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Pet Insurance for German Shepherd

Find out all about German Shepherds and their common health conditions, and then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 19th, 2023       

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Price range

$800–$1,500

Height

55cm - 65cm

Weight

22kg - 40kg

Personality

Intelligent, loyal, versatile

Coat length

Medium or long, thick

Exercise needs

High

Kid-friendly?

Can be

Life expectancy

9 - 12 years

German Shepherd

Overview

The German Shepherd, also called the Alsatian in the UK and other parts of Europe, is a highly intelligent and versatile breed of dog originating from Germany. The breed was established by Max von Stephanits, who started breeding German sheepdogs in 1899. However, after the First and Second World Wars, the breed was re-named Alsatian Wolf Dog due to its popularity with Nazis, including Hitler. The ‘wolf dog’ part of the name was dropped after breeders became worried the association with wolves might harm the popularity of the breed.

The name Alsatian remained for five decades until it was re-registered as the German Shepherd in 1977. It is now one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world, and they are used in many roles including police work, military, search and rescue, customs detection, personal assistance dogs and as family companions. 

The German Shepherd is a strong, powerful dog that is also often used as a guard dog. They have a dense, thick double coat that requires regular grooming. German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, courage, and protective instincts. Although once considered a dangerous breed, and briefly banned in Australia, German Shepherds have recently been bred to be family pets and their aggressive nature has largely been bred out of them. They are loyal companions who traditionally come in a combination of colours – either black and tan, or red and black, although other colours such as black roan and white are also more rarely available. As an active working dog, they require a lot of exercise and a large backyard to accommodate their size and energy.  

Common diseases and conditions of German Shepherds

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common orthopaedic condition affecting the joint's development. It can lead to discomfort and mobility issues. 
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Another common orthopaedic condition that affects the elbow joints and can lead to lameness and mobility issues.    
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This genetic condition causes progressive weakness of the hind limbs due to degeneration of the nerve fibres within the spinal cord.  
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): A serious condition where the stomach twists, potentially causing a life-threatening emergency. 
  • Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can affect German Shepherds. It may lead to seizures. 

Breed-specific issues:  

The protective nature of German Shepherds can make them reserved around strangers, so early socialisation is important to get them accustomed to a variety of people. They require very regular exercise and mental stimulation to stop them from becoming bored.

How much does pet insurance cost for a German Shepherd?

Most Australians can expect to pay between $20 and $60 a month for pet insurance. There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your dog, including the following:

  • Age: The older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because senior dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.    
  • Type of insurance you choose:  There are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type of insurance available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most.  
  • The policy annual limit: Each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.   
  • Sub-limits: In addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub-limits that apply to the policy, for example, a $300 sub-limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.   
  • Benefit percentage: Pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for the best policies available.   
  • Excess amount: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do.  
  • Any add-ons you choose: It’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.  
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about German Shepherds

Are German Shepherds naturally aggressive? 

No, German Shepherds are not naturally aggressive. They are known for their loyalty and protective instincts, but proper training and socialisation play a significant role in their behaviour. Well-raised German Shepherds can be gentle and loving family companions. 

Do German Shepherds shed a lot?

Yes, German Shepherds have a thick double coat that sheds year-round. Regular deep brushing is required to help manage their shedding and to keep their coat shiny and healthy. 

 
 
Are German Shepherds easy to train?

Yes, German Shepherds are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them one of the easier breeds to train. They excel in various dog sports and obedience tests, which is why they are used so extensively by the police, customs officers and the military. 

Can German Shepherds get on with other pets and cats?

German Shepherds can co-exist with other pets, including cats, but it largely depends on their early socialisation and individual temperament. Early socialisation with other animals can help them learn to interact peacefully. However, some German Shepherds have a strong prey drive, which makes them inclined to chase smaller animals like cats.  

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German Shepherd

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