German shepherd Lifespan: German Shepherd, a large dog breed that originated from Germany, is a popular choice for families with children.
These dogs are not only intelligent but also very loyal, making them great companions.
German Shepherds have been known to have a lifespan of anywhere from 7 to 14 years, although the average lifespan is around 10.
Growth spurts will occur in the breed when they are 12 to 18 months old, meaning that they could reach 4 feet at the shoulder and weigh 90 pounds at maturity.
Male German Shepherds weigh an average of 90 pounds and stand at 24 to 26 inches tall. Females weigh an average of 75 pounds and stand 23 to 25 inches tall.
The German Shepherd breed comes in many colors and maybe black and tan (which is what the AKC standard calls for), red, or white.
Many German Shepherds will have masks over their faces and may even have “saddle” markings on their backs.
How Long do German Shepherds Live?
So, how long do German Shepherds live for?
There are many sources of information about German Shepherd lifespans available, but it can be difficult to know who to trust.
Most websites cite an average life expectancy of between 10 to 14 years.
However, according to a recent study by a team of animal scientists at the University of Georgia, the average life span for a German Shepherd is actually closer to 9 to 12 years.
The reason for this disparity in the reported lifespan of the German shepherd seems to be largely down to differences in living conditions.
What is the Average Life Expectancy of German shepherd?
The life expectancy of a German shepherd is relatively long.
In fact, they can live more than ten years if they are kept healthy and happy, according to the American Kennel Club.
The average lifespan of a German shepherd is about 10 to 13 years.
There are some factors that can affect a German shepherd’s lifespan, such as obesity and lack of exercise.
Being a dog that likes to hunt, herd, and guard, it is important for a German shepherd to have a lot of exercise and human interaction.
If the dog also has an owner who is physically inactive, this will keep the dog from gaining weight, which can shorten its lifespan.
Factors Affecting German Shepherd Lifespan
Mobility issues like hip dysplasia, Broken leg, arthritis, and spinal problems are some of the big factors affecting German Shepherd life expectancy.
Mobility issues do not directly kill the dog, but the deteriorating quality of life they cause can lead owners to change their euthanasia to protect their pets from pain.
Other factors affecting German shepherd lifespan:
- Flatulence – a condition in which the stomach is filled with air and turns on its axis, stopping the blood supply to the intestines. It is fatal in almost half of all cases.
- Degenerative Myelopathy – Degenerative spinal disease without any treatment can eventually lead to paralysis.
- Hip Dysplasia – A painful condition in which the femur does not fit properly in the hip socket. Often leads to arthritis and mobility problems.
- Epilepsy – Although treatable up to a point, seizures can eventually be fatal.
What to do to help your German Shepherd live longer?
There is no way to guarantee that your German Shepherd will live a long, healthy life, but there are many ways to increase your chances of spending many good years with your furry children.
Regular vet care
You should take your German Shepherd to the vet at least once a year when they are young and twice a year when they are young for wellness inspections. Why?
It is much easier to treat if your dog has caught many health conditions in advance before they show symptoms.
In addition, dogs hide their pain, so you may catch something like your wet hip dysplasia before you see your German Shepherd limping.
German Shepherd weight Management
More than half of all pet dogs are overweight or obese, and dogs are just as obese as humans.
In addition, any unwanted weight can put more stress on already sore joints in dogs prone to hip dysplasia or arthritis.
How can you tell if your German Shepherd is overweight? When viewed from the side or above while standing, they should be tucked into the waistline. You can even feel (but not see) the ribs of your German Shepherd.
Making sure your dog has a full and balanced diet is tricky when reducing their diet, so if your GSD is overweight, talk to your vet about the best way to help you lose weight safely.
Find a Good breeder to Get a Healthy Puppy
Since the German Shepherd is a very popular breed, many breeders are looking to make money through dog breeding and are not interested in improving the breed.
A dog that is raised just for looks or money is more likely to suffer from genetic problems such as hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy than German Shepherds to work and stay as healthy as possible.
Since GSDs from American lines may have a shorter lifespan than German lines, it may be worthwhile to look for well-known breeders who have added German dogs to their breeding programs to help strengthen the breed and reduce the likelihood of genetic problems.
Feed high-quality food
Although most commercial dog foods are labeled “nutritionally complete” it does not make them healthy. Most dog foods contain supplements such as corn or meat by-products that are low in nutrients. It makes cheap dog food the equivalent of human junk food.
Just as eating healthy can help humans live longer, high-quality dog food can help your German Shepherd live longer, healthier lives.
How do you know if your dog’s food is of high quality? Here are some tips:
It should not contain corn, animal by-products or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Meat should be the first ingredient. For the first ingredient, meat is better than real meat, but the meal is even less on the list.
Supplements for Better Life
Because German Shepherds are prone to painful joint problems, you should start them at an early age with a joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help prevent and reduce joint pain.
If you want to know more about joint supplements, we will cover them in more depth and provide our recommendations here.
Another good supplement to consider for your German Shepherd is fish oil. Some conditions that can help improve fish oil are:
- Inflammation of the intestines
- Spinal problems
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Itchy skin or dry coat
Give your German Shepherd plenty of exercise
Every dog needs exercise to prevent obesity and to keep them in shape, but German Shepherds have excess energy levels and can switch to destructive behaviors if they do not get enough exercise.
The bored German Shepherd can easily eat inedible items when alone and if they swallow something that does not go through their digestive system, it will kill them, so exercise can really directly affect their lifespan.
German Shepherds need at least an hour of exercise every day and the more the better. They are raised to work all day, so a 30-minute walk twice a day may not be enough to expend their energy.
Teach them and engage them something new
It is a myth that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. This may be the right time to teach them some new tricks.
It helps keep their brain engaged- we all need it as we progress into our old age. Whether you want to teach your German Shepherd how to shake or refresh him with some of the tricks he knows as a little dog, reward your progress and effort by teaching your dog sometime each day.
Take care of your dog’s needs
It is important not to neglect your big dog as they will have more content to lie down and sleep on their dog bed. Especially if you have other dogs that seem to need more attention and have more energy, you can start ignoring your old German Shepherds. Do it!
Even if your dog is more than ten years old, they still need your attention and approval. Make sure they are given the same love and respect from new puppies to old-age dogs.