Are German Shepherds Friendly? (& Why Yours Isnt)

If you are looking to bring home a furry friend, there are obviously a lot of factors to consider. One important question you may be asking yourself is which breed is best for you and your family. If you are considering a German Shepard but are worried they will not be friendly towards you, your family, or even strangers, this article is for you. 

German Shepherds are most often extremely friendly; in fact, they are much friendlier than people assume. Although they are big, strong animals, they are also gentle, affectionate, loyal, smart, and generally respond very well to training. 

Of course, they are strong-willed animals, and because they were bred to protect, their friendly nature can be lost if they are not raised in a safe, loving, and stable home. To learn a little more about German Shepherds, whether or not they are the right breed for your home, and just how to ensure they exert their friendly personalities, keep reading! We have everything you need to know. 

Are German Shepherds Friendly?

The Greencross Vets recently published an article that solely focused on German Shepherds, including their personality traits and other general breed information. They have extensive research that shows the German Shepherds are, in fact, very friendly animals.

It’s important to note that they also state that females may tend to have a kinder nature, while the males might have a shorter fuse if they get over-excited or agitated. However, overall, both genders respond strongly to the energy around them; if they are raised in a caring environment, with adequate training, they will absolutely be more friendly towards all humans as well as other dogs. 

Because German Shepherds are known to be extremely loyal, they can become more hostile towards strangers that they feel are threatening their space of humans that they live to protect. Good training will make a big difference in their temperament towards new people.

In the next few sections, you will learn exactly how to train your German Shepherd so that it is friendly towards you and your family, as well as to everyone they meet!

Are German Shepherds Friendly to Strangers?

As mentioned above, German Shepherds can express some bitterness and agitation towards strangers if they are not properly socialized

If your German Shepherd is breathing too fast, however, then it could indicate other conditions.. The German Shepherd Dog HQ website claims that if you take the time to train your German Shepherd to be welcoming towards new people, they should have no problem doing so. 

It is important to instill this characteristic when your dog is a puppy. Often, German Shepherds are more territorial at home, so even if your puppy is kind to other humans in public spaces like the park, ensure that you have a few new faces come into your home while they are still being trained. 

German Shepherds will typically only respond poorly to strangers if they feel that their own humans, or their territory, i.e., your home, are being threatened. It is important to show them that you feel comfortable around strangers, and in doing so, they will feel at ease as well.

two German Shepherd Dogs sitting on green grass at autumn background

Why German Shepherds May Not Be Friendly

As with all animals, every German Shepherds will have their own distinct personality. In fact, no two dogs, just like no two humans, are exactly the same.

It is essential to remember that committing to a specific breed when choosing your dog does not mean they will absolutely follow the assumed personality traits of that breed. You will need to learn what makes your dog tick as you get to know him or her. 

If you have done all you can to train your German Shepherd to respond well to humans and other dogs, but they are still aloof or even slightly aggressive towards strangers, it just may be who they are.

However, it could also mean that they are upset, unwell, or nervous. Make sure to read on in the next section to find out how to help your German Shepherd stay healthy and happy. 

Now, if you choose to adopt a German Shepherd after they have reached adulthood, they could have been abused as a puppy or even not treated or trained properly. If this is the case, they may not be as friendly, but it’s no reason to give up on them!

We will learn in the next section just how to train or re-train your German Shepherd so that they are a wonderful family dog who can fully express their true, friendly nature!

How To Help Your German Shepherd Be More Friendly

If you are thinking about choosing a German Shepard as your family pet, you should be knowledgeable on the many tactics that will ensure you raise or re-train your dog the right way. 

Luckily, experts have done quite a fair share of research in order to provide new German Shepherd owners with everything they need to know to promote a friendly disposition for their dogs.

Once again, the German Shepherd Dogs HQ has supplied a detailed list of the best ways to ensure your German Shepherd is as friendly as can be.


