This is what you need to know about the American German Shepherd!
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About the German Shepherd
A famous American favorite, there is a difference between the American German Shepherd and the European one. Although they are the same breed (also known as Alsatian), they come from different backgrounds. The American German Shepherd is slightly different as they are larger, have more angled features, and their hind legs can bend more than the European type.
American German Shepherds are also less regulated than their European variety. They are known for being elegant and performing well in dog shows. The German Shepherd is brilliant, often seen working in law enforcement, as a support dog for people with mental or physical challenges, and as a herding dog.
Caring for the German Shepherd
Investing in and committing to your dog’s care is what it means to be a good dog owner. Having a strong affinity and knowledge of their breed and a real connection with your dog will ensure that you take the best care of them. There is a lot that goes into caring for the American German Shepherd.
They deserve the very best nurturing owners and stimulating environments. You need to consider many more factors than just shelter and food. Some aspects of their care will include optimal nutrition, mentally challenging activities, enough physically exciting exercise, grooming, and overall health.
The American German Shepherd is not known for being sickly but rather an active and hard-working dog, although they are associated with some illnesses. It is essential to get your American German Shepherd from a reputable and responsible breeder to ensure that you have the health records of his descendants.
These records may also help a veterinarian diagnose illness when you suspect it. Some common diseases of the German Shepherd include anal furunculosis, degenerative myelopathy, pancreatic insufficiency, skin conditions, joint dysplasia (typically of the elbow or hip), splenic tumor, and abdominal bloat, an inflammatory disease of the belly. Knowing about these symptoms and their treatments will make you a better-prepared owner should any of these occur. The breeder can help you choose a pup from the healthiest lineage, reducing the risk of these ailments occurring.
Generally, they are very healthy dogs, so keeping them in optimal condition is not difficult. Like any other pet, they require yearly physical examinations, dental cleanings, and vaccinations from their veterinarian. With a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, it is vital to understand your commitment when obtaining an American German Shepherd puppy.
Feeding and Nutrition
The proper formulation of dog food will offer the necessary nutrients to support joints, bones, teeth, skin, coat, cognition, and digestive performance. Not all foods on the market offer this, then a vitamin and mineral or hydration supplement may be necessary. Veterinarian-grade food is recommended. A premium dog food that is created for large breed dogs and is suited for your German Shepherd age is required, and some brands even have breed-specific options where the German Shepherd kibble is designed in a shape that works best for their long nuzzles.
While some human foods are safe or helpful, they may increase the risk of digestive disorders, so owners are urged to educate themselves on the foods they should avoid or possibly add to their dog’s diet. Cooked bones and fatty food scraps should always be avoided as these pose significant risks. Premium brands with high-quality food will already have the necessary minerals and vitamins. Still, some human foods, such as yogurt, eggs, and modest portions of soft-cooked vegetables, may be added, which also provide some nutritional advantages.
You may use dry kibble, canned wet food, or a combination of the two to feed your dog. Varieties offered from a young age may even prevent picky eating, which is common among dogs. Canned foods are higher in moisture content which aids in hydration. If your American German Shepherd is becoming more senior, you can consider switching to wet food entirely. Specially formulated foods exist for weight, age, or even some health conditions.
If your dog has needs beyond the premium foods, you can discuss a specifically formulated food option with your vet.
Grooming is an important part of caring for your American German Shepherd. They should ideally be introduced to grooming equipment such as clippers, brushes, sprayers, and grooming services from a very young age to allow others to groom them and cooperate as needed. While these active dogs may naturally grind their nails through regular play, it is essential to check nail growth.
Nails that do not naturally wear down need to be cut once a month. The German Shepherd coat is thick and layered. It does not require much effort other than brushing weekly to keep loose hairs in check. They have shedding coats, so hairs tend to get on carpets and furniture, so regular brushing is needed. They go through one or two periods of increased shedding every year and should then be brushed more often.
Exercise and Training
Training and exercise form an essential part of American German Shepherd care. They may become destructive and upset and display unwanted behavior like chewing on valuables or furniture, howling, or barking and pulling the leash if they are not feeling mentally and physically challenged or stimulated. They enjoy activities that play into their character and talents, such as fetching, seeking and retrieving objects, and following commands. German Shepherd dogs love entertaining their owners, so they are keen to participate in training activities.
They also respond best to rewards-based training. Training should always start around eight weeks, with the critical socialization window closing between 12 and 16 weeks. It is essential to make socialization and ongoing training part of your care routine, and it’s always a good idea to involve professional training services, especially at puppy age.
Of course, you cannot always entertain your energetic friend by yourself, so your dog will be grateful for some appropriate dog toys. Some vet-recommended toys for German Shepherds include rubber bone chew toys, large textured rope toys, ball launching toys, squeaking toys, tennis balls in various sizes, interactive treat puzzles, and frisbee and outdoor agility kits. These offer hours of activities that both stimulate and challenge them, fighting boredom and unwanted behavior. They will also enjoy being taken to a dog park or on walks with their owner.
This canine royalty and loves to be treated and cared for as such. With the proper training, care routine, owner connection, nutrition, and stimulation, the dog and owner get the best experience from their relationship. These dogs are fiercely loyal and committed to their people, so they deserve the same from us.
Truly the perfect companion that will thrive with the right owners and be an ideal addition to any loving family. It is not only a responsibility, but great privilege to own this dog and to be on the receiving end of its loyalty, protection, and enthusiasm for its people.