The German shepherd dog (GSD) is a preferred choice of many law enforcement and military agencies across the world. Unfortunately, the breed is afflicted with approximately 50 hereditary diseases. Seven major diseases afflicting the GSD are described herein: pancreatic acinar atrophy, megaesophagus, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, hemophilia A, von Willebrand disease, and hereditary multifocal renal cystadenocarcinoma and nodular dermatofibrosis. Also included is a discussion of behavior, a characteristic thought to be inherited in the dog and often problematic in larger breeds such as the GSD. Current clinical and genetic research efforts pertaining to these diseases are reviewed.