German Shepherd’s Lifespan [How to Ensure a Longer and Healthier Life]

German Shepherd’s Lifespan [How to Ensure a Longer and Healthier Life]

German Shepherds are popular dogs due to their loyal and intelligent traits. But, unfortunately, most German Shepherd owners don’t know about their dogs’ life expectancy. What is German Shepherd lifespan, though? Here is everything you need to know.

German Shepherd Lifespan

The German Shepherd breed has a natural lifespan of about 12 to 14 years, with some dogs living for more than 14 years. To reduce the risks to your dog’s health as it grows older, be sure that you’re feeding them appropriate amounts of food based on their weight and build.

In addition, owners can do certain things to help extend their life expectancy. For example, catching any potential diseases can prolong their lifespan. These diseases include hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and bloat before they start to advance in age.

This post will address all factors that affect a German Shepherd’s lifespan and how to assure a longer and healthier life for your pet.

How Long Are German Shepherds Supposed To Live?

The German Shepherd’s lifespan is between 12 to 14 years. This, however, varies from dog to dog as well. Some dogs may live longer than expected, while others might die earlier due to various factors.

How Long Does a Healthy German Shepherd Live?

It is hard to determine the lifespan of a healthy German Shepherd dog. A lot depends on genetics, size, weight, and other factors that influence how long individual dogs live in general.

Even healthy German Shepherds live a short lifespan of between 10 and 13 years. This is unfortunate as they usually have to deal with high stress levels on their bodies, even when well cared for.

Can a German Shepherd Live 20 Years?

A German Shepherd can live 20 years, but it’s improbable and rare. So the critical thing to do so that your German Shepherd lives longer than the average life expectancy of 11 years is to make sure they are well cared for. So their needs are met regarding a healthy diet, proper exercise, and medical care.

What Do German Shepherds Usually Die From?

One of the most critical determinants to consider when thinking about German Shepherd dogs is diseases. Unfortunately, dogs are susceptible to many different types of illnesses, including cancer, among other things.

German Shepherds are among the most dog breeds to die from cancer, specifically hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma. Although many other less-lethal diseases can affect German Shepherds, those two types of cancers should be a primary concern when considering adopting this breed.

Determinants Affecting German Shepherd Lifespan

The life expectancy of German Shepherd dogs is highly dependent on the type and quality of care they are given. Dogs who live in homes that provide them with ample space to move around, plenty of social interaction, a healthy diet, and medical care tend to have much longer lifespans than those who do not receive such benefits.

What Decreases a German Shepherd’s Lifespan?

A variety of factors can affect a German Shepherd’s lifespan.

The most important and common ones include:

  • Genetics and Irresponsible Breeding
  • Nourishment (nutrition)
  • Physical activity (exercise)
  • Mental health
  • General health care
  • Environmental Determinants
  • Good quality of life

1.Genetics and Irresponsible Breeding

German Shepherds have genetic ailments that may not be evident until they mature. For example, hip issues can only become apparent when the dog grows.

In this case, owners need to make some lifestyle changes accordingly, such as avoiding demanding hikes and doing more swimming, or going for shorter walks instead.

If you buy a dog from an unreliable owner, or even if you adopt one with no health issues or health records of any kind, there is an increased chance that your pup will develop conditions later in life which are likely to shorten the German Shepherd lifespan.

2.Nourishment (Food)

Your German Shepherd needs a diet that’s balanced and nutritious. That means the food you choose to feed them will have an impact on their overall health, longevity, dental hygiene, and everything healthwise.

Your furry friend needs to be fed well with fresh foods so they can live long lives.

The GSD is a dog that needs quality, nutritious food to grow into an energetic and healthy adult. However, if they are fed sub-par nutrition while still growing, their joints may become damaged or even less mobile.

Overfeeding your dog can also do them more harm than good. Those who carry around excess weight tend to have shorter lifespans.

GSD owners should consider many factors when deciding on a diet for their pets. Many dogs have specific dietary needs that need to be met to maintain optimal health and fitness levels, such as very active animals or those with medical conditions like allergies who may require exceptional veterinary food.

Suppose you’re unsure what type of pet your dog needs; get help from a dog nutritionist. It’s essential to listen to professional advice without considering how well your German Shepherd is doing physically after adapting to any new nutritional changes.

To keep your pet well-hydrated and feeling their best, you must have a constant amount of fresh water available.

3.Physical Activity

Exercise is necessary for a German Shepherd’s good health. Some dogs will need a daily routine to remain in good physical and mental condition. In contrast, others won’t require it due to their age or pre-disposed conditions such as hip dysplasia.

