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German Shepherds Size

Updated on July 11, 2017

If you know anything about German shepherds, you know that they are big, strong dogs. While they are far from the biggest dog breed, they were traditionally bred for size and strength, as both were important to the work that they did in the fields and as police dogs. But just how large is your German shepherd supposed to be? Here’s everything you need to know about German shepherds and their size:

Male German Shepherd Size

The average male German shepherd is in between twenty-four and twenty-six inches tall and weighs in between seventy-seven and eighty-five pounds. For the average person, a male German shepherd will come up to at least his hip. If one of these dogs were to jump up, they would be at least as tall as the average person. While definitely not the biggest dog breed on record, these dogs are bred to be extremely strong and extremely fast.

These two characteristics were ideal not just for their work in the field, where they would often be put to work watching sheep flocks, but also as guard dogs, police dogs, and military dogs. They are not so large that they cannot also be fast. Their size supports their bite strength and gives them enough speed to effectively chase down criminals or fend off wolves and other predators.


Female German Shepherd Size

Female German shepherds are usually a little bit small than their male counterparts. The average female will be between twenty-two and twenty-four inches tall, and weight in between seventy and eighty pounds. Most dogs will get to this size by the time they are a year old. And while they might get to their full height by the end of their first year, many dogs will not fully bulk up to their full size and weight until they are at least two years old.

While your dog might appear to be fully grown at one year old, the truth is that he or she will still be an adolescent dog at this point, and you might start to experience behavioral problems that you never saw when your German shepherd was a puppy. Don’t let your German shepherd’s size fool you—at a year old, they are still fairly young and need discipline and structure in order to grow into well-adjusted adult dogs.

Size-Related Health Issues

As with any large dog, German shepherds are going to experience some health issues related to their size. One of the biggest common issues for large dogs is hip and elbow dysplasia. Even if your German shepherd never experiences these issues, they will likely develop some sort of joint-related problem. Arthritis is very common in older GSDs, because of the weight and pressure that has been put on their joints over time. Simply because of their size, even a fit, healthy dog who exercises regularly and eats a perfectly balanced diet can develop arthritis in his senior years.

Another issue that is common with dogs of a German shepherd’s size is gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat. This is a condition caused by eating too much, too quickly, and then participating in physical activity after eating.

Other size-related health issues include cardiomyopathy, mitral valve disease, and sub-aortic stenosis. In large dogs, the heart has to work much harder to pump blood through the entire body, making it much more susceptible to diseases, just like in humans.

Size is just one of the many aspects of what makes this breed great. Their size makes them ideal protectors and guardians, and their innate loyalty and intelligence ensures they will be easy to train and great to have around.


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