Frequently Asked Questions to German Shepherd Questions. What does it mean to socialize a puppy? How do I continue to socialize my puppy? What is the temperament of your European German Shepherd dogs? What kind of toys should I get for my German Shepherd? When should I spay/neuter my puppy? When does a German Shepherd puppy's ears stand? What causes a German Shepherd puppy's ears to not stand? What should I do if my puppy’s ears do not stand? What is hip and elbow dysplasia? What causes hip and elbow dysplasia? How do I prevent hip and elbow dysplasia? How do I prevent bloat? How often do German Shepherds shed? What kind of toys should I get my German Shepherd?

Our program is a unique combination of well-bred dogs that are also well cared for. We combine professional practices with small scale quality which is extremely important for both your puppy’s health and temperament.

It sounds so simple, so why is this combination so unique?

Most breeders are in one of three categories:

1. A Puppy Mill. The pups are neither well-bred nor well taken care of and should be avoided entirely. The consequences for these pups are severe, but purchasing to rescue a pup from these situations only funds the breeder and allows them to continue in their practices.

2. A Small Scale or “Backyard” Breeder. The pups are given a lot of attention because they aren’t competing for time with multiple other litters, but they are rarely (if ever) well bred. The small scale breeder is often a well-meaning individual or family that is producing puppies. They love their dogs, but often aren’t educated enough to make good decisions to breed well and to raise puppies well enough to set them up for success later in life regarding health and temperament. This often results in dogs with temperaments and conformation that differ from the breed standard and multiple serious health issues.

3. A Large-scale, Professional Breeder. The pups are well bred, but are often lacking the much-needed attention during their most critical stages of life that a small-scale breeder would have the time to offer. The breeder is educated and puts the parents through health and temperament tests before breeding; however, the puppies are less socialized and cared for. This often results in other temperament issues like anxiety, timidity, and aggression.

Our foster program allows us to keep our small scale quality while breeding on a professional, educated level. Each of our foster families are carefully and tediously picked out and each of our breeding dogs have their own forever home where they're loved and cared for.

A few other notable things about Euro Deja:

1. In addition to other health tests (including hip and elbow certifications), we also test for Degenerative Myelopathy and breed so that none of our puppies are At Risk according to OFA. DM is the canine version of ALS; it is very serious and effects a large percentage of German Shepherds. Many GSD breeders are still not testing for this condition before breeding.

2. We test our dogs for 8 additional conditions common to German Shepherds and breed so that none of our puppies are considered "At-Risk". These conditions are MDR1 Drug Sensitivity, Factor VIII Deficiency - Hemophilia A (F8 Exon 1, Shepherd variant 1), Factor VIII Deficiency - Hemophilia A (F8 Exon 1, Shepherd variant 2), Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Type III (LAD3), Achromatopsia (CNGA3 Exon 7 German Shepherd Variant), X-Linked Ectodermal Dysplasia, Anhidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (EDA Intron 8), Renal Cystadenocarcinoma And Nodular Dermatofibrosis (RCND), and Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII - Sly Syndrome. Read further in our FAQ for an explanation of these conditions.

3. We Guarantee Our Puppies. We provide guarantees for hips, elbows, and Degenerative Myelopathy as well as a 10 day after-purchase guarantee for our new owners' peace of mind.

4. We do not require anyone to give up their puppy from Euro Deja in order to get the guarantee benefits. The standard term in a breeder's guarantee (if offered at all) is "replace." This means that a family must return their adult dog in order to get a new puppy from the breeder. Most people won't give up the dog they love which means the breeder doesn't have to honor the guarantee. We don't agree with this standard ethically and also believe that it's in the best interest of the dog and its family to not require the return of the dog. Our standard has always been to treat others as we would want to be treated. Read our guarantee and you will not find the word "replace"!


Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a devastating neurological illness without cure known to affect the German Shepherd breed. This form of spinal paralysis is known as the canine version of human Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

According to OFA only 52.5% of German Shepherds test clear, 31.6% are carriers, and 16% are at risk. The affected dog, once showing signs of the illness, has an average of one year left to live. There is no cure, but many claim that healthy exercise and acupuncture can help prolong the life of the affected dog. We test each of our dogs and breed so that none of our puppies have two mutated copies of the gene and are not "at risk" for DM by OFA's terms. Read more about Degenerative Myelopathy in our article here.


