Types of German Shepherds and breed overview

One of the most internationally favored working dogs is the German Shepherd (or Alsatian). This large, semi-long-haired powerful breed is easy to train, top-notch at agility, a great property guardian and a lovely family pet.

The 2nd favorite breed of dog in the world 2020 (runner up to the Labrador), the German Shepherd (and this breed mixes) win the hearts of many. Due to the massive breeding and mixing attempts, they come in several different colors now. Alongside the Black & Tan standard, they come in 11 different recognized colors including silver, black, liver, sable and of course white.

One of the top active breeds, the German Shepherd or GSD has been bred to perform a wide range of tasks. Originally developed as ‘the best sheep herder’ in Germany, the Shepherd’s ability to learn and retain information for a wide range of tasks makes them ideal for service work. Therefore the German Shepherd training is not that complex as in case of some other breeds.

The GSDs are actually easier to train than most of the popular dog breeds due to their favorable genetical inheritance. You should not be surprised by a potty trained German Shepherd. They have very loyal and committed characters and make great companions or lone workers.


White German Shepherd Puppy Female
Miss Nova, a white German Shepherd female puppy © dogwatchomaha on Instagram

White German Shepherds

The White German Shepherd is becoming a recognized breed of its own in certain countries. Although it is currently seen as just a color variety in many other countries it’s often actively discouraged in breeding lines. This is because it was deemed a ‘color fault’ and couldn’t be shown in the ring. However, the White GSD is a beautiful animal.

The white color is caused by a recessive gene and its spread is attributed to breeding a concentrated line of White Shepherds. This line helped create the lovely White German Shepherds we see today. Recently in the USA and Canada, White German Shepherds have seen a recent surge in popularity. Therefore clubs and documents have been formed to make sure the ‘color fault’ is recognized, and is healthy.


Black German Shepherd

Just like there are White German Shepherds, there are pure black ones too. Black German Shepherds are also caused by a recessive gene and so they are quite difficult to be found in this version. They can be produced from many combinations of parent colors. This means they don’t need to have 2 black-coated parents. So don’t worry if the sire and dam are both Black & Tan because the result can be a lovely Black German Shepherd puppy.

Black German Shepherd puppy
Black German Shepherd puppy

Your Black German Shepherd puppy may well cost you more than the other standard colors because they are seen as very special. They tend to be slightly larger and have straighter backs because of the original stock they were founded from.

There are many different types of German Shepherd from around the globe, some working stock and some show stock. All of these different types have slightly different traits, and working shepherds are often taller, darker and with longer, thicker coats. This is where the Black German Shepherd gets its wonderful looks from.


Blue German Shepherd puppy
Blue German Shepherd puppy

Blue German Shepherd

Alongside the 11 most recognized Shepherd colors, there is also the blue German Shepherd which actually represents a simple coat color variation of this breed, with blue eyes too. The color of the blue German Shepherd is not really striking and it might not actually be considered a colored German shepherd. It is more like a bi colored mix between blue and tan, blue and sable, or blue and black.

For some other breeds, the blue coat color indicates that the dog is more likely to suffer from certain health conditions. This is not the case for the blue GSD whose coat color is not the sign of health problems. It is more likely to be the result of some special breeding programs or the result of a reputable breeder .


Can You Get A Mini German Shepherd Too?

There is a type of small, mixed-breed dog called a Mini German Shepherd, or Miniature GSD, which looks just like a normal Shepherd but smaller. Unfortunately the aspect could also represent the result of a hormonal imbalance. This is the case of German Shepherds afflicted with Pituitary Dwarfism. Hence you may find them called the dwarf German Shepherds.

However, the others without the dwarfism issue are not pure-bred German Shepherds. They are a designer dog that has the appearance and characteristics of a GSD, but has another smaller breed in them. Usually it is a German Shepherd – Border Collie mix, also known as Shollie mix, or a German Shepherd – Corgi mix, known as Corman Shepherd.

Corman Miniature German Shepherd
Corman – The German Shepherd – Corgi mix (©Kristen Hamilton @ pinterest)

In any case, some cute mini German Shepherds are produced crossing these small to medium-sized dog breeds with the GSDs. The miniature German Shepherd puppy resulting probably won’t weight more than 50 pounds. Maybe that’s why they are called teacup German Shepherd puppies too.

There’s nothing wrong with acquiring a designer dog, but first you need to make sure that the dogs involved have still undertaken the health controls within both the breed standards. A Shepherd mix can still pass on their heritable conditions outside of the breed.


German Shepherds – Best Breed Mixes

You can mix a GSD with any other breed if you want to replicate some features that you like or improve the negative characteristics in your dogs. The technique is especially used in German Shepherds working line to increase their skills or to get a more aggressive German Shepherd. Think about training a dog to sniff and detect only some specific materials or substances like drugs or explosive composition. In these cases, one of the most important aspect is related to the dog’s genetic traits.

One good example could be the German Shepherd Police Dog or the Military Dog which are known for their athletic bodies and their matchless work discipline and ethic. They are also specially bred and trained to act aggressively when the case. These categories of GSDs are usually developed from both the East German/DDR Working Line and the Czech Working Line.

Other common features found on German Shepherd breed mixes are: the reduced size, as in case of a Mini German Shepherd, increased strength (Rottweiler), shorter coat (Dobermann), more intelligent (if that were even possible).

These aspects are related to a physically appealing version of the breed, known as the Show Line German Shepherds. This version of the breed that comes from Europe is more family friendly. Some physical characteristics are different, like the coat color, which is usually longer and thicker than the one found on working line GSDs, lower energy level and friendly temperament. These are just a few specific features to consider if you are looking for a German Shepherd family dog as a new family member.

