German Shepherd Lifespan - Expectancy & Preparation For The Long Haul

German Shepherd Lifespan – Expectancy & Preparation For The Long Haul

Dog owners usually begin to wonder what the life expectancy of their German Shepherd is after they have lived with them for some time.

The thought of not having your beautiful German Shepherd around is a terrible thought, but one that must be faced eventually.

A healthy German Shepherd lifespan is between 11 and 13 years if they are properly cared for.

There have been many German Shepherds that have lived well past 13 years old. It is difficult to determine exactly how long your specific GSD will live without knowing its health history.


Visit the Veterinarian

german shepherd visiting veterinarian

During the next veterinarian visit discuss your interest in your GSD life expectancy.

Your veterinarian will give you a general idea determined by your dog’s health history.

You can also discuss what measures you can take to help your dog live as long as possible. Usually, this involves a healthy diet, exercise, and possibly vitamin supplements.

Warning: Reading the next few paragraphs will probably bring down your mood

What to do if Your GSD is Near the End of His Life

sick german shepherd

Every dog reaches that moment when the end is coming. This is very difficult for dog owners and family members to accept and even think about.

If your veterinarian has advised you that the end is near, begin making plans right away. It is best to have plans in place, so you don’t have to make harsh decisions when you are grieving.

Sit down with your loved ones and discuss what is best for your dog. If you choose an at-home burial make sure you inquire about the pet burial regulations in your city or town.

It usually involves burying your pet far away from water sources. Remember to follow all instructions provided to you by your community.

If you prefer to have your beloved GSD buried at a local pet cemetery, you will want to contact them and visit them to make arrangements ahead of time.

Some dog owners may prefer cremation and can seek information from the veterinarian on how to proceed with this request.

Create a Memorial for Your GSD

memorial for german shepherd

Whether you decide to bury your German Shepherd at home or choose cremation, you can still create a memorial. Some dog owners and their families find comfort and peace when doing this type of tribute.

You can choose a small area in your home or your yard. Make a collage of pictures of your GSD that have been snapped during his exciting lifetime.

Try to choose pictures that are happy and inspiring and that will bring joy to your hearts instead of sorrow.

Choose an outdoor area for your memorial and place rocks or your dog’s favorite toy in a special area in your outdoor garden.

You can choose to place any items you wish there that will bring you peace and serenity when thinking of your beloved dog. You can even choose to plant a tree in honor of your German Shepherd.

This is a wonderful way to honor his or her life. It is therapeutic to watch something grow and flourish after you have lost a loved one.

Many dog owners choose to fill the gap of their missing loved one by filling it with a new GSD.

This does not replace your beloved dog that you lost, but it helps fill the emptiness in the house after his or her passing. Also, a new dog gives you and your family something new to focus on and fill your hearts with.

Not every dog owner can handle welcoming a new dog into their life so soon after the passing of their GSD. This is something that is decided on individually. Some dog owners need time to heal before they can move forward with a new member of the family.


Dog owners are finding new and inventive ways to honor their German Shepherds. Some are even choosing to create foundations in their dog’s memory that are geared towards helping other dogs.

This is a beautiful way to allow your dog’s name and memory to live on for many years to come. There are plenty of captivating ways to remember your GSD and new ideas pop up every day.


Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by

25 thoughts on “German Shepherd Lifespan – Expectancy & Preparation For The Long Haul”

  1. It’s not easy to give advice since people deal with it differently. I won’t be able to put so many pictures of her outside. It would be too painful to look at. I will create a small memorial, but I won’t over do it like it’s suggested here. It’s so hard as it is. So for us simplicity is the best option.

      1. I just had to put my 12yr old GSD to sleep yesterday. I have never imagined it would hurt this badly. So difficult, they are more than just dogs to us. They have intelligence that you only understand by having loved one.

      2. I can amazing what your are going through I just lost my German Shepard it’s been two weeks Iam devastated after him can’t imagine how difficult it is to go through this time I just pray and ask God to give me strength I wish you the same

        1. Cecelia Huddleston

          I have a German Shepherd, I’ve already thought about how quickly time passes & how short a dog’s life is. He is the first dog I’ve owned since we lost our Cocker Spaniel in 2000 & the loss was unbearable. I hope the happy memories of your dog will bring you comfort. Like you, I believe that prayer will get you through this difficult time. So very sorry for your loss!

  2. When my GSD got older I purchased a GSD puppy. I knew it would only be so long for my older GSD. My older GSD helped me train the puppy and it was the best decision I ever made! I miss my first one terribly but my one I have today helped ease the pain.

