Who doesn’t want a bit of dog love in their lives? Statistics show that there around 90 million pet dogs, in the US alone, over 60 million households.
That is a staggering number! And German Shepherds are actually one of the most popular dogs in the world, the AKC (American Kennel Club) shows that they’ve consistently ranked as the second most popular dogs in America.
So the natural question that any pet-owner-to-be would want the answer to is, “are German Shepherds good dogs?” There must be something good behind all that hype, right?
Well, to answer that question, we must look at German Shepherds in their different functions.
You see, dog owners may get their special canine mates for different reasons, be it guard dogs, family dogs, or even service dogs, and to accurately say that German Shepherds are good dogs, we must look at them for each of these aspects, and ask ourselves different questions.
Question 1: Are German Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?
The answer to that is a resounding yes!
A guard dog, or watchdog, is the dog that watches over his human family and alerts them when anything goes south.
They need to have a strong bark, so as to ensure their owners are alerted, as well as spike fears in the hearts of intruders.
Granted, sometimes the barking gets really annoying for your neighbors, but that’s the price of safety, right? Guard dogs should also be brave and strong so that they can handle themselves when push comes to shove. These characteristics fit very well with German Shepherds.
German Shepherds have originally been used as sheepherders, which is where the “Shepherd” part of their name comes. In fact, they look quite similar to wolves, so you know not to mess with them. They have excellent traits which help them as guard dogs such as:
- Intelligence and an ability to be well-trained quickly
- Loyalty and an ability to form strong bonds with their human family
These traits are why German Shepherds are very popularly used among law enforcement personnel in the police as well as the military.
Yet, despite those fierce characteristics, German Shepherds are truly loving, and they’re actually quite calm around the household when everything is peaceful, so your neighbors shouldn’t have much to complain about with regards to barking.
Question 2: Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
After reading about just how strong and protective German Shepherds are, your concerns regarding intruders must be resolved, but perhaps you’ve become a bit concerned with the threat that the dogs themselves may pose.
Actually, the protective nature of GSDs, and the same traits that make them excellent guard dogs, make them a brilliant choice for family dogs as well.
Looking at it from the right perspective, their intelligence allows you to train them effectively, which will make you have control over their actions, so they will easily understand who are the “safe” family members that they should not attack, and you can promptly get them to stand down if things go sideways. Their intelligence helps them learn commands quickly, and their loyalty ensures they won’t rebel against their alpha.
GSDs are very energetic, this breed was first a sheepherder, and then developed into a guard dog, you can think of them as that hyperactive friend of yours who always seems to be looking for a new thrill.
While this may prove tiring for some families, this high energy level can be good for your kids when they play with their doggo, especially if they meet as puppies and grow together. You’ll have to provide your GSD with around 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis, but you can use that as motivation to train with them yourself.
Now the question is, are German Shepherds friendly? Will they do well with my kids, or is it too dangerous to have them in the house? Well, that question depends entirely on you. German Shepherds are of course quite dangerous animals thanks to their immense strength, but if trained properly, you should have no problem with your GSD at home, as they are sweet and very loving towards their human family.
Especially for the little kids, though, you should give them proper socialization time as puppies along with proper puppy training.
As the doggo grows, he will learn to play nicely with your little ones. Just make sure that your kids know when not to approach the dog or play with them harshly. Even with training, dinner time might not be the best opportunity for a kid to pet a German Shepherd.
Another problem you may have with the German Shepherd as a family dog, is their constant shedding. This is an even bigger nuisance if you’re looking to keep your doggo inside. The constant shedding of huge amounts of hair throughout the year will make for heavy-duty cleaning and maintenance of your GSD.
You’ll also need to brush their hair daily and make sure you groom them properly to try and reduce that amount of hair shed. But don’t overdo it, as giving your GSD too many baths can lead to oil depletion, followed by skin conditions such as eczema.
So to summarize:
- The intelligence and loyalty of GSDs will keep their aggressive nature under control.
- Their high energy levels can be great entertainment for kids, an excellent motivator to exercise, but also a real headache for lazier pet owners.
- Their threat to kids can be quelled by proper training and socialization time with kids as puppies.
- Their constant shedding can be a concern for dog owners not looking to put in the effort.
Question 3: Are German Shepherds Good Dogs with Other Dogs?
Some dog owners love to have a big family of dogs from different breeds, and they’re concerned with whether German Shepherds will be polite around other dogs. The same concern might be shared with most dog owners since you’re likely to meet other dogs when you’re walking your own GSD or looking to take him out anywhere.
The problem with German Shepherds, besides their aggressiveness, is that they’re both highly protective and quite aloof. This can make GSDs look to prove themselves as the dominant force whenever they meet another dog, and might make things a bit difficult for you on your walks. However, as we’ve mentioned before, GSDs are excellent at being trained, and with proper instructions, you can ensure they mind their own business.
But that works for outsider dogs, what about other dogs and animals inside the house? Well, the good thing is that the protective nature of German Shepherds extends to all living things inside their household, or rather their territory. This means that if you properly get them to engage with other dogs, they’ll get along just fine.
As a puppy, it is much easier to make your German Shepherd friendly with other pets. Introduce them to well-trained dogs in a neutral area, so neither dog feels their personal area is under threat, and if your puppy misbehaves, the well-trained adults can handle it. You should still watch over to make sure the puppy isn’t being dominated by the adults.
As for adult GSDs getting introduced to a new household, learn as much as you can from the shelter or breeder, this will help you in molding your new German Shepherd to its new environment. Whenever in doubt as to how to get your GSD in order, simply consult professional help.