Female German Shepherd dogs are slightly smaller, lighter and more delicate in their features than their male counterparts. A female German shepherd puppy may be the best choice if you are primarily seeking a pet or a guard dog for the family. This is because they have a stronger tendency towards guarding groups, not individuals. They also have lower overall aggression than males, and therefore are a popular choice for therapy or service work.
- How big are female German Shepherds?
- Differences in temperament
- Training and socialization
- Special female health considerations
Today, I’ll take a close look at the female German Shepherd Dog. I will examine the unique temperament, personality, and characteristics of these gorgeous girls, and to help you decide which gender is the right fit for you.
Male vs Female German Shepherds
For some people, aside from simple size, weight, and height considerations, there really is no important or measurable difference between a male and a female German shepherd. But for other people, even the subtle differences between a male and a female German shepherd can be sufficiently important to make one gender a preferable choice to the other in certain specific situations.
Female German Shepherd size, height, and weight
One of the most obvious general distinctions about the female GSD is that she is generally leaner, smaller, and shorter than her male counterpart.
German shepherd dogs are considered to be “sexually dimorphic,” which means there can be a visible difference in appearance between the appearance of the adult male and adult female dogs within the breed. This may be as simple as a height and weight difference or it could include differences in facial and body configuration and behavior, what is often termed “feminization” or “masculinization,” which relates to the dominance of different hormones as the dog grows up.
The female GSD stands 22 to 24 inches high (paw to shoulder), a full two inches shorter than the male. And the female GSD will weigh between 50 and 70 pounds, which makes her about 15 pounds lighter than the adult male. Of course, these weight generalizations may vary depending on any given puppy’s parents.
Coat Color and Pattern
The bi-color coat pattern is the most common and recognized color for the German shepherd dog of either gender. In most cases, you will find a black female German shepherd that displays one other secondary coat color, either cream, red, tan, or silver.
In certain cases, you may see a single-color GSD in blue, gray, liver, sable, or white, although these are not breed standard colors and may render your dog at fault or deemed ineligible (certainly in the case of the white coat color) for the show ring.
There is no gender-related differentiation in overall coat color or pattern that is seen in the male versus female German shepherd.
Female German Shepherd Personality
The German shepherd female temperament can also show marked differences in behavior and personality that can be related back to her gender.
Whether these differences are present and how apparent they may be will vary depending on the traits of the specific parent dogs, which is why it is important to be able to meet and get to know each parent dog as you are selecting between male and female German shepherd puppies.
Experienced GSD breeders and trainers often cite the following presentation and personality differences you may see more frequently or more overtly in the female German shepherd temperament:
- Less likely to guard “her” items, be that a favorite toy, a treat or meal, a certain family member, etc.
- More likely to bond equally with more than one family member (aside from the principle person responsible for training and meals).
- May be easier to train and more sensitive to commands and cues.
- Possibly a better pick for service dog or therapy dog work.
- Good for rally, agility, and obedience training due to lighter weight, smaller size, and more graceful body structure.
- Less apt to become territorial in the presence of strangers.
- A female German shepherd dog may be a better pick for first-time dog owners, families with young children, or individuals/families primarily desiring a pet dog.
In one study sponsored through the Royal Veterinary College in the UK, data showed that at 11.1 years, female German shepherd dogs tend to live, on average, 1.4 years longer than male GSDs, whose average lifespan is 9.7 years.
Female German Shepherd Training
The GSD is currently the second most popular family pet dog in America, and this is for good reason, but ongoing regular socialization and puppy training is a huge reason why! Here, when planning your GSD’s sociability and training, it is wise to keep certain fundamental German shepherd dog traits in mind.
This is one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds! Your German shepherd has an incredibly strong work ethic with tremendous drive and focus while on the job. They will also bond strongly with the entire family.
Positive training methods focus on delivering praise, playtime, pets, and treats in response to well-learned tasks and commands. Negative training will likely increase this breed’s tendency towards aggression or hostility when poorly handled.
German shepherds of either gender are hands-down one of the most popular police and K-9 dogs in the world. Some of these are German shepherd mix dogs while others are purebred GSDs.
Everyone in the family should play a part in feeding and training your new pup. This will go a long way towards developing her tendency to bond closely with each family member. Make sure that she meets lots of strangers outdoors and at home. The window for socialization closes around 16 weeks old, so your first few weeks together are going to be busy.
While a female German shepherd is lighter and shorter, she will still be strong from the get-go! Choosing the right collar and lead system will help you.
Female German shepherds will need plenty of early socialization with young children in the family and with other family pets. Young children in particular will need to be supervised at all times in interactions with your female GSD puppy! This is for everyone’s safety. Children may be unintentionally rougher with a puppy that can be easily tolerated and this can lead to preventable incidents.
Health Issues and Testing
There are some health issues that both male and female GSDs share in common. These issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cardiac issues, eye issues, autoimmune thyroiditis, and degenerative myelopathy. Only hip and elbow dysplasia are currently required tests for reputable breeders, with the remainder being optional (recommended) health tests.
German shepherds can sometimes contract a blood disease called hemophilia A. Female German shepherd dogs are usually carriers and, unlike males with the genes for the condition, will not show symptoms. There is a health test to detect this disease, which is present from birth.
Interestingly, this condition is less likely to impact female German shepherd dogs than males. The reason is not yet known, although researchers suspect there may be several genes (polygenetic) involved.
German Shepherd Spaying
Having an un neutered female dog is inconvenient, but only for a few weeks of the year.
Spaying is a commonly carried out procedure, but it does come with some risks. Certain health conditions are more common in girls that are spayed before 12 months old. This is because spaying gets rid of some important hormones. Urinary incontinence, mammary cancer and joint disorders are all more likely is your girl is neutered before a year old.