> Looking for the real German Shepherd Dog insights? You will only find it in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL. Subscribe for free here <
Mar 122011
old dog

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.

  66 Responses to “German Shepherd age – How old does my dog think it is?”


    Hello, Our beutiful Shepard (just like a father) is 12.8 years old. Besides a strained ligament in his left rear leg 5 yeras ago he was the model of health. About 4 months ago we noticed him laboring inthat same leg to the point he would put basicaly no weight on the leg. He would loose his balance and stumble dangerously with even 2 or 3 stairs. Long and short, our vet said it seems like bone cancer at the elbow area. Biopsys were done and chest xrays all coming back negative. Still felt what else could it be. We refused to amputate the leg and the kemo. Why do this at almost 13 and no chance of exstending his life. Alternate was to put him on a variety of canine pain meds. Well you would not know this dog was sick, he favors the leg but only slightly. We need to keep an eye on him and we don’t let him out on his own for worry that the leg could fracture if he becomes to active. Anyway, we hope to have him around for some time, every day is a blessing. Thank you!!


      My beautiful girl is now 15. Recently my vet diagnosed her with DM. My heart is broken and I can see that symptoms are pretty obvious. I adopted her at a year old in California and when I moved to Florida, of course she came with us. We would walk about 4 miles quite often but about a year ago I noticed that she was getting tired before the end of our walk. She was always fed twice a day. She developed an allergy and I started feeding no grain food about 2 years ago and that helped. She is now on something more natural Freshpet with a little dry food added. I also add some pumpkin to her dish as she is having a little difficulty passing feces. She is also starting to drag her foot so I bought her booties to keep her from bleeding. I will do all I can and deal with whatever disability happens in the future. It breaks my heart to see her go downhill. She may soon need a wheelchair. Every day I have her is worth more than I can say. If you have these problems you should know you’re not alone. We all feel your sorrow. God Bless all of you that can feel such a love for your pet.


    Sounds shocking Mike that x-rays came back negative (meaning: NO cancer!) and still the vet wanted to amputate the leg and do chemotherapy!?! What a nutter.

    I’d go to different vet now and get your dog checked for: Arthritis, Elbow Dysplasia, as well as Panosteitis.

    If all these three tests come out negative (unlikely), it would “simply” be due to age.

    What are you feeding? And how much and what kind of exercise were you providing when your GSD was younger?

    How does he feel/cope apart from this?


    Thanks for responding, believe this or not, literally hours after i posted MAJOR died in his sleep. We are besides ourselves at this moment. My daughter is uncontrollable. He did seem a little strange but was still eating and playing with the kids. He seemed to want to vomit then laid down and passed. Stunning. what could have created this suddenness? Thank you for your support! And yes, that vet was a nutter. Its all about the damn money. Any recomendations for mental recovery?
    Thanks again!!!


    Sorry Mike, I couldn’t log in for some weird technical reasons…

    I am shocked! I feel terribly sad about it, my condolences for your loss!
    Glad he died in his sleep though, that’s every dog owner’s wish, see it that way, okay?

    This “suddenness”? I am not sure. What were you feeding just before that, and in general? Was there any heavy exercise or stress for him?

    I mean, 13 years (almost) isn’t actually that young for a GSD that’s raised “to standard” these days (ie gets commercial dog food, and little exercise, and is stressed by proving its pack leadership all the time…). That’s already above-average, in such case.

    Help for mental recovery? Have to pass there, I guess, being full of tears myself when our dogs pass/passed away. But I should actually look into this, and find some “strategies” how to better cope with it. In your case, this research work will come too late by the time I’ve finished.

    I guess, the healthiest now for you and your daughter is to actually ‘accept’ the pain and sadness this is causing, as this not only helps to ‘get over’ it but also VALUES your GSD. When we lose a family member it SHOULD feel that way, no? – People who ‘reject’ such a loss, normally suffer MUCH longer. Not sure if I could make clear what I mean here.?

    Again, sorry for the late reply, due to technical problems (as so often with me/the site!).


