German Shepherds: Courageous, Smart and Very High Risk for Arthritis

April 19, 2023

Every month, we will highlight a popular dog breed at risk for arthritis. We will talk about what we love about them, as well as reflect on how to keep them healthy. This month, we are focusing on the German Shepherd as it is the second most popular dog breed in the world. Check in every month for a new breed focus!

German Shepherds (often referred to as GSDs, which stands for German Shepherd Dog) are such cute puppies and grow into loyal, graceful, and strong dogs of noble character with high intelligence. Because of their popularity and all the things that make the German Shepherd unique, this breed is a true marvel. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are over 193 breeds of dogs out there, and the GSD is the third most popular breed in the world. There are many reasons, and we will try and highlight some here.


GSD puppy


Top 5 Things GSDs Have, Some Dogs Just Don’t

Here are a few things that make a German Shepherd unique and stand out from other breeds.

  1. GSDs are highly intelligent. They can do almost anything you train them to do. If you have a GSD, you know this. If you don’t have one, you could imagine how smart they must be since you see them in airports as drug-sniffing dogs, or in a police car as a K-9 unit, or even in the community as service dogs.
  2. Because of this intelligence, GSDs are more flexible than other dogs with their lifestyle. While living in a house with a large backyard is ideal for a German Shepherd, the reality is they can be quite happy in an apartment if they are getting enough exercise throughout the day.
  3. Great Health. German Shepherds can live a long time because of their good health. The main health risks for GSDs are related to their size: they can get hip and elbow dysplasia easily, which often leads to arthritis. Minimize the risk of suffering by adding mobility supplements to a healthy diet early in their life.
  4. Good Looks. German Shepherds are some of the most splendid dogs out there. They are graceful creatures with thick, beautiful fur coats and inquisitive, expressive eyes.
  5. Strong communication skills. GSDs have large ears, so they hear everything. While you may not hear it, they certainly do, and they will let you know. Those ears and their eyes help with their expressive looks. They have mastered the “head tilt” complete with ears alert as if to say… “what do you mean?”

Before you think we’ve missed some great characteristics, remember that list was what the GSD have more of, than most other breeds. They are still like some other popular breeds in that they are confident, courageous, strong and loyal family dogs.

Main GSD image

5 Things the GSD Pet Parent Knows

  1. You know nose prints. Their keen sense of smell leads them wherever they want to go, which means you will find nose prints everywhere, especially glass areas such as windows and glass doors. There will most likely be a nose print there because your GSD was investigating it.
  2. You’ve been nudged a few times. Speaking of noses, you most likely have been nudged many times when you have a GSD. This is because they are part of the are herding group of working dogs. All herding breeds share an instinctual ability to control the movement of other animals (including you).
  3. You know if someone or some dog is outside, even if you don’t see it. Thanks to the German Shepherds’ keen sense of hearing, if there is something going on miles away, your GSD knows about it and will let you know too. Those barks are sometimes startling, but at least you know someone is outside… whether it’s just the neighbor or a dog, is another story.
  4. You don’t mind dog hair. The evidence is on you right now. GSDs shed a lot, and you most likely have a lint brush in your car to dust off that dog hair before you go somewhere.
  5. You aren't a couch potato. How could you be? You have a GSD, one of the most active dog breeds out there. As a member of the working dog breeds, these dogs are active in service fields, protecting land and sky and your homes. 


 the Main Health Problem of GSDs

As we have said, German Shepherds are remarkably healthy dogs. For as large as they are, they have relatively long lives. Most GSDs will live to the age of 13, which is considered old age for a dog their size. (That’s over 90 years old in human years!) The main health threat for GSDs is the risk of arthritis. German Shepherd arthritis happens because they are large breed dogs, very active and as they age, their joints need extra protection. Because of their large build and athleticism, many German Shepherds suffer from joint problems. This especially affects the hip and elbow joints, which is called hip or elbow dysplasia. Because of these joint problems, GSDs are at high-risk for osteoarthritis or arthritis in dogs.

It’s always best to prevent problems, rather than fix them afterward. GSDs can start to slow down sooner than expected due to joint pain or arthritis. Help relieve these signs safely and naturally by adding a joint supplement to their diet.

  1. Make sure your dog is still active to help their joints work better. This includes regular walking and playing with your dog. A great opportunity to go to the dog park!
  2. Prevent signs of arthritis before they start! Joint supplements can promote joint health and cartilage development which keep dogs active and youthful, for longer. Learn what to look for in joint supplements for your dog.
  3. If your German Shepherd is 5 or older, consider starting them a joint supplement as cartilage improvement can be seen in most GSDs with a daily dose. 

Glyde™ Mobility Chews

Parnell Living Science are the experts on osteoarthritis (OA) of arthritis in dogs and cats. We created a unique formula with key anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat the signs of aging. Glyde Mobility Chews use all-natural, gluten-free ingredients to promote healthy joints to let your dog do everything he or she loves to do!  Glyde is the only nutraceutical that contains proven levels of three key components that work to relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

Glyde uses all-natural ingredients to promote healthy joints that let your GSD do everything he or she loves to do. Glyde is the only APVMA registered nutraceutical that contains proven level of three key components that work to relieve the painful signs of arthritis. They are:


German Shepherds can benefit from taking Glyde Mobility Chews for their joint health. Check out our information about Glucosamine for German Shepherds for more details!


Stories We've Received

We have received a few testimonials specific to GSDs, which are important to share. In case you missed them, they are:

  • One of our #GlydeDogs is a proud police dog. His name is Ink. Here's their story.
  • Misty, the lovely GSD, is doing well, even after her battle with cancer, thanks to Glyde Mobility Chews. Read their story. 

Do you have a GSD? Let us know if they are using Glyde Mobility Chews and having success. We would love to share your story too!

GSD testimonial-1

German Shepherds Take Residence at the White House

As dog lovers, we enjoy seeing "first dogs" in action at the White House. Dogs have lived in the White House for over a century. After a 4-year absence of dogs, there will be two German Shepherd dogs at the White House. One was adopted by the incoming First Family. Here are some links to learn more:

  • The First dogs are German Shepherd Dogs, Champ and Major. 
  • Major was adopted in 2018. Here's the NPR story from the shelter
  • The Delaware Animal shelter Major was adopted from plans an "Indoguration."
  • If you need a laugh, check out the Christmas card recently sent by Champ and Major. You can tell they are the same breed, but very different in their demeanor. 
  • From the White House Historical Society, here is a look at some of the Top White House Dogs
We are not saying GSDs are the best dogs ever - but they are certainly pretty close. Do you have an GSD? Tell us about them on our social media platforms!
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