German Shepherd Life Span: How Long Do German Shepherds Live?

If you have a German Shepherd, you are surely worried about how much time you can spend with him before nature does his work. As we know, dogs have a much shorter life expectancy than humans, and it is normal that the more we become fond of our pet, the greater the concern for its health.

The German Shepherd, compared to other breeds, usually has a longer life expectancy. However, the care it receives, good nutrition, daily exercise, and many other variables can extend it for many years. Do not think that it will exceed twenty years, but if it can exceed many more than other dogs’ breeds.

The German Shepherd’s Life Expectancy

German Shepherd's Life Expectancy -Image By howtotrainthedog

German Shepherds usually have a life span that ranges from nine years to thirteen years, and even if their living conditions are adequate and they do not have any health problems, their life expectancy could exceed fifteen years. Of course, this can vary between some of the German sheepdog breeds or be conditioned by factors such as living conditions, genetics, medical and periodic care received, good nutrition, and, above all and more important, The amount of exercise you do.

Responsible breeding can be the best way to extend the life of animals. If you give your pet the attention she needs, her health will be an oak, so her life span will probably be longer. When talking about breeding, it is important to know the origin and ancestry of your pet. If their ancestors have been ‘dogs with serious illnesses, your pet probably does too. This is why breeders avoid crossing dogs with any health problems.

How long do German Shepherds live with health problems? 

In this case, the type of health condition you are suffering from is always important. Not all diseases attack in the same way or reduce life span with the same intensity. A dog with a chronic disease can have a long enough life expectancy if he is properly cared for.

The key is always in food and care. Of course, if detected early, some diseases can be treatable, while if the case is very advanced, there is probably not much that can be done. In the end, everything is variable and depends on multiple factors. However, it is unlikely that a five or six-year-old dog with a chronic health condition such as hip dysplasia, a very common inherited disease in German Shepherds, can complete their expected years.

Common Health Issues of German Shepherds

German Shepherd Life Span

German Shepherds can suffer from many diseases common to many other breeds. Some have a genetic origin that makes these dogs much more prone to suffering them than others. However, the conditions can have multiple origins, and some breeds are more prone to contracting them than others, but it does not mean that they are immune to this type of disease.

The most common genetic diseases in German Shepherds are:

Hip dysplasia

This disease is very common among German Shepherds. It causes inflammation and pain in the hip and femur joint, leading to lameness and decalcification. It is a type of condition that is controllable and preventable through diet and limiting exercise.

  • Glaucoma

It is a disease that can be detected at a fairly early age, two or three years of age. It manifests itself with pain in the eye, which you notice since the dog will rub it with his paw or some surface very frequently. Pain is produced by increased intraocular pressure, and the pupil becomes opaque and dilated. Your treatment includes surgery.

 Viral diseases are those that are caused by infections caused by viruses:

  • Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is a viral infection that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and even bleeding and can be fatal. For this reason, the dog must have all the vaccines that prevent these infections.


Distemper is an infectious viral disease that spreads very easily. It causes cough, dyspnea, mucus, conjunctivitis, fever, and decay, among other symptoms.

Diseases caused by bacteria

  • Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is caused by drinking water contaminated with rat urine and produces symptoms such as coughing, vomiting, fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems.

  • Canine brucellosis

Canine brucellosis is caused by the ingestion of infectious products, although it can also be transmitted through the venereal route. In males, it produces inflammation in the testicular area and sterility, while in females, it produces abortions.

  • Mastitis

Mastitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the mammary gland and only affects females.

  • Pyometra

Pyometra is a very serious ailment suffered by females and is caused by the accumulation of pus


  • Pododermatitis

Pododermatitis is a disease that causes sores, pus, pain when walking, and other symptoms. Moisture is the main factor that causes this condition to appear.

  • A Demodex canis mite produces 

Demodectic scabies and causes hair loss, itching, inflammation, and redness in the epidermis.

  • Sarcoptic mange

Sarcoptic mange, unlike demodectic mange, is produced by a parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, and causes hair loss, inflammation, and dermal redness. It is important to be very careful with this particular infection as it can be contagious to humans.

Do Health Problems Change The Average Life Expectancy Of A German Shepherd?

Yes, as is obvious, if a dog has glaucoma, his standard of living will decline, and therefore, his life expectancy will be lower than a healthy dog. However, constant medical treatment and precise care can make this short time not so much suffering. It also depends on the types of diseases the dog contracts. Some infections are very common and temporary. With proper treatment, they will be able to recover without it meaning they will live fewer years. Every year we get the flu, and that doesn’t mean we’ll die sooner.

The Problem With Unethical Breeding

Indiscriminate crossbreeding is the biggest problem inbreeding. Today, many breeders with very little knowledge about this species’ biology take any specimen to cross it with another without paying attention to specific elements necessary for the puppies born from the cross to enjoy good health. It is very common for some of these people to use inbreeding as a means of selection and crossing when it is already known that it is a practice that brings many problems to the breed in the future.

How can the lifespan of a German Shepherd be extended? 

The life of any animal can be prolonged following the instructions and advice of a good veterinarian. Nutrition, exercise, and medical care are the main factors that can extend our pets’ lives.


If you want your pet to accompany you for many years, do not skimp on care and treat it like any family member. Remember that they require your guidance and care to live.