The German Shepherd, or Deutscher Schäferhund, is a large-sized working dog that is actually a modern breed despite its wolf-like appearance.
GSDs have been coined ‘working dogs’ as they were originally bred and trained to herd sheep, and perform other ‘jobs’ on the farm. In the US, it is the second most registered dog and the 7th in the UK.
When a German Shepherd mom gives birth, it can produce up to 15 litters. That’s a lot of adorable GSD puppies to look after, especially since the puppies can’t even see properly in the beginning!
It isn’t until roughly two weeks after birth that German Shepherd puppies will begin to crawl and open their eyes, and start seeing the outside world for the first time!
When Do German Shepherd Puppies Open Their Eyes?
In general, a German Shepherd puppy can open its eyes after 7 to 10 days after birth. They don’t see anything yet though.
At this age, their eyes can’t focus yet. A German Shepherd can start to focus and see things after about 14 days, after birth.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s First Week
German Shepherd Lore revealed that a GSD’s development begins upon birth. Upon birth, its ears and eyes are closed.
Its umbilical cord is still attached. Their heartbeat is slow. The first three days of a GSD puppy’s life are the most critical.
After three or four days, the umbilical cord of a GSD puppy gets dry and falls off.
At this stage, your GSD puppy relies on its mother in everything. Its mother will feed it, clean it, and protect it from everything.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s Second Week
In its second week, the heartbeat of a GSD becomes faster. Its temperature starts to normalize as well. At two weeks old, the nervous system of a GSD puppy is still not fully developed.
At this age, it will start to open its eyes and ears. After the second week, it can have fully opened eyes and ears.
A GSD puppy at this age starts to crawl too and can do its bowel movement on its own. A GSD’s first step often happens two weeks after birth.
In normal circumstances, a GSD baby will open its eyes at around 10 days according to pets.thenest.com.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s Third Week
In its third week, your GSD puppy begins to socialize. It can walk and it will start exploring around.
At this stage, it starts to form a bond with other puppies and with humans. Its emotional development starts to develop as well.
Your puppy will start to roam around. A slight noise will make it react. It will start to notice other living things like cats or other animals in the household. It will start to notice you, its owner.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s Fourth Week
After a month, you will start to notice how your GSD puppy starts to play with its littermates. You can introduce it to a pet toy too. It will start playing with humans at this age as well.
At one month, a GSD puppy already has a full set of teeth. Its temperature is now normal so is its heartbeat.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s Second and Third Months
What to Expect at six weeks old, you have to start grooming your German Shepherd puppy. You should also start exposing your puppy to kids to see how it will react or its behavior around children.
At two to three months old, your puppy is learning quickly by now. Its motor skills have greatly improved by this time and it has reached sexual maturity.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s Fourth to Six Months
Your GSD puppy is no longer considered a puppy at this age. At the age of six months, a GSD is now considered an adult. A female GSD experiences its first estrus period at this age.
For both male and female GSDs, this is their juvenile stage. It means it is their most active phase in life. Your GSD would want to go outside all the time, play, or run. It is about doing outdoor activities.
A German Shepherd Puppy’s First Year Onwards
If a female German Shepherd reaches sexual maturity at six months old, a male GSD once it reaches one year old. It now raises one leg when urinating to show ownership and leadership.
After 12 months of being with you, you can now feel the bond that your dog has for you. You can also start reading your dog’s body language at this age and enroll it in a training class.
Your GSD will continue its maturity until it reaches three years old.
What If Your German Shepherd Puppy Has Not Opened Its Eyes After Two Weeks?
If it has been two weeks and your puppy has not opened its eyes yet, you can check if its eyes are clouded with dirt (birth buildup dirt).
It can be removed by gently cleaning your pup’s eyes, including its lids and eyelashes. Use a cotton ball dip in warm water to clean your pup’s eye.
If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t fret. You can do it again the following day according to Dopappy.com.
If you notice swelling in your pup’s eye, you can do the same cleaning strategy. If the eye is infected, use saline water to clean its eyes. A drop of saline water two to three times a day should do the trick.
What Are the Common Eye Problems for German Shepherds?
German Shepherds of all ages are susceptible to eye problems. Among the common eye problems that GSDs are at risk of are:
- Corneal dystrophy
- Dry eyes
- Persistent pupillary membranes
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Retinal dysplasia
According to summerviewgermanshepherds.com, it is best to have your GSD checked regularly, especially your eyes.
For cataracts, GSDs can undergo surgery to have it removed, provided that your GSD is healthy enough to have the operation.
If you are purchasing a GSD puppy, ask the breeder if the pup has been checked by a certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
This is one of the best ways to ensure that your German Shepherd puppy won’t have any serious eye problems in the future.