There are 8 other genetic conditions common to German Shepherds that we test our dogs for before breeding. None of our puppies are considered "At-Risk" for the following due to extensive DNA testing. The descriptions below are taken from Embark

1. MDR1 Drug Sensitivity - "Sensitivity to certain classes of drugs, notably the parasiticide ivermectin, as well as certain gastroprotectant and anti-cancer medications, occurs in dogs with mutations in the MDR1 gene. Symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy, seizures, or coma. MDR1 mutations are particularly common in herding breeds including Australian Shepherds, Collies, and Border Collies, though many other dog breeds are affected. Please note that the dosage of problem drugs in commercially available heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives should not cause symptoms in MDR1 dogs." Read More

2. Factor VIII Deficiency - Hemophilia A (F8 Exon 1, Shepherd variant 1) - "Coagulopathies, disorders of blood clotting, can lead to symptoms such as easy bruising or bleeding. Dogs with coagulopathies are often at risk for excessive bleeding during veterinary procedures; your veterinarian should be informed so that appropriate blood products are at hand in case a transfusion is required. Affected dogs may also require close monitoring during their daily lives. If informed of your dog's condition early, you and your veterinarian can discuss precautionary measures now. Factor VIII deficiency or Hemophilia A is the most common coagulopathy in dogs and humans, and can cause spontaneous or trauma-induced bleeding, extensive bruising, and joint swelling. Dogs with Hemophilia A are at great risk for uncontrollable bleeding during surgical procedures: your veterinarian should be informed so that appropriate blood products are at hand in case a transfusion is required. Currently, treatment for Hemophilia A focuses on prevention, vigiliant monitoring, and quick treatment of spontaneous bleeds. There is no definitive cure, though scientists have made progress correcting Hemophilia A with protein replacement and gene therapy in a laboratory setting." Read More

3. Factor VIII Deficiency - Hemophilia A (F8 Exon 1, Shepherd variant 2) - Same symptoms as Shepherd variant 1 above.

4. Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency Type III (LAD3) - "A rare disorder of white blood cells, this causes increased susceptibility to infections and bleeding tendencies. Affected dogs present with a history of persistent skin and gum infections as well as uncontrollable bleeding from small cuts. Dogs with CLAD Type III can live many years as long as serious infections are treated with antibiotic therapy. It is also crucial that veterinarians performing surgery on CLAD Type III dogs have blood on hand for transfusion." Read More

5. Achromatopsia (CNGA3 Exon 7 German Shepherd Variant) - "This is a progressive, nonpainful disorder of the retina that affects color vision and light perception. Cone cells not only register color, they allow the dog to adjust their eyes to bright light--essentially, achromotopic dogs feel like you feel when you step out of a movie theater into bright sunshine... all the time. Symptoms appear as early as 8 weeks of age. You may catch your pup blinking repeatedly in daylight, shaking their heads, or seeking out areas with dimmer light. Because this disease only affects the cone cells, night vision, which is driven primarily by rod cells, remains completely unaffected. This form of achromatopsia has been mapped to mutations in the CNGA3 in the German Shepherd Dog and the Labrador Retriever." Read More

6. X-Linked Ectodermal Dysplasia, Anhidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia - "This developmental condition can cause a scanty haircoat, malformed teeth, and few or absent sweat glands. Because dogs only have sweat glands on their paw pads, they are not prone to overheating--other than dietary changes to accomodate missing teeth and appropriate measures to protect skin from sunburn or overdrying, affected dogs can lead healthy and normal lives. In the German Shepherd Dog, XHED has been mapped to a mutation in the EDA gene, leading to a defective ectodyplastin protein, which is known to play a role in hair follicle and tooth bud development." Read More

