German Shepherds are the embodiment of the phrase ‘man’s best friend. They also happen to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and are the very image that comes to mind when people think of dogs.
Despite their popularity and relative availability, there are pros and cons associated with owning one of these dogs. Before buying or adopting one, you should have all the necessary information to make an educated choice.
We take a look at some of the pros and cons associated with owning a German Shepherd.
German Shepherd Pros
Owning a German Shepherd comes with several pros, which is why it is such a hit in the dog world. There is hardly anyone that needs convincing as to why a German Shepherd is a good idea but here are some for the pros regardless.
German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs and it is because of this trait above all else. If ever there was a breed that would fight and die for its owner, it is the German Shepherd.
They are fiercely protective of their loved ones, which includes their owners. Protective instincts come naturally to German Shepherd and they love to defend their territory and the people in it.
Some form of training may be necessary to properly harness this protective instinct to ensure they don’t attack guests. With a German Shepherd in your home, you can rest assured knowing that your dog takes your safety seriously.
Intelligence is another quality that German Shepherds and it is a massive pro for them. As one of the most intelligent dog breeds, they are easily trainable making them ideal for security and protective jobs. They also happen to be versatile and adaptable, making changes to cope with different scenarios and situations.
In addition to high intelligence, they are good at taking instructions, which adds to the allure of security work. You can perfectly lay down boundaries, establish attack parameters, and trigger words with a German Shepherd picking it all up easily.
German Shepherds are generally considered one of the most attractive dog breeds and this is largely thanks to their athleticism. With a well-balanced and muscled physique, they have an intimidating appearance that comes in handy for guard dogs.
Athleticism and physique may differ from one German Shepherd to the next due to exercise and diet. A well-fed, well-exercised German Shepherd will be one of the most appealing dogs you have ever seen.
Its athletic nature also comes in handy as a deterrent to intruders, and it will be in prime physical shape to protect you. This physical condition makes them ideal for police work where their athletic abilities are frequently on display.
German Shepherds are an affectionate breed and have a high level of emotional intelligence. Once bonded to an individual or a family, you can expect a German Shepherd to consider them friends or even family.
This emotional connection is also what makes them fiercely loyal and fiercely protective of their family.
In keeping with the high level of emotional intelligence, German Shepherds make good companions.
While it isn’t considered their primary function, they can be great when a person is going through emotional issues. They also make great therapy pets, and with the added benefit of protection, they may be the only dog you’ll ever need.
There are few dogs more courageous than a German Shepherd and it is part of what makes them excellent protectors.
They will boldly protect you in the face of danger, even when they are at an obvious disadvantage. Against larger dogs or intruders with weapons, you can expect a German Shepherd to stick to its task and protect you.
From a young age (around 6 months old), you can already see the courage of German Shepherds manifesting. They start to stand up to neighborhood dogs and bark at strangers.
This is also the perfect time to start training them, before the habits set in and are more difficult to correct.
German Shepherd Cons
There are numerous pros associated with owning a German Shepherd and likewise, there are cons. Some cons are manageable depending on the care you provide, making them obsolete. Here are some of the cons associated with owning a German Shepherd.
Separation Anxiety is a common problem amongst dogs and German Shepherds are no exception. If you leave a German Shepherd at home for too long, they get restless and start to destroy things.
The level of separation anxiety differs from one dog to the next, but it can be pretty extreme in German Shepherds. They require regular attention and should not be left by themselves for more than a few hours daily.
Luckily, the right training can help limit the level of separation anxiety especially once you start early enough. Likewise, you can keep the dog occupied with interactive feeders, toys, and other activities to keep them busy while you’re out.
If you aren’t a big fan of dogs that shed, then German Shepherds aren’t for you. German Shepherds are heavy shedders, requiring you to constantly clean up after them.
As they love human contact, you can find fur on the couch, in your bed, and almost everywhere else in the house.
German Shepherds shed all year long, but the volume increases when the summer is approaching, In preparation for the upcoming heat, they shed their inner coats along with the outer, leading to increased shedding.
While you may be able to manage the shedding with constant care, it never actually stops. You also can’t shave the fur off as it has protective functions for the dog.
German Shepherds may not be the most expensive dog breed, but they are expensive nonetheless.
From the first payment when buying the dog, which averages around $2,000, you’re already in the realm of expensive. As time goes on, you’ll only spend more to keep them healthy and in the ideal condition.
