The German Shepherd’s Lifespan in Years

The German Shepherd's Lifespan in Years

What is your favorite kind of dog to have as a pet?

You will choose a different kind of dog than other people because you need one to sniff out drugs or find missing people. But the most popular dogs for pets are called German Shepherds, and they live for a long time.

When looking for a dog, they might not think about the short lifespan. Data from Companion Animal Psychology shows that it is more important to have other more important things.

Some people might want to buy a certain type of dog. That is why they overlook health and behavioral issues. But there are problems with many types of dogs, like bulldogs and pugs.

A German Shepherd’s health problems are not as severe, but they still have some issues. The breed has a problem with the length of their lives. Some common dog breeds have a shorter life because people want them to look a certain way.

When people breed with their family members, it can cause diseases. If someone has a disease, they will pass it on to their children. If there are not many different genes in the gene pool, then two puppies might have the same disease.

As you get fewer genes, you will more likely express recessive traits. Breeders never wanted to create dogs who are crippled or pets who always gasp for their next breath.

People who try to make their children look good to have defects like roached backs or wide heads.

People want their dogs to have extreme features. This is bad for the dog’s health because it might hurt them or shorten their life.

What Are Line-breeding And Inbreeding?

Inbreeding Mating is when two people get married and want to have children. They do this because they both have a certain type of body or genes that they want their children to have.

Line-breeding is a type of inbreeding, which practices cross-breeding dogs that aren’t as closely related.

An example of close inbreeding might be mating a dog with his sister. Other forms of inbreeding are line breeding, which is when you mate a dog with his grandfather’s offspring or granddaughter’s offspring. The RSPCA says that all forms of inbreeding can increase inherited disorders and a loss of genetic variation.

Inbreeding makes people’s immune systems weaker, and it might make them die sooner. People who do inbreeding make their family members much more likely to get sick because their bodies will not react to disease. One man, Max von Stephanitz, did a lot of inbreeding, and he started the German Shepherd dog breed.

The author is talking about how the man got a good dog. He picked out all of the dogs that were not perfect.

Stephanitz helped to make a body type and color scheme. Two of the German Shepherd’s most valuable traits are long backs and good limb angulation. However, because of inbreeding, these two traits became exaggerated. This makes it a lot hard for the dog to move around well.

Show dogs cannot do their job as well as working dogs because they are scared. Even more important, show dogs live for a shorter time than working dogs.

How Fast Do German Shepherds Age?

The saying is true for older dogs but not for German Shepherds. The rate at which they age changes every year.

Big dogs live for a shorter time than small dogs. And hybrids live longer than purebreds of the same size. A German Shepherd is an adult by 18-24 months old.

So a puppy’s first year is about the same as 15 years for a human. For example, when your Shepherd is two years old, they are 20-24 human years old.

For every year of your dog’s life, it is about five years for humans. A ten-year-old German Shepherd is roughly 63 to 70 years old in human years.

What Can Decrease German Shepherd Life Span?

German Shepherds can have three major health concerns: traumatic events, conditions you cannot control, and others. Without these issues, the dog’s lifespan is 10 or 11 years. This range is from 9 to 13 years, depending on how well it is cared for.

Accidents Claim Younger Dogs

Dogs that are between nine and eighteen months old might be hard to handle. They’re still young, and they’re also not as smart. If they’ve been spayed or neutered, then they will be easier to handle. What can happen in their first year?

You can get hit by a car. If you’re in the middle of a dog fight, you might get cut or lacerated. You can fall and break your bones. You may have health problems that were given to you at birth. Sometimes animals (like dogs) will lose their owners and end up at an animal shelter.

Potentially Lethal Health Concerns

Everyone reaches an age when their health goes down. Some diseases are hereditary, and others are not.

Hemangiosarcoma A cancerous growth that makes people tired and bleeds.

Bone cancer Fractures happen in the bones when they are not strong. Sometimes it causes a big break, but sometimes it just makes a small fracture, which leads to failure of one or two bones.

