Though each dog is unique and will age differently based on their breed, lifestyle, and overall health, it's important to know your dog's life expectancy so that you can accommodate to them as they grow older. So how long do German Shepherds live?

We've got all the answers you need about the German Shepherd life expectancy:

Average Dog Life Expectancy

Life expectancy in dogs varies greatly based on breed, lifestyle, diet, and overall health, so it's to say what the average life expectancy is for dogs in general. Here we can see the average life expectancy for a wide variety of common dog breeds:

dog breed life expectancy chart

Life expectancy also varies based on if your dog is a pure bred or mixed breed dog. Research has indicated that mixed breed dogs tend to live longer than pure bred dogs, as pure breds tend to inherit more genetic disorders. This being said, you can ensure you adopt a healthy dog by doing thorough research on the breeder and diet/lifestyle needs of the breed, and breeders can do their part by testing their dogs for genetic disorders and breeding accordingly.

german shepherd, dog life expectancy

How Long Do German Shepherds Live?

Most German Shepherds live between 10 and 13 years. Of course each dog's lifespan will vary based on a number of factors, but 10-13 is a reasonable age range to expect. You'll notice that their lifespan is a little shorter than other breeds that can live upwards of 17-20 years - this is because of the German Shepherd's large body size causing them to have slightly shorter life spans.

german shepherd, dog life expectancy

How Can You Extend Your Dog's Lifespan?

There are actually quite a few steps you can take to ensure your dog lives the longest, happiest life possible!

  1. Do research before adopting. Make sure you're adopting your German Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder who performs routine health checks and breeds out any possible genetic disorders. If you're looking to adopt a German Shepherd from a rescue, ask them if they have their medical history.
  2. Feed them a healthy diet. Food is the best preventative medicine, so make sure you choose a nutritious food without fillers or preservatives. Adding fresh food on top of their kibble is also great for longevity! You can toss some fresh fruit or veggies on top, or you can prepare a healthy, homemade dinner for them.
  3. Exercise them daily! Daily exercise is so important not only for your dog's health, but their happiness too! A tired dog is a happy dog, so don't skip those daily walks to the park.
  4. Visit your vet on a regular basis. Typically, your dog will need to visit the vet as least once per year for a general wellness exam and routine vaccines. If you have any concerns about your dog and any symptoms they may be experiencing, don't hesitate to make an appointment as soon as possible.
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Common Health Issues in German Shepherds

Part of keeping your dog happy and healthy for as long as possible is knowing what possible ailments to look out for as they age. Common health issues in German Shepherds include hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, epilepsy, hemophilia, diabetes, and cataracts to name a few.

Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Hip Dysplasia is the number one health issues that German Shepherds will experience in their lifetime. This is a common issue in larger dogs, but a good breeder will not breed dogs that exhibit this issue. This can be quite painful and hard to manage since it is a malformation of the joint, but you can help avoid this by feeding your dog the right amount (not too much!) and not exercising them too hard.

Bloat in German Shepherds

Bloat occurs when dogs eats too much food too fast, immediately followed too much physical activity, which then causes gas to build up in the stomach. If this occurs and your dog cannot naturally expel the gas, the build up can be painful, make it difficult for them to breathe, and send them into shock. If you notice your dog trying to vomit but cannot, bring them to the vet immediately as this can be life threatening.

You can avoid bloat by feeding your dog smaller meals throughout the day, rather than one large one. It's also advised not to encourage any strenuous activity after a meal - just like your parents told you not to swim right after eating, don't let your dog run after eating.


Epilepsy is genetic and has no cure, but it can be managed through medications. In fact, many dogs that have this condition live a happy life and are not effected by it so long as their owner manages it!


Like many other breeds, German Shepherds have a long history of inbreeding, leading to genetic mutations like hemophilia. This conditions causes blood to not clot properly - so something as minor as a small cut or bruise may quickly become worrisome. There is no cure, but with the right care, a German Shepherd with hemophilia can live a long and happy life!