  3. Nancy C. Jones

    March 1st, 2016 I had to put my awesome, beautiful and best side kick to sleep. It is rough to walk into the house without her. It is hard not having her nose poking me to wake up for morning walks. I did not realize how lonely and heart broken I would be. My first dog, a loving, intelligent German Shepherd will always be in my heart. I will have her ashes placed in a keepsake necklace.

    1. Cecelia Huddleston

      My German Shepherd is my best friend & I dread the day that I will have to continue life without him! I’m very sorry for the pain you are going through in this difficult time. Hopefully, the pleasant memories of those morning walks will one day bring a smile!


    our beloved lady went blind just before xmas 2015. on jan 15th 2016 she was 10yrs old. also had had multiple large litter5s. she was a joy. she developed diabetes and we laid her to rest jan 25th 2016. such love is received from this obedient intelligent breed. we buried her close to us but we feel the loss every day. my one ray of sunshine is I still have my little maltese cross to keep my spirits high. sadly she is 9 this yr so when she leaves us our loss will be overwhelming.

  5. Thank you for trying to help others. This is so kind and mearceful from you.
    That sad event I had it 4 months ago and it still too painful to me
    But it is very different form one to other, and even from losing a particular one than other. I had many dogs that I loved them all, but my feelings was never equal to them. it was clear that i preferd one vs others as it is still have something in them you share with more !!!!
    and human can really vary to tolerate pain, and living with crises. Maybe all creatures do!!!!

  6. Tracee Garrett

    I am the proud owner of a beautiful, strong male GSD named Sergeant. He was born on Nov. 2, 2006 and is AKC registered. Amazing friend to me. I say all this because I have only ben his ‘mom’ for the past 5 years. His first owner neglected him horribly. Spent the first 5 years of his life on a huge chain and not even neutered. What he must have suffered! My heart broke open two weeks ago, as my vet explained that he is nearing the end of his time with us, and that she had found a cancerous tumor on his shoulder. I am devastated to even think about life without him. However, after all that he had to go through once the vet saved his life and many surgeries, we prayed about it and decided to let him enjoy being a ‘puppy’ until God calls for him to come home. My thoughts & prayers are with all of you and I pray that you will all find comfort and peace. I also would like to ask that you pray for me also, as I have only really fostered in the past, and have only had to make the decision once before when our family cat was to be put to sleep @ 14 years old! This one is different, I must say! He has SAVED me time & time again. Since you are all GSD owners, I know that YOU KNOW just what I mean by that. God Bless You all & maybe we’ll be able to heal and allow another beautiful GSD pup to join our family in the future!

    1. Dear Tracee, stay strong! God sent you to help him out and him to help you out, appreciate all the time you have together. He has the best plans for all of us, keep the faith and trust!

  7. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions in dealing with your grief! I am sitting here beside my 12.5 year old boy Max with a heavy heart. I will say my last goodbye this afternoon at 4pm! He has been my shadow since he was 8 weeks old. He as been my friend in good times and bad I have shed many tears prior to his death and will shed many tears after his final breath! I am very blessed to have had my time with such a loving and faithful companion. However I am constantly reminded by friends and family how Max was also blessed to have had such a happy healthy and loving life with my family and I! I will never forget my beautiful Shepherd and cannot see me ever getting another for many years they need time and patience to train them correctly but they are the best friend you can ever have!

  8. I love reading all of your comments. Yesterday, I had to put my faithful German Shepherd, Hazel to sleep. It was so hard to do, but I knew she wouldn’t make it another day. I have shed so many tears and am totally lost without her. It is so hard walking through the house and yard with out her following me. She was so loyal and sweet. I just pray for peace and comfort to anyone who has lost a pet that has been so loyal them. The veterinarian, close friends, and relatives have told me she had a great home and they will miss her a lot too. All I know, is that I miss her terribly!

  9. I checked into this website just to see what life span I can expect for my girl Vicki. She will be 10 in June. While she is 100% healthy and always has been– zero health issues of any kind– I can notice her visibly slowing down little by little and gradually aging just in the past year or so. So I wanted to know what to expect. Based on this website and the fact that she is, as my vet says, “disgustingly healthy”, it looks like I should get maybe another 3 or so years with her. Grateful to hear it.

