Since I’m not running much at the moment (still lame in the right hind foot), and I’m not doing much else of interest at all, I thought I’d go back to the topic of my blog, and publicly answer a question from a friend. She’s looking for a running buddy, and is seriously considering a German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd is a breed I see at my vet surgery on occasion, and I used to have a lot in my obedience classes when I used to instruct at the local dog obedience club, so I think I’ve got a bit of a handle on them.
They’re an incredibly intelligent breed, and very loyal. If you were thinking of getting one, I’d suggest that you look at puppies from a registered breeder, who is careful to only breed from parents screened for genetic conditions such as elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia. This is even more important if you want to run with your German Shepherd.
As far as dog health goes, they’re a hardy breed. Most of the dogs I see live until around 12 years old. They also don’t take a lot of maintenance – regular flea control, a good brushing and the occasional bath will keep their coats in good condition. I find that the most important thing you can do to keep your dog’s coat healthy is to feed them a good quality diet.
With this breed, I’d strongly advise that you don’t run with puppies until they’re at least 12 months old, and then start gently.
German Shepherd dogs are easy to train, so you’ll be able to teach them to run beside you quite easily. They can be protective of their owner, which is a good thing if you’re a female who runs alone. They really benefit from obedience training, it gives them something to do with their mind, and it’s a great bonding experience for you.
So, to my friend, choose your pup carefully and you’ll have a loyal companion who will keep you company on your runs for many years.
I’m hoping to be out running again in the next week or so, foot permitting. I’m back at the podiatrist tomorrow. I’m so keen to get it fixed because the kidlets are now running 3km without stopping, and I need to be better to do their first 5k fun run with them at the end of February.