German Shepherd Dog Life Expectancy and Lifespan

The life expectancy of the German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog lives for about 10-13 years , although there are of course specimens that live significantly shorter or longer.

The different life expectancy within the same breed has various reasons, such as housing conditions , diet , health status , medical care or exercise .

A responsible breeding can contribute much to a longer life span by no further breeding is operated with sick animals or hereditary predisposed dogs.

Selection is therefore an important factor and makes it clear how important a serious and controlled breed is in the constant improvement of the German Shepherd breed.

On the other hand, some hobby breeding or mass production of puppies at the breeder are often not subject to any controls and therefore, unfortunately, more susceptible or already sick dogs are born, which can get problems later.

What happens when my dog ​​ages?

The life expectancy of the German Shepherd is around 9-13 years. In recent years the dog has become noticeably calmer.

The aging dog shows various signs that it is getting old.

Of course, not all signs of age appear together, but the process is gradual and often begins with a reduced performance . The dog gets tired faster, may no longer fetch the ball with full enthusiasm or is very exhausted after long walks .

He also sleeps more than usual and is less active . Allow the German Shepherd these rest periods.

Further indications for seniors are impaired eyesight and, under certain circumstances, the four-legged friend no longer hears so well. Sometimes old dogs are also less patient with other pets or children, have more difficulty adapting to new situations or are more frightened due to their impaired hearing and eyesight.

There is also a slowly graying coat , which can often appear dull, dull and shaggy. German Shepherds in particular also tend to stiff joints with age, become lame or have other musculoskeletal disorders.

While some dogs tend to eat less and lose weight as a result, others become fat because they don’t move enough but still have a big appetite.

In rare cases, some dogs also become incontinent and can no longer hold up as long as they used to. More frequent but smaller rounds of the walk can help, as can a special place to loosen in the garden or dog diapers from the specialist market.

Cancer and other diseases in the old dog

Cancer often shortens the lifespan not only of German shepherds.

Unfortunately, the German Shepherd is one of the dog breeds that are particularly predestined to develop cancer in old age . Bitches have a higher risk of getting sick than males.

One of the reasons for this is that bitches often suffer from mammary tumors as they get older. Especially if they were not neutered early (before or after the first heat).

Other common cancers that can significantly reduce life expectancy are lymph gland and skin cancer. These are found equally often in males and females.

In addition, many German Shepherds suffer from joint diseases in old age, such as osteoarthritis or the dreaded hip dysplasia. Eye diseases such as cataracts or inflammation caused by less tear fluid are also conceivable. Skin diseases or various organ ailments also sometimes occur.

How can I give the German Shepherd a good evening?

You should not only pay special attention to the dog’s health when you are older , but right from the start . This already begins with the selection of the German Shepherd by the breeder .

So better keep the puppies out of the trunk and look for a good kennel that can give you precise information about the puppy’s parents and their health.

You can already influence the life expectancy of your German Shepherd when choosing a puppy. A puppy from a reputable breeder will usually have a longer life expectancy!

Because if hereditary diseases rarely or not at all in a breeding line, the chance of a healthy puppy is significantly higher. With young dogs, you should also ensure that they develop well at home, with sufficient exercise and a balanced diet . In order to prevent joint diseases later on, it is advisable not to let the German Shepherd climb stairs for as long as possible and to avoid jumping (e.g. into the car, on the sofa) as far as possible.

Of course, employment , exercise and nutrition are also important in old age, but should be adapted to the needs of the aging dog.

Walks can be a little shorter, but should still take place regularly and several times a day. When it comes to feeding, it depends on the dog. If he eats less than before, but still moves enough, particularly high-quality feed should be offered.

If the German Shepherd is no longer so active, but continues to eat with appetite, a low-calorie diet makes sense.

Further requirements for a healthy senior dog:

The veterinary medicine rather today offers ways to prevent and cure diseases, as was the case a few years ago. Detected early during preventive examinations , not only diseases but also signs of aging can be treated well and delayed.

Go therefore not only to the vet if you notice anything unusual, but take for example, vaccination appointments as an opportunity to make even perform a general health check. Do not forget your teeth, because tartar can not only be painful, make eating much more difficult and thus cause discomfort, but is sometimes even responsible for heart disease, as well as�liver and kidney damage.

