How Long Do German Shepherds Live?


New Member
I absolutely love German Shepherd Dogs. I've owned them in the past and a few of my neighbors currently have some. A good friend of mine also uses a German Shepherd as his canine unit while working on the police force. Love these dogs. They're active, smart, friendly, protective - everything I'm looking for.

I'm basically trying to get a consensus here to find out how long your German Shepherds have lived. My previous ones passed away when they were 11 and 12 years old. Both got hip dysplasia pretty bad and had a lot of trouble walking in their later years. I'd like to know if that was young for them to pass away or if that was the average life span for these dogs. Also, I'm wondering if only some of the Shepherds get problems with the hips as they get old or does that happen to all of them. I've seen so many of this breed with bad hips later on in life. It's so sad.

I've been looking around a lot online for answers to my questions and I have somewhat of an idea of what's going on, but I'd still like to hear from some breeders of German Shepherds or from folks who have owned these dogs. I'd appreciate it.

Here are some of the comments that I've seen out there. Do you agree with these?

- I adore German Shepherds as a breed. I've owned them for the past 40 years and I wouldn't even consider getting another breed. My current GSD is 11 years old and is as sweet as they come.

- Believe it or not, contrary to popular belief, these dogs really are big babies that need to live indoors with you. They are in no way outside dogs. They should be sitting on the couch cuddling with you. If you've got a family, these dogs make great family pets. They shed, so if you aren't one who likes to clean up fur all the time, these definitely aren't the dogs you want to own. I've owned many in the past, so I've got lots of experience.

- Agreed. German Shepherd Dogs need to feel like they're part of the family. If they don't, they may get depressed and act out in strange ways. You won't get the most out of this dog if you ignore it or treat it poorly. Welcome them inside with you and shower them with love.

- I've been a member of my local German Shepherd Club and I've owned four of these dogs already. My most recent one lived for 16 years, which is very good. She died just last year in April. She was a champ at sheep herding and was also used as a therapy dog. Excellent dogs.

- I absolutely love German Shepherds. I currently own three of them, Max, Jolt, and Rex. I want to warn you that caring for these animals is a very big deal. It's not for the faint of heart. They're demanding, so if you need any advice, please let me know.

- Yes, if you can offer any advice or tricks for raising a German Shepherd, let me know. I recently adopted a 3 year old and am doing well, but could always use more wisdom.

- What are your secrets? I have a 1 year old puppy that's acting out and is very difficult to control right now. She seems like an awful lot of dog!

- The trick is to make sure you're the leader of the Shepherd's pack. If not, they will over run you. You need to socialize the heck out of your dog and give it about a half hour of training per day. They come around, but it'll take time. Really though, become the pack leader first with persistent and respectful discipline.
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