How Long Do German Shepherds Live? Facts You Need to Know

So your fur baby is a German Shepherd! Do you know that they’re called shepherds because they worked to guide sheep not to go astray from their herd long ago? They were so good at their job that they are called German Shepherds until now.

How long do German Shepherds live? Now, they are one of the favorite family pets along with Labradors and Huskies. To be able to take care of German Shepherds better, let’s find out some facts about the breed.

Life Expectancy

How long do these shepherds live? The average lifespan of a German Shepherd is 11 years. This calculation is based on its weight, size and death records.

Of course, due to different factors, some live longer than expected, but unfortunately, some die young. Take note that in the dog age chart, each dog year is like 7 years of our lives or so. If you’re wondering how old do German Shepherds live, it actually depends mostly on how you take care of them.

portrait nice two german shepherd puppies
Portrait of a nice two German shepherd puppies.

Life Cycle

German Shepherds ranges from medium to large in size and is generally healthy and strong. But what makes them adorable to become a house pet is they are quick to understand and learn commands. This breed is excellent to be trained for search and rescue missions, guard and police canines.

Newborn Puppies up to 3 weeks

In this early age, while their eyes are still closed, they are utterly dependent on their mother to feed and wash them. In 10 days, their eyes will open and they will start to eat and roam on their own.

Socialization phase up to 3 months

They are already aware of the relationship with humans and other animals around. In this critical stage of development, they start to build characters. It’s the best time to determine what types of work they are suitable.

boy german shepherd dog puppy
Boy with german shepherd dog puppy.

Juvenile age up to 6 months

You will find that they tend to get into trouble a lot in this stage. With this age, they are the most curious and explores more. They may look like adults, but still behave like puppies.

Adolescent Age up to 2 years

Like what human teenagers undergo, German Shepherds have this stage  too. Beginning 5 months of age, as the onset of their sexual maturity, their hormones will create havoc unless the dog is neutered right away. In this phase, they will mark their territory, females will have their first estrus period, and their mind is fully alert.

Adulthood: 3 years and above

In this stage, German Shepherds are finally well-behaved, dignified, brave and polite as you have dreamed of. Expect them to be well-trained and is dutiful.

Black German Shepherds

German Shepherds have different coat colors. They have combinations of black, tan, brown, grey and more. But do you know that the most controversial of all is the black German Shepherd? There are misconceptions that they are not genuinely German Shepherds at all.

Well, it’s just complete confusion and incorrect at all. Unlike others, they are just born entirely black.

Health Issues

Taking care of our German Shepherds is a significant factor in their longevity. So, you must be on top of their health and must be aware of their common illnesses. This way, you can be proactive and may prevent them to be sick.

young veterinarian one his patients having
Young veterinarian and one of his patients.

Hip Dysplasia

Even though dog breeders are continually finding ways to eliminate health issues that have been handed down from their parents, still, there are some that remain. Hip Dysplasia is a genetic malfunction of the hip joint. The deformity of the ball and socket may cause arthritis later on.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This incurable illness affects the spine of the dog and starts to manifest at around 7 years of age. Exercise can give relief to pain, but there is known treatment yet.

EPI- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

This disease is rare, but regrettably, German Shepherds have this in their common illnesses. In this condition, the pancreas stops sending enzymes thus depriving the body of vitamins, nutrients, and proteins that the dog needs.

How can You Help In Increasing Your German Shepherd’s Life?

Taking good care of your dog is the best way to extend its life. Do you know how? Here are tips on how you can help.

Keep your dog’s ideal weight.

German Shepherds weigh an average of 85 pounds. They are heavyweight and muscular in build. Give your dog a balanced and healthy diet to prevent obesity. It is ideal for German Shepherds a maximum of 2200 calories a day.

happy young woman jogging her german
Happy young woman jogging with her German Shepherd Dog.

Give them the exercise they need.

German Shepherds are naturally active dogs. Giving them daily exercise is good for their health and may eliminate some common illnesses. They need a big space to run around and longer time to play.

As an owner, it will also be good for your health to walk every day. I recommend using a durable dog leash when you walk around with your German Shepherd. It helps you gain more control over your dog while hiking.

A regular visit to the veterinarian.

You can be proactive. There is no best way to prevent illness than a regular visit to the doctor. Let your German Shepherd be given an annual check-up and laboratories to monitor its health. It’s best to detect diseases early so it would be easy to cure.


Your tender, loving care is the most significant contributor in extending your dog’s life. Do you know that dog knows how to respond to an owner’s love? Yep, they are the most loyal and loving animal that you can have in your household. It’s the main reason that dogs are the most common pet accepted as a member of the family.

How long do German Shepherds live? It is 11 or years more. It’s up to you as its owner. The best food, effort, and time that you spend with your dog, significantly affect their lifespan. It is your challenge. How much time and effort exactly can you afford to give to your dog?

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