Should you get a German shepherd puppy? 11 things to know

I’ve been thinking lately about what I’d tell someone who said they wanted a German shepherd puppy.


Obviously, I’ve become a fan of the breed, even though I never intended to become one. German shepherds just kind of happened to me. But in my time raising Pyrrha, fostering German shepherds, and now rearing our new GSD puppy, I feel like I’m beginning to learn about the many nuances of the breed.

So, here are 11 things that I’d tell someone who wanted a GSD:

  1. A GSD is not a golden retriever. Sometimes I feel like many people assume that a lab/golden retriever is just the default “dog personality” (e.g., gregarious, every person is their best friend). Obviously, this is not true for every GSD, but shepherds tend to be “one person” (or “one family”) dogs. Your shepherd doesn’t think that every person she meets is her best friend, and that’s part of her heritage. Shepherds are a bit suspicious of strangers. Also be prepared for your shepherd to pick someone to be her person in your family. (In my family, Pyrrha unequivocally picked me. Guion almost doesn’t exist in her universe.) This can be saddening, but it’s also a trait of the breed.
  2. Beware the land sharks! GSD puppies have earned the moniker “land shark” for their mouthiness. It comes from somewhere deep in their herding heritage, I suppose, but these are very bitey puppies! For this reason, a GSD can be a trying breed with young children, who often become unwitting targets for playful biting. Start teaching your puppy right away that biting humans is inappropriate behavior and channel that mouthiness into heavy-duty chew toys and games that don’t involve tasty human hands.
  3. Be watchful for signs of shyness. Many GSDs, especially American-line dogs bred for show/companionship, tend toward shyness and anxiety. If not addressed, this shyness can transform into fear-based aggression. For this reason, socialize that puppy from the minute he comes home with you, and don’t stop throughout his lifetime.
  4. Expect a dog who wants to know your business all the time. If you don’t like having a dog follow you everywhere, even into the bathroom, perhaps reconsider getting a German shepherd. These dogs are busybodies, and they want to know where you are and what you are doing at ALL times — in the event that your actions could compromise the security of the house and the family. They’re just doing their jobs, you know. 🙂
  5. Hope you love dog hair… everywhere. There’s a reason people call them “German shedders.” Enough said! GSDs have a double coat, which equals twice as much fur all of your floor, your sofa, your clothes, etc. You also can’t win with your wardrobe; if you end up with a classic black-and-tan German shepherd, they have black, brown, tan, and sometimes white hair on them, so no color of clothing is immune!
  6. GSDs like to play rough. Shepherds have a tendency to rough-house with both people and other dogs. They’re intense animals! They don’t have the “soft mouths” of retrievers or the delicate playfulness of smaller breeds. Dog owners with other breeds have told me that it took them a while to realize that our shepherds were playing with their dogs — and not trying to kill them. In my experience, even in play, shepherds like to go for the throat and get into some heavy-duty wrestling. Supervise their interactions with other dogs, and help your shepherd take lots of breaks and time-outs so that the play doesn’t get too overwhelming.
  7. Get ready for negative public perceptions. Thanks to the media, history, popular culture, and surely many mishandled dogs, German shepherds don’t exactly have the best public image. If it hurts your feelings that some people are automatically scared of your dog, a GSD may not be right for you. If you have a GSD, let this motivate you to make your dog a great breed ambassador and help change negative stereotypes.
  8. Be prepared for a potentially vocal dog. GSDs also have a tendency to be vocal. We’ve had some dogs who were just whiners; they whined for a variety of reasons (excitement, unbridled joy, stress, to get attention, to get food). Other dogs were more bark-y, especially at strangers walking past our fence or at other dogs. Pyrrha is an uncharacteristically quiet GSD; but our little Eden loves barking, barking just for the fun of it! Barking can be a very difficult behavior to curb, especially if it’s woven into a dog’s lineage, as it has been with shepherds for a while now. Be aware of this issue, and be prepared to start training your dog when and how to be quiet.
  9. Consider the large number of health issues. German shepherds are famous for their litany of health issues. On a range from more benign (allergies) to life-threatening (osteosarcoma, hemangioma), shepherds seem to have them all. The breed even has predispositions to diseases that seem to occur exclusively within the purebred line (e.g., degenerative myelopathy, which was once called “German shepherd neuropathy.”) It’s heartbreaking, but it’s a reality if you want a shepherd. Find a good vet (preferably one with shepherd experience), and start taking measures to keep your shepherd trim and healthy.
  10. Start brainstorming now about how to keep your puppy’s brain engaged. Otherwise, you are going to have a little terror on your hands. German shepherds are large, active, athletic, and highly intelligent dogs. What this means is that if they get bored, you are going to seriously regret bringing this fuzzy monster into your house. A smart dog with no job to do = a mischief-making tornado. Try obedience classes, agility, flyball, schutzhund, herding, nose work, etc. Shepherds can excel at many canine sports and activities!
  11. If you want a purebred puppy, do your research about the difference between working-line and show-line GSDs. You may be surprised to learn that there’s a large difference within the GSD breed between dogs who are bred to work and dogs who are bred to win show ribbons. This can be a touchy subject for some, but in general, I feel that the bottom line is this: Working-line dogs are sounder and healthier, because they are bred to do a job. Show-line dogs are just bred to look pretty and meet the sacred “breed standard,” which has morphed into requiring these horribly exaggerated hocks and back lines, which puts strain on the hips and wreck the dog’s gait. This post is a great introduction to the topic of working-line vs. show-line German shepherds, and it’s an excellent place to start. There’s also working-line breeder Christine of Blackthorn Kennels, whose shepherds even compete in herding. The downside of a working-line dog is that they are INTENSE, and they can be unsuited for a quiet urban or suburban lifestyle. Start researching now to determine what kind of GSD suits you and your family.
On squirrel patrol. #fosterpuppy #trina #gsd
Our foster puppy Trina.

