How Long do German Shepherds Live in Dog Years? [Full Guide]

German Shepherds are a popular choice for many dog lovers. But just how long can you expect your German Shepherd to be by your side in dog years? Read on to discover the answer and learn how to give your furry companion the best chance at a long and healthy life. 🫀

How Long do German Shepherds Live in Dog Years? [Full Guide]
Photo by Wannes De Mol / Unsplash

Popular dog breeds like German Shepherds are prized for their loyalty, intelligence, and adaptability. If you own a German Shepherd, you might be curious about the typical lifespan of your furry friend. This article will examine the average lifespan of German Shepherds as well as the factors that may shorten or lengthen it.

German Shepherd Lifespan 🫀

On average, German Shepherds live between 10 and 13 years in human years. In dog years, this is equivalent to 70 to 93 years old.

Some German Shepherds, though, can live up to or even longer than 15 years. A German Shepherd's longevity can be influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, food, activity, and general health care.

Important criteria that play an important role in a German Shepherd's lifespan

  • Genetics
    Your German Shepherd's genetic background may have a big impact on how long it lives. Certain German Shepherds may be more vulnerable to illnesses that shorten their lives, like hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy. When adopting or acquiring a German Shepherd, it's important to do your homework on the breeder to make sure they are breeding for health and longevity.

  • Diet
    Another important aspect of a German Shepherd's longevity is diet. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your pet's risk of developing obesity-related health problems. This is made possible with a balanced, nutrient-rich food. It's important to feed your German Shepherd high-quality dog food and to refrain from giving them unhealthy treats or table scraps.

  • Exercise
    Due to their active nature, German Shepherds need a lot of exercise to maintain both their physical and emotional well-being. Exercise on a regular basis can lower the risk of developing joint issues, enhance cardiovascular health, and avoid obesity. Give your German Shepherd lots of chances to exercise, whether it is through daily walks or runs, retrieve games, or agility training.

  • Overall Health Care
    Your German Shepherd's general health depends on routine veterinary examinations. Your pet's longevity may be increased by early detection and treatment of health problems with the assistance of your veterinarian. Also, it's essential to keep up oral health, parasite prevention, and vaccination schedules.

Is a 7-year-old German Shepherd old?

Even if a German Shepherd is 7 years old, they are still regarded to be in its prime. A German Shepherd's lifespan is 10–13 years on average, therefore a dog that is 7 years old is almost halfway through its life span.

Is 12 old for a German Shepherd?

Although it is not unusual for German Shepherds to live to be 12 years old, this age is regarded to be on the elder side for them. A German Shepherd is regarded as a senior dog at the age of 12 and may begin to exhibit age-related health difficulties, such as joint discomfort or diminished mobility.

Can a German Shepherd live 20 years?

For a German Shepherd to live 20 years is incredibly uncommon. It is rare for German Shepherds to live past the age of 15, yet some dogs may live longer than usual. Nonetheless, German Shepherds can live a long and happy life if given the right care and attention to their health requirements.

Longest-living German Shepherd

Zeynep, a German shepherd mix from Türkiye who is 23 years old, may soon be acknowledged as the oldest living dog in the entire world.
The senior dog's Ankara-based owner has pleaded with the Guinness Book of World Records to formally award the title to her devoted pet.

What is the common cause of death in German Shepherds?

The most common causes of death in German Shepherds are:

🔹 Degenerative myelopathy: This spinal cord condition progresses over time and can result in weakness and ultimately paralysis in the back legs. It is more prevalent in older dogs and is thought to be hereditary.

🔹 Cancer: German Shepherds are predisposed to certain cancers, including hemangiosarcoma (a blood vessel cancer), lymphoma (a lymphatic system cancer), and osteosarcoma (a bone cancer).

🔹 Hip dysplasia: This is a condition in which the hip joint does not develop properly, causing pain and stiffness. It is also believed to be inherited and can lead to arthritis and mobility issues.

🔹 Bloat: Also known as gastric torsion or twisted stomach, bloat is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. It can lead to shock and death if not treated immediately.

🔹 Old age: As with all living beings, German Shepherds will eventually succumb to the effects of aging and may pass away from natural causes such as organ failure or general decline in health.

German Shepherd end-of-life symptoms

German Shepherds may endure a loss in their physical and mental capabilities as they get older, and they might also show other signs that their time is running out. Some of the end-of-life symptoms that German Shepherds may display include:

  • Decreased appetite: As dogs get older, they may lose interest in food, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition.

  • Lethargy: Older dogs may become less active and spend more time sleeping or lying down.

  • Difficulty breathing: German Shepherds with heart or lung problems may experience shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.

  • Incontinence: Older dogs may become incontinent, meaning they are unable to control their bladder or bowels.

  • Pain: German Shepherds with arthritis or other chronic pain conditions may become more uncomfortable as they age.

  • Behavioral changes: Older dogs may exhibit changes in their behavior, such as increased agitation or confusion, restlessness, or anxiety.

It's vital to keep in mind that these symptoms can also be brought on by a number of medical issues. As a result, it's vital to speak with a veterinarian to identify the underlying reason and decide the best course of action. Sometimes supportive care, like managing discomfort, staying hydrated, and eating healthy food, can enhance a dog's quality of life in its final days.

Here's a table that compares the average lifespan of German Shepherds to other popular dog breeds:

Breed Average Lifespan (in human years)
German Shepherd 10-13 years
Labrador Retriever 10-12 years
Poodle 12-15 years
Golden Retriever 10-12 years
Bulldog 8-10 years


In conclusion, a German Shepherd's lifespan can vary depending on a number of factors, including genetics, nutrition, activity, and general health care. You can help guarantee your furry buddy lives a long and fulfilling life by giving them a healthy diet, frequent exercise, and excellent medical care.

Related Articles