Claro Cielo German Shepherds
The ideal German Shepherd is fearless and confident. When he comes from parents who have good temperaments and has been socialized to become familiar with many different people, sights and sounds, he is an intelligent, easy to train, devoted, protective and fun-loving dog. The abilities of this breed reach beyond its origin as a herding dog. The German Shepherd has made a name for himself as a police and military dog, guide and assistance dog, search and rescue dog, and detector dog. He has excelled in every canine sport, including agility, obedience, rally, tracking and, of course, herding. German Shepherds still work livestock on farms and ranches around the world. They have also quickly become a family favorite because of their loyalty and devotion to their people.
If your Shepherd is a family companion, he needs to live indoors with your family and receive opportunities to exercise his brain such as learning tricks, helping you around the house by picking things up and bringing them to you or serving the community as a therapy dog. He will enjoy going for walks or hikes, chasing a ball, or getting involved in a dog sport. He doesn’t need to live in a large house with a yard, but if you live in an apartment or condo, you must be able to give him plenty of walks or other daily exercise and opportunities to relieve himself during the day. Otherwise, he’ll be lonely, bored and destructive. German Shepherds can also be way too much dog for even the most well-meaning of people because they were created and bred to work for many generations. Their genes tell them to be a guardian, a police dog, a guide dog, a search and rescue dog – almost anything other than a couch potato. If you aren’t ready for that level of commitment, find another breed.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies or who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines. Here’s a brief rundown on what you should know about the German Shepherd’s health.
The German Shepherd has a reputation for being prone to hip dysplasia, but breeders are working to decrease the occurrence of this genetic malformation. When a dog has hip dysplasia, the head of the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket. Over time, the bone begins to wear away, eventually resulting in painful arthritis. Depending on the severity of the condition, hip dysplasia can be managed with medication or the hips can be surgically replaced, at a cost of thousands of dollars per hip. It’s impossible to know if a dog has hip dysplasia simply from examining him or watching him move. Don’t just take the word of the breeder, ask to see the results of their breeding stocks’ hip and elbow testing!
Degenerative myelopathy is one of the most devastating of the conditions that can affect GSDs. This neurological disease is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans and results in a slow, creeping paralysis of the dog’s hindquarters. Eventually, the dog won’t be able to move on his own. Watch your dog carefully for signs of pain and discomfort that come on gradually rather than suddenly, and check his nails at least once a month to watch for signs of uneven wear. While DM in dogs is incurable, the course of the disease can be slowed with treatment. Breeders who have tested their stock for this condition are likely to be among the most conscientious of breeders, so ask to see the results of the DM test.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a German Shepherd at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life and relieve the aches and pains of arthritis in old age. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
Finding a good breeder is the key to finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as is possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than in making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances and what the dogs are like to live with and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him.