Breeders aside, I’m a huge advocate for RESCUE. Obviously. Both of our (purebred) girls are from a rescue, and we’d encourage anyone who wanted a new dog (or a puppy) to look at a rescue first. We adopted from Southeast German Shepherd Rescue, which covers North and South Carolina, Virginia, DC, and parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and Maryland. The only downside of rescuing a purebred is that you have no health guarantees and no knowledge of their parents (or often of their backgrounds).

Pyrrha, for example, appears to be an American-line shepherd bred for companionship by a backyard breeder. The fact that she has surprisingly straight hocks and a level topline makes me think she wasn’t bred to win show ribbons, which I am thankful for. Eden, on the other hand, is a German-line shepherd whose parents were imports titled in schutzhund. They were also show dogs, so she has a more sloped topline than Pyrrha and slightly more exaggerated hocks.

Here’s a listing of German shepherd rescues by state. German shepherds still rank no. 3 in popularity in AKC registrations, so there are lots of German shepherds all over the country, and thus lots of beautiful, great dogs who need forever homes. Consider it!

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Truthfully, a German shepherd puppy isn’t going to be that different from any other puppy. ALL puppies require hard work, devotion, and lots and lots of patience. But the joy they bring? That’s hard to reduce to an 11-point list.


65 thoughts on “Should you get a German shepherd puppy? 11 things to know

  1. This is a really wonderful, informative post. I wish that everyone would carefully consider breed and even more so, whether they are really prepared for a puppy or young dog.

    I can strongly relate to the hair – my two previous dogs were double-coated! It’s been a big change in the cleaning routine having little short-haired Ruby.

      1. We lost one to lymphoma in June at 15 months the third we had from the breeder. She was besides herself. She gave us a new pup in Sept. Hope get lives a long life. We had one who passed this summer at 13 and have a 7 1/2 year old as well.

    1. I have a Giant German Shepherd.. and I brush him 2x a day and this keeps his hair under control, which I learned very early on.. I send him to the groomer around April or May and then I take it from there. I don’t have hair balls and I can vacuum every other day (which is a plus). He’s 8 yrs old.. and I’ve had him since he was 8 wks. I hope this information helps other GSD owners.

