How and when to breed German Shepherd | Tips for breeding

breeding german shepherd

Planning to breed your German Shepherd and not sure when and how to breed.

German Shepherd is the 2nd most popular dog breed in USA and it is their for solid reasons. They are quite intelligent dogs who do well both as a companion dog or a guard dog. Being highly intelligent and easy to train, they often participate and win Dog shows.

Here is a complete guide on what you can look for about breeding of German Shepherd.

  • Types of German Shepherd dog breed?
    • Based on being working dog or show dog
    • Based on type of color
  • When to breed a German Shepherd?
    • For male dog
    • For female dog
    • Effects of breeding a younger than recommended GSD?
    • Effects of breeding older than recommended GSD?
  • Steps to take for breeding German Shepherd
  • How many litters German Shepherd produce?
  • How much time it takes for German Shepherd to produce Puppies?
  • About German Shepherd

Type of German Shepherd dog

German Shepherd Breed based on what they are bred for

German shepherd is characterized for what he would be bred for. There are two distinct types based on the body type.

German Shepherd Show line Dog breed

Show line GSD have a sloping body. They are typically calmer and relatively larger than working GSDs. They are bred to participate in dog shows.

German Shepherd working line Dog breed

German Shepherds were bred to be working dogs. They are most typically used as a Police or military dog. GSD were originally bred to be used a shepherd dog to drive and protect the flock from the predators. Working GSD are bred relatively smaller and have more energy.

Types of German shepherd Breed based on color

German shepherds are also characterized based on the color coat they have.

Saddle Back German Shepherd

They are most often found German Shepherd. They are predominantly red or tan in color with black color on the back which looks like a saddle.

Solid color German Shepherd

black GSD

They are rare and mostly found in Black or White color. Some mistakenly believe Black GSD to be special dogs though the only difference is in the color. As only 10% of GSD are solid black, their price is quite high sometimes double or triple of average.

Agouti German Shepherd

This type of GSD has multi colors on the full body instead of resembling a saddle. This is due to the dominant genes.

Panda German Shepherd

This is also a rare type GSD which has a white abdomen and legs but has black or tan color on the rest of the body.

breeding german shepherd

When to breed a German Shepherd?

Now that you have decided you want to mate your male or female dog and have litters, let us understand what is the right age for both male and female German shepherd dogs for breeding.

Whether male or female, you should ideally not breed your German Shepherd dog till 2 years. This is when they reach the right maturity level for breeding.

For male dog

One should not consider breeding the male stud before two years. This is to ensure they reach the right maturity age and the recommended health tests can be done to ensure healthy litters.

For female dog

Typically female GSD would be ready to breed after her 2nd heat cycle. Though it is advised to wait until 2 years. This will make sure that GSD is mentally and physically strong to have babies. You can take the advise of experience breeders and the opinion of the vet to see that she has become of the right age.

Effects of breeding a younger than recommended GSD

2 years is the right age of maturity for both male and female GSD. Apart from reaching the right maturity levels it also helps to conduct the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) testing and x-rays testing to check for hip and elbow dysplasia. This is the most prone disease for a German Shepherd. It is important to check for the genetic traits for both for below as well.

  • Arthritis 
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Degenerative myelopathy

Health testing helps in producing litters who are healthy.

If you breed a GSD female earlier than two years, she may not be physically ready and this may have negative effects like still births or serious issues during whelping as her muscles may not be large or strong enough.

Effects of breeding older than recommended GSD

Male GSD should not be bred after 10 years as the quality of sperms start deteriorating. After 8 years, you might want to check with vet and test the same.

Female GSDs should not be bred after 8 years. As with aging, the quality of eggs would deteriorate. It would be harder for her to keep up with full term of pregnancy.

She should also not be bred continuously with out breaking for a season. This may have negative effects on both her and the litters.

GSD puppy

Steps to take for breeding German Shepherd

Let us look at the steps you should take for breeding your male or female GSD.

Step 1) Check if your German shepherd is at the right age to breed and get her tested by vet for her health and genetics.

Step 2) Look for the right mating partner for your dog having healthy genes. Look for quality and experienced breeder for the same.

Step 3) Collect all the lineage information of him/her specially focusing on the physical traits that you are aiming for. As genes of male and female dogs would be passed on and there would be a better chance for you to have your specific type of litter.

Step 4) Breeder may also want to physically examine your dog to make your they both have healthy off springs.

Step 5) Discuss the contact and fees associated. Sometimes breeder may be interested in the number of litters.

Step 6) Think and check the contract for failed pregnancy.

Step 7) Decide where the breeding would happen.


How long is the pregnancy of a German shepherd?

It takes roughly 9 weeks i.e. 63 days for babies to come out post pregnancy for a German Shepherd.

How much time it takes for German Shepherd to produce Puppies?

Typically it ranges from 5 to 8 litters but may vary from 1 to 15 litters at a time.

When should you breed a German shepherd?

You should breed your German Shepherd dog after 2 years whether it is male or female.

german shepherd

About German Shepherd

German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in USA and the most popular Shepherd dog in this list. They are medium to large size dog originally bred in Germany as a herding dog for flocking the animals. They became popular as a working dog across the world for their strength, intelligence, train-ability, and obedience.

German Shepherd dog requires early socialization. They are energetic and easily trainable for the task. Being curious, courageous and loyal, they excel as watch dogs and are popular as a police or military dog.

German Shepherds are not for folks who are allergic to dogs. They shed a lot and are sometimes also called as “German Shedders”. They can grow to a size of 24 to 26 inches and weigh approximately 75 to 95 pounds. The average life span of German Shepherd is 10 to 14 years.

References and further reading:

  1. Know about other Shepherd dogs –
  2. German Shepherd –

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