    I have a 12.8 year old female German shepherd. She does have some health problems but none that interfere with her quality of life. Since she had her left cruciate ligament repaired at aged 5 I have kept her on the lean side. She has always eaten good quality dry dog food, no human food apart from a small price of cheese occasionally and cooked chicken and rice when she gets an stomach upset. At about 9 y old she had a gastric upset which has left her with some tummy problems – diarrhea from time to time. Two months ago she had a couple of seizures and the vet has put her on medication for this, about a month ago her elbow callous became infected and although I am treating this twice per day it has not healed yet (the vet is not optimistic about this healing) I am not giving up and with regular irrigation with hydrogen peroxide and Dimethylsulfoxide application it is actually improving slowly. I walk Bobbie nearly every day for a half hour up and down hill, she isn’t allowed to roam freely as we are in a rural area and I’m concerned she will overdo it, I get her up off her bed for a short stroll round the lawn four or five times per day to keep the blood circulating, lots of cuddles and kisses and she should be good for a bit longer. Her sight and hearing have deteriorated over the last 12 months. Her dry food is Royal Canin, I add cod liver oil, vitamin b and c and probiotics, she is fed twice per day, no exercise one hour before or three hours after feeding.


      Great description and great treatment, thank you!


      I have a (13 year-old next month) neutered German Shepherd dog (and a 14 year-old Golden Retriever). In 2007 both dogs were suffering from joint/mobility problems and slowing down really fast. It was alarming. Someone suggested we change from (the “best”) commercial dog food to raw food which we did in November 2007. Within a couple of months both dogs’ mobility problems had gone. My GSD’s hip dysplasia no longer seemed to be worrying him, although his leg is still at a peculiar angle to this day – no pain, apparently. With regard to a GSD’s tendency towards an easily upset stomach – I found that colloidal silver is invaluable internally. With a GSD you have to be careful not to give too much or they become suspicious and refuse to drink it; however, a good tablespoon or so of the stuff (don’t use metal containers or spoons with the silver – always crockery/glass) in a small bowl of milk seems to be accepted. Twice a day. Externally, the silver heals like magic – very, very fast. Nothing beats it for healing “non-healing” wounds, etc. Apply with cotton wool or similar about three times a day and see what happens. I often give both our dogs a dose of silver about twice a week as a preventive measure. My dogs both get supplements, by the way. Doggie vitamins/minerals (one a day), a one-a-day Natural Joint capsule (from the U.S., made for humans, but completely natural and non-harmful to dogs) – these capsules we’ve tried to do without but their mobility problems seemed to re-present themselves now that they’re older so we recommenced with the daily dosage – symptoms disappear again within 2-3 days), Brewer’s Yeast and cod liver oil on their food. We also give coconut oil to our GSD as his skin gets a little itchy at certain times of the year and the coconut oil knocks this problem on the head. He doesn’t like it much, so we only give as necessary. Oh, and a little salt on their food too. Like people, dogs need sodium to balance the potassium, magnesium and calcium. Sometimes the salt alone will make a huge difference in the dog’s health. Small amount – about 1/4 tsp per day. I highly recommend a doggie mineral supplement which includes magnesium and potassium. Our dogs have always had access to raw beef bones to chew – their teeth have no tartar and it’s always the first thing vets comment on when examining them. About once a week we don’t feed them at all after one huge meal the night before. This results in all kinds of enzymes coming into action which do so many wonderful things for dogs. Hope this helps.


        OMG Jen, this is VERY interesting. Can you contact me re/ the colloidal silver? Would like to discuss sth.
        We have instead been giving this stuff regularly (excellent).
        Your raw-feed results make me wonder as well. The outcome is not always as positive as you describe, but you seem to have fantastic results there as well. Would like to discuss this too.
        Anyway, thanks for your post! :-)


    I have 2 German Shepherds, Bernie a male & Lola a female. Bernie was 12 last Saturday & Lola will be 11 in July this year. Both the dogs are very fit, no sign of hip problems or any other problems at the moment. The three of us walk 1 1/2 – 2 hours every morning whatever the weather. Of course they have slowed down a bit over the years, though if they pick up a scent or see a squirrel they are off! I feed them on The Natural Dog Food Company’s Turkey & Rice Senior Light dried food mixed with a small amount of Chappie Chicken & Rice which suits them very well. We rarely have any problems with upset stomachs which some GSD’s are prone to. I found out about the Natural Dog Food Co about 6 years ago when they kept getting upset stomachs so they have now progressed to the senior food. They seem to thrive on it. The dogs have a cod liver oil pill & cow’s ear (very good for their teeth) every day plus dog biscuits for treats. We have never fed them human food only food for dogs. It might all be in the genes but I think the food & exercise go some of the way to keep Bernie & Lola happy healthy dogs.


      I couldn’t agree more Liz. Experience shows that meal content, meal times and feeding routine, as well as the right exercise regime can increase GSD life expectancy by at least 50%! So, over and above the life expectancy of GSDs that get the commonly fed industrial dog food, and that are merely walked 2 to 3 times a day, without any regular running exercise.

      GSDs VERY much thrive on (and need for genetical reasons) daily heavy exercise and adventures in different environments in order to stay healthy, happy, and well-behaved throughout a long dog life.

