“Now, wait a minute!” you’re saying. “Of course I want a German Shepherd! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be looking at this article!” Very good. You have taken the first step towards becoming a responsible purebred dog owner, first by doing your research, and second by taking the time to examine the problems inherent in your chosen breed.
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‘Five Myths About German Shepherds’!
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Here are 10 reasons you might want to reconsider your choice of a GSD:
- Health problems.The GSD is not a dog for those who just want to plunk down cash for the first puppy they see and head home (in fact, you should never do this with any puppy, for a number of reasons). German Shepherds, like any large breed, are prone to canine hip dysplasia, a crippling and potentially fatal disease. (Although costly hip replacement surgeries have become more commonplace for dogs with severe CHD, the expense and possible complications lead many people to the decision of having the dog humanely put down. This doesn’t, however, exempt the dog owner from the heartbreak of losing their precious companion.) The breed also struggles with or is prone to elbow dysplasia, allergies, cleft palate, degenerative myelopathy, perianal fistulas, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bloat, panostetis, Von Wildebrand’s disease, Wobbler’s Syndrome, heart and skin disease and thyroid disease. (This is a partial list.) Many of the congenital diseases in dogs can be tested for and therefore prevented by responsible breeders. But you must be willing to ask questions of your breeder to find out what problems have cropped up in his or her lines. (Any breeder who tells you he’s never had a health problem in his lines is either lying or has not bothered to follow up with his puppy owners. Run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction!) Good GSD rescuers will also be aware of such problems, and whether the rescued dog you’re considering has shown symptoms of or has been treated for any health issues while with the rescue.
- German Shepherd Dogs SHED. I’m not sure who started the rumor that GSDs don’t shed, but if you’ve heard it perpetuated, be prepared for disappointment! The GSD sheds heavily year-round, and “blows” its undercoat (the thick, dense fur under the harsh top coat) twice a year. You can avoid as much coat-blowing with certain long-haired shepherds, although they are considered outside the breed standard. While GSDs require little formal grooming, they must be brushed at least twice weekly and have their coats raked during shedding season to keep them comfortable and to prevent skin problems from developing.