A%Ccastration of Shepherd is well worth considering, for neutered dogs live 1-2 years longer on average and females thus have even a significantly reduced risk of Gesäugetumore.

Shepherd dogs that live integrated in the family have a longer lifespan than sheepdogs in the kennel.

Create a loving and safe home with family connections . Because the German Shepherd needs his pack and doesn’t like to live alone outside or in a kennel. Older dogs in particular have a weakened immune system and can get sick more quickly in cold and wet weather conditions. It is better to have a firm and quiet place in the house with a warm basket, which of course should be washed or replaced regularly. Hygiene must also be observed with drinking and feeding bowls so that germs cannot spread. With old dogs, you should also place more emphasis on safety in the house. For example, stairs are real poisonfor the joints and a protective grille can prevent the dog from changing floors several times a day. If you have glass doors in the house, it can also be helpful to mark them with stickers.

In addition to sufficient exercise , the German Shepherd should still be challenged mentally. Older or old dogs can also learn new tricks and get enthusiastic about small, less strenuous games.

Ideally, the German Shepherd is transported in a large aluminum box in the car.

Pay attention to safety in traffic and when traveling!

Only let the German Shepherd off the leash in safe terrain and buckle him up in the car or transport him in a secured trunk.

The lifespan in comparison with other dog breeds

The German Shepherd has a medium to slightly increased life expectancy when compared to other breeds.

Although it is quite large and heavy, it can reach a lifespan of up to 13 years, sometimes even more.

The smaller and light breeds, such as terriers, Maltese or Chihuahua, usually die of old age.

The huge and particularly powerful specimens, however, often have the lowest number of years of life.

The Chihuahua has the longest lifespan or life expectancy of all dogs.

Chihuahua: 15-18 years
Irish Terrier: 13-15 years
Cocker Spaniel: 12-15 years
Labrador : 12-13 years
Maltese: 12-15 years
Irish Setter: 12-15 years
English Springer Spaniel: 12-14 years
German Shepherd: 10-13 years
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 9-13 years
Weimaraner: 10-12 years
German Boxer: 10-12 years
Rhodesian Ridgeback: 10-12 years
Basset Hound: 10-12 years
Airedale Terrier: 10-12 years
Bullmastiff: 8 -10 Years
Irish Wolfhound: 6-10 Years


The German Shepherd crosses the rainbow bridge – My German Shepherd is dying – say goodbye

My German shepherd dies and walks over the rainbow bridge

A day that every dog ​​owner fears: The beloved four-legged friend begins his last journey over the rainbow bridge.

For some, this moment comes completely unexpected, while others can take a long time to prepare for this moment, for example if the German Shepherd is already very sick.

Of course, it’s not nice to deal with the subject of the death of the dog.

However, if you know how to deal with the situation in an emergency and what options you have after the death of your four-legged friend, you are prepared and do not have to worry your head in this difficult emotional situation and can make clearer decisions.

When should I consider euthanizing my German Shepherd?

Euthanasia should never be considered because living with your four-legged friend becomes a personal burden or it is uncomfortable and time-consuming to take care of the dog.

Yes, it takes effort and work to care for an old or sick animal and the German Shepherd will require more attention and care. But such reasons for euthanasia are more than selfish and hardly any veterinarian will agree to do so.

However, there is also the reverse case, when it is actually time for the four-legged friend to leave, but the master or mistress cannot let go of him. In order not to lose the beloved dog, pain or suffering is overlooked for selfish reasons. The animal tortures itself and its owner only postpones the inevitable.

As dog owners, however, many years ago we took responsibility for our protégé and should always make decisions for the benefit of the animal and put our own fears, demands and worries aside.

The following factors may help you make a decision:

  • The age and general health of the German Shepherd
  • Is the dog seriously ill?
  • Has his nature and behavior changed significantly? For example, does he withdraw more and more?
  • How would you rate the German Shepherd’s quality of life and zest for life? Does he still like to be part of the party?
  • Can the dog still eat and move independently?
  • Does the dog have severe pain or is it suffering a lot?
  • If in doubt, ask a veterinarian for advice. He will of course also examine the dog in detail and can thus provide an assessment.