      At 11 and 12 respectively, of course it’s very considerate of you to let your dogs slow down with age. And that they may still run after a squirrel and such (and do so), is excellent too. Glad to hear that both are healthy, that’s how it should be. Congratulations to your treatment!


    I am taking care of few strays one of them is GSD all of them are 10+. mix breeds dont have problems but gsd is always attacked by flees for that my vet gives injection of internal an external parasites to kill the maggots but then she becomes week and start to loose control on body dont know what to do. dont know her exact age but as per vet she must be 12


      I can’t recall it at the moment, but there exist very potent NATURAL coat sprays that prevent that. Google a bit. MUCH better than injections!!


    My German Shepherd died this weekend at 12 years of age. From a young age he had suffered with hip and leg problems, with him having underdeveloped hips and his mother has also suffered with hip Dysplasia. He seemed a fit and healthy dog, and in the space of three weeks he deteriorated so much that he could no longer lift himself. He was fed well with natural dog food, and even vegetables, and he was taken out and able of run freely at out local dog park for 1-2 hours every day, twice on weekends. Upon taking my dog to the vet, it was discovered that he had aggressive lymphoma, kidney failure and arthritis. From reading all the above comments, I am happy that all your dogs are fit and healthy, but I feel that regardless of how well you treat your dog and what routine you follow, each dog is different and feeding him the best food, or cheaper food is not going to change their life expectancy. Every sign my dog showed of an upset stomach or joint issues we addressed, attempting to change his food and but in most cases it made the issue worse. You just have to be aware that when buying a GSD, the chances of them surviving past 12 is limited.


      Very sorry to hear of your loss Emma.
      Like you say, you noticed his hip and leg problems from an early age. Likely he was already genetically predisposed to the other health issues too – which your vet only now confirmed. All three are partly genetic too.

      GSDs that are healthy from the outset of course have a better chance to grow older. And while even the best food and best exercise regime can’t necessarily cure an ill dog, I agree that in general both these factors indeed can prolong a dog’s life by 50% or more.

      Your dog, at 12, with his health issues, did indeed reach a high age thanks to your considerate treatment and feeding. You did all you can, well done! He had GREAT 12 years, that counts.


    My German Shepherd just turned 14 on August 16th. He is a very large GS, weighing 98 lbs. He has been a very healthy dog. He did lose his hearing about 1 1/2 yrs ago when he came down with Vestibular disease. He recovered all the way except for his hearing. When he was a puppy I took him to obedience school which really trained me to train him. I was told to use hand signals along with commands, I am so glad I was instructed to do that because now that he has lost his hearing, hand signals have really come in handy. I have always feed him NUTRO dry dog food and he loves it. He has been having issues with his back legs, which continues to get worse as the days go by. He is on medication, Gabapentin and Meloxicam, daily. I am having a difficult time making a decision to put him down as he still has his good days, bringing me toys, greeting people at the door and occasionally walking outside to visit the neighbors dogs. But also is having bad days and nights, sometimes he takes a few steps and has to lay down and wait a few minutes before walking again, he doesn’t lift his back legs as high resulting in nails being very short and sometimes bleeding, barking late at night and waking me up several times just to go outside to lay down. I do not have a fenced yard so i don’t leave him out by himself. He can walk outside to use the bathroom but if you don’t get him there quick enough he will have accidents on the floor, that does not happen very often. I don’t know if I will ever get another dog as I am 50 yrs old myself and not sure if I have the energy to raise another puppy. If I ever do decide to get another, It will be a German Shepherd no questions about it.


      50 for you is no age, do get another two ;-)
      14 for him is a great age. Cheerish every “good day” as you call them. You’d miss him too soon.


      Hi Kathy, I hope you get this message. My 14 1/2 year old GSD mix had a deteriorating hip and had two skin cancer surgeries in the past year. Though she was having a good day yesterday, she was put down, and I feel gutted. I decided not to wait for her to deteriorate further with the suffering that would entail. I adopted her when she was 7 months old. Some of the symptoms you described were similar to hers. What happened with your dog? I’m also in my 50’s and question whether I’m a candidate to get another dog. Besides, another dog couldn’t take her place. I hope you’re well.


    Our beautiful GS Fritz was just euthanized this morning, at nine years of age. He had developed a limp, so we took him to the vet for xrays today, where bone cancer was discovered, in his upper leg, shoulder, causing some minor fractures..

    They said they could amputate and put him on drugs for a short reprieve, but that seemed kind of an awful thing to do to such a glorious dog. He was so energetic, and had a very strong prey drive. The limp troubled him greatly these past few days.