For example, dogs with arthritis can benefit from gentle exercises like swimming which is less jarring on the joints, than long walks every day. Older dogs may prefer shorter, more frequent outings that keep them fit without overwhelming them at once.

There are many ways to have a good time with your GSD. Interactive toys like fetch can be a blast for the person playing and that tired pup who loves nothing more than chasing after her ball.

German Shepherds recovering from injuries, senior dogs, and dogs with various medical circumstances may still exercise safely with veterinarian guidance. However, it’s advisable to consult a dog physiotherapist for help in understanding what exercises are helpful for your unique pet’s needs.

The specialist will explain how activity helps keep muscles strong and joints limber while also supporting a movement that promotes overall life quality and help your dog live longer.

4.General Health Care

German Shepherds are susceptible to many health problems, but they can be avoided with preventive care. Minor injuries may seem inconsequential at first glance, but the worst-case scenario is always possible!

Sadly dogs who primarily live outdoors often miss out on close contact with humans and, as a result, don’t get medical attention for their symptoms until it’s too late!

A German Shepherd will inevitably experience various minor illnesses over its lifetime because of its breed; in order to maintain good general wellness, one should take preventative measures such as occasional checkups from your veterinarian (who understands the specific needs of this particular breed).

It might not feel like something significant if you’re looking after them yourself or they only go outside occasionally. However, when left unchecked, minor health issues can escalate into something much more severe and life-threatening.

Health care isn’t just about medical health; it’s also keeping your GSD clean and well-groomed, including removing loose fur and foreign objects from their skin.

In addition, It is essential to keep your pet healthy by brushing its coat regularly because this will help limit the accumulation of dirt, dust mites, dander, and similar.

5.Environmental Determinants

Dogs can sniff out pollutants and toxins that we can’t, which is why they’re more susceptible.

GSD’s tongues help them groom themselves by licking dirt, dust, pollen, or other substances off their coats; however, this also means it’s easier for these chemicals to get into the bloodstream through skin contact with toxic compounds in our environment such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

German Shepherds who mostly live outside are vulnerable to environmental factors like heavy rains, snowstorms, and extreme heat. As a result, they can age much faster than GSD, who spend most of their time indoors because of this vulnerability.

6.Mental Health

Dogs need love too! When they have an emotional connection with their owners and even other pets, it helps them feel more carefree and happy.

They also need mental stimulation to prevent from getting bored; lying around all day can cause stress, but it is still just another form of tension in the end.

Training your dog will stimulate both its body and mind while playing games that challenge a GSD mentally are perfect for keeping these furry friends stimulated.

A healthy home life means good physical health. Unfortunately, dogs get stressed when they lack activity. As a result, dogs’ bodies eventually start breaking down without any regular bodily movement.

7. Quality of life

How can you help your German Shepherd live a longer and happier dog’s life? The answer is simple: Give him a good quality of life! Pets who have easy lives are less stressed about the many things mentioned before.

Furthermore, with fewer stressful events in their day-to-day routine, these dogs also tend to be happier. So it’s not just the sappy romantics at work here; there IS truth behind this idea that your GSD will love you more if he/she knows she has everything taken care of. 

Do female German Shepherds Live Longer Than Males?

The average life span for the breed is about 11 years old, but some data shows that females live a year longer. This is mainly due to their stronger immune system and being less aggressive than males, which reduces injury risk in fights or traffic accidents.

This has been shown by studies done with German Shepherds a while back, where they found female dogs lived nearly 16 months more than male counterparts.

Female German Shepherd Dogs lived on average 1.4 years longer than male German Shepherd Dogs (11.1 years versus 9.7 years). While there is no guarantee on the lifespan of any individual dog, this does suggest that a female German Shepherd Dog may be a better option for owners for whom a longer-lived pet is a priority.

How To Help Your German Shepherd Live Longer?

German Shepherds are expected to have a long, healthy life nowadays with veterinary medicine and knowledge about their nutritional needs. So these days, they’re usually kept indoors or fenced in so that it’s less likely for them to be hit by cars or otherwise injured.

These large canine friends provide us with so much joy and companionship that we want them around as long as possible.

So here are a couple of suggestions to help keep your dog healthy and happy for many years!

  1. Keep your GSD at a healthy weight
  2. Daily exercise is a must for GSD
  3. Keep Your GSD’s mind stimulated
  4. Regular grooming is required
  5. Show your dog love and attention
  6. Regular veterinary checkups are crucial
  7. Feed the proper food for canines

1.Keep your GSD at a healthy weight

German Shepherd dogs can be easy to let get overweight. Your dog will want a bit of the tasty meat off your plate when you look at him with those sad eyes, but too many treats and not enough variety in his food could lead to increased weight gain over time.

