The German Shepherd

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Interesting Fact: The German Shepherd is one of the most registered breeds, possibly thanks to their loyal and protective characteristics.  In the U.S. he may be best recognized as a police dog, while his original purpose was herding and protecting sheep.

Personality: Considered the third most intelligent breed, the GSD craves a challenge.  This dog needs some form of daily exercise and also some work, such as fetching a ball or Frisbee.  In fact, fetch resembles his work as a herder, bringing sheep back into the fold.  He will enjoy obedience or agility training.  Overall this breed is characterized as faithful, brave, protective, obedient, alert, and serious — but also cheerful.  Some people are intimidated by German Shepherds, but they are not innately aggressive.

Preferences: As a relatively inactive dog indoors, the GSD would do well with a large area in which to run, but in either circumstance he will do well to have walks. 

Size:   50-90 lbs.    Life expectancy:  Around 13 years

Common Health Problems: Irresponsible breeding practices have led to hereditary problems such as hip dysplasia, bloat and flea allergies.  Ask your vet about helpful precautions for these and other potential problems.

Best Match: An active person or family who wants a high energy dog will be the best match for this beautiful animal who, by the way, is a heavy shedder.  The German Shepherd has the capacity to be extremely obedient, however if she senses a permissive handler, she may not listen.  That said, it can be a very rewarding experience having and training such a smart and loyal dog.

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Featured Adoptable: Bruce, of Florence Area Humane Society, is a handsome seven-month-old GSD mix.  He is active and needs training, and to learn boundaries.  He has a dominant personality, and gets along with some dogs but not all.  The Florence shelter staff recommends the adopter know the breed, so interested parties should do their homework — this article being a great first step.  This is not just any cute puppy. 

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Megan Mahan lives with visiting foster animals, quite a few fish, and her boyfriend in Eugene, Oregon.  She is excited to now be with Spot full time, and devotes much of her free time to fostering pets and creative writing.  From her high school gig as Dog Bather to her more recent years working at the Santa Cruz SPCA where she was contributing editor of the newsletter, Megan has always lived, loved and worked with animals.

Through the generosity of MEAT for Cats & Dogs, a portion of the proceeds of this ad go directly to Florence Area Humane Society.

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