Are German Shepherds High Maintenance?

On the subject of high-maintenance dogs, the German Shepherd might not be among the first breeds you think about. But if you’re considering getting one, you need to be ready to exert the effort and have the resources required to take care of them. So how difficult is it to take care of a GSD?

Are German Shepherds High Maintenance?

German Shepherds are generally low-maintenance dogs in terms of grooming, healthcare, and dietary needs. However, they do require careful attention when it comes to socialization, training, and mental stimulation, so they are higher maintenance in those areas.

Of course, care requirements are different between individual dogs because each will have a unique temperament and health condition.

What Makes A Dog High Maintenance?

Caring for a dog is incredibly rewarding but it is undeniably hard work. And, some breeds are more difficult to care for than others.

Understanding the different aspects of dog care and maintenance will enable you to determine whether you’re ready for the dog that you want.

Here are some of the most important aspects that make any dog high maintenance and how the German Shepherd breed fares in each one:

Coat Maintenance

Coat maintenance can be a demanding part of keeping a dog properly groomed depending on the breed. This involves bathing, brushing, and making sure the skin is healthy.

Dogs with short coats are easier to groom while long-haired dogs need frequent brushing to avoid tangles and matting.

On the other hand, dogs with undercoats shed most abundantly and will need specialized brushes to help remove shed fur.

Do German Shepherds Have High-Maintenance Coats?

German shepherds have medium to long coats and dense undercoats. They shed throughout the year and will do so profusely twice a year.

GSDs don’t need to bathe very often. Once every four weeks to six weeks will do as long as they’re not visibly soiled.

However, they’ll need to be brushed at least once a week and much more frequently (up to once daily) during the shedding seasons.

Other Grooming Needs

Apart from coat maintenance, keeping a dog properly groomed involves brushing their teeth frequently and keeping their nails trimmed.

Additionally, their ears need to be kept clean and dry. Dogs with long and droopy ears have much more delicate ear care requirements since the lack of air circulation in their ears makes them more vulnerable to infections.

Are German Shepherds Difficult To Groom?

Because their ears are large and upright, the German Shepherds’ ears are not difficult to care for.

Just make sure you avoid getting water in them during baths and make sure to wipe the outer ear every so often to avoid the accumulation of dirt.

Keeping a German Shepherd’s teeth clean doesn’t require much more than any other breed.

As for the nails, GSDs tend to have large, harder nails that could be difficult to clip. It helps to allow them to walk on concrete and other hard surfaces that naturally grind down their nails to the proper length.

Physical Exercise Needs

All dogs will need some form of physical exercise to maintain good health and also be on their best behavior. However, some breeds have much more energy to burn than others.

Toy dogs might be sprightly but can tire out just by running around the house. In contrast, sporting breeds need much more strenuous activities to burn off their excess energy.

Do German Shepherds Need Plenty Of Exercise?

Yes, German Shepherds are working dogs that need lots of exercise. With their heritage as herders, it’s not surprising that these dogs need plenty of opportunities for physical activity.

Generally, it is recommended for GSDs to engage in physically demanding activities for at least two 30-minute sessions a day. 

Man Walking German Shepherds In the woods

However, many German Shepherds need more exercise than this, the energy of your individual GSD will help you determine how much exercise they need.

Mental Stimulation Needs

Mind enrichment is not a common concern among dog owners but it is actually one of the most important parts of raising a happy and well-rounded dog.

Some dogs will be happy enough with simple toys and games, others breeds will only thrive with lots of opportunities to use their intelligence and canine abilities.

Do German Shepherds Require Lots Of Mental Stimulation?

Yes, German Shepherds need plenty of mental stimulation. They were developed to have superior canine intellect, which needs to be honed.

Otherwise, they may use their smarts in destructive ways and also develop behavioral problems.

Keeping them engaged through enrichment games, puzzle toys, and training is the best way to help them thrive and keep them on their best behavior.

Training Needs

Some breeds need plenty of training because they can become destructive when they’re not taught to behave properly. However, not all dogs are easy to train.

Some are much more intelligent and eager to please while others are stubborn and inattentive.

Are German Shepherds Difficult To Train?

German shepherds are highly trainable thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please. These dogs will thrive best when you take plenty of time to train them, whether for general obedience, tricks, dog sports or a job to do.

Health Issues

Common health issues vary between breeds. Some are more prone to bone and joint issues while others are more susceptible to digestive disorders.

Others still might commonly experience skin problems while others often suffer from infections.

Nevertheless, you can minimize the risk of severe health problems by feeding your dog a high-quality diet, keeping them at a healthy weight, and providing regular veterinary care.

Do German Shepherds Have A Lot Of Health Issues?

Just like other dogs their size, German Shepherds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Their deep chests also make them more vulnerable to bloat and other digestive disorders.

Nevertheless, susceptibility to these health issues is usually caused by genetics and improper breeding. GSDs that come from reputable and responsible breeders are generally healthy.

Dietary Needs

Dogs’ dietary needs vary depending on a number of factors including breed, life stage, and health condition. It is essential to choose the right type of food and provide the correct amount to meet your dog’s specific nutritional requirements.

If you choose to feed your dog commercial food, make sure you choose a brand and variant that meets the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles and follow the feeding guide on the packaging.

Are German Shepherds’ Dietary Needs Difficult To Meet?

The dietary needs of German Shepherds are not necessarily difficult to meet. Like all other dogs, they deserve to be fed high-quality dog food that will meet their nutritional needs.

However, because they are large and energetic dogs, they tend to consume much more food, which can get quite expensive.

According to Pet Budget, the average cost to feed a German Shepherd puppy is about $260 per year and will increase to about $290 per year when they become adults.

This, of course, depends on the brand and quality of dog food you choose. You can expect to spend $180 – $355 for puppies $160 – $495 for adults.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are low maintenance for grooming, dietary, and health needs, but higher maintenance with training, exercise, and mental stimulation.

If you’re considering welcoming a German Shepherd into your life, you need to be ready to dedicate some time, effort, and resources to ensure a healthy, happy, and well-behaved dog.

But with a GSD, you’ll find that the investment is well worth it as you will be doubly rewarded with a loyal, loving, and affectionate lifelong companion.

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