From vaccinations to grooming, costs are numerous and are rarely cheap. You’ll also have to worry about finding an appropriate diet, trips to the vet, and lots more.
While they are an expensive breed, they more than make up for it with their loyalty. If you’re going to own a German Shepherd, ensure you’re ready to withstand the financial strain.
Certain genetic diseases are particularly prevalent amongst German Shepherds. While rare, there is still a chance yours may have one, especially when you don’t know much about its history.
If your German Shepherd has degenerative myopathy, arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, or bloat, you’re in for extra expenses.
Medical checkups and medication to deal with the condition in question can be a bit much. The conditions never really leave, though your dog will have stretches where everything seems fine.
If a breeder has accurate records and produces a German Shepherd free of any genetic predispositions, it tends to cost extra. Your best bet is to detect any such conditions early and manage them to give the dog an excellent quality of life.
If ever there was a dog that tracked every little movement in the surroundings, it was a German Shepherd. These dogs love to chase anything that moves, capturing and even killing some of them.
From lizards to rodents, nothing is ever truly safe from a German Shepherd. This high prey drive also makes having other pets in the house a risk. Your German Shepherd may get carried away one day and attack them, especially if they are small and weak.
With the right training, your German Shepherd can keep its prey drive in check, but the drive still remains. They have solid instincts that may come in handy on a hunting trip and should be allowed to use them once in a while.
Are German Shepherds Good Or Bad Dogs?
German Shepherds are generally classified as good dogs, as they are a very useful breed to have around. The final classification as to whether German Shepherds are good or bad dogs comes down to use.
They aren’t bad dogs, but they can be bad for certain uses or purposes. When used for companionship or as show dogs, they may be classified as bad dogs. On the other hand, when used as guard dogs or as herders, they can be termed good dogs.
As the term good or bad is subject to perspective and use training plays a key role in this classification. The earlier you start your dog’s training, the better they are at their job.
You can also use their natural instincts to good use, earning them the title of good dog. With strong loyalty, courage, prey drive, and guarding instincts, German Shepherds are good as police or military dogs, and as guard dogs.
A German Shepherd can also be classified as a bad dog if they repeatedly defy instructions. With their prey drive, you may find that a German Shepherd constantly attacks smaller animals, possibly destroying things in the process. As there is no way to fully eliminate the prey drive, you can only keep your German Shepherds away from prey.
Is A German Shepherd Dog Good For Home?
German Shepherds are one of the best dogs you can have in your home. With a strong sense of loyalty, high intelligence, protective instincts, and courage, they make excellent guard dogs.
They also bond well with people and are generally considered the perfect family pet. Provided you can meet their requirements, they are the perfect dog for your home.
German Shepherds are large breed dogs and need a lot of space. If you live in a small house or apartment, a German Shepherd may not be a good fit in your home. They typically thrive in houses with large backyards, where they have enough room to run around.
You can always take them on walks and spend time outdoors, but it isn’t always enough for a German Shepherd. If they are confined in a small space for too long, their behavior may become erratic and possibly violent.
German Shepherds are a great family pet, one that socializes well with children. With high energy and stamina, you’ll find that they are the perfect playmates and fit in nicely in your home.
They also have a life span of more than 10 years so they can bond with families and be around for a long time.
Do German Shepherds Like Other Dogs?
German Shepherds don’t typically get along with other dogs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t tolerate them.
As part of their innate nature to protect their territory, they tend to see other dogs as a threat. Outside their territory, however, they don’t seem to bother too much with other dogs.
If you take your German Shepherd for a walk, it won’t pay too much attention to other dogs as they aren’t the most social dogs.
With no affinity for other dogs, German Shepherds are ideally suited to one-pet homes. You may be able to get away with a caged bid or a pet outside your dog’s reach, but it won’t be happy about it.
The only way they will find another dog in the home tolerable is if it is one of the opposite sex. They won’t see the other dog as a threat but rather as a possible mate. Whether or not they like each other becomes irrelevant as they will at least tolerate each other.
The territorial instincts of a German Shepherd only kick in after maturity. Up till that point, they generally socialize and interact with other dogs. Any relationships forged at this point will last till adulthood. If you raise a German Shepherd along with another dog, they can get along as adults.
There are numerous pros and cons associated with owning a German Shepherd but overall, it is an excellent dog breed.
For your typical guard duty and household protection, they are the perfect dog breed. After careful consideration, it is clear that the pros outweigh the cons and German Shepherds are the perfect dog for your home.