    2. Hi these are great tips. I have a question my puppy will be three months old this month and we are trying to get him to learn his name we’ve tried everything and he doesn’t seem interested any tips on how to make this better . Thanks Steve

    3. I have a 6 yr old lab mix and just found a 1 yr had running loose. Took it to humane society and put hold. Not micro chipped or spayed. What are your thoughts?

  2. I saw a German Shepherd puppy at the park last week and thought of you. She was *very* focused on some kind of training exercise.

    Weirdly, I don’t see many of them here considering how popular they still are. I guess we’re so urban that not many people want a dog that big.

  3. And if you have a black German Shepherd, be prepared for people to be even more skittish around your dog. It still amazes me, when we are out with Morgan and Küster, people gravitate like magnets to Mo, who is usually giving all the signals that she wants to be left alone, while Küster, the world’s friendliest clown gets a wide berth. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t take a GSD with unknown prior history. Küster’s breeder had a heartbreaking experience with a dog who had DM and another one with a dog who became severely mentally unsound (neither of which she bred) and it made her determined to breed sound, healthy working dogs. She tests both parents for DM, and if they are carriers, then no breeding happens. She also works her tail off to socialize the puppies born there, and I don’t have any complaints.

    1. I read your 11 points and I must say, he’s a biter. he’s 10 weeks and he’s a German shepard. I mean me and my family have repeatedly scolded him everytime he bites but he doesn’t listen. Is that normal? do they grow out of this habbit or will it remain?

      1. Give your dog deer antler to chew on. It will be perfect toy for her. I gave GSD she is now Two years. I do removers those days.

      2. please don’t scold him……….try few tutorials on youtube that may help especially an episode from cesar milan on puppy biting.

      3. Squeal when he bites you in a high pitched tone (the way puppies tell each other that they’re hurting) then glare at him and turn away from him like you’re disgusted with him (cross your arms and look away from him), and ignore his attempts to get your attention for a minute. After a minute you can resume whatever you were doing with him but keep doing the same routine when he bites you. If he’s overexcited and repeatedly biting, put him in a crate or behind a baby gate for 2 – 3 minutes or until he’d calmed down. If he frequently gets overexcited and tears around biting people then he needs more exercise / mental stimulation.

      4. They grow out my German Shepherd bit me when i was little but now she is perfectly fine but u have to enforce the rule not to bite A LOT

      5. You MUST persistently tell them that biting is not tolerated, and they absolutely have to have something to chew on (chew toys, bones, etc). My experience with GSD is that yes, they do grow out of it if you’re persistent. Good luck and congrats on your puppy 🙂

    2. we used a fine spray water bottle or sports drinking bottle with cold water gentle spray to side of face this detered our GSD when he was weeks old from using my daughter as a chew toy stopped him in about a week

  4. Dobermans and German Shepherds share a lot of qualities! Mouthiness (both in play and when vocal), can be suspicious of strangers, dealing with public opinion…the list goes on.

    It’s always important to emphasize, I think, that dogs may be dogs but breeds can be relied upon to have different personalities. You need to think hard about the “person” your dog is going to be, and how you’ll fit into each others’ lives!

  5. A breeder offered us a German Shepherd puppy from his line after we lost Blue. It was so tempting but I knew that I needed to research the breed before committing and I wasn’t ready yet. A good friend has a GSD and he’s amazing, friendly and I look forward to seeing him all the time. I don’t know if he’s like this with everyone, but I do know that it’s not a good idea to judge a breed by one dog.

    Thanks for your list. I had no idea about them attaching to one person or being a shadow dog.

  6. 11 great points! No.1 rings very true with us, Sam has chosen his ‘human’ in the family, and to my dismay it is not me! This makes it a little more difficult at training time, not impossible, but I suppose a little harder.
    No. 3 is a good point as I often think that people believe because of their size they’re fearless and tough, but Sam is very easily unsettled, and gets anxious sometimes.
    And No.5…we have a white GSD, enough said! haha 🙂

  7. We had a goldendoodle puppy play super rough with Leo at the dog park a few weeks ago. She was chewing on his face, going for his throat. It was great fun. That’s how he used to play as a puppy, but I was always worried about how bad it looked when he did it to other dogs.