If you welcome a German Shepherd into your home as a puppy, of course, it will be a little easier to train them, especially regarding socialization. This is important with all dog breeds, especially German Shepherds, as they are more inclined to act possessively and territorially if they are not accustomed to other dogs or humans near their owners or personal space. 

The good news is, this is a relatively easy task. Just make sure to bring your German Shepherd puppy everywhere you go! Parks and dog parks are great places to socialize, as are family events and even other friends’ homes. 

If you are the new owner of an adult German Shepherd, it is even more essential to acclimate them to your life and ensure they either stay or become more friendly towards others.

However, it’s important to remember that their previous owners may not have done the job so well. It is recommended that you take the socialization process a little slower and make sure you make them feel comfortable and safe in all social situations.


Training your German Shepherd to respond to your commands is essential to not only your sanity but also to their safety and happiness.  Of course, if your dog responds to your instruction, you will be able to stop any confrontation between them and other humans or dogs with just your voice. However, it’s actually much more important than that. 

People often don’t realize that properly training their dogs makes for a more confident and calm animal. They feel empowered by the fact that they know what you expect from them and how to make you happy! 

In all cases, a happy and confident German Shepherd will be more apt to be friendly to anyone they meet. 


Similarly to proper training, a well-organized routine can ensure your German Shepherd will feel more self-assured because they know what is happening around them. 

They were bred to be working dogs, and they truly love having tasks to complete. You may notice that if your German Shepherd is bored, they are more likely to act out, whether that means chewing on chair legs or picking fights with other dogs. 

Giving them a stable day-to-day schedule will allow them to know exactly what is expected of them, keeping them docile and content. 


Both physical and mental exercises are tremendously important for German Shepherds. They are exceptionally smart, and because they were bred to work with their minds and their bodies, they will often become bored with only physical stimulation. 

There are loads of mental exercises that can help your German Shepherd stay sharp, entertained, and ultimately a happier and, therefore, more friendly dog. 

Some great mind games from vets and experts for your German Shepard include:

  • Having them work for their food by putting it in a toy.
  • Continue to teach them new tricks.
  • Allow them to explore while on walks.
  • Buy them puzzle toys.
  • Make them an obstacle course. 

Of course, physical exercise is just as important as mental stimulation, and although most dog owners already know this, it is especially important for German Shepherd owners to understand. 

German Shepherds are very active, so making sure they have ample opportunity to run, walk, and play every day will make them much more joyful and also submissive. If your German Shepard hasn’t used all its energy, it is more likely to become aggressive or agitated when provoked, more sensitive to agitation, and therefore, less friendly. 

Owning Your Leadership Role

Your German Shepherd will respond well to firm but kind directions. They were bred to take instruction as working dogs, and they really behave much better with a strong leader by their side. 

They are also strong-willed, so if you do not show your strength, they will assume they are the alpha, and you could lose all authority. If this is the case, they are more likely to act territorial if they become afraid and therefore unfriendly towards anyone who enters into their personal space as they feel they need to be in control. 

Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


Are German Shepherds Friendly Towards Humans?

Although not all dogs are the same, even within a breed, most German Shepherds have the capacity to be extremely friendly towards humans, as long as they are properly trained to do so. 

Are German Shepherds Friendly Towards Their Owners?

German Shepherds are widely known for being extremely loyal and protective. They truly love to spend time with their owners and are most often affectionate and friendly to those humans they know to be their family. They are even known to be great with kids f they have been raised in a loving home. 

They are gentle and devoted animals and will often stay by their owner’s side at all times, making them wonderful canine companions. 


If you are considering adopting a German Shepherd of any age, they will probably be a wonderful addition to your home and to your family!

Of course, now you know quite a bit about their naturally friendly disposition and how to ensure that part of their personality shines through with the right training and proper care. 

As with all dogs, training your German Shepherd will take a bit of hard work, but it will certainly pay off as they will remain your constant companion and a protector of your home and family.