Facts About German Shepherd Life Expectancy
The German Shepherd life expectancy is quoted as being anywhere from 10 years to 13 years, but this is at best a reasonable approximation. Many Shepherds don’t make it to their 10th birthday and a few live to the ripe old age of 15, or even a bit older on rare occasions.
Much of the German shepherd life expectancy has to do with genetics, but the way the dog is cared for can also play a very important role. When a Shepherd is around 6 years of age it is considered to be middle-aged, a figure that is true for many dog breeds. At this age it becomes more and more important to make certain the shepherd has a diet befitting its age, and particularly that its teeth are kept in good shape. Dogs of any breed who are not properly cared for in their later years very often die well before their time.
Bigger Is Better – In the animal world, large animals tend to live longer than small animals, often by a significant amount. Consider the elephant, the tortoise, and the whale. All have a lifespan somewhat equivalent to that of a human, some living much longer. Smaller mammals and insects have a life span ranging from a few years to perhaps a few weeks or even days. In the animal world, larger is often better.
Smaller Is Better – In the dog world this rule does not hold true. In the dog world, smaller is often better, with the smaller breeds usually outliving the larger ones. The German Shepherd life expectancy of 10 to 13 years is really not all that bad. The Shepherd is one of the larger breeds, or at least one of the larger middle-sized breeds, but has a life span only about 3 years less than the Beagle, a much smaller dog. One of the theories as to why small dogs live longer is the size of their internal organs is more in line with their overall size, while the internal organs of the larger breeds are smaller with respect to the dog’s overall size. This is just a theory. No one knows for certain, though metabolism seems to play a role, and the size of a dog’s internal organs relative to its overall size appears to play a role as well.
Genetics can play a major role in German Shepherd life expectancy. Different breeds often exhibit different physician faults or traits which can shorten their lives well below the expected average. A healthy German Shepherd puppy purchased from a reliable breeder is much more apt to put in at least 13 years of good living and good companionship.
How Long Other Breeds Live – How long do some of the other breeds live on the average? Taking the Shepherd’s life expectancy to be 10 years, breeds that live longer include the Beagle (13+ years), the Border Collie (13 years), the Chihuahua (13 years), the Dachshund (14+ years), and the Toy Poodle (14+ years). Breeds with a similar or shorter life expectancy include the Boxer (10 years), the Bulldog (6+ years), the Great Dane (8 years), and the Rottweiler (9+ years). Quite a few breeds have a life expectancy nearly the same as does the German Shepherd.
Don’t Overemphasize Life Expectancy – When all is said and done however, in choosing a dog, don’t spend much time thinking in terms of life expectancy. The majority of breeds live around 10 years plus or minus a year or two, and that year or two may be determined by how well the dog is fed and cared for. Choose a breed that will make the right companion regardless of its life span and you’ll probably be quite happy.