When saying goodbye to the German Shepherd is too difficult

Having the German shepherd euthanized by the vet is certainly not an easy task.

Not everyone can accompany their dog to the very end. Many just don’t find the strength to do it. Especially when the farewell is to take place in a cold, impersonal and sterile veterinary practice.

Those who find it far too difficult emotionally to witness the last moments of their German Shepherd need not be ashamed of it. You may ask someone else to stay with your dog until he falls asleep.

Someone who knows the German shepherd gur and fulfills this favor for you. However, you can only stay with it until your dog has received the tranquilizer. This lets him relax and fall asleep.

Before he then gets the overdosed and fatal anesthetic injection, you can leave the room and only come back when it’s over.

Please do not leave your dog completely alone with the vet during this sad appointment. If you cannot find anyone to accompany him across the rainbow bridge in your place, please stay with him. Even if it is very difficult.

There is nothing worse for a dog than to be alone in this moment and to be abandoned by his loved one. Many veterinarians also confirm this. The dogs are excited, scared, maybe even panicked. Whereas there is much more peace and relaxation when the two-legged friend is at the dog’s side until the end. This gives him security. Try to talk to your German Shepherd, stroke him and just be there.

Have the German Shepherd euthanized at home

However, you also have the option of asking the vet for a home visit so that the German Shepherd can be euthanized there. For many it is easier to say goodbye, feelings are more likely to be allowed and for the dog this often means less stress.

He does not have to be driven to the practice, there may be sitting in the full waiting room and then lying on the cold examination table. At home in his territory, the German Shepherd feels comfortable and safe, especially when his family is with him and is by his side.

Try to be as confident as possible in order to give your four-legged friend security, even if it is difficult. You can and should stroke the German Shepherd and talk to him when the time comes. And yes, you can of course throw your sovereignty overboard and cry unrestrainedly if you feel like it and the situation is too much for you. This is understandable.

Tips for euthanasia in the veterinary practice

  1. Discussin advance with the vet exactly what happens when you euthanize so that you can prepare for it.
  2. Make an appointment outside of office hoursso you don’t have to wait in the hustle and bustle of the waiting room for the bad moment. The best thing is to take your day off.
  3. So that you can leave the practice quickly after the procedure, you should ask for an invoicefor the euthanasia or pay it in advance.
  4. Ask someone to accompanyyou to the vet if you don’t feel up to it alone.
  5. Bring a blanketor sheet with you to take the dog home with you later if you want to.
  6. Please ask the vet for some time to say goodbye. Usually, you will be given enough time before and after the procedure to say goodbye and mourn. Veterinary practices often provide a separate room for such sad appointments.

How can children say goodbye to the German Shepherd?

The loss of a beloved pet and friend often hits children and young people particularly hard. Sometimes this farewell is even the very first encounter with the subject of death. Depending on their age, you should have a child-friendly conversation with your offspring and give an honest answer to all questions.

Avoid white lies like “The dog is going on a trip” or “He ran away”. This only leads to months waiting at the window for the hairy friend to return.

The sentence “The dog fell asleep forever” can also have a negative effect and the child may be afraid to fall asleep in the evening because it believes it will no longer wake up.

The grief is very great, especially in children, when the dog dies

The following can help children get over the loss of their four-legged friend and say goodbye:

  • If the dog was sick, tell them that he is no longer in pain and is in a better and more beautiful place. If you are religious, you can say that he is in heaven.
  • It can help children to see that you are sad too and that you miss the dog. Never say something like, “It was just a dog”. This can be very hurtful to children’s feelings.
  • Say goodbye together. For example, light a candle or put together a photo of the German Shepherd. You can also let the children draw a picture or write a letter. They could, for example, put both of these in the grave at the burial.
  • Some children may express a desire to be present at the euthanasia. You should be able to judge best whether your offspring can cope with this emotionally. In fact, it can certainly help people comprehend death and understand that the dog is never coming back. Alternatively, the children can say goodbye to their dead four-legged friend at home and see and stroke them one last time.
  • The children can be present at the funeral and actively help shape it. Make grave decorations, like a wreath or pick flowers together. Inscribe a large stone or paint the ceiling in which the German Shepherd will later be wrapped and buried.