7. Renal Cystadenocarcinoma And Nodular Dermatofibrosis (RCND) - "A multiorgan syndrome best described in the German Shepherd Dog, affected dogs display thick skin nodules and signs of kidney disease, and should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Affected females also develop tumors of the uterine smooth muscle, known as leiomyomas, which can be removed surgically. Signs of kidney disease arise from spontaneous renal tumors which reduce kidney function and can lead to renal failure. Renal cystadenocarcinomas can also metastasize to the lungs, leading to respiratory distress. Treatment for RCND remains palliative to increase your dog's comfort and quality of life." Read More

8. Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VII, Sly Syndrome - "A type of lysosomal storage disease, this can cause skeletal abnormalities, growth retardation, and gait abnormalities, and can require close monitoring and special measures as dogs age. Lysosomal storage diseases are a class of disease stemming from inborn errors of metabolism. Lysosomes are one of many cellular structures with a highly specialized function: their job is to digest and recycle cellular waste: this includes engulfed molecules or microorganisms, byproducts of cellular metabolism, and old or degrading organelles. Lysosomes are known to contain over 50 enzymes (the proteins that do the digesting); storage disease arises when there is a malfunction in any of these enzymes. The hallmark of lysosomal storage disease is the microscopic appearance of the lysosomes: they appear enlarged and swollen with undigested byproducts. The buildup of undigested byproducts can lead to lysosomal, cell, tissue, and organ malfunction. Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are defined by abnormal buildup of glycosaminoglycans, large sugar-protein molecules that are important for skeletal and joint function." Read More


The most critical phase of development for a puppy is between four and twelve weeks of age. If raised in a setting isolated from interaction apart from their mother and littermates, they will most likely grow into fearful and anxious adults. Meeting different people groups and encountering common scenarios in a positive way early in life is key to proper socialization. Our puppies are exposed to different surfaces, people, other animals, sights and sounds to help pave the way to a confident and happy adulthood.


Continue to introduce your puppy to safe and positive situations. Show them different sights and sounds, introduce them to strangers both inside and outside your home, take them on errands (if possible) and to your local parks, let them meet other well-trusted animals, and let them interact with people of all ages. The goal is to let them learn on a regular basis that new things are not a source of fear, but of delight.


More than anything, LOYAL! There is nothing like the devotion of a German Shepherd. They won’t leave your side, they adore you like no other, and they will always watch to make sure you’re ok. They are intelligent and have an abundance of personality that makes each one a unique delight. They’re extremely devoted, family-oriented, personable and very sweet. They’re confident, trustworthy, and protective, but not aggressive. They’re extremely well-mannered and love to please—this combined with their intelligence makes training a joy! They’re calm indoors and can be playful and goofy, but very driven and focused when it’s time to “work”. German Shepherds are known to be the most versatile breed; they can succeed in a variety of sports and jobs. We’ve heard over and over again from first-time shepherd owners “I’m never getting any other kind of dog.” And we can testify to that!


Hip and elbow dysplasia is abnormal formations of the socket. This often causes painful arthritis and lameness in the affected dog. However, it rarely symptomatic until the dog reaches an old age.


Hip dysplasia has been labeled as genetic and environmental. Insufficient nutrition and rough play on hard surfaces certainly play a part. It can also be agitated or even caused by injuries. Spaying and neutering early is also proven to drastically increase the occurance of dysplasia.


It starts with the breeder, but must continue with you. The three most important variables for healthy joints are genetics, nutrition, and environment. First, the parents of your puppies must be tested and proven free from dysplasia by orthopedic specialists. Second, the puppies and parents should be on a high quality nutritious diet. Third, the puppies should be raised on soft flooring and be allowed to play outside on the naturally soft, uneven ground. Once you bring your new puppy home, 1) Don’t over-exercise your puppy. Read our FAQ answer about jogging with your puppy for more guidelines. 2) For as long as you can due to size and weight, carry your puppy up and down stairs. 3) Keep your puppy on a high quality, balanced diet. 4) Keep your puppy from being over or underweight. 5) Keep your puppy from running, jumping, and sliding on hard surfaces. 6) If you do NOT feed TLC Whole Life Dog Food, give your puppy supplements--Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM and Nutramax Welactin Omega 3 are good choices. Even better, consider switching to TLC, because TLC Whole Life Dog food has all the nutrition your dog will need to grow healthy joints and there is no need to supplement. One of the specific items included are Green Lipped Mussels, the ultimate natural source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin for healthy and long lasting joints. 7) Do not spay or neuter your dog until it has reached 18 months of age. Fixing a dog early is proven to effect joint development. "Of males castrated early—defined in this study as before 1 year of age—10 percent had hip dysplasia, double the occurrence among sexually intact males. Cranial cruciate ligament tears were not diagnosed in any of the sexually intact males or females, but in the early age–neutered males and females, prevalences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Lymphosarcoma was diagnosed in almost 10 percent of males castrated early, three times the rate in sexually intact males." Click HERE to read the full study. While these steps might seem high maintenance, they significantly lessen the risk of dysplasia. Special care for your growing puppy results in many more years of good life and fun.


