Do german shepherds make good family pets? If you’re thinking about buying one, then this is the question that’s bound to come up.
And to be honest, all dogs make good family pets when they’re trained properly. However, if you’re reading this, then you want to know the ins and outs of german shepherds, and whether they’re the right choice for your family.
Well, keep reading to find out.
Do German Shepherds Make Good Family Pets?
For the most part, they make great pets for your family. However, it’s important to note the temperament, breeding line, sex and upbringing they’ve had are all going to play a part in whether they’ll be right for your family.
And another important question is whether your family will be good for a german shepherd. After all, they have lots of needs that must be fulfilled for them to remain happy.
First though, here’s what you need to know about their temperament.
What Is A German Shepherds Temperament?
To understand a german shepherds temperament, you need to think about what they’ve been bred for.
Some of the common jobs they’ve always held are police dogs, guard dogs, herders, and bomb/ sniffers.
You’d think this wouldn’t make them the best for a family, however, being bred this way has given them some traits that make them great for the right families.
Fortunately, though, their temperament isn’t going to be the only thing that determines what kind of behavior your german shepherd will have or whether that behavior fits with your family.
The Breeder Also Makes A Difference
As well as their temperament, the breeder you choose to buy them off is also going to be a deciding factor in your german shepherd’s behavior.
Most breeders are likely to specialize in certain behavioral traits that make german shepherds good for certain jobs.
For example, some breeders will produce lines of german shepherds that are competitive and courageous. These types of german shepherds make excellent guard dogs and police dogs. But obviously, they’re also much more likely to have higher aggression levels.
On the other hand, some breeders will choose to breed show dogs. While they don’t have the same levels of courage and aggression, they’re still not the best choice. Most show dogs will have high levels of energy. Sometimes, the breeder focuses so much on the way a show dog looks, that they’ll lose some of their intelligence (which you don’t want either).
No, the best choice of german shepherd for your family are german shepherds that have been bred with family in mind. These german shepherds will generally be easy to train and with a mellow personality. (Well as mellow as a german shepherd can be.)
Lastly, you can also consider long-haired german shepherds and white german shepherds. Both of which aren’t bred for work or sport. Which means they’re going to be a lot more relaxed.
Does Sex Make A Difference?
While there’s not much hard evidence, there is some anecdotal evidence that sex can also determine if a german shepherd will make a good family pet. However, take this information with a pinch of salt. After all, both sexes can make great additions to your family!
What Are Males Like?
- Male german shepherds seem to be more concerned with defending a territory. This can cause barking to occur a lot more often, as well as territorial aggression.
- They’re bigger in size and have more muscle, and they’re normally better guard dogs.
- Males tend to be a bit more independent than females.
- For the most part, they’re going to bond very deeply with one person, but they’ll still love the rest of the family.
What Are Females Like?
- Females are more protective of their families than their territory. Because of this though, they can become jealous of other pets in your house.
- Females also tend to be more cuddly than males.
- They’re often seen as easier to train.
- They can often be better around kids because of their mothering instincts.
Are German Shepherds Good With Kids?
Obviously one of the most important questions is whether german shepherds are good with kids.
Well, for the most part, the answer is yes. If your german shepherd has been raised properly then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to be a great addition to your family. However, remember there are always exceptions to the rule.
For the greatest chance of success, you’re best off buying a german shepherd when they’re a puppy from a reputable breeder. And once you’ve done this, socialize them from an early age.
And if you’re going to get a rescue german shepherd, make sure that they’re good with children.
Are German Shepherds Good With Other Pets?
Perhaps you’re wondering if your german shepherd will be good with any of the other pets you have in your house.
Once again, this really depends on the training and socialization you give them. But in the majority of cases, they’re great with other pets.
Starting off with a puppy is probably your best bet, however, if a rescue german shepherd has a track record of being around other animals it shouldn’t be a problem.
(Find out whether german shepherds get along with cats.)
What Makes German Shepherds Good Family Pets?
Fortunately, there are lots of reasons german shepherds make great family pets. If you’re still not 100% certain german shepherds are the right choice for you, then this section should clear up the answer for you.
Here are all the different reasons they make great companions.
They’re Extremely Intelligent
German shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds around. (According to rover.com they’re the third most intelligent dog.)
Dogs that are intelligent can be taught a lot of different commands and retain the ability to remember them.
However, on the flip side, high levels of intelligence also mean they’re going to become bored easily. So a german shepherd will best fit with a family who can spend lots of time with them and keep their mind active.
One thing all great family dogs have intrinsically built into them is loyalty. And german shepherds are some of the most loyal dogs around.
They’ll see you, your family and other pets as part of their pack, and they’ll do anything to make sure you’re all safe and okay.
And in most cases, this loyalty means they like to be around you. If you want a dog that’s always going to be there to be stroked, then german shepherds are a great choice.
They Love The Outdoors
German shepherds are naturally athletic, lean dogs. They love being outdoors and exercising. If your family also loves the outdoors then german shepherds are going to be the perfect fit.
If you often take walks through the woods or along the beach then your german shepherd is going to be right at home.
But this doesn’t mean they’re not going to like to be indoors either. As long as they’re getting enough exercise throughout the day, then they’re going to happily spend most of the day at home with you.
