A few months back, I was researching genetic conditions in various dog breeds and was shocked to find that the German Shepherd Dog had 146 hereditary conditions listed. Partly that includes all the one-off conditions that someone noticed in one dog but still, that's a lot of conditions. I had no idea.
Thank goodness then for the write up of the German Shepherd Dog over at the Embrace Pet Health Center that helps pull together all the features of the breed.
Rin Tin Tin, a pup found in a World War I battle zone, became the world’s first canine movie star, forever marking the German Shepherd Dog as one of the most recognized breeds. From his imposing size to his erect ears and dark, intelligent eyes, he has achieved legendary status as the ideal canine. A versatile, athletic and fearless working dog, the Shepherd has done just about every job a dog can do, from leading the blind and detecting drugs to dragging down fleeing criminals and serving in the armed forces. An energetic, loyal and devoted companion, the German Shepherd isn’t a breed but a lifestyle.
Apart from learning that a German Shepherd Dog is not for my household (2 energetic young children and a growing business is more than enough for us right now), there is a very informative table on the breed specific conditions a GSD can get:
As you can see, out of the top 10 listed conditions a German Shepher Dog can get, 5 are orthopedic and 3 of the 5 are listed as having high risk. That's a lot of expensive health care if you aren't careful.
The article also has 9 tips on how to get a healthy German Shepherd Dog:
- Do not buy a puppy from a magazine ad or on the internet
- Try to find someone local with a Shepherd of the kind you like (there are several variations ranging from show, obedience and working dogs to companions)
- Ask to see written, independent documentation of tests of the breeder's dogs for the main health issues GSDs can get.
- Ask about the new test for degenerative myelopathy
- Don't fall for a breeder who tells you it's not necessary to do any of those tests
- Ask about independent temperament testing of her dogs
- Talk to local dog trainers to find the origins of any particularly nice German Shepherd dogs they've worked with
- Make sure you have a good contract with the seller of your new dog
- Take your new dog to your veterinarian soon after adoption.
More details can be found on the Embrace Pet Health Center webpage for German Shepherd Dogs