After a considerable amount of research and years of experience, we have come to feed and recommend TLC Whole Life DOG food. Note, not their puppy food for large breeds. Their Whole Life Dog Food is optimal for your puppy's health for the entirety of its life.

Use 107275-1025 at checkout or click here to get $5.00 off your first order PLUS a free gift and free shipping!

You may find (as we have) that many dog foods require supplementation. For a couple examples, most shepherd owners add salmon oil for shiny coats and healthy skin, glucosamine and chondroitin for long-lasting and healthy joints, probiotics and prebiotics for optimal digestion and gut health, etc. With this in mind, we are excited to share our decision to feed and recommend TLC Pet Food. TLC doesn't require any supplements as it includes all the above and a lot more. Just take a look at their ingredients! It's formulated for optimal health in all stages of life. Like us, your dog can function well for a time with inferior nutrition, and then there are consequences later. We're making the switch to TLC and recommending it because we believe it will help all of our pets live happier and longer.

Feel free to contact TLC’s dedicated Pet Service Team if you have any questions by phone 1-877-328-8400 or by email at petservice@tlcpetfood.com. We've found their customer service to be phenomenal. They've patiently answered all of our many questions!

Things we LOVE about TLC Pet Food (Whole Life Dog):

  • PREMIUM QUALITY PET NUTRITION

  • DELIVERED FRESH. DELIVERED FREE. plus, AUTOSHIP

  • THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE

  • If you do not feed TLC and are opting for kibble, make sure the first few ingredients are all from a meat source. About 27% of your puppy’s diet should consist of protein (animal, not vegetarian). Additionally, German Shepherd Puppies benefit from food that is labeled as for a “Large Breed Puppy”. This food is calculated for their specific needs so that they grow gradually enough to support healthy bones and joints. And be sure to include joint supplements if you're not feeding TLC. You can read more about what supplements we recommend under the question "How Do I Prevet Hip & Elbow Dysplasia?"

    Keep your puppy fit and trim, don’t under or over feed! Your puppy should be eating 3 small meals daily. When they are about 6 months old, you can split the food into just two meals.


    A good guide is to add a 0 to your puppy’s age in months. So at 3 months, your puppy shouldn’t be over 30lbs, a 4-month-old shouldn’t be over 40lbs, etc. Some puppies do grow faster, but this may cause Panosteitis (growing pains). A helpful key is to choose a puppy food meant for large breed puppies so that your German Shepherd grows at a good rate.


    German Shepherds shed twice a year and it’s recommended that they be brushed daily when they do. We use two types of brushes on our dogs: a slicker brush and an undercoat shedding rake.


    Puppy toys are fun, but adult German Shepherds have a strong jaw and delicate toys don’t stand a chance! The toys we like the best are Kong balls; our dogs love to fetch and chew them. Large ropes are fun to play with and chew on. Another must-have here is a dog Frisbee for fetch—Nerf and Kong are brands that we’ve used. Avoid using regular Frisbees; they won’t last long and can cut your dog’s mouth. Cuz balls are also a favorite of our dogs, but they have a shorter life-span.


    Basically, there are three main coat lengths and all must have an undercoat. The short coat is about 1 inch in length. The medium length is called Plush or Show coat because it is the most desired by judges. This coat ranges around 1 and 2 inches. The long coat is about 2 inches or longer.


    There are studies that prove neutering/spaying too early increases chances of hip and elbow dysplasia. So for large breeds that are prone to that condition, our recommendation is between 18 and 24 months.