    Unfortunately, Leo has lost his dog park privileges because he ran up to a jogger the other day. He didn’t * do * anything, didn’t even bark, but she was obviously freaked out. While I think it’s stupid that people without dogs jog (or ride bikes) through the off-leash area, I also know it’s my responsibility to keep him from scaring people, so… no more visits to that area for Leo!

  8. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading up on GSD s. I am presently fostering a 4 yr old female GSD. I am thinking of adopting her. I had golden retreivers for 14 yrs. Never even considered a sheperd until Lea. The only thing that worries me; will she stay nice, even if I only take her for walks and play with her in the back yard with balls, snowballs ..She loves snowballs!!
    Since I cannot find out who her breeder was, it is confidential, I do know she is registered at the CKC.
    Hmm any thoughts for me?
    Thank you:)

    1. Hi! Thank you for fostering! I’m not sure what you mean by “will she stay nice?”, but at 4 years of age, you should have a pretty good sense of what her temperament is. German shepherds don’t suddenly turn mean or aggressive at a certain point. But I’d be sure to socialize her plenty! Playing with her in the backyard is great, but she should also be getting out and meeting lots of other dogs and people so that she doesn’t develop any fearful associations. I also don’t think the breeder matters. Good luck!

  9. I’ve grown up training Shepard’s for shutzhund I have one currently named Geier he is 7 and is a retired shutzhund dog and I have random people walk in and out of my house all the time remind u he is trained for protection once u get it in the dogs head to only attack when the command is given u have a perfect family dog I’m picking up another Shepard which has line from show line and working but has the high drive of a working if you get a Shepard get one with only German lines no american German Shepard b.s those dogs might as well b a death wish for a small child they are inbred and stupid find a shutzhund breeder get the dog and join a club you will be amazed what kind of relationship you get from your Shepard

    1. We have had both. Our current 5 year old happens to be anything but inbred and stupid. She is extremely bright, and our other dogs absolutely love her. They are Pit mixes, and she pretty much raised one of them herself.

      1. I just adopted a German shepherd puppy, she is mixed with pitbull, but looks like a pure bred brindle German shepherd. Both her parents are mostly black and her dad the pitbull is black and white and my puppy I named her Roxy, is so smart, and energetic, I love it. My older dog loves it too. She’s been needing a play companion that she can rough up a bit without being scared or getting hurt. She is a Golden Retriever/treeing walker coonhound mix. I am amazed at how fast Roxy learned the basic commands such as sit, down, and lay down. She is teething now, so the task is house training(which isnt going too well, but at least she will go outside the house without me dragging her) and to teach her not to chew on my kids toys pr my husband’s work boots, and not to nibble on hands.

      2. I agree! My GSD is 3 now and he came from an American line and he is FAR from stupid, inbred, or a death wish to children. He is the absolute best with children. He acts like a puppy again around them. He actually followed the school bus to their school once and was playing with the kids on the playground before school. He’s great all around!

  10. really good article. Me as a owner of 2 GS met almost with all points here. It cant b stressed enough thats it is really important to consider to get a GS puppy. my dog is really urban girl who is very confortible with other people and all kinds of other dogs and we r living the life style so far from image of gs kept just for training or work. But I have t oadmit it took me a lot of time and thinging to get my dog to this state of mind and as it is very well written here, gs will never b a golden retriever. For example they can tolerate to b pet by stragers but they will never like it. From the other hand they really can start to like some of your friends maybe even more than you do ). They hate to b bored and who cant blame them for that.. 🙂 they will do anything with you if you tell to and can communicate it. Im really friend of labradors calmess but there is something nice about the gs attitude. jump to the fire for you is better than just dont do anything. BUT dont take this wrong.. I have my dog in small apartment and most of the time shes sleeping: I have a fortune to b with here all the time and shes known to b a very relaxed dog for example during my lectures in school. you just have to give this dog a good brain challenging stuff for some time, after its like every animal.. sleeping. Its really sad to see misguided Gsdogs who have just too much energy and therefor they are acting aggressive. SO PLEASE IF YOU plan HAVING A GERMAN SHEPHERD(i guess it fits to a other dog too) DONT ACT IT LIKE CHILD.. plese give them a way to plaese you.. and they can tell that you r shit