Most People Think They’re Scary
One of the benefits of big dogs is that they’re a lot scarier than little dogs. If you want a dog that is going to help keep your house and family safe, then german shepherds fit the bill.
They’re going to act as a deterrent to people who may wish to break in and even when you’re walking around at night.
Because of this, they make exceptional family pets, especially when this is combined with their courage, bravery, and loyalty.
What Are The Downsides Of German Shepherds?
There’s no perfect family dog. No matter what breed you end up picking there are going to be some upsides and downsides.
Here are a few of the downsides to take into account when wondering whether a german shepherd is going to be a good fit for your family.
They Need Lots Of Your Time
Due to their high intelligence and energy levels, german shepherds are going to need a lot of your time. They’ll need to be taking out regularly and in the beginning, you’ll also need to take the time to train them as well.
If your family can’t spend a lot of the day with your german shepherd then should you rethink your decision. (In fact, no dog should be left alone for a large amount of time.)
When you don’t spend a lot of time with them, the chances are they’re going to become unruly and could end up wrecking things in your house.
They Need To Be Socialised
As well as spending lots of time with them, you’ll also need to make sure they’re being socialized properly as well.
Socialising needs to start as early as possible. So make sure you’re introducing them to as many people and animals as possible.
Without proper socialization, they’re more likely to be aloof and aggressive towards people and animals.
(Find out more about socializing your german shepherd.)
They Constantly Shed
Another problem with german shepherds is that they shed for the entire year. This means you’re going to have to do more cleaning to keep your home tidy.
However, it is important to note that a lot of dogs shed all year, so this really shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you.
They Have A Prey Drive And Like To Herd
Because german shepherds used to be herding dogs, it means they have a higher prey drive than other dogs, and, obviously, they also like to herd.
This means that if you don’t train them and socialize them early on they may develop behavioral issues. Some of the behavioral issues you might notice include, always trying to exert their will and not listening to you.
And if you have young children, they can often end up chasing them especially if they’re running and screaming.
They Can Become Bored Easily
Because of their high levels of intelligence, it’s not uncommon for german shepherds to become bored easily. Especially if they’re left alone all day.
This boredom often results in destructive behavior such as chewing things up and destroying parts of your house.
If you don’t have to leave a german shepherd alone, you need to make sure you’ve given them lots of exercise beforehand and supply them with lots of puzzle toys to keep them entertained.
They’re Strong Guarding Instinct
Lastly, german shepherds have a very strong guarding instinct. Which is a positive and a negative. On the plus side, you’re not going to have to worry about people breaking into your home as much. However, on the flip side, they are likely to bark more and growl at people. (Fortunately, a good training program like Brain Training For Dogs will help you solve most problems.)
How To Introduce A German Shepherd To Your Family
When you introduce your german shepherd to your family for the first time, it could affect your whole relationship from thereon.
So make sure you’re doing the best you can to make them feel at home. Here are some of the things you can do.
Offer Them Food
One of the best things you can do is offer your german shepherd some food when they come into your home.
At first, they may not eat it, but showing them there’s food, is going to help cement the idea this is a safe place for them.
It will make the house feel more like a home, and they’ll see the food giver as a source of positivity.
Make Sure You’re Giving Them Lots Of Love
When your german shepherd first comes home, it’s important to make sure you’re giving them lots of love.
By doing this you’re letting them know that their new home is a great place for them and that they’re going to be happy.
It’s important to remember that your german shepherd may cry for the first few days there home. They’ve just been taken from their first home, as well as their brothers and sisters, so they’re going to feel lonely.
Teach Young Children How To Act Around Your Dog
One of the most important things you can do is teach young children how to act around their dogs.
A lot of kids see dogs as toys and may end up pulling them around or mistreating them. Before you get your german shepherd home make sure you’ve taught your children exactly how they should act.
If they act the wrong way (especially if it resembles violence) then your german shepherd could end up becoming aggressive as well as repressing other negative emotions.
Things your children should avoid doing include screaming or shouting around your german shepherd, waking them up suddenly, hitting them or pulling them around, bothering them when they’re eating, and trying to take things out of their mouths.
As your german shepherd becomes socialized and trained, they’ll be able to handle these situations better, but they should still never occur.
Make Sure You Create A Space For Them
You should also make sure you create a space where they can feel safe. Often times a crate can be a good choice as it helps them feel like they have a cave they can go into.
Crates are also good because when your german shepherd associates theirs with safety, they can be transported everywhere in them.
(And lastly, introducing your german shepherd to cats can be a whole different story. (Check out this article to find out what you should do.)
Now you know that german shepherds make good family pets as long as you buy from the right breeder. Here are a few of the main points you should remember from this article.
Germans shepherds are good family pets because they’re intelligent, loyal, and they love the outdoors.
However, they do need lots of your time and to be socialized. They also shed constantly, have a prey drive, like to herd, become bored easily, and have a strong guarding instinct.
When you’re introducing a german shepherd to your family offer them food, give them lots of love, teach your children how to act around them, and make sure you create a specific space just for them.
If you liked this article check out the rest of the website, otherwise, have a great day!