    I hope we made the right decision. I wish he was still here, but I am glad he is not suffering any longer.


      Very sad to hear that. Quick decision, hm, but as you say no suffer is better. Strong prey drive? Very rare in purebred GSDs. Unless you meant as in keeping the flock together, yes


        My 5 yr old pure bred has an extremely high prey drive. Anything small, that darts and she will nearly rip my arm off. She is 1/2 East German GSD and 1/2 Czech GSD. She won’t chase a ball though. Her mom lives for chasing the ball. Funny how different they all can be. Sorry for your loss.


        Dayna, GSDs do not have prey drive, they are genetically herding dogs.
        If you have a purebred GSD then what you see is not prey drive, it is the dog’s attempt:
        – either to collect herd strays
        – or to repel predators from the presumed herd

        In the first case, you will notice that a GSD only nips the animal to motivate it to “get back in order” (or nips and drags if the animal cannot do this by itself). There is no bite to kill, like with prey drive.

        In the second case, a GSD will only bite if the presumed predator (to the herd integrity) appears to be perseverant. This is unlikely with “anything small, that darts”.

        With a puppy there would be a third alternative: Play/Fun.


    He actually had a flock of chickens that he kept in very good order! But he never ‘preyed’ on them, as he did cats, ground squirrels, and the like. They were dispatched very neatly and cleanly. He’d chase balls and sticks and corncobs and snowballs like nobody’s business.

    It was hard to make such a decision, because we loved him so, but when the vet showed us the xray, the tumor in the bone, and the fractures because the bone was being eaten away by the cancer, there was no way we were going to keep him alive for the short time he would have had. He was a tremendously active boy, up until the past few weeks.

    It’s so sad to say goodbye to a good dog, He was protective and brave and loyal to his people. We do have his younger friend still with us, also a GSD. He seems a little bereft this morning, and we will be keeping an eye out for a buddy for him.


      I can imagine how much the younger one suffers, with his buddy gone. Poor dog. Lots of exercise as in adventures now. no boredom. Thank you


        He seems to be doing pretty well.I think the morning time was most odd for him. I’ve been keeping him busy. He came from a pretty bad situation when we adopted him, and he’s always been highly adaptable. That seems to be carrying over, at this point, thankfully.


        Great Liz. Hope you all recover soon.


    Our Breton is currently 15 1/2y. He only started to slow down at age 14. He used to weigh 75lbs, and now I would say he’s between 55-60lbs. At Age nine, he completely severed his left hind CCL, and without operation, took a couple of months to heal. We chose not to operate as it would have only fooled him into staying active and then he’d blow the other knee. He adapted to lifting the leg while running, and eventually returned to “normal” but slower running. As a White GSD (more gold/yellow than white) his life is certainly winding down, but his cloudy eyes are still bright, and he responds only to a whistle of his name. Thank you all for your wonderful stories about you GSDs. Keep them healthy by fostering their physicality as they are natural health nuts….good food certainly helps. Give them a Job they can be proud of, idle minds find things to do, and intelligence is extremely high When younger, he knew 20+ toys by name and learned new things/jobs/tricks in less than a day. Wish I had a recent photo to share of our fella, but alas…

    Our decision on when he is to rest is up to him, he’s not in too much pain, and his organs are quite regular and stable (with minor hiccups only now creeping in). If he makes 16 next April, There can be no sadness for a life lived long, loved, and accepted. He still loves to snuggle (but smells horrible…Ha)


      Thanks so much Gerard, this is a lovely feedback! Yes, 15 1/2 is awesome already, shows you treated and fed and exercised him well!


    Our beautiful GSD is 6.5 years old. She has been healthy her whole life. I have never had a GSD before and I must admit she wasn’t my first choice. After giving in to my husband, I can honestly say she is the best dog ever. Smarter than most people I know. She also drives my husband crazy since she is definitely MY dog. I was sad for her when I brought my son home 4 years ago. For the first three months, he would not look me in the eye whenever I held him. Today she is in love with him, although I cannot say that he is always the best boy around my sweet dog. Anyway, I am very sad after reading these posts and thinking about ever losing my sweet, beautiful, genius girl/dog. I feed her Orijens and either walk her or throw the frisbee in our backyard daily. No signs of hip dysplasia. When I take her to the lake she turns into a puppy again…so playful. Not sure what else to do, but I would like her to be around for a looonnnnng time.