    We ask that you do not spay/neuter your dog until 18 months of age. If you do so against our recommendation, our hip and elbow guarantee is void because studies prove a drastic increase of dysplasic cases in dogs altered early. Neutering stunts growth if done before full maturity which can be detrimental for large breeds, like Shepherds, that are prone to joint issues. The age varies for different dogs and breeds, but 18 months is the earliest we advise spaying/neutering. A study done by the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that "Of males castrated early—defined in this study as before 1 year of age—10 percent had hip dysplasia, double the occurrence among sexually intact males. Cranial cruciate ligament tears were not diagnosed in any of the sexually intact males or females, but in the early age–neutered males and females, prevalences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Lymphosarcoma was diagnosed in almost 10 percent of males castrated early, three times the rate in sexually intact males.” Click Here to read the full study. "Double the occurrence" and "three times the rate" are very significant. This is why we provide incentive to leave your dog from Euro Deja intact until at least 18 months of age.

    Some of the common concerns we've heard regarding leaving dogs intact are 1) dominance, 2) spraying or humping, 3) unwanted pregnancies, 4) female seasons in the home, and 5) Perianal Fistulas

    The items that we have in our guarantee are there for the benefit of you and your dog. There's no other reason for us to require a minimum age for spaying or neutering. Our decision has come with a lot of research, other breeders' experiences, orthopedic specialist consultations, studies, etc.


    7 weeks to 5 months is our average range, but there are always exceptions and every pup is different! If a puppy is a late bloomer and his/her ears aren't consistently up by 5 months, we recommend using ear forms to be on the safe side. It's also normal for a puppy's ears to go back down during teething.


    A puppy’s ears not standing could be from a variety of reasons. Genetically soft ears, ears that are too large, malnutrition, trauma, parasites, and under-stimulation are a few of the common reasons. As a breeder, we have done our part to make sure our puppies don’t have soft ears. As an owner, you can be proactive in helping your puppy’s ears to stand a couple different ways. 1) Make sure your puppy is receiving a proper amount of nutrition from a quality source. 2) Prevent any trauma. Beyond the obvious, this also means preventing anything from messing with your puppy’s ears (i.e. crates that are too small, heavy dog doors, etc.). This includes you — so hands off! Refrain from touching, bending, rubbing, or folding your puppy’s ears. 3) Give bones and toys for your puppy to chew on. 4) keep your puppy on year-round parasite preventatives and get them checked regularly.


    If your puppy is 5 months old and his/her ears aren’t up consistently it’s still highly probable that they’ll come up, but they’ll need help. For best results, we recommend doing three things: 1) Give them a bone to chew on, 2) play hide and seek about 15 minutes daily to stimulate their ears to perk up, and 3) glue in ear forms. Be patient and be consistent!


    Bloat causes a quick and painful death—we’ve heard too many stories of large breed dog owners leaving for work with a healthy dog and coming home to their dog already passed away. Large-chested dogs like shepherds are prone to bloat which quickly becomes fatal. And males are more prone than females because of their broad-chested anatomy. To prevent bloat, we don’t let our dogs eat too quickly or play for an hour after every meal. However, you can do everything right and still get a case. So we can't stress enough the importance of taking a preventative measure that can save your dog's life. This is in the form of a gastropexy (tacking the stomach). It is my recommendation that you ask your vet to do this procedure at the time of spay/neuter.


    Jogging and walking too much in “forced exercise” can be very harmful to puppies—especially large breeds like German Shepherds that are already prone to dysplasia. Growth plates can be damaged from rigorous activity before they’re sealed which causes severe bone deformities. There is evidence to support that there is an increase of Elbow Dysplasia and Osteochondritis Dessicans in dogs that experience forced exercise before their growth plates close.

    Dr. Carroll says in her article, “How Much Exercise is Too Much For My Puppy?” that “Forced exercise is defined as ‘anything beyond what the dog would engage in with dogs of the same age.’ Gentle play time with other like aged puppies? A-OK. Running around with adult dogs [or their human owners], meanwhile, is bad (the puppy will overdo it trying to keep up with the big guys). Fence-running, excessive ball/stick/Frisbee chasing, and jogging with the owner are considered ‘forced exercise,’ too.”