  11. First, thank you for taking the time to share your experience with GSD’s. I have wanted on since I was a kid, our last dog died a few months back. It was a smaller dog, I’m keen to get a GSD but my wife doesn’t want one. I think it stems from the stereotype these dogs have of being aggressive. Plus she’s not keen on Shedding lol. I love shedders, I love big dogs, I love GSD’s But not sure she will let me get one 🙂

    I learned a lot from your article. The one thing I am concerned about those is the illness aspect. It’s heartbreaking to lose a dog, and I know bigger dogs don’t have a longer life span, but I’ve always wanted to have a dog that is super loyal, trainable and would protect us if anyone came in at night.

    Well I guess I will have that talk with my wife again, 5th time 😉 see if I can wear her down. Probably wont lol

  12. Agree, except about generalization of Showline GSDs. I imported a wonderful longstock GSD from Germany. She’s got a clear head, no quirks, is friendly, well trained, completely socialized and only barks for protection of me or our property. I didn’t want to do schutzhund with her, however her siblings are excelling at the sport. This is her pedigree.

    My biggest concern is health of GSDs…her inbreeding coefficient is very low and her lineage has great hips and elbows…but no guarantees. But as a pet she is perfect and recommend over working lines for novice GSD owners like me. I didn’t consider American line or white GSD because of rumors of poor nerves. However every dog is unique, not necessarily following stereotypes.

  13. My wife and I purchased a white GS and his nerves were very poor. When it thundered or when fire crackers went off, he was fearful. On the other hand he was a loveable creature. He was extremely hard to raise from a pup. My wife wanted to take him back to the breeder. He thought he was above her in the pecking order and he would bite her in the rear. She was not amused.
    One week later he turned the corner. He would have been too much for most people, but we had the right set up: house, yard and time to spend with him. He died when he was only seven; we think as a result of poor breeding. His death rocked our world.
    Backyard breeders have devastated the breed here in the U.S. It’s a tragedy. They are a breed which deserves very careful consideration and most people just don’t understand. We learned the hard way.
    The next GS will be a Schutzhund. Breeding is so important: health, temperament, training and all the qualities a GS is meant to have..

  14. Thank you so much for this. Very helpful information as I am considering a GS. I have a hearing deficit, wear hearing aids except when I sleep. I literally hear nothing when I sleep. Fire alarm has gone off…nothing. It’s scary. I also suffer with arthritis. I am a small female in my mid 50’s. My daughter also lives with me and suffers with anxiety from PTSD. I have been researching service and protective dogs. While, I agree with you…so many people are negative about the GS and very fearful. For me it was more the size in comparison to me. I met a 8 month old male the other day. He was so tender and gentle. Trained and listened well. I’m still thinking through the process, this post has been very helpful. Thank you.

  15. So many great points about german shepherds! I had four growing up, and now have a 6 month old that we got at 10 weeks of age. She has picked me as her “person” and we have a hard time getting her to listen to anyone else, she was very rough and mouthy but we have trained her to be more gentle with three young kids she has to be gentle, she’s also great with the kids. People are scared of german shepherds this is something I didn’t know when we got her! And she is extremely “nosy” lol, but she is also so smart, gentle, eager to please, so easy to train and has burrowed her way into all of our hearts and taken up residence there. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  16. I cannot believe how spot on all 11 points are with our experience. Yeah, we probably should have taken more into consideration when we bought our GSD, but we love her so much she is part of the family and we’re glad we have her!!

  17. All true except no1. My German Shepherd thinks EVERYONE (human, dog animal, baby) is his best friend! Going to the park takes a while as he must say hi to everyone he meets. He doesn’t realise he is a big dog and gallops up all legs and happiness

  18. Ha ha … the nosy thing is totally true. We have a 2-yr-old female shepherd, and we call her our “German Shepherd Shadow”. She can be surprisingly quiet too! I don’t know how she stops her claws from clicking on the floors, but there are times when we look over and see her laying far away … and then look back and it’s like she teleported (still laying perfectly, of course). Lol.