      Thanks Janice for this insightful post!
      > I can honestly say she is the best dog ever. Smarter than most people I know.
      Love that! I feel the same. I totally agree. :-)


    Just lost the beat dog I will ever have. Mallory, our GSD was 14.5 yrs/old. Hips displasia over the last two years was under control with remidal medication. CRF, chronic renal failure, was the last problem. CRF and hip displasia are very common for this breed. Best dog ever.


      Oh how sad, Mick. 14 1/2 is very long though, you must be content about that.

      Sad that the breeders can’t get hip dysplasia under control. CRF though isn’t hereditary (and isn’t particularly common for this breed) but for the most part caused by lifelong intoxication of the bloodstream.

      We here say “drink a lot and pee a lot!” for a reason – a good one, as always (I hope): With dogs that drink little, the kidneys have to cram all the toxins (from medicines, vaccinations, foods, scavenging, etc) into a small amount of urine – which obviously is hard work. But kidneys, like every cell, have only a certain capacity (to work, to renew). Now, if a dog (or human!) requires from his kidneys peak performance, the entire life(!), it’s no surprise to me at all that Chronic Renal Failure increases with age dramatically (across all dog breeds).

      This can’t give you any comfort now Mick, but it may help other dog owners to sit back and THINK more carefully about our regular advice here (why I repeat myself so often). What I am saying in the Periodicals and books really all feeds into each other: My warnings about antibiotics and corticosteroids, about vaccination boosters, about stress reduction (particularly at the vet, so as to avoid sedatives and other medication), about a natural and balanced diet, about avoiding scavenging, about resting places in every room, about (at least) two drinking bowls always filled with fresh water, about eating slow from an eat-slow bowl, about intense and varied exercise (which also increases bladder and bowel function), about choosing a holistic vet, and about countless other points.

      The more I learned, the more I realized that it really all feeds into each other, it’s all connected! A ‘holistic’ vet is most likely to grasp this, and treat accordingly! A treatment which is then very different to the one most dogs (and humans!) are receiving these days…


    My wonderful Family member Arco just turned 15. He has always been a heavy dog 125lbs . Two years ago he started having breathing problems . I took him to the vet . The vet did a chest x-ray and said everything was good . But that he needs to loose some weight .. I walked him for a 1// hour in the morning and 1//2 hour in the eveing .. I cut back on his food ( Caine caviar ) best food ever!!! I up his walks time .. And after 1 year he lost 25 lbs . And I didn’t loose any .. Arco is still doing great!!


      Oh Darsie, 15?? That’s an awesome achievement!
      Puuh, with the kind of food you’re giving, no surprise Arco is overweight. I couldn’t believe my eyes, canine caviar?? Had not heard of that. Even Amazon has it, so we can link to it. What are his measurements? Did you enter them into our dog database?
      And have you checked his health status here?


    Our Lisa is seven in March – active lovely dog – hates other animals and patrols our yard constantly – she wars with the pigeons and birds as she is determined to show who is actually in charge of the back yard – the other day she caught a hadeda chick – this is a very big ibis in Southern Africa that likes to look for grubs on the lawn – the chick was learning to fly and to the horror of the two parents the chick was caught by our Lisa – she however did not kill it as it was too large so she decided to bring it to my husband (she adores him!) – he was in the kitchen and did not notice the dog come in with the chick in her mouth – he felt this nudge and low and behold Lisa and the chick staring up at him – it was so funny – hadeda parents going mad and my husband trying to get the chick to fly up to the nearest branch and at the same time to convince our Lisa that hadeda’s are really to big to catch! We love our dog to bits and she is the brightest dog we have ever had – wonderful breed and we are lucky as she is healthy


      A lovely story.

      Please note that, based on what you describe, Lisa would do well with some display that YOU are the leader – who determines who’s gonna be chased down and who not…
      Sounds like your love doesn’t let you see that she’s the one who currently controls your house. ;-)


    What kinds of food is best for the GSD. I have a 12 week old puppy now who is about 28 lbs. I have been feeding her Purina Puppy Chow and some cottage cheese (for more calcium during massive growth.) Is there a dry or moist food that is better for the dogs (she has a 2 year old beagle/terrier buddy.) I’ve just started looking into a lot of this stuff. All my other dogs have been “mutts” from shelters, this is my first full-blooded shepard and want to try to do the best I can to keep her healthy. Thanks.


      Rob, first of all as concerns this page where you asked:
      Your 12 week old puppy probably feels 12 weeks old :-)
      – and soon will feel eager to explore the vicinity without you!

      Now food: I would follow the guidance we give in our Feeding Periodicals – we have many, do you have access??
      If you don’t have access, you’ll soon face as many ‘dog problems’ as other dog owners, I speak from experience, we get all the problems here, see for example this page.