Gastric dilatation and volvulus This condition causes stomach twists and bloats. It can cause life-threatening electrolyte and fluid imbalances, toxicity from organ death, and heart irregularities. This condition mostly appears in deep-chested dogs. The Dachshund is a deep-chested dog that could have this problem too.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy The heart gets fat, and the muscles in it make it hard to work. That can lead to trouble breathing or even death.

Health Problems That Shorten Your German Shepherd’s Life Span

If your dog is sick, then you might need to think about what quality of life means to them. Hip dysplasia isn’t an instant death sentence, but it may mean that your dog can’t walk or is always wet. This can be hard for you because their quality of life may not be so good.


Inflammation and damage to the joint cartilage can lead to arthritis. This is a progressive condition that can become very painful. Arthritis is among the most common reasons people have their dog euthanized, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Aggression And Behavioral Issues

Many dogs are corrupted in their prime for hereditary behavioral and mental issues that lead to biting people, killing other animals, and otherwise being uncontrollable.


The esophagus is enlarged. It can cause digestive issues. Dogs get pneumonia from the food they suck in.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that can be related to the megaesophagus. It is related to hip dysplasia because it has the same genetic markers. The difference between Myasthenia gravis and hip dysplasia is that people with Myasthenia gravis have more problems than just trouble walking.


If your Shepherd cannot take their medicine, their seizures might happen even if they have taken it. If that happens, then they can’t be happy or live a normal life.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord. It can start to affect your dog when they are 8 or 9 years old, and eventually, it can make them unable to use their legs. This disease is painless, and it happens to people who have dogs.

Shepherds usually only live one year with the disease before their owners put them down.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Bones in the spine can break. This German Shepherd’s spine is broken. This causes his legs to go in the wrong place, and he cannot move them. It also makes him have trouble moving his body.

The girl in the video seems not to care about her condition. It’s hard to tell how old she is from this video, but she acts like an older dog. DM can make you feel exhausted and sometimes cause graying around the muzzle. She must be 8 or 9 years old.

Actions To Help Your German Shepherd Live As Long And As Happy As Possible

German Shepherds are vulnerable to many problems that can shorten their lives. But there is hope. You can work to keep them healthy by feeding them the right food and giving them medicine for any problems they have.

If you purchase a dog from a breeder, then your chance of getting hip and elbow dysplasia decreases. The AKC recommends that you get an X-ray for German Shepherds before breeding them.

Conscientious breeders will pay attention to the temperaments of their dogs.

High-quality dog food or a raw diet will keep your Alsatian healthy. Feeding them a balanced, high-quality, and natural diet is one of the best ways to make sure they are getting the right nutrients.

Your German Shepherd should go see a veterinarian often. The vet can show you how to take care of your dog. Your pet will age faster than humans do, so the vet will help you understand that.

Frequent checks can catch diseases. German Shepherds are not very susceptible to obesity, but you should feed your dog the right amount and exercise it. Exercise is good for behavior problems too.

Limiting your food intake and paying attention to how your time eating with other activities is important for keeping GDV away. Physical therapy is essential for dogs who have arthritis because it can help them to move their joints easier.

Try to keep your dog’s stress levels low. When they are stressed, chemicals in their body can make bad things happen.

Frequently Asked Question about German Shepherd’s Lifespan

What Do German Shepherds Usually Die From?

Recent studies have found that German Shepherds are most likely to die from complications caused by breeding for cosmetic reasons. Data that was collected from over 500,000 dogs showed that the biggest cause of their deaths was musculoskeletal disorders caused by breeding.

The second most common cause of death is an inability to stand. This often happened because the lower hindquarters were sloping, and the dog’s back was too low. The breed also has 263 disorders, and the most common types are inflammation of the ear canal, osteoarthritis, diarrhea, overweight or obesity, and aggression.

In a report, German Shepherd dogs have been found to have many health problems. They are predisposed to having problems with their hip joints, cancer, and more.

How Long Do German Shepherds Live? Closing Thoughts

More people are starting to learn about how careless breeding and exaggerating certain physical traits are making purebred dogs have bad health. Experts are going to different ways of judging a dog’s health, not just how it looks.

Crossbreeding is a way to make new kinds of dogs. It is for people who don’t like how some parts of the dog look. They wish to live longer and be healthier.