  19. Our GSD is 16 weeks and she super friendly to everyone she sees outside our home or in our home. She licks everyone all over faces it’s very annoying. Also she not hyper or crazy or destructive. She plays with her own toys that were given to her and doesn’t seem to mess with nothing else except stealing my bath towel and running. I have read several books and talked to several German shepherd owners and there like be thankful yours is very rare. I’m like what is wrong with our dog? She had all her shots and is not sick. She just very obedient and a excellent puppy. She starts a class soon just for basic training on leash and commands. But she already sits for food and will high five and shake. She extremely smart. But very very calm and very very sweet. She does follow me everywhere though. And is very vocal. And does shed a lot !! Is her personality normal?

  20. It’s awesome how you don’t lie. Straight to the point, straight to the truth, straight to the facts.
    People need to read a good ideology about their breeds before they buy them, no matter what dog.
    It really would benefit everybody.

    I’ve wanted a German Shepherd since I was 7 or 8, and now, eight years later I might actually get one.
    Thanks to all the research I’ve done, as well as the people posting it, I can soundly say I’d make a good owner for one of these dogs.

  21. I have a black GSD. She is a pound puppy. I had her neutered right away. She goes wherever I go and stays with me at the store. I trust her with all my customers babies included. Maybe because she was neutered early she is a big dog. A little fat, but really big. 130 pounds. She must be a working dog because she has a flat back and muscular straight legs. And when playing she definitely does not have a soft mouth. I think the statement a stronger bite than a pit bull is correct.

  22. Please do not assume that all American lines bred for sho do not work. Many of these dogs hold titles in herding, agility, obedience and as therapy dogs. And shame on you as an owner for putting down the breed standard! Maybe you should join the parent club, The German Shepherd Dog Club of America and learn a little more about the breed you claim to love.

  23. After 30+ years of GSD’s I still found this article a good refresher! I have GSD – German Shepherd Disease an addiction that has no cure. The intelligence, loyalty and love will blow you away!

  24. Hi all. Thanks so much for your article. We are about to adopt a 10 month old male. After reading your article I had second thoughts but everyone has replied with such positive information that I feel reassured. Funnily enough, we are going from a Retriever to a GSD but I do feel prepared. I have one question which you or your readers may be able to help me with. Our new dog has not been castrated. We don’t plan to breed from him and he is going to a home with two young children (2 & 3). Is he too old to castrate now? i.e, will he get over it mentally. What are the pros and cons? I appreciate any help. Thanks.

    1. I am NOT an expert -but- I don’t believe that 10 months is to old. Mine is 7 months and I will be getting him “fixed” next month. There is much controversy over the age at which to neuter or spay a dog. I am compromising with my wife and getting my puppy fixed at 8 months. I think it would be better IF it was closer to a year -but- I was over ridden. Search the web for “age to neuter” and you’ll see what I mean. There is more to it than just sex. The hormones are involved in his/her growing.

  25. Great List!
    Although it seems too “negative” to me – GSDs are awesome dogs, and getting a puppy is great! At least if you train them right…

  26. This is a great post! I recognized my GSD in almost every point. I found her as a stray 8 years ago and we’ve been inseparable since. She’s my first GSD and I’m now hooked on the breed! I’m so glad you mentioned South East GS rescue, they are a great organization! My husband and I adopted a GSD mix from them a little over a year ago. We think he’s a white shepherd mixed with golden retriever. Unfortunately he was just diagnosed with systematic lupus. He’s been an expensive dog but we wouldn’t trade him for anything. He’s a great dog and the only one my GSD gets along with.

