Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

German Shepherd Profile

German Shepherds can make fantastic pets if given the proper attention, love, and training. They are definitely not the dog for everyone so it’s important for you to fully understand how they act and if they would be compatible with your family. First, let’s look at important facts about the breed.

  • They are the second most popular dog bred in the U.S.
  • They are one of the smartest dog breeds
  • They are excellent assets for the police and military
  • There is quite a large amount of films starring German shepherds

Alright, not that you know a little more about the breed, let’s go over what makes them such good family dogs.


Quick-learners

If you’ve ever owned a dog before, then you know that training it can be a long, tedious process. Due to the fact that German Shepherds are highly intelligent and quick to learn, it can be much easier to train German Shepherds compared to other breeds of dogs. It’s important to also understand that due to how smart they are, some can be a bit rebellious/mischievous if given the chance. If you’re interested in treats to help train your dog, you may want to check out this short list I’ve compiled of some of my favorite dog treats to aid in training!


Loyal Companions

It isn’t a stretch to say that German shepherds can be some of the most loving and protective companions. If given proper respect and care, they will be there for you when you need a companion most. In fact, there’s countless stories of German Shepherds protecting their owner/family from foreign intruders.


High Energy

German Shepherds are very high energy dogs so it’s important for you to make sure you and your family are fully able to accommodate their needs. If you or one of your family members are active often, then a German Shepherd would be the perfect match. Many experts recommend giving your German Shepherd at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep them living healthy lives. They can also be great around kids as long as they’re raised in a healthy environment.


Healthy

As long as your German Shepherd is fed a good diet, they are generally a pretty healthy breed of dog. Due to their muscular build, they love outdoor activities such as hiking or going on long walks. One important thing to take note of is that they are at high risk of a genetic hip deformity called hip dyspepsia (similar to arthritis). Also, degenerative myelopathy is a serious concern of the breed where a slow creeping paralysis makes its way up the dog’s hindquarters. I really hope it doesn’t sound like I’m really not trying to discourage you from getting a German Shepherd, but it’s important to know all of the common health issues so you know what your getting yourself into.


Alright, next let’s go over some important details about German Shepherds.

Generally, most male German shepherds stand a little above one foot tall whereas females stand closer to a foot or a few inches under. The average weight for the breed is between 70, and 85 pounds but of course there can always be outliers such as some being as light as 50 pounds or as heavy as 100 pounds.

German Shepherds feature a strong muscular build with a sloping body that slants backwards. They feature tall ears that point upright/forwards, which may fully peak once the dog has reached its adulthood. Finally, the breed has thick hind legs and a very bushy tail.

Most German Shepherds feature one of three recognizable coats – the plus coat, the double coat, and the long haired coat. Each one of these coats can come in a plethora of colors including but not limited to white/blue, tan, and black/tan.

Shedding

It’s a pretty widely known fact that German Shepherds shed – a lot. In fact, they are commonly referred to as German Shedders due to how frequently they shed hair. If you want to reduce the amount of hair that your dog sheds, you are advised to brush your German Shepherd daily in addition to claw trimmings if deemed necessary.


Temperament

German Shepherds were bred as a working dogs and are still used as working dogs to this day. As a result, German Shepherds are confident, hard-working, and obedient pets. However, we don’t exactly recommend a less experienced dog owner to adopt a German Shepherd if they don’t feel comfortable or ready to own this type of dog. One must understand that if the dog senses a lack of leadership, they will not hesitate to rise to the position, in other words, you need to make your authority known while still maintain a good relationship with your pet.

When trained and socialized well at a young age, German Shepherds will be the perfect dog in many ways. They are loyal to their pack (family) and will put their life on the line if it believes that its pack is in danger. If they are not trained and socialized with other dogs at a young age, they can be aggressive and or unstable, which can lead to a whole lot of problems.


Is The German Shepherd The Right Choice of Breed For Your Family?

It really comes down to, can you provide your dog with the right training and nourishment that it needs and is it compatible with your family’s way of life? If you either don’t feel comfortable or don’t think that you would be the right match for a German Shepherd, then please for the good of you and the dog, don’t adopt it. But if you do feel like it would be the right match, then by all means you should adopt a German Shepherd. They make wonderful pets and you’ll probably look back on adopting it as ones of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

If you’ve decided that you’re ready to adopt a German Shepherd and you’re wondering what’s next, check out this article on what I believe to be some of the best dog adoption websites out there. Good luck!

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