Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your White German Shepherd puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in White German Shepherds, the best dog food diet for feeding White German Shepherd puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

White German Shepherd dog breed

White German Shepherd Health Problems and Raising a White German Shepherd Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in White German Shepherds:

Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are the main orthopedic problems in White Shepherds. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 86,000 German Shepherds (of all colors) and found 19% dysplastic. That's terrible. As for elbows, over 23,000 elbow X-rays were evaluated – again, this was for German Shepherds of all colors – and nearly 20% were dysplastic (the 8th worst rate of 82 breeds).

Panosteitis is a common orthopedic disease in young German Shepherds. Also cruciate ligament rupture and osteochondritis can occur. Less common are Wobbler's syndrome and hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD).

All kinds of heart disease occur in German Shepherds: sub-aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, and mitral valve disease.

Epilepsy has become a concern in German Shepherds.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in White German Shepherds. Hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and lymphosarcoma are the three most common cancers.

German Shepherds are very prone to autoimmune diseases, where a dog's defective immune system attacks its own body.

  • If the skin is the target of the defective immune system, you will see perianal fistula, sebaceous adenitis, lupus, pemphigus, nail bed disease, or vitiligo.
  • If other organs are targeted instead, the resulting diseases include degenerative spinal myelopathy (leading to lameness then paralysis), megaesophagus, and myasthenia gravis.

Skin problems are rampant in German Shepherds, especially allergies (causing itchy skin) and pyoderma (folliculitis and furunculosis). Other skin problems include demodectic mange, seborrhea, and lick granuloma.

German Shepherds are notorious for digestive problems, especially chronic diarrhea resulting from food intolerances, hemorrhagic (bloody) gastroenteritis, colitis (from inflammatory bowel disease), or (rarely) pancreatic insufficiency.

As with all deep-chested breeds, White Shepherds are at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome bloat.

Serious eye diseases in German Shepherds are cataracts (which can lead to blindness in White German Shepherd puppies) and pannus (another autoimmune disease). Other eye diseases include cherry eye, lens luxation, corneal dystrophy, retinal dysplasia, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 12% of German Shepherds have low thyroid levels. Other diseases of the hormonal/endocrine system that are sometimes seen in German Shepherds are Cushing's disease and diabetes.

Blood-clotting diseases in White German Shepherds include von Willebrand's and hemophilia A, and the more severe hemophilia B.

Some White German Shepherd puppies are born deaf in one or both ears.


Can you prevent health problems from happening to YOUR White German Shepherd?

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in White German Shepherds today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a White German Shepherd puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental – caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your White German Shepherd puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy White German Shepherd puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your White German Shepherd lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your White German Shepherd
The best diet for feeding your White Shepherd is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your White German Shepherd. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your White German Shepherd
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your White German Shepherd. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your White German Shepherd puppy really need? Does your adult Shepherd need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what many vets aren't telling you.


Information on choosing the best vet for your White German Shepherd. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your White German Shepherd. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female White German Shepherd.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.