5 Hard Truths About The German Shepherd Breed

All dog breeds have health concerns, especially large breeds. The German Shepherd breed is at high risk of a variety of medical conditions which can be helped by taking good care of them and given plenty of exercise from a young age.

Do you have a GSD, or are thinking of getting one? They are wonderful dogs, and pet insurance would be a wise investment for them. Let’s read about their most common issues and hard truths.

Degenerative Myelopathy

A progressive spinal issue that causes loss of coordination and use of hind legs is Degenerative Myelopathy. Experts claim that this is not painful for the older large breed dogs that are susceptible to it, but they go from wobbling to dragging their back legs within the span of less than a year. There is no cure for this disease.

Hip Dysplasia

Joint issues in large breed dogs are common, and especially with German Shepherds who over time will experience a gradual deterioration and eventual loss of the hips. Most commonly the back hips. Normally a hip joint glides smoothly, but with hip dysplasia the ball and socket joint grinds together.


5 Hard Truths About the German Shepherd Breed

Again, another joint problem. Over half of older dogs will experience some osteoarthritis but is more common for dogs that are overweight. The degeneration of cartilage signs of osteoarthritis include stiffness, crying when moving or jumping, and being less active.

To prevent the onset of this disease, keep dogs at a healthy weight, and make sure that they stay active. A gentle massage couldn’t hurt, either.

Bloat GDV

Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, or Bloat, is an extremely painful issue that can kill a dog if they do not get medical attention within a few hours, the issue will not resolve itself but will need emergency surgery. The cause is when certain foods or liquids cause gas in the stomach and the internal stomach rotates, cutting off the blood to the stomach.

Swollen and painful abdomen, retching or vomiting with nothing coming out, and excessive drooling are all signs of bloat.


The “C” word that we all dread to hear comes out of our doctor’s mouth, cancer is common in German Shepherds in the form of Hemangiosarcoma which is a cancer of the blood vessels. They are also a high risk of Melanoma of the mouth, Lymphoma of the blood, and Osteosarcoma of the bones.

The Amazing German Shepherd Breed

German Shepherds are very intelligent and highly trainable dogs that are often used for law enforcement work and guide dogs for the blind and disabled. Their life expectancy is 9-13 years old, weighing anywhere from 49 lbs to 88 lbs.

Designer breeds have been mixed with:

  • Poodle 
  • Akita 
  • Labrador 
  • Border Collie 

These designer breeds bring on their own health risks that are common with their cross-breed partner. This breed is well known for its distinctive looks, and its image is used quite often to signify strength and power. Because of that, gifts for German Shepherd owners are easy to find.

Alas Alsatian

We love our pets like family members, and no one wants to see them suffer from health issues such as these. Feed them a healthy diet, exercise them regularly, and give them a lot of love to help with the prevention of painful and debilitating health concerns.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more about the German Shepherd breed and other pets, check out some of our other content and posts!