The German shepherd is a widely loved and cherished breed. This dog has many wonderful traits that draw you in, but if you don't know much about shepherds, you may be in for a surprise. When a person purchases a shepherd without knowing the ins and outs of the breed, the experience is often an unpleasant one. Most shepherds are not “bad” dogs; they can be perfectly delightful companions. However, unless you know what makes a shepherd a shepherd, you may mistake certain behaviors for flaws or problems.
The German shepherd is definitely not the dog for everyone. This breed requires a lot of time and effort, particularly during the dog's first three years of life. Daily training, handling, and extensive socialization with all kinds of people and dogs are not optional; these are mandatory if you are to succeed with this breed.
However, shepherds do make outstanding companions, competitors, and family pets when raised by those who understand the breed. The owner who recognizes this dog's need for exercise, training, and mental stimulation is well equipped to care for a shepherd. This owner will experience all the intelligence, loyalty, and undying devotion this breed has to offer.
German shepherds that aren't given an outlet for their energy, however, can become destructive. The owner of a shepherd must always be attentive to prevent the development of this trait. This dog also needs an owner who is willing to work on socializing her with all kinds of people and dogs and continue this training throughout the dog's life. This is a breed that can regress or become less outgoing and trusting if she is not constantly out and about, in the company of others.
This breed also requires quite a bit of training. Training not only keeps a shepherd mentally stimulated and makes a large, strong dog manageable, it also helps serve as a gentle daily reminder as to who is the leader in the dog-human relationship.
When selecting a shepherd, your primary concern is to choose a dog with an outstanding temperament. It's hard to mold a puppy into the adult dog you want unless you begin with a puppy with the potential to be a well-tempered dog. Due to the German shepherd's rapid rise in popularity decades ago, as well as his current position as one of the most popular breeds in the country, these dogs have suffered at the hands of breeders who are only out to capitalize on this popularity. Every year, many German shepherd puppies are bred only for looks and, thus, end up with some strange temperaments.
Poorly bred shepherds also tend to suffer from all kinds of health problems. So even if you do find a German shepherd with a nice temperament, the dog might still come to suffer from illnesses that require expensive treatment. Veterinary medicine is wonderful, but it can only do so much.
These drawbacks may seem daunting, but they are easily overcome. This book will help you learn about this beloved breed, guide you in your research, and show you what to look for in a breeder and a shepherd. With some information, time, and patience, you'll be ready to enjoy years of fun with your new friend.