Why do German Shepherds have short lifespan?

  • Date: November 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

German Shepherds are renowned for their courage and loyalty, which makes them a popular choice for service and guard dogs. However, their short lifespan is something many potential owners don’t know about these beloved dogs. On average, a German Shepherd will live between 9 and 13 years, which is significantly shorter than many other breeds. In this article, we’ll explore the potential causes of this shortened lifespan and discuss some tips to help prolong your German Shepherd’s life.

Overview of German Shepherds

German Shepherds are a medium-sized breed of dog originating from Germany. The breed was originally bred for herding sheep and guarding livestock. German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and athleticism. They are often used as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and police and military dogs. German Shepherds are known for their bold, confident, and loyal personalities.

Why do German Shepherds Have a Short Lifespan?

Unfortunately, German Shepherds have a relatively short lifespan. On average, German Shepherds live between 9 and 13 years. This is significantly shorter than the average lifespan of other breeds of similar size. The shorter life expectancy is due to a variety of factors, including genetics, diet, and exercise.


German Shepherds are predisposed to certain illnesses and conditions due to their genetics. These conditions can shorten their lifespan or cause them to suffer from a shortened life expectancy. Common conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia, a condition caused by an abnormally shaped joint that leads to pain and instability. Other conditions include allergies, autoimmune disorders, and various cancers.


Diet is an important factor in the lifespan of a German Shepherd. German Shepherds require a diet that is high in protein and fatty acids. A diet that is lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can lead to a weakened immune system and other health problems. Additionally, German Shepherds should have access to clean water at all times.


German Shepherds are an active breed, and require daily exercise. A lack of exercise can lead to health problems such as obesity, which can shorten the lifespan of a German Shepherd. Additionally, exercise can help to strengthen the bones and muscles, which can help prevent conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia.


German Shepherds have a relatively short lifespan due to a variety of factors, including genetics, diet, and exercise. It is important for owners to provide a healthy diet and ample exercise in order to give their German Shepherd the longest life possible.

Common Myths About German Shepherds’ Short Lifespans

H2: Debunking Common Misconceptions About German Shepherds’ Shorter Lifespans

Myth 1: German Shepherds are genetically predisposed to shorter lifespans.

Fact: German Shepherds have a wide range of lifespans, just like any other breed of dog. Genetics may play a role, but there are many environmental and lifestyle factors that can affect the lifespan of a German Shepherd.

Myth 2: German Shepherds are too active to live a long life.

Fact: German Shepherds need regular exercise and activity to stay healthy, but they do not need to be overly active. Providing them with regular, moderate exercise is the best way to promote a long, healthy life.

Myth 3: German Shepherds are prone to health issues that lead to shorter lifespans.

Fact: German Shepherds are generally healthy and strong, but they can be prone to certain health issues, just like any other breed of dog. Working with a veterinarian to identify and manage any potential health issues can help to promote a longer lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do German Shepherds have short lifespan?

German Shepherds are a large, active breed of dog with an average lifespan of 7-10 years. This is relatively short compared to many other breeds, and is due to a combination of factors. German Shepherds can be prone to a variety of health issues, including hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as degenerative myelopathy, which can all lead to a shortened lifespan. Additionally, due to their large size, they are more prone to developing joint issues which can also affect their lifespan.

What can I do to help my German Shepherd live longer?

The best way to ensure your German Shepherd has the best chance of living a long and healthy life is to provide them with a high-quality diet, regular exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation. Additionally, it is important to make sure they are kept up to date with all necessary vaccinations and vet visits. If your German Shepherd is showing signs of any health issues, it is important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible to ensure they are being treated properly.


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