Thinking of rescuing a German Shepherd dog? Learning more about the breed can help you make your decision.

Rescuing a dog can be a challenging yet rewarding task. Many dogs are looking for homes in the rescue center’s that include the national centers and the smaller independent charities.

If you are thinking of rescuing a dog and like the idea of a German Shepherd by your side, it makes sense to know a little about the breed. You may already know of such a dog looking for a home. By doing some investigation you can ensure that you are choosing the correct type of dog for you.

The German Shepherd

This dog is a noble creature. Its proud and wolf-like appearance commands an automatic respect. It is a highly intelligent breed of dog that will need a good free run every day and mental stimulation to use its busy mind.

Handler bond and the relationship is very important to the German Shepherd dog. He will be loyal and protective of his human family group.

This dog is eager to learn. He will thrive in training and certainly respond well to reward-based methods such as clicker training. These positive training experiences will bring out the best in your dog.

The German Shepherd was originally used as a herding dog. It is now successfully employed in many roles worldwide including police, military, and search.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd


Due to irresponsible breeding, the main health problem with this breed is hip dysplasia. The hip joints are either not formed properly or begin to deteriorate from an early age. Another problem to look out for is bloat; this can occur in deep-chested dogs and is otherwise known as gastric torsion.

The average lifespan for this breed is 9 to 15 years.

Rin’s Story

Jenny rescued her German Shepherd, Rin, when she was four months old. Rin was wandering her local area but had not been claimed. Jenny tells us,

“Rin had major issues. This dog had missed out on all crucial socialization. She sucked her tail and continuously spun around in circles. I was determined to help her. I kept her at the kennel for about a week in order to socialize her with my older rescued dog. She has always been awesome with people and also children. I took her everywhere so she could be around people. She hates to just ‘sit there’ and be bored. So I now take her to ‘work’ seminars like tracking and carting and kick sledding. She loves it. Rin still has confidence issues at times but has overcome so much just from being socialized. She loves to swim so we are at the lake quite a lot. She definitely loves to work.

Rescuing ‘troubled’ dogs is one of the most rewarding things I do. When you take them from a poor environment, the true dog can shine through! Sometimes it is a lot of work, but the joy and reward far outweigh anything!”

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog

Ruby’s Story

Lesley tells us about Ruby, her German Shepherd recently rescued from a difficult life.

“I adopted Ruby 10 days ago. She’s a German shepherd who was caught after living in a field by herself by the M1 for up to 9 months. It is believed that she was abandoned by a car on the hard shoulder of the motorway. She was in rescue foster for 3 months before coming to me.

Ruby is amazing. She’s still very nervous of people but is gaining confidence every day. She’s had no training from people but has practically trained herself. She didn’t know what the garden was for when she came here so I was taking her for walks to pee. Started garden training yesterday. She’s is so intelligent and catches on really quickly as to what is wanted from her.

She’s super clean in the house, walks nicely on the lead, very loving and gentle with me, likes cats and other dogs.

Ruby is not without her problems and her nervousness of people is the biggest challenge we have to overcome. In the last week, she has gone from hiding behind me to growling and barking. She wants to chase joggers and cyclists. I’ve consulted a behaviorist and, between us, we are working out some desensitization exercises. I’m confident that Ruby will be a fine dog but needs lots of time and space to adjust to her new life and forget the old one.”

These are two very different stories of rescue regarding this breed. Please bear in mind that each rescued dog will have its own experiences, fears, and disposition. It’s important to get as much background information as possible of the dog to which you are considering offering a home.

If you offer your home and heart to a German Shepherd you will have a lifelong canine friend and loyal companion.

German Shepherd 101