The German shepherd is one of the most famous breeds however German shepherd health issues may now have aroused a lot in the past few decades. Because the most severe problems are caused by inbreeding, reputable breeders take extra effort to trace the lineage before breeding.

A German Shepherd has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years; however, some illnesses may limit this. Let’s have a look at some of the most frequent German Shepherd health issues, as well as how to spot them.

What Health Problems Do German Shepherds Have?

The most common German shepherd health issues that they can contact are as under:

  • Diabetes
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Gastric Dilation
  • Degenerative Myelopathy


Diabetes is not a term that comes to mind when we think about canine illnesses. It is uncommon for German Shepherds to be diagnosed with this health issue. Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas fails to generate enough insulin to manage the body’s glucose levels. If a dog’s glucose level rises too high, it can lead to major medical concerns such as seizures and possibly put your dog into a coma.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes in German Shepherds are:

  • Eating more frequently than normal
  • Drinking more frequently
  • Losing weight for no apparent reason
  • Despite eating more regularly, they are not gaining weight.
  • Urinating more often
  • They appear confused or zoned out.
  • Not as attentive when called
  • Sleeps a lot more/is drowsy

Hip Dysplasia:

This is a prevalent issue with German Shepherds as well as other large dog breeds. This is a hereditary condition that normally occurs when the German Shepherd puppy is still growing. The hip socket is shallower than typical, causing the hip joint to become loose and painful for the dog. Hip dysplasia can go undiscovered for a long time, but it can lead to other disorders in a dog, such as arthritis and muscle problems.

Some of the symptoms of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds are:

  • Limping for no apparent cause.
  • Often hops while running.
  • Their joints make popping sounds.
  • Standing up slowly.
  • Slowly laying down.
  • Difficulty getting into and out of beds, couches, and other pieces of furniture.

Elbow Dysplasia:

Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, except that it affects the elbows rather than the hips. The symptoms will be similar as well. You could notice your dog hobbling or refusing to run. Surgery, like hip dysplasia, is a possibility for therapy. However, if the dysplasia is not severe, a veterinarian may try to just treat the pain.

Gastric Dilation:

Volvulus is one of the most common German shepherd digestive issues. GDV is also known as bloat by some. However, it is far more dangerous than the typical bloat that individuals feel after overeating. With this illness, a dog’s stomach fills with too much gas and begins to twist around. This is a highly uncomfortable and perhaps hazardous event for your dog. The condition can occasionally appear suddenly. Among the symptoms of GDV that your dog may suffer are:

  • The gums are pale or nearly white in hue.
  • Drooling excessively
  • Abdominal swell
  • Retching and gagging
  • Trying to vomit but can’t vomit out.
  • Grass eating
  • Vomiting

Degenerative Myelopathy:

This condition is caused by a recessive genetic defect. It is a neurological condition that affects middle-aged or older canines. This condition is difficult to identify from other spinal cord concerns such as intervertebral disc problems. After death, a study of the spinal cord tissue frequently confirms the hereditary cause. These dogs will have gradual weakening in their hind limbs, eventually leading to paralysis.

Degenerative myelopathy has no known treatment. However, if your dog has the condition, you may take some actions to alleviate its pain. Kinesiology tape has been shown to be effective in treating dogs with degenerative myelopathy. You may also provide them with a comfy bed, which they will require due to their mobility issues. Furthermore, because your German Shepherd would be spending more time sitting and lying on the ground, they are more likely to get bedsores. They should be cleaned and trimmed on a regular basis.

Why Do German Shepherds Have So Many Health Problems?

The German Shepherd is a big, active herding dog. They are extremely clever, loyal, and obedient animals. German Shepherds, which were originally developed for herding, now work with police and search and rescue teams all over the world because they are task-oriented, curious, and innovative.

German Shepherds, like all dog breeds, are predisposed to certain disorders. One of the main causes behind them getting health problems is the wrong German shepherd breeding. Only poorly bred shepherds, like any other poorly bred breed of dog, have a slew of health issues. A reputable German Shepherd breeder that breeds from healthy dogs does not have nearly as many difficulties with their pets. That is not to claim that a well-bred shepherd is immune to all canine diseases, since how the dog is cared for as a puppy and as it matures can affect how the joints develop and the dog’s general health. DNA testing can really aid in the identification of carriers for many of the mobility issues associated with GSD. Many of these health concerns may be avoided from the breed if carriers were not bred.