Faithful, noble, and strong: that’s the best way to describe the incredible German Shepherd. Bred as all-purpose workers, they have the wits, confidence, and muscle to handle the most demanding tasks. These dogs are ready to do whatever it takes to earn our love and respect. So, it’s only fair for us to return the favor.
And there’s a perfect date for that: May 10th, German Shepherd Day!
Established back in 2011, this holiday has one simple yet important goal: to celebrate these one-of-a-kind dogs. What’s the story behind this day, though? More importantly, how can the average German Shepherd owner make their buds feel special on May 10th? We have all the answers right here!
German Shepherd Day: What Does It Celebrate?
Just like the name suggests, the German Shepherd Day was introduced to recognize the wonderful German Shepherds. This breed has been among the most popular picks in the US for many years and deserves to be appreciated. Now, there aren’t any strict “rules of conduct” on this day. Instead, this event gives us all an incentive to show our German Shepherds how much they mean to us.
German Shepherds are much more than loyal pets. For decades, they’ve been doing police work, locating bombs/narcotics, and tracking criminals. In addition, German Shepherds make excellent service and search-and-rescue dogs, thanks to their heightened senses, witty minds, and brave hearts. Thankfully, all this hard work didn’t go unnoticed, and on May 10th, 2011, German Shepherds finally got the much-anticipated recognition.
When Is German Shepherd Day?
May 10th—that’s when Alsatian owners (an old German name for these dogs) from across the globe get to honor their four-legged family members. While the exact day of the week will, of course, vary depending on the year, May 10th is a date that’s easy to remember. That said, it might be a good idea to check in advance to see whether you’re going to be busy that day or not.
Even if you have to work on May 10th, you can request a day off or ask a colleague to cover your shift in advance. Or, at the very least, get home an hour or two earlier for the celebration.
The Roots: The History Behind the German Shepherd Day
With the right approach, German Shepherd Day can easily turn into the highlight of your dog’s month or even year. But when did it all start—when did the very first German Shepherd Day celebration take place? International German Shepherd Day was introduced on May 10th, 2011, by a Facebook page dedicated to German Shepherds. And it didn’t take long for German Shepherd Day to take off.
In a little over a decade, it quickly turned into a popular celebration. And we have Ingrid Birch, the owner of an incredible German Shepherd named Peter George de Corban, to thank for that. Unfortunately, he left this world when he was just a 9.5-year-old boy. So, this day is inspired by and dedicated to him, but it also brings all the fellow German Shepherds and their human parents together.
Peter George’s Story: Against All Odds
Although the first official German Shepherd Day celebration was held in 2011, Peter’s family has been doing it since 2001. That’s when this special dog was born. Unfortunately, he was a very weak and sick puppy. Veterinarians had almost no hope that the pooch would make it to six months. Every other pup in his litter died before making it to adulthood.
But Peter George did survive to celebrate his first birthday (May 10th, 2001). Sadly, he passed away in 2009. The German Shepherd Day was established two years later, in 2011.
How Can You Help on This Day?
If you’re up for it, there’s always the option of donating to an adoption center, animal care organization, or rescue/refuge. You can also spread awareness about stray dogs, encourage other folks to help the cause through a charity event or a fundraiser or volunteer at one of the local shelters. Even if you do something as trivial as post German Shepherd Day-related info and links on your social media, it will still help the cause.
However, this day should be more about YOUR German Shepherd, and we’ll cover the best activities for a German Shepherd Day next.
Treating Your Doggo on the GSD Day: A Detailed Guide
Saying how much you love the dog and taking a picture or two is a great way to start the day. But, if you want to make this day truly memorable for the German Shepherd, you’ll have to put in a little bit more effort. Here are some tried-and-true activities to lift the pup’s spirits and have a wonderful time with each other:
- Start with a simple walk. You don’t have to do something crazy here. Instead, get the pet in the right mood by taking a short walk around the block. Or you can start the day with a jog or a hike. First, that will get the pup excited about what the day has in store for it. Secondly, physical activity will increase its appetite and get it ready for treats.
- Check out a local national park. If the local scenery is oh-so-familiar, consider visiting a dog park, beach, or national park. True, many parks have strict rules when it comes to dogs, but most will happily let your canine friend in as long as it’s on a leash. Always stick to the trail and check the rules in advance before hitting the road.
- How about a delicious meal? Alright, now it’s time to have a feast. Just like national parks, restaurants, diners, and cafes aren’t always welcoming to pups. That said, most joints around the US have absolutely no problem with dogs in the outdoor areas. So, grab a bite and enjoy it with the Shepherd. Starbucks even has a dedicated treat for dogs: Puppuccino (whipped cream).
- Try your skills at agility training. German Shepherd Dogs are equally strong and smart. That’s why agility-focused games, puzzles, exercise, and training are perfect for them. You can visit a local club, go to a park, or buy a course online and some basic gear and turn your home into an improvised agility class.
- Buy a gift. If you live up north, a warm sweater will be a great gift. Or, you could go with cute dog boots, a cool harness, or a bag so that the dog can carry some weight on your next hiking trip. Also, try to make the gift personal by writing your four-legged bud’s name on it.
- Finish the day with a movie. Dogs love nothing more than to lie on the carpet/couch and watch something with their owners. As luck would have it, there are quite a few movies that feature German Shepherd
Keeping a German Shepherd Healthy: The Basics
German Shepherds are healthy dogs; however, they’re prone to dysplasia (hip/elbow), gastric dilatation-volvulus, seizures, and hemophilia (blood clot issues), along with various eye, spinal, and bone diseases. Thankfully, most of these conditions can be either avoided or treated via regular veterinary visits. German Shepherds also need their fair share of physical and mental activity to stay happy.
We’re talking about walks, hikes, agility training, herding, tracking, and puzzle games. The lack of exercise might lead to anxiety and destructive behavior. Early socialization and obedience training (paired with positive reinforcement) should be a part of the routine as well. To keep the coat in shape, you’ll only have to brush it 3–4 times a week. However, when the shedding season arrives, daily brushing will be necessary.
As for nutrition, follow these simple rules when feeding a German Shepherd:
- Feed it premium-quality food that’s rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins
- Only feed the dog canine-friendly foods and avoid table scraps
- Pick a diet that’s appropriate for the German Shepherd’s age (puppy, adult, or senior)
- To avoid bloat, keep the portions small and feed the dog several times per day
German Shepherds are largely recognized as the smartest, bravest, and most loyal canine citizens. Quick to follow commands and eager to please, German Shepherds are ready to put their lives on the line to protect their favorite humans. That’s exactly why these dogs deserve to have a special day that shows just how much we love them.
As we learned today, German Shepherd Day was established in 2011 in memory of an exceptional German Shepherd, Peter George. So, if you’re the proud owner of a German Shepherd Day, make sure to mark May 10th on your calendar to celebrate! A tasty snack, a mighty hug, and a day spent together—that’s all they need to be happy!