Overweight or even obese German Shepherds are more likely than other breeds to have various health problems, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer that may arise from being overweight or obese for long periods.

Feeding your pup right by finding out what he should eat based on age/activity level/health conditions is important if you don’t want him gaining any extra pounds.

2.Daily exercise is a must for GSD

German Shepherds are active, high-energy dogs. Suppose you’re considering adopting one as a pet for yourself or your family. In that case, it’s essential to know how much exercise they need on average and the best ways of providing them with this amount!

They require at least 90 minutes per day to stay healthy – but their energy needs can vary based upon many factors, including age, fitness level, general health status, etc., so be sure not all GSDs have an equal requirement.

Activity types that count towards daily exercise include walking/running around the house (but remember they’ll get the most out of these activities when there is some space available) and playing games like fetch or tug-of-war.

3.Keep Your GSD’s mind stimulated

Dogs need a mental challenge to help them stay happy. German Shepherds, in particular, can become bored, which is then expressed as destructive behaviors like chewing and barking.

To keep your pup healthy and happy, they must be constantly offered new experiences – this will come from various sources such as training sessions, playing games with owners, or socializing with other dogs outside.

German Shepherd also benefits when given their powerful noses by sniffing around different scents inside the home. It turns out that everyday things we do have another level of entertainment just waiting for them, whether through windows by looking out onto a fascinating outdoor scenery, or watching the humans passing by.

4.Regular GSD grooming is required

Most dogs need grooming, and a German Shepherd is unquestionably one of them. Grooming is a vital and often overlooked part of pet care. First, of course, it’s important to brush your dog regularly to prevent their coat from becoming matted.

It also helps keep them healthy by keeping their skin in good condition and allows you to check for any lumps or bumps that may be developing on their body. Early detection can lead to better treatments that prolong life expectancy significantly.

5.Show your dog love and attention

For a German Shepherd’s health and longer lifespan, it’s vital to spend a minimum of 1 hour each day providing dedicated attention. This could be in the formation of a walk, playtime, mental activities, or training time with them!

Dogs are pack creatures, after all, and they love human company just as much – so make sure that when you’re not busy taking care of yourself (which is important too!), then plan some quality bonding moments with your pup.

6.Regular veterinary checkups are crucial

Your German Shepherd should get a physical exam at least once per year, though more often if they are younger or have specific health concerns. This will allow you to track your dog’s growth and development, as well as talk about any worries with the vet when necessary!

Routine visits to the veterinarian are an important part of your German Shepherd’s long and healthy life. Your vet can identify a condition early on and then control it with medication or simple lifestyle changes, giving you one less thing to worry about!

The importance of going in for regular checkups at the veterinary should not be underestimated because they provide many benefits.

First, the early discovery means that whatever is wrong will receive treatment before things become more serious; those little nips won’t turn into something much worse if visited regularly by a professional.

7.Feed the proper food for canines

Food can make your German Shepherd sick and develop nasty diseases that will potentially shorten their lifespan.

To best serve the needs of their canine companions, pet owners need to pay attention not only to what foods are included in a dog’s diet but also to how they are prepared.

For example, there has been an enhanced demand among consumers for meat products that do not include horns and dung as ingredients, mainly due to misconceptions about animal nutrition. 

Fortunately, with such easy access to information, these days (for instance via websites like PetMD), producers have noticed by reformulating or removing some low-quality meats entirely from dog product lines. 

German Shepherds puppies with developing bodies need a particular blend of nutrients to reach their full size and remain healthy. Good quality puppy food will keep your pup in top shape, resulting in an even healthier adult dog later on down the line. A healthy dog lives longer!

If unsure about canine nutrition, please speak to a veterinarian who specializes in animal nutrition that may be able to offer advice on the right food for your German Shepherd.

German Shepherd Health Issues and Life expectancy

Diseases are directly connected to the lifespan of any dog breed in general, and this is also true for a German Shepherd breed. If a dog is healthy, its chances of developing an illness are significantly lower.

These seem to be the most apparent issues and affecting German Shephard lifespan and overall health:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia
  • degenerative myelopathy
  • bloat
  • bone cancer
  • mammary tumor
  • bladder carcinoma

Hip dysplasia is a condition that changes the way your German Shepherd dog moves and causes them to deteriorate over time. For example, the ball joint should fit like a socket, but in some animals, it doesn’t, so instead of sliding smoothly, which can cause pain, eventually leading to loss of function in their joints themselves, they rub against each other.