  10. My beautiful baby is 11 already, time really is a bitch n her hearing n vision is not what it used to b,still her world revolves around me n I don’t think I could ever find another who loves me as much

  11. Hans was my best friend. He passed away today at the age of 9. I feel that part of me has died with him. He did not have one mean bone in his body and even though he was a big boy and could intimidate, he never showed signs of aggression. He was pretty sick and i knew his time was near, Yesterday i barbequed him a steak and had some family over….We spent the whole day together and the family was debating weather we should put him down and end his suffering? He was so intelligent that i believe he understood the debate and passed on his own terms rather than having us make such a hard decision. I have never seen a more intelligent, loyal, playful, beautiful looking dog in my life!!!!!!!!! I miss you my baby boy! Until we meet again, my loyal true best friend. Rip Hanzzy bunzzy!!!! 04/22/07-06/13/16

  12. When my GSD passed, My had to mend a year before I accepted the fact that I needed another dog. No, I didn’t get another GSD. I didn’t think it was fair to be comparing traits of the new one to my best friend who passed . I decided on a Doberman. Good decision, their personality traits, behavior, etc., are very different than a GSD. So, there was no comparing, just new bonding and love.

  13. This is a beautiful and helpful web site. I am fearing my Sonny has a short time left. My husband has suffered numerous Stroke and she is so important and always at his side. He seems to communicate with her and we need her at this time in our life. All of your messages have expressed feeling of sadness and will help me through this process. Thank you.

  14. I had to put my 12 year old GSD to sleep on Sunday. The pain is intense. Was the most difficult thing I had to do. He was my best friend and has left paw prints on my heart. I loved him dearly ???

    1. I really appreciate all the heartfelt feelings of grief expressed by everyone who has lost their treasured GSD. Only those who have had these special creatures could ever understand how deeply they affect our lives. My wife and I said goodby to our 12.5 year old GSD, General, yesterday, and time has stopped for us. We have cried until there were no more tears and we feel so sad and numb. However, we have some solace knowing that we provided our special boy we the best possible life a dog could have and remember the many beautiful memories he has provided us. You really can understand true love when you are privileged to be a care taker of one of these amazing dogs. We know that one day we will be reunited and that heaven is now the recipient of our General’s boundless energy. May God bless all of you that have been touched by the lives of your own special, beautiful and truly wonderful GSD!

  15. It’s the most difficult thing in the world to have to put your German Shepherd to sleep. I have my third GSD and having had to put the previous two to sleep I know just how many of you feel. My current GSD is an all black one named Shadow and is already 10 years old but is in perfect health and has never had any problems at all during his life. He eats and drinks very healthily and has tons of exercise. I am hopeful that he will live to a ripe old age but I am kind of prepared for him to go eventually. But nothing ever really prepares you for that actual moment when it happens. It’s a real shame that these beautiful, large dogs have such a short lifespan. They become so much a part of our lives and it’s understandable that we just cannot do without them. Perhaps the future will hold for a longer lifespan as many smaller dogs live much longer than GSD’s. Let us hope eh!

  16. We had to put Our 12 y/o GSD Greko to sleep a few days ago and its been tough. I was there with the vet when my dog was put to sleep so makes it even tougher. He was so smart, beautiful and loving till the end and everytime I see a picture of him I burst into tears. He was so part of my life I just think back of so many good times we had. I will never forget him and he will have a place in my heart forever

  17. Just a few days ago we had to put our beautiful baby Belle to sleep. I knew the time was coming as we had been managing her arthritis with pain meds and steroids for a while. I still wasn’t prepared for her to be unable to walk after slipping coming inside. I know she would have fought through the pain to stay with us but I couldn’t let her, so I made the hardest decision ever and let her go. I miss her terribly. We rescued her just a few days shy of 9 years ago, and we think she was about 3 when we brought her home. Those years were the best, she was the most amazing friend.

  18. My Argus died at 9 years 4 months and 17 days on March 18th a year ago. We got him when he was 8 weeks old. We are all still crying at any thought or mention of him. He started acting old between the age of 8 and 9 which really worried me. One day he woke up with a crooked ear, and it was downhill from there. After a couple of weeks he could not even stand, and had to be fed pedialite and baby food with a syringe. The specialist vet said he had tumors in the chest and brain and had gone blind. We had to let him go. This is worse than my mother dying. I never expected him to die so young, and we only learned on the day he was put to sleep that he had cancer. His loss has changed my life. I will never ever be the same again. I did not want to live without him. I don’t know how we did it but two weeks after he died we were desperate and located an 8 week old GS puppy of the same coloring which we immediately adopted. I would have bet all I owned that I would never have gotten another one so soon, but it was the BEST decision we made. Our new boy has helped us deal with our grief and brought MUCH joy back into our lives that only a GS can bring.
    The best advice I can give is that after a loss the sooner you find another GS to love and give a great home to, the better you will feel. The one we lost will always hold a special place in my heart.

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