    Our German Shepherds will stick by your side and so they will push themselves to keep up even off-leash. So how do you know how much is too much when taking a simple walk with your pup? Based of off Dr. Chris Zink’s work, a good rule of thumb is to allow 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age beyond 1 month of age. For example, a 3-month-old is recommended to walk on a leash in “forced exercise” for a maximum time of 10 minutes. A 4-month-old: 15 minutes, and so on. At this age, however, the pace should only be dictated by the puppy, not the owner.

    Jogging can start being gradually worked up to when your pup is finished growing completely. Every dog is different, but 18 months old for large breeds is a safe estimate.

    Be patient! All these guidelines are set in place to allow you to enjoy many, many more healthy years with your jogging/walking partner.


    We’ve done our very best to set up all of our puppies for success, but accidents happen! Is Pet Insurance worth the investment? It is true that you are playing a game of odds. However, we’ve come to the conclusion that having financial security for potential health crisis’ is worth about the same cost as your monthly phone bill. As breeders, we’ve worked with a lot of different dogs and people and have heard countless stories and witnessed some ourselves: cases of bloat, cancer, hip or elbow dysplasia, botched routine spay surgeries resulting in a second surgery with days of hospitalization and blood transfusions, etc. These cases cost thousands of dollars and were completely unexpected.

    With that being said, we’re committed to excellence and researched several of the top companies, and have come to the conclusion that Embrace is the one worth your while. Their premium is affordable and the benefits are much greater than the competing companies. They also give several discounts and some can be stacked.

    We like them for many reasons, but the top three that we believe sets Embrace above the rest are 1) What they cover that other insurers do not, 2) Their included 24/7 Professional Veterinarian Care Help, and 3) Their Wellness Rewards program.

    Mind if we pay your vet bills?

    1. What They Cover - They cover exam fees while we’ve found that other insurers don’t—at an emergency clinic this can be $100-$200. In addition, other insurers have loop holes for hip and elbow dysplasia. For example, Healthy Paws limits coverage with a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia that cannot be reduced. Meanwhile, Embrace has a 6-month waiting period for orthopedic conditions (for dogs only) and there is an Orthopedic Exam and Waiver Process to have it reduced to as little as 14 days. And beyond extended waiting periods, Healthy Paws doesn’t cover hip dysplasia in pets older than 6 years of age at enrollment. That means if you enroll your dog later, they won’t be covered for dysplasia. As long as it isn’t pre-existing, Embrace covers this condition on all accident and illness policies no matter the age of the pet at enrollment. And especially for a large breed like the GSD, we consider covering dysplasia a top priority. Regarding claims, Embrace ends up reimbursing more to you than competing companies even with the SAME reimbursement percentage because they first subtract the deductible and then take off the co-pay instead of the other way around. In claims under $1,000, that leads to 7-10% more reimbursed to you. Embrace is also the only pet insurer with a diminishing deductible. Your annual deductible automatically goes down by $50 each year you don't receive a claim reimbursement.

    2. 24/7 Access to Veterinary Experts. Being able to call or chat with veterinary experts round-the-clock with questions about your pet’s behavior, diet, or a possible emergency is extremely valuable. Embrace is partnered with whiskerDocs to give policyholders access to pet experts 24/7 – even on holidays. This feature is included with every policy at no extra cost.

    3. Their Wellness Rewards (Optional) - this is pretty unique to Embrace and their wellness coverage is much better than competing companies. We’ve done the calculations and it ends up saving you roughly 9% on all your pet’s yearly expenses if you use the amount of the allowance each year. It covers almost everything you can think of for your dog—heartworm medication, flea and tick preventative, vet exams and vaccinations, gastropexy, spay/neuter surgeries, grooming, training, microchipping, etc. And you can change your allowance every year to fit your dog’s life stage. They have three allowance options:

    We’ve put together a suggested wellness plan for you to make this allowance well worth your time and to save you money. Optional: choose a higher allowance than recommended to provide for professional training:


    We’ve worked hard—researching, studying, and comparing—to decide which pet insurer came out on top. Embrace was the clear winner in the end.

    Nose to Tail Dog Coverage