      Hope you like my humor(??), which is no more than a desert on a serious piece of cake (you asked about food, no?). The serious piece: the ‘dog problems’!)

      Back to your question: GSDs are very sensitive, digestion-wise. I’d home-feed, save the money on the Purina. Commercial dog food is NEVER balanced – and MOST is full of fillers. Here are the commercial foods that are better than others (have less fillers).


        Thanks for the advice. I just recently signed up for your site and still discovering all the latest content and pages to ask the appropriate questions. And yes, she acts 12 weeks old. =)

        I have downloaded a couple of your e-books and it seems to be working wonders with my pup. I appreciate you taking the time to compile all this information and look forward to learning as much as I can about GSDs in general, and making a great home environment for mine.


        Fine Rob. If you need anything let me know.


    I have a 12 month old GSD and I have had several people asked me if he was going to be a show dog. He looks great and has a great trot. But I took him to the beach the other day and this guy told that when he runs his back legs do a “bunny hop” together and that is a sign he will have hip issues at about 7 years old.


    I just lost my GSD Rita on April 3 2014. She was 14 years old. I got her when she was about 8 only by chance cause someone I know was going out of town. He asked me to take care of her for a few months but I was in love with her and couldn’t give her back. She always had a bit of trouble getting up but would still be able to jump on a futon I had that was just for her to sleep. After she turned 9 I saw it was getting more difficult to get up so I started buying little doggie beds for her to lie around the house. When she was about 11 I decided to switch vets on her and the new vet recommended that she take a medication called rimedal for her hips and that I start giving her glucosamine for her joints. She was first taking 1 pill per day and eventually upped the dose to a 1 1/2 to 2 pills per day. About 7 weeks before she passed she started not being able to pick her self up anymore. She would constantly potty on her self. I would have to get up in the middle of the night to lift her hips so she could walk out side and do her business. Knowing that she needed extra attention I decided to board her at the Vets office for a few days only because my wife and I were expecting a baby and we thought the vets office would be the best place for our dog to be taken care of. While my wife was in labor I stepped out side for 1 minute and made a call to the vets office to see how our dog was doing. They said she was stable but time was not on her side. Ok I figured if our GSD could live a couple more months I would be more then happy to help her up to walk and wouldn’t mind that she kept on having the occasional accident in the house. The next day I called the animal hospital to see how she was doing and again they said she’s doing fine, after about 3 hours I received a call from the vet saying our GSD passed away but did not suffer. I started crying like a little child. I try to stay positive and only remember the good life we gave her. She was the best dog I ever had. I would defiantly get another GSD. RIP


    That is so cool. i have a 3 yr old part g s d/ wolf. at times he acts like he is 5 months and other times he acts like hes 70. I love him. i am worried because i have been told not to get him fixed, because it could make him more aggressive. I guess its the mix i dont know. any advice?


    We have a 9 year old GSD. She has been the BEST dog ever. We got her as company for our older chow chow (who passed at 15 years old 3 years ago). Now, we have a 2 year old mutt to keep our GSD, Dakota, company. As she did for our other dog, this one helps to keep her young and on her toes. They play and run a lot together. They both eat dry dog food and no people food (other than pizza crust – and they certainly know what it means when the pizza man comes). They are self feeders and weight has not been an issue for either of them. They are both “normal” weight for their size. Dakota has started to be a little bit slower getting up, but she is fine with her mobility while up – stairs, running, agility, etc. We know she won’t be here forever, but we do think we have several good years left.


    My pretty girl passed away 10 days ago in her sleep at 14.4 years. I miss her so so much and it hurts so much to think I’ll never see her. She was my life.


      Feeling sorry for you. Cold comfort: At 14.4 years she must have had a wonderful GSD life and owner looking after her.


    We adopted an adult female German Shepard in February of this year. They told us she was 4 years old, but friends have told us she is older. Some have said as much as 8 years old. Other than judging by appearance alone, how can I more accurately approx. her age. Not that it matters, for me she has settled into her new loving environment just fine, For my wife, not so much.


      Mike, the next time yu see the vet, ask him/her to run two tests, then you’ll know more precisely. A good dentist knows age as well. Why is your wife not happy with the GSD??