Of course, genetics plays an important role in hip dysplasia as well; At the same time, many factors lead up to its development, such as types of exercise, excessive growth rates, or obesity– all these separately or together lead up the deterioration process for those pets who have been diagnosed with this common skeletal disorder called Hip Dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia is a painful, developmental disorder that results in malformation and degeneration of the dog’s elbow joint. Elbows with this condition are most commonly seen between 3-6 months old but can also happen later on.

Some dogs react well to daily management (weight control, exercise control, and pain relief), while others require surgery for a significant change of their symptoms; however, if your German Shepherd improves with the treatment, they may live long lives!

German Shepherd dogs with degenerative myelopathy will experience a loss of coordination, which may cause them to sway when they walk and drag their feet. Degenerative myelopathy mainly affects older dogs. If not treated quickly enough, the dog could become paralyzed in six months or less.

But if caught early on and rehabilitated adequately through intensive physical therapy sessions that address balance issues and any assistive equipment required for everyday tasks like walking up the stairs or getting into car seats, dogs can live three years longer than expected!

One of the most common causes for bloat in German Shepherds is called gastric dilatation-volvulus, or GDV.

This ailment occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, fluid, or food, twisting its axis without warning. It develops quickly and can advance to death sometimes within an hour!

Suppose you suspect that your dog may be experiencing this life-threatening health emergency. In that case, it’s essential to get them to the veterinarian’s office as soon as possible to have the best chance at survival. Call your vet before making any other moves.

The four most common canine bone tumors are osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, and mast cell tumor. Osteosarcomas account for 85% of all bone cancers in dogs, with a higher risk among large dog breeds like German Shepherds who weigh over 90 lbs.

Younger than three years old age also accounts for cases diagnosed, so it’s essential to keep an eye out on your pup! Bone cancer can occur either as a primary or metastatic disease depending on the type.

The majority of cases affect older dogs at 8+, but there have been some reported younger ages (3+).

When considering weight – larger breeds such as German Shepherds weighing over 90 lbs are at high risk.

Bladder carcinoma—While less common than other types of cancers, bladder cancer can be more frightening. Unlike most other locations on your dog’s body where cancer is found, it only accounts for about 2% of all cancers. Nevertheless, it’s something to be aware of regarding the German Shepherd’s lifespan.

German Shepherd Lifespan and Senior Years

There’s no one-size-fits-all statement as to when a dog becomes “senior.” It depends on how the pup has been living, what they eat, and if they get enough exercise or not.

But generally speaking, German Shepherds are considered senior at around 8 years old!

It’s natural to want your loved dog to be as healthy as possible for however long they may live. However, monitoring them closely when they reach elderhood is the best way to keep them healthy.

For the senior years of your German Shepherd dog, make sure to keep an eye out for symptoms such as:

  • weight loss
  • hairless patches due to thinning body fur
  • shedding excessively
  • excessive panting (especially in warmer climates)
  • difficulty walking up the stairs without assistance from someone else (hip and joint pain)
  • increased restlessness during the sleep phase
  • not responding appropriately if called by name anymore 

Any of these symptoms are common for senior dogs. Still, it’s recommended to visit the veterinarian if you notice them as it can prolong your dog’s life.

Large breeds such as German Shepherds are not usually long-lived breeds. Your senior best friend doesn’t live as long as smaller breeds, and it’s something worth thinking about before purchasing.

Why Do German Shepherds Have Shorter Lives?

German Shepherd puppies tend to grow at higher rates and carry more weight as they get older.

This type of rapid growth can cause health issues in the future, which drives their short lifespan on average compared to many other dogs.

German Shepherds are large and heavy, which can cause more wear and tear on their joints and hips than smaller breeds due to the added strain.

This leads them quicker into old age at an earlier point in their life cycle. So this slows down the process of staying active while they grow older.

The most common concern with the shorter lifespans of German Shepherds and other large breeds like Golden Retrievers is that they take more time recouping from illness or injury than smaller dogs do.

Mental health can also be an issue for these types of animals because their short lifespan means less opportunity for socialization and parenthood in many cases… so they’re left feeling especially isolated over time by comparison.

German Shepherd Lifespan In Human Years

Whether you count in man-years or dog years, as GSD gets older, there is beauty and charm at every step along the way.

GSD’s are considered a large breed with a weight between 65-90 lbs (29-41 kg). This fact is important when determining lifespan in human years.

The below table lists the human age equivalence for one year through fourteen years in a German Shepherd’s life:

Dog YearsHuman Years

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