  27. My husband wants a GSD, but I am nervous about such a big dog with four children, two cats and living in a small town. We lost our Chihuahua 5 months ago and I have been heart broken since, missing my snuggle boy, so the thought of another dog is overwhelming. This is good information to know, but would they be ok with cats in the house? We have two, one laid back and one thats a lil nervous with new things/people.
    also Im having trouble finding a “reputable place” to even start looking for a GS puppy in my state, nearby areas. Any lists or info you can pass on? TIA

  28. So I really want a German shepard but I’m not sure if I’m fit to have one,you see my family is not very active my family’s only concern for getting one would be that he would get bored or he wouldn’t get to play enough or he wouldn’t get attention and he would be left alone half the day.I live in a house with a bch yard so it’s not a space issue,but I go to middle school and so does my twin sister and I have a single parent that works till 6pm and leaves at 8am or so and I have a cat and I’m not sure if a GSD would like bark at him or bite him,my cat is chub chub and 8 years old so I don’t think the cat would have a problem with him.Any way just wondering if a GSD is not right for my family.

  29. I was a military K-9 officer in the Army MP Corps. Trained and raised Schutzhund dogs for competition and for personal protection. These dogs are NOT the dog for a first time dog owner/trainer, or for older people to have as house dogs. They are very active, inquisitive, neurotic at times, can be aggressive at times when bored, and they are large, powerful, and fast. In my experience through over 30 years of Shepherd ownership,training and using them during wartime, I have come to prefer males over females for training and personal protection dogs. Why? #1 reason, females tend to be more hyper, nippy, neurotic if bored, or as some say, “Bitchy”! Males tend to be a bit more stubborn to train, but, they tend to be a more one person dog once the “Alpha dog” has been established. You have to make your status as the “Alpha dog” or pack leader as quick as possible. This is an absolute must if you want to have and keep control over your Shepherd. If not, you can develop a dog that “know’s no boundaries”, bites, jumps, becomes aggressive towards strangers, family members, etc… With this being said, these dogs are, in my opinion, the most loyal, the most loving, trustworthy, and protective “friend” you can have. They will give up their life to protect their “pack” . A personal example of this is one I tell everyone. My extremely large (127#) male working dog one night took my 2 year old daughter’s arm in his mouth and pulled her away from the wood stove, after he got her far enough away from the stove, he laid down in front of it, stayed there until we had to move him away from it because his hair began to melt and smoke. He was not injured, but this shows you the lengths these dogs will go to to protect their “Packs”. These dogs are not for the timid owner, or good for small urban apartment living. although, some are living in this type of environment, it is a waste to this breed to not have them and use them to their full potential.

  30. German shepherds deserve all the love and attention you can give and should give him. Among all the dog breeds in existence very few can compete with them.


  31. I lost my heart dog a month ago at the tender age of 3.5 to a super aggressive hemangiosarcoma. From chasing balls to gone in a span of 30 hours…
    He was the most affectionate, the most protective and ridiculously intelligent dog I have ever had ( I swear he could make out the gist of half of the conversations on the dinner table while wrapped around my feet)
    I have another Indian pariah and I wish I could get her a companion right away…but I am just not sure I can take the risk with a GSD again…. they are without a question the only breed worth having if you are a dog person but for the health

  32. RE hair: the only thing worse than all of that shed hair is not having any. If you must hAve a hairless house get a doodle dog.
    Re the publics reaction to the GSD, just look at all the macho pic’s on this site showing bared teeth, super agressive looking muzzles, attack mode postures, and “cute” sayings suggesting that my dog may kill you and you don’t have to wonder why many people are afraid of them. The GSD is the most wonderful breed there is and it’s a shame that the fear of them is encouraged

  33. Funny you should say that about strangers, because I lived in the countryside in the UK and there were about four of them living with different neighbours of mine, and they all seemed to bark at anyone who went past their house. The youngest one was just a puppy really, he would run down the road to jump all over anyone he saw – I used to be really scared of him for a while until I realised he just wanted to play, and we got on just fine after that.

    Having said that, I went to visit a friend of mine a couple of years ago and when I walked into his home I saw her and thought “Oh bugger, these dogs don’t like strangers much” but after the initial surprise, it was love at first sight for us both, we were smitten – she just wanted to keep licking my face, bless her.

  34. I wanted to thank you for this advice for getting a German Shepard. It’s nice to know that you should keep in mind that the dog can tend toward shyness. It seems important to start thinking of ways you can make the dog more social.

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