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American vs. European German Shepherds

german shepherd side profile

The American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd are the same breed, but with different backgrounds. Is there really that much difference between these two? Let's take a closer look.

The European German Shepherd

Not surprisingly, European German Shepherds are bred mainly in Europe. Although these dogs are usually brought over to the United States from Europe, there are some German Shepherd Breeders in America who breed European lines. A few things to know:

  • Regulation: European German Shepherds are regulated under the SV (German Shepherd Club of Germany), which gives each and every registered dog the seal of approval.
  • Physical Characteristics: Physically, European German Shepherds have bigger heads, a straighter line on their hind legs, and a shorter and wider backline.
  • Traits: European German Shepherds are believed to be better suited as working dogs than their American counterparts. Because of this, it's also believed that they make better guard dogs. The majority of police dogs are from European lines. This may be due to the fact that the SV has worked hard at preserving the working temperament of German Shepherds for many years.

The American German Shepherd

American German Shepherd Dogs are bred and raised in the United States. Here are a few things that distinguish them from the German Shepherds that are breed across the Atlantic:

  • Regulation: American German Shepherds may participate in competitions under the American Kennel Club; however, these dogs don't have as many regulations as their European counterparts.
  • Physical Characteristics: Although they are a bit bigger overall than European German Shepherds, they have a more refined head, their hind legs bend more, and their torso is more angled from front to back.
  • Traits: American German Shepherds are known for being elegant, having a graceful walk, and for their extraordinary performance in the show ring.

Which German Shepherd is right for you, the American or the European? That's something only you can answer. But if you're a German Shepherd lover, we're sure you'll find something to love in both varieties.

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall


    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
     

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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