a big backyard you can play games with them in.

They require daily brushing and are a constant but light shedder, but they do lose their undercoat twice a year around spring and Autumn, so you’ll definitely need a vacuum.


Common health problems to be aware of in this breed including hip and elbow dysplasia so keeping them healthy with a balanced diet and within their ideal weight range to reduce pressure on their joints is vital.

Other conditions to watch out for include allergies such as flea allergy dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, environmental allergies, ear infections, and digestive problems including ‘bloat’, a twisting of the stomach, so it’s best to avoid exercise for several hours after a  meal.

To get a quote from Bow Wow Meow Pet insurance specific to the German Shepherd breed, or to cover your own dog for illness or injury*, visit their website.

You can use their Breed Selector tool too if you would like to find out if the German Shepherd is compatible with your lifestyle.

*Waiting Periods, limits and conditions apply. Any advice is general only. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at Pet Insurance issued by Hollard AFSL 241436, administered by PetSure AFSL 420183 and promoted by Pet Tag Holdings AR no. 318913.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.

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