The 13 club is run by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America for the purpose of finding Older german shepherds and why they may live longer. In the list below I have a few of my dogs that lived beyond the age of 12. Persons with German shepherds older can apply for this certificate after their dog reaches the age of 12 years. If you have a german shepherd dog who has reached the age of 12- contact the german shepherd club on info regarding getting a certificate like those below .
As with hip- dysplasia, life span does seem to have a genetic or familial basis. Generally a breed of dog who is smaller lives longer, but I have not found that to be true within the gsd breed itself. My bigger older lines are consistently living longer then my smaller dogs of different lines that I have tried. I like to let my dogs live out their lives with me. My older lines have averaged 12-14 years, however when I had the smaller german lines the tendancy was about 10 years and when I had the American show lines the tendency was a life span of 8 to 11 years. Of course I have had very small numbers on which to base this assumption . So there is no need to assume this as a rule it is just my experience. Spinal myopathy has been the main reason , I think, that the gsd does not tend to live much past 13 or 14, Spinal Myelopathy is a disco-ordination of the hind end. this can be seen in many breeds if they live long enough. I have another link on the disease.Spinal Myelopathy in more detail . So far my male dogs have lived an average of one year less then my female dogs. I have been fortunate in that I have never had a dog of these old lines show symptoms of myelopathy before the age of 11.5 years and Falco never showed signs at all , neither did Tasha or Heather. At this time there is no genetic test for Spinal Myelopathy and my foundation lines still alive and with me are Kira age 13, Emma, age 11, and Sam, age 10. None are showing signs as yet .
Falco reached the age of 12.5 years
Heather reached the age of 13.5 years
Lady reached the age of 14 years
MEARA REACHED THE AGE OF 13.5 YEARS
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