One of the most well known German Shepherd crossbreeds is the Shepadoodle (not the best designer name – perhaps Shpoodle or Pardoodle are more fun?), the mix with the versatile Poodle. Anyway, this mixed breed, like so many other oodles, is that they are more likely to be hypoallergenic and shed less. So when being used as search and rescue dogs, they don’t cause allergic reactions in the very people they are supposed to be helping.

No matter what GSD breed mix you choose, the German Shepherds still make absolutely amazing pets.


German Shepherd lifespan, size and weight

Before getting one you may wonder how long does a German Shepherd live.

The results of a study supported by the Royal Veterinary College in UK reveals that the female GSD lives about 11-12 years in normal conditions. On the other hand, the male German Shepherd life expectancy is about 1-2 years lower. However, there are records that prove the longest living German Shepherds having survived for up to 18 years.

The GSDs are considered to be ‘sexually dimorphic’ animals. This means there can be noticed visible physically differences between the male and female adults within the breed.

The average German Shepherd female can grow 22 to 24 inches high (at the withers), approx. 55 to 61 cm. They are, usually, a full two inches shorter than the male which stands up to approx. 66 cm.

The average female GSD weight ranges between 50 and 70 pounds (22 up to 32 kg), while the average male GSD weight is about 16 pounds greater, reaching up to 40-42 kg.

In conclusion, it can be noticed that the average German shepherd weight is about 23-40 kg, approx. 50 to 88 pounds.

These are considered average values and may vary depending on the genetic inheritance of any puppy, its parents and of course, the diet and lifestyle.


The harsh truth about German Shepherd shedding

Before getting one you may wander if do German Shepherds shed, in order to have an idea about their ordinary grooming practice. If this is an important aspect for your decision, we let you know that German Shepherds will shed heavily all year long. Maybe that’s why they are called ‘German Shedders’ too.

Anyway, on a scale from 1 to 10, the GSDs shedding could rank a cosy 9. They ‘throw out’ the undercoat (a thick, dense fur under the harsh top coat) twice a year. As a heads-up, the German Shepherd shedding season could be a nightmare for one unprepared dog owner.

Therefore choose well your dog grooming tools because GSDs require brushing at least twice a week and have their coats raked during shedding season. This way you keep your friend comfortable and healthy, preventing skin problems from developing. These are also great tips to reduce shedding alongside with maintaining a healthy diet, regularly bath and brushing.

You should act fast when you notice the little puppy starts to loose hair and not let this become a real issue, because this breed has double coat coverage.


German Shepherd puppies – initial price and care expenses

We encourage whoever wants to own a German Shepherd puppy or any kind of pet in general, to firstly look at a rescue center. Unfortunately there are always cute little puppies and dogs in need for a new home. This would be the first place to look for someone who is wondering where to get a German shepherd puppy.

However if you want to raise a GSD puppy to be part of the family, you should know that prices are not that cheap. This kind of dogs are specially bred as family friendly pets which increases their value. You should expect that a German Shepherd puppy cost you about $600 – $2000 USD with an average price tag of $800 from a reputable breeder. Anyway if you are a bit sedulous and lucky, you may find great deals of $500 German shepherd puppies.

You should also consider some other expenses like feeding, grooming, vet facilities and general caring of your cute German Shepherd puppy. Just to mention, for a regular GSD puppy the vet expenses should count a few hundred dollars per year, for regular check-ups. However there may be some other vet expenses to consider, due to unfortunately events that might occur, or just uncontrolled genetic inheritance. Some of the most common issues that may occur are:

  • Hip Dysplasia – which may cost somewhere between $1,500-$6,000 for a professional treatment
  • Elbow Dysplasia – whose treatment cost ranges $1,500-$4,000
  • Cardiomyopathy – with an average treatment cost of $500-$1,500

Anyway these are rare cases that might occur but you may want to take everything into account when making your decision.

There is another cost that you may consider if you notice an aggressive behavior on your GSD puppy. Although the German Shepherds are known as intelligent animals, you might get a clumsy, silly puppy or even an aggressive dog. In these cases you might consider hiring a German Shepherd dog trainer, or even take dog training lessons for yourself.

This way you can learn some training tips to deal with your German shepherd aggression level or teach him to behave around people. Anyway, take care that on your puppy will always be applied positively reinforcing techniques to make it more obedient or well-behaved. Never use punishment or enforcement practices on your cute little friend.

In conclusion, before looking for German shepherd puppies for sale, we encourage you to visit the AnimalLeague.org website, one of the tops rescue and adoption organizations. There you can easily find and adopt a German shepherd puppy or any other pet that you might fall in love with.

As mentioned above though, always check for the health concerns first, before appearance and get your own puppy from rescue centers or reputable breeders. They must keep all medical records and should be committed to regulated and healthy breeding practices. There are many breeders out there who are breeding for appearance only, but health should always be more important than looks. Also you should be aware of some potentially poisonous dog foods.

German Shepherd name suggestions

After carefully choosing your new Shepherd puppy you can check the following list of unique and creative German Shepherd name suggestions:

  • Odin
  • Koda
  • Valkyrie
  • Maverick
  • Nimbus
  • Phoenix
  • Titan
  • Echo
  • Hera
  • Thor
  • Rogue
  • Zephyr
  • Kairos
  • Luna
  • Ajax
  • Cleo
  • Blaze
  • Vega
  • Nero
  • Onyx

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