What happens to the German Shepherd after he dies?

There are various ways in which you can proceed after the German Shepherd has died. If you think about it early on and find out more, you can make a suitable and, of course, very individual decision on how to say goodbye to the dog.

Money, personal taste and individual requirements play a decisive role here.

  1. Veterinary practice and carcass disposal

Anyone who leaves the German Shepherd in the practice after it has been euthanized puts the responsibility for the disposal of the dead dog into the hands of the veterinarian or the removal of the animal carcase. She picks up the dog there together with other deceased pets and then cremates the carcasses for disease protection reasons. Sometimes, however, the animals are also processed into other products, such as soft soap or animal meal.
Some vets also offer to have the deceased German Shepherd cremated on your behalf and then give you the ashes.

  1. Pet cemeteries

If you are considering this option, you can either get in touch with the staff at the pet cemetery directly or visit an undertaker in the vicinity who will do the work for you and take care of important processes for you.

You have the choice between a classic burial or an urn grave. In addition, you have many design options for the grave site, with different stones, lights, jewelry and accessories.

  1. Burial in your own garden

Bury my German Shepherd in my own garden. What should I put attention on?

If you want to know your deceased pet very close by, you can have a funeral in your own garden.

Here, too, you can design the shepherd dog’s grave site according to your own wishes and ideas.

However, there are some important prerequisites to meet so that your four-legged friend can find its final peace on your property.

These differ depending on the federal state. So get in touch with the competent authority in good time so that there are no problems afterwards. The following conditions often apply:

  • The garden must be private property.
  • If the German Shepherd died of a reportable disease, he may not be buried.
  • If the private property is in a drinking water area, burial must also be avoided.
  • The grave must be deep enough to cover the dog with at least 50 cm of earth.
  • Inquire about the minimum distances to neighboring properties and public roads.
  • Wrap the German Shepherd in material that can rot easily.
  1. An urn for the home?

This is also possible. You can have the German Shepherd cremated and then take his ashes home with you. How you proceed with the remains there is your personal decision.

Perhaps you want to scatter the ashes in the flower bed or in a special place? However, you can also store them discreetly in your house or apartment. There are now many urns that are not recognizable as such at first glance and allow discreet storage: Small treasure chests, picture frames that can be filled, urns in star shape, animal figures, etc.

  1. New life arises from death: the German Shepherd becomes a tree

With the bio urn, the ashes are buried together with tree seeds in a compostable urn.

This is made possible by a very special biodegradable urn from urnabios.

In addition to the dog’s ashes, it also contains a tree seed. This is initially stored in a separate capsule, which is opened before the burial and mixed with some earth from the intended grave site.

This causes the seed to germinate and its roots eventually penetrate the lower part of the urn (which contains the ashes) and use it as a nutrient for further growth. You have the choice which tree you want your German Shepherd to grow and you can enjoy this very special keepsake for many years.

  1. Jewelry – Animal Diamond

A nice and special idea to carry your beloved German Shepherd very close to you even after his death are unique pieces of jewelry. For example, you can use the dog’s fur to create individual bracelets, pendants or chains. If the dog was cremated, on the other hand, it is possible to keep a small part of the ashes in a medallion or the like, even if the rest has been scattered or buried.

Probably the most expensive variant is the production of an animal diamond. The ashes of the dog are also needed for this. From this a synthetic diamond is produced under great pressure in a lengthy process. You then choose the cut for this rough diamond and of course the piece of jewelry in which you would like it to be set.

Of course, you can have a piece of jewelry made from animal hair while the dog is still alive . To do this, you should keep brushed hair. Depending on the choice of jewelry, i.e. whether you only want to have a few hairs locked in a pearl or a whole bracelet made of dog hair, a different amount of hair is required. You can inquire about this from the respective manufacturer.

  1. A paw print from the German Shepherd

A nice memory of the hairy friend is also a paw print . To do this, clean the paw and, for example, press it in clay or take a plaster cast. You can also use an ink pad or paint (e.g. finger paint). If you have children, a joint project can be made out of it while the dog is still alive. In addition to the dog’s paw print, children can also immortalize their hand or foot prints next to it. If you like, you can frame the picture and maybe write the date and name of the dog.



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