Monday, January 31, 2011

Breed Myths: German Shepherd Dog

I have been around German Shepherds since 1986, and it astounds me that people have such limited knowledge on the breed.  They also tend to base what they know about German Shepherds solely on myths that they've "heard."  I'm here to dispel some myths about German Shepherds:

NO : Longhaired German Shepherds are not "rare."  If you see someone trying to sell longhaired German Shepherds as "rare" or "unique," they are more than likely backyard breeders. 

NO : Solid black or solid white German Shepherds are not "rare."  They are quite common.  White German Shepherds are against breed standard, but solid black German Shepherds are not.

NO : Not all German Shepherds will have hip issues.  Health problems associated with the breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, DM (Degenerative Myelopathy,) and EPI.  However, not ALL German Shepherds will have these issues.  It is important, if you are purchasing a German Shepherd, to buy from a responsible breeder whose breeding stock has been tested for these issues.

NO : A German Shepherd does not "turn on its owner" due to brain growth/skull growth issues (also known as "its brain keeps growing, but its skull doesn't.")  If a German Shepherd becomes aggressive to a human it is because of improper training or treatment, a severe temperament flaw, or because it is in pain/has health issues.

NO : Not all German Shepherds have a sloped back, drag their legs, or have a roached (arched) back.  See third "NO" above.

YES : A German Shepherd that has been improperly socialized can be aggressive and overly-protective of its owner.  That is why it is important to socialize (introduce your puppy to a variety of people, animals, environments, etc.) at a young age.

YES : All German Shepherds shed, and they shed A LOT.  Even with regular grooming, you can expect to find German Shepherd hairs on your clothing and furniture (even if you don't allow them on the furniture.)

YES : A German Shepherd is a LARGE breed of dog not to be confused with "King Shepherds," "Oversized Shepherds," or "Shiloh Shepherds."  You can expect your German Shepherd to weigh between sixty and one hundred pounds (one hundred is on the high end.)  

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