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Health & the German Shepherd

Broadly speaking the German Shepherd Dog is a robust strong and healthy dog, very outgoing and friendly with good longevity. These facts would certainly apply to the puppies purchased from reputable breeders who have consistently strived over a number of years to health test their breeding stock with particular reference to hip and more recently elbow x rays. 

It is inevitable however that when health issues are discussed it is the problems associated with an individual breed that are highlighted and not the general good health of the said breed of dog.


A popular misconception amongst the general public is that the show stance of the German Shepherd contributes to problems with the rear end, this is completely wrong. In stance for the showring the dog is placed for only a fraction of time, maybe 30 seconds whilst its construction is assessed.


BVA/KC HD & ED - The UK recognised scheme originally introduced and operated by the GSD League that has now expanded to include all breeds.  HD  scores range from 0-53 on each hip giving scores ranging from 0-106.  The lower the score the better the hips.  ED scores range from 0-3 for each elbow, again the lower the score the better. Differing from the scoring of HD the maximum score is a total of 3.

Reputable breeders follow the guidelines set up by the GSD breed council. For HD no score higher than 20 with no more difference than 4 between both sides of the hips should be used for breeding. For ED no score above 1 should be used for breeding.

SV HD & ED - This scheme . is operated by the SV in Germany and through the WUSV is accepted and recognised all over the world. Both hips and elbows are x rayed and graded. Three grades are acceptable for breeding, Normal, Fast Normal and Noch Zugelassen. Translation - normal, near normal and still accepable.

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