    Thanks Tim.
    The GSD is large and my dog and she is a cat person, but we love her anyway
    One of the hardest thing was to get the GSD to respond to a new name. She was a stray and on the streets for who knows how long. A bit aggressive to other dogs, but I am working on her and it is getting better.


    ive got a 12.8 y-o collie and a 11.8 GSD. ive been worried about the GSD for the last week because she has really slowed up and I noticed her right hind leg seems to be twisting inwards. She has no other health problems and is eating well and likes to go out even though I have to walk at a snails pace for her. She just seems to have an exhausted look on her face though. ive only had one dog before and she died at 10 to cancer. ive never had an old dog before. I don’t know if there is any point going to the vet as she dosnt seem to be experiencing anything other than old age and what that brings.


    Hey Tim
    My GSD is approx. 34 K. To keep her girlish figure, how much and how often should she be fed? Presently I feed her 4 cups one a day (worked for other dog I have owned but she is a bit larger than I am used to) Thanks Mike PS she eats all of her food as soon as she gets it and doesn’t seem like she wants more.


      Hey Mike, did you add all her details into our cooler-than-coolest Online GSD Health Profile and see what results you get for her?

      The more details you enter (correctly; pl see the hover text help notes), the more precise the results! I developed the tool myself, and am pretty proud. :-)
      Sure, it could do with some more calibration, but how, if no one ever leaves feedback for it??
      Shoot away if sth is not right in your opinion, I am grateful for all feedback received.
      Try applying the results you get, and report back if she’s happy with the changes you make, or not. :-)


    We have a beautiful GSDwho will be 9 yrs. July15. About 14 months ago my husband took him
    ( Cayenne) to our vet, because he noticed him starting to not want to climb
    The stairs on the back porch. He got x-rays and gave him pain meds. Maybe a touch of arthritis and hip displaysia. We have not had to give him hardly any pain meds. His hips are getting weaker, exspecially his left. He was
    Falling down some in the house , we have wood floors everywhere, and I started really noticing it , and have been really concerned. He takes a vitamin everyday, some kind of ,natural stuff for shedding , and we have tried several things for his hip and joints. I just got a new one that is more for senior dogs. We feed him
    1 can of Natural Balance food Duck and sweet potato, and keep his bowl full of Eukenuba GS dry food. He loves to chase his ball everyday. Our humidity
    Here in Arkansas is so bad
    And the heat that we haven’t been letting him out quite so much and shorter periods. He looks like he has cataracts. My husband hasn’t been playing him quite so hard and he has been lying around the house too much I think . He slept on a log bed about 5 or 6 inches high. My husband cut the legs down quite a bit, because he noticed he wasn’t wanting to jump up to get on it about a month ago.he lays on the floor a lot and sleeps. He is such a devoted to my husband Dog it’s so special. He is jealous of the Grandkids , tries to get in the front closest to my husband ( Master) you can tell me worships his master. He can’t wait for him to get home and whines and mopes some when he is gone. Husband team ropes
    So we take him with us a lot . He always sleeps on hard floor in our trailer,


    My solid black GSD Storm is 14. I am so blessed. She has been fed organic human grade food since I brought her home at 7 weeks old. Three good, long walks per day. Lots of hikes and fresh air. Three years ago, I switched her to grain free food (canidae) and she does well on it. Storm was diagnosed with spondylosis at 7 yrs, and her back end has certainly become weaker. Every three weeks, she gets laser therapy and works on an underwater treadmill – we started this two years ago and noticed a significant improvement in her mobility as a result. She gets Metacam four times per week and raw steak for her birthdays!! Storm is slowing noticeably, poops once in awhile just slip out of her rear end and she has developed an old dog’s penchant for stopping to poop wherever the urge strikes – including while we cross busy intersections. She can still do stairs very slowly – and never without someone supporting and bracing her. One new thing I have noticed are sudden brief spasms, almost like one second seizures. Overall, she is amazing and I am beyond blessed!!


    I read your page a month ago after our GSD developed a tumour in his mouth and the vet said he had 6months to a year max to live. The tumour had not spread to his organs and he was still fine. The vet said they would not operate because it was too risky and would not extend his life by very much. They would instead treat the symptoms as they came along and in the end we may have to put him down as the cancer spreads through his body.

    He died this morning and he would have been 13 years old in late November. My father discovered him sitting by the fence where he usually sits during the day.

    We are still in shock regarding his passing. He showed no signs of pain, I took him on a walk Sunday evening and he was fine. There was a big storm yesterday afternoon otherwise I would have taken him after work. Yesterday during the day the rest of my family said he was behaving as normal.

    His has been part of my family since I was in high school, so today has been very difficult for me. I wish we got to spend that extra few months with him. It is probably for the best I guess, that he did not have to suffer with the tumour for very long.

    The vet did not tell us anything about how he died.

    I’m still at a loss as to how he had died, does anyone know? I do not think it was related to the cancer and he is not too old either.


      I share your loss, how very sad. Yes, the vet (or another vet) should be able to determine the real cause of death – but maybe he was diplomatic not going into depth as it wouldn’t help you he thought.
      Frankly, 13 is a great age to reach for a GSD. It shows that you’ve treated him very well. He and I thank you for that.
      Best wishes.



    I have an 11 year old pure white German Shepard named Crystal. I was curious as to how many years German Shepards actually live because my first German Shepard (black and tan) lived to be 13-14 years old and I was about 5 years old at the time. My second dog, a beautiful male yellow lab named Max (after get smart) lived till two weeks short of his birthday and favorite holiday Halloween, at age 12 (still getting over that…we had him since he was 10 weeks old). I get sad thinking about my Crystal cause she is my whole life literally. I do everything with her. She is getting old though, she can’t hear anymore unless you scream at her like you are trying to talk to grandma, and she can’t see anymore. I heard dogs have like cataracts in their eyes? We are giving her eye drops for her eyes and it’s expensive but necessary. She also has slight trouble with her hips and she goes to the bathroom at night in her sleep which my dad has to wake up to every morning. I’ve been married for 2 years so far and live in an apartment so she stays at my parents house usually guarding the front entrance. She’s an amazing dog and very smart. She understands everything I tell her! She has a sensitive stomach and she’s a rescue so we give her natural good dog food and usually garlic bologna and beef sticks as a snack. We had to cut down because she is overweight but she can’t walk around the neighborhood anymore so my dad started walking her around the yard for a while. She mostly sleeps throughout the day anymore. Is that normal for her age? I just dont want to get the call someday that she passed on because it would break my heart.


      Michelle, 13-14 with your first GSD was VERY lucky, seems like you were a great five-year old at the time. :-)
      Now try to interact with Crystal as often as you have time. That’s the best thing for her spirit now!


    We take great care of all our dogs. Ginger, my first German Shepard, my dad got her off a woman who had been giving away the litter on the street of my dad’s delivery (he works for UPS) and he said what a beautiful dog and she asked him if he wanted her. She was just a puppy at the time and that was back in 1978. I was born in 1985 and she passed on in 1992. She was laying by the double glass doors in the unfinished downstairs where my dad had his office in the basement (he’s also a self tax accountant) and I remember feeding her a whole box of milkbones because I wanted her to be content lol. She practically raised me as her own. My dad wanted her to die naturally, but her faithful heart wouldn’t stop beating even though she was very old and suffering so my dad finally put her down. My next dog Max we got in 1992 and had him until 2004. I watched him stagger a couple times and then pass on in our front yard and I was screaming for my mother to save him. He was my life since I had him so many years but he lived past his age for a yellow lab. He was almost 12. We got Crystal March 1st 2005 and she rests a lot but she will still get up so we can get our hug in for the day. I take every opportunity to be with her now while she is still around. We just put her on an anti pee pill because my mom is tired of stepping in a puddle every morning lol. She is truly my everything and I wish she could live forever or at least be with me until I pass on.


    Hello everyone

    How wonderful to have ‘stumbled ‘ across this site and all your wonderful posts about your GSD’s While we know they are dogs, we also know they are Much More than that.

    To all those who have lost their loved ones, my sincere sorrow / empathy for your loss. I can feel your pain I am with my 8th and last “puppy” (Thor) only because my age is a factor.

    To all those who are yet fortunate to have their comical pals …enjoy the moment!

    God bless you all and wishing you both long life and good health.

    Jay and “The Mighty Thor: : )


    I had a shepherd/husky mix growing up in 90’s neighbors down the street rescued it from pound but didn’t realize how big he would get they ended up leaving him in the basement an basically ignored him. He was underweight an very matted just under a yr old when they were going to get rid of him and my family said we would take him we had many kinds of dogs of any breed in the past. In just 5 months he put on lots of weight to look healthy, we walked him miles upon miles a day and brushed him regularly. They saw him an tried to ask for him back we said no way– long story short got him in 92 he did eat regular dog food and TONS of everything he shouldn’t have had come his 12th birthday the vet couldn’t believe he was that old he seemed to “young n happy ” he was let loose by another neighbor who didn’t like dogs much, catcher got him my parents only had ssi and couldn’t afford to get him out by time got money together he was put down. He was about turn 15 or 16 he still had so much life.

 Leave a Comment?

Please first check:

  • To go live any question must be relevant to this page
  • Random visitors cannot expect a reply from anyone
  • To fight SPAM anything with a link lands in SPAM

MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG is a nonprofit organization - only proceeds from website advertising, suggested dog remedies, and own product offers enable us to support you