The German Shepherd is one of the most highly regarded dog breeds, not only as a working dog, but also as a family pet. Their friendly personality and obedience – among others – have inspired people to delve into the breeding of German Shepherds. But is that all? What are German Shepherds bred for?
What Are German Shepherds Bred For?
Initially, the German Shepherds, which emerged in the late 19th century, were bred as herding dogs. For this role, they were bred to be medium-sized.
Later on, more German Shepherds were bred as watchdogs and police dogs, where more emphasis is placed on size.
In the past few decades, breeders have started breeding German Shepherds for shows. For this role, breeders placed more emphasis on external features such as a sloping back line in particular.
“The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide and is widely used as a herding and guard dog, for the police and the military and as a guide dog,” the researchers write in the specialist journal “Canine Genetics and Epidemiology”. The breeding criteria have changed over the decades – with clear health consequences.
“As the function of the breed changed from a performance dog to a pet, the focus of breed traits may have shifted from functional traits to appearance, with an increased susceptibility to hereditary disease,” they write, citing hip dysplasia, sarcomas and pancreatic problems.
German Shepherd: Breeding Rules and Principles
When breeding German Shepherds, there are rules and principles to be followed strictly as follows.
- Do not bring puppies for breeding. Many people want two German Shepherd puppies to mate later. This may be a mistake as the puppies may have hidden physical conditions; they can pass these on to their descendants. It is best to get two certified ‘perfect' purebred adult dogs.
- In fact, the certification is one of the most important factors to consider as it determines whether the dog's character is typical: well-behaved, persistent, courageous, intelligent, and loyal.
- Even though greed has led to over-breeding, it's still not a good idea – especially for German Shepherds. Because of their personality and traits, they should grow up in a calm and open environment. Otherwise they can even become aggressive.
- It's a good idea to take advice from someone who knows how to breed them. When someone enters the world of breeding they can make many mistakes, unless they are guided by an expert. A good way to be successful is to follow our tips. However, it also helps to listen to a veterinarian or other breeder.
- Pure blood makes it possible for you to breed purebred dogs. But even if they are certified, the third and fourth generation may not be 100% German Shepherd. They may also have had some condition that has been passed on to subsequent generations.
- The diet is very important so that the puppies grow up with excellent qualities. On the one hand, heredity plays a role. On the other hand, further care plays an important role in raising German Shepherds.
- A bad environment can also sabotage everything. German Shepherd dogs must be able to run and freely develop their intelligence, courage, and other skills. Use a good dog harness when bringing them outside. Locking them up in a cage makes them sick, weak, and insecure.
- Remember that the quality of the dogs is not only determined by their physical appearance. That said, it's important because it's the first thing that catches the eye of future adoptive “parents”. However, the dog's worth is determined by its traits and skills that have been strengthened by previous generations.
How to Raise German Shepherds
German Shepherds are known for their nobility and obedience. But that doesn't mean there aren't other things to look out for when you're training them. Due to its size, this dog needs certain rules that you should teach it from an early age.
Noble and obedient, German Shepherds need certain conditions to develop properly. Their diet and training are the most important, but growing up with a family keeps them from becoming aggressive.
It is extremely important that German Shepherds feel included in a group. In other words, in a family. They must experience the love of other people and other animals. If not, they can become aggressive.
If they have to spend a long time alone, they need toys or objects to keep themself busy. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Another pet to keep them company would be ideal to avoid that.
Despite their nobility, German Shepherds know their power and they can take advantage of this power if left uncorrected. That's why you have to teach them who's boss from the beginning. You want to prevent them from feeling dominant over us and other dogs.
Be careful with food
Even though they are physically strong dogs and in good health, their stomachs are sensitive. That's why we have to be extra careful with their food. High-quality food and monitoring their calorie intake is important for proper development. German Shepherds are one of the best dogs you can have as a pet. You can see that you only have to follow our simple tips to raise them properly.