Do German Shepherd dogs make good pets?
German Shepherds are not a placid, sedentary breed like the cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In order to be healthy, happy and respond to training, they need to be exercised regularly every day - including a walk of at least a half hour, plus a romp in the yard. You live in an apartment? Then you really should consider another dog. Otherwise, they will damage your apartment in boredom and to burn up excess energy.
Let's look at the biggest reasons for owners abandoning German Shepherd dogs - the dog's energy, the dog's intelligence and the dog's health. First, let's take a look at how energetic this breed is. Although this will vary from individual German Shepherd to individual German Shepherd, these are dogs bred to be on the go all day.
The most common problem is hip dysplasia, which makes the hind legs crippled. This is a treatable condition that often involves X-rays and surgery. Many German Shepherds are abandoned just because the owners were not willing to pay the vet bills. You must be committed to caring for the dog's health over luxuries for yourself. Many older German Shepherds also become blind, but dogs deal with blindness a lot better than people. The companionship of a German Shepherd should not have a price tag placed upon it.
Getting a German Shepherd is a commitment to giving them regular exercise - and for you to get regular exercise, as well. They make excellent jogging, cycling or horseback riding partners (The dog jogs next to the horse - you don't ride the dog!) A thirty-minute brisk walk even once a day is not much to ask for. They also need room to run free in a yard, so living in an apartment is usually not good for them.
German Shepherds also need regular exercise every day, or else they get a bit hyper and mischievous. They have been bred for centuries to work all day, not sleep all day.
Another point not usually touted in German Shepherd information from the AKC is that they often have health problems. The German Shepherd Rescue of North Carolina has estimated that care of a German Shepherd Dog costs about three thousand dollars per year, and German Shepherds live into their teens.
Even though many of these health problems can be easily treated, the previous owners do not want to or cannot pay the vet bills and instead abandon the dog. When you get a German Shepherd keep in mind that they may need frequent visits to the vet.