When you first think about choosing a dog breed that's right for you, you should also be aware of the common conditions that the breed faces. Being as educated as possible on the symptoms of these conditions means you could prevent a late diagnosis. Please know, that we base all of our information below on FACTS and provide resources. If you believe our resources are incorrect, send us an email on why & provide us with your counter source! We appreciate it.

1. Hip Dysplasia

Like all large breed dogs, German Shepherds are at serious risk of hip dysplasia. According to the Orthopedic Foundationfor Animals, 19% of German Shepherds will develop hip dysplasia, but some cases are worse than others.

Hip dysplasia is a complicated, multifactorial disorder wherein the hip sockets are too loose and the femur causes damage. Dogs inherit the condition from their parents, but it can be made better or worse through training and activity levels. Usually, hip problems have already developed by 4 months and worsen over time. In some cases, a hip injury can also start the process of dysplasia, even if the dog didn't have the hereditary predisposition. Because they are such active dogs, German Shepherds are at particular risk of incurring these injuries.

There are several signs you can look for in your German Shepherd to see if they may be experiencing pain or joint laxity. They are very active and playful dogs, so being uninterested in play may mean they are in pain. Warning signs include:

  • Rapid weight gain

  • Hip injury

  • Trouble standing up

  • Limping

  • Favoring one leg

  • Running or walking with a “bunny hop,” using both legs together

  • Trouble or hesitation running

  • Reduced activity

  • Hesitation on stairs

  • Aggression, especially if the hip area is touched

German Shepherds are predisposed to hip dysplasia, and unfortunately, there are many factors that can contribute to the development of HD. These include rapid growth, over nutrition, weight, injuries, 

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