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Is the German Shepherd a good dog for me?

german shepherd proper dog

If you are thinking of acquiring a German Shepherd puppy or adopting an adult German Shepherd, the first thing you should ask yourself is if this is the right breed of dog for you . That the German shepherd is one of the most intelligent and accepted dog breeds is not doubted by anyone, but like any other breed of dog it has characteristics that may or may not make it suitable depending on what is expected of our new pet.

The AKC standard says that the German Shepherd:

“He has a distinct personality marked by direct and bold expression, but not hostile, self-confidence and a certain distance from immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be accessible, standing firm and showing confidence and will in the face of new proposals without creating them himself ”.

That is a great description of an ideal German Shepherd.

Unfortunately, today it is very difficult to find an ideal German sheepdog . Today this breed is encountered in many different temperament lines.
Lines that are bred for protection work and schutzhund sport tend to be very strong-tempered and business-focused. There are character lines that range from a mild character to hyperactive ones. And many German Shepherds raised by inexperienced breeders can have risky temperaments and suffer from health problems.

A German Shepherd’s energy levels range from vigorous to laid-back, but all of them, to maintain their athletic form, need to walk and run on most days in a safe, enclosed area.

Mental exercise (advanced obedience classes, agility classes, schutzhund, tracking, herding) is even more important for German Shepherds . We are dealing with a very intelligent breed , and this intelligence is often wasted in a household that simply wants a casual pet.

Finally, early and continuous socialization is a must to develop a stable and reliable temperament.
Most German Shepherds get along well with other family pets, if they are introduced when they are young. However, some specimens do not get along very well with cats, and many are dominant or even aggressive towards strange dogs of the same sex.

The German Shepherd is one of the most capable and trainable breeds , eager to learn and work. A German Shepherd when well trained by an owner who shows himself as such makes a magnificent companion.

If you want a dog that …

  • He is strong, athletic, and natural-looking.
  • You need challenging activities and exercises practically every day
  • It looks severe and imposing, so it is often an effective deterrent to strangers
  • He is exceptionally intelligent, loyal and versatile – when well socialized and well trained, he can learn and do almost anything

A German Shepherd may be the pet you are looking for

If you don’t want to have to deal with …

  • An extremely careful search to find a stable tempered German Shepherd with a decent chance at staying healthy
  • Provide plenty of exercise and cool things to do
  • Provide careful socialization
  • The dog becomes destructive when bored or not getting enough exercise
  • Potential aggression towards other dogs
  • Constant and abundant shedding of the coat (365 days a year)
  • Legal obligations (public perception, future breed bans, insurance problems, higher probability of lawsuits when dealing with a large breed of dog)
  • Concern about a multitude of serious health problems you may have

A German Shepherd may not be the best breed of dog for you

If I were thinking of acquiring a German Sheepdog, I would be very concerned about …

Legal obligations . German Shepherds can be subject to “ban” in certain areas, or denial of homeowner insurance policies. Currently the legal responsibilities of owning any breed that seems intimidating and has a history as a guard dog must be considered.

The wide range of temperaments. German Shepherds are very different from each other, and different breeders produce very different temperaments. If you want a companion for the family, do not choose high-energy work lines, and if you want a dog for protection work, choose a suitable breeder. With German Shepherds more than most other breeds, you have to carefully research their lines or you may end up with a dog that is not at all what you were looking for. In this breed you can find more specimens with very different characters. And unfortunately, many German Shepherds are poorly raised by people who don’t know how to do it right. The result is that it is easy to meet German Shepherds with neurotic, and especially aggressive behaviors.

Socialization requirements . Most German Shepherds have protective instincts against strangers. They need extensive exposure to close people so that they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of people outside their family as “good people.” Then they can tell the difference when someone really acts abnormal. Without careful socialization, a German Shepherd can be wary of everyone.
Potential animal aggression. Most German Shepherds, when introduced as puppies, are very good around other dogs and cats in their own family. But many German Shepherds are dominant towards other dogs of the same sex, and can lead to aggressive situations if the other dog develops a similar instinct. Some German Shepherds develop predatory behavior towards cats.

Constant shedding of the coat . German Shepherds shed hair 365 days a year. In other words, they constantly shed. You will find hair on all of your clothes, furniture, and rugs. Make sure you are really prepared for this. Most people have no idea how much hair these dogs