As a child you too probably learned that one human year is seven dog years, right? Oh well, as children we've been presented with a lot of myths. Myth because it is utter nonsense - like with the Santa Claus, the stork, and so on.
So, how old is your German Shepherd really, in dog years so to say? How old does your dog think it is? How old does he or she feel?
Since our German Shepherd won't tell us, various human beings came up with their own approaches to an answer - some more scientific than others. The French veterinarian, Monsieur LeBeau, came up with a more scientific answer, one that considers sexual productivity etc.
Since dogs are dogs not humans, his system accordingly does no longer use a proportionate scale - proportionate to the human years, like 1 equals 7. Instead, the age of a German Shepherd is determined in the following way:
- Up to 12 months of age, each month is equivalent to 1.25 human years. So, a four month-old German Shepherd puppy is about as mature as a 5 year-old child, and a 12 month-old German Shepherd pups is as mature as a 15 year-old teenager.
- Between 12 months of age and 24 months of age, each month is equivalent to 0.75 human years. So, an 18 month-old German Shepherd dog is about as mature as a 20 year-old adult, and a 24 month-old GSD is as mature as a 24 year-old adult.
- From 24 months of age, it is assumed that it is acceptable to use a proportionate relationship. Now each German Shepherd year translates to four human years. So, a 9 year-old GSD is assumed to feel as old as a 52 year-old person, and a 12 year-old German Shepherd dog would feel like a 64 year-old person - somewhat the typical retirement age.
You notice that LeBeau, like most other vets, didn't see a biological age difference between a male and a female German Shepherd dog - probably because there seem to be no systematic difference in the life expectancy of a male and female German Shepherd.
By the way, there are huge differences in life expectancy in the following regards: Factor number 1 certainly is Dog meals, Meal times, and Feeding routine (see under House training dogs), and factor number 2 certainly is regular and varied exercise.
These two factors seem to increase the life expectancy of a German Shepherd by 50%. Thus, each of these factors alone weighs more than hereditary health issues like Hip Dyplasia or Elbow Dysplasia - see our unique and free MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual - The 31 Most Common German Shepherd Ailments and Treatments AT A GLANCE.
Also, you might notice that this dog-age calculation system results in dog deaths at a younger age than with the "one human year is seven dog years" myth. Example: A dog that got 15 years old is about 76 human years old biologically, but 105 years old according to the simple "one human year is seven dog years" rule.
Finally, since the majority of German Shepherds seem to die at age 12 or younger, according to the LeBeau dog-age calculation system they live no longer than a person who dies at age 64. This would mean that the life expectancy of German Shepherds has not increased over the last 100 years as dramatically as the life expectancy of humans has increased - which was more than two-fold (from 34 in 1910 to 72 in 2010).
If you have a healthy German Shepherd and you treat your dog well (varied and natural food, a lot to drink, and regular and varied exercise), reports suggest that your GSD could become 16 years old - hence feeling 80. But it's not that "every year after 10 is a blessing" because, having a German Shepherd, every year is a blessing, right?
Don't forget that Feeding routine, Dog meals and Meal times have a significant impact on your GSD's lifespan, as well as what type of food you serve your German Shepherd and how much and what kind of exercise your GSD is getting.
In the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL we discuss multiple ways how you can easily extend the lifespan of your GSD.
So, what's your story please?
How old is or was your German Shepherd? And what have you been feeding? How many meals a day? How much exercise (sport or work, not dog walking)? Any hereditary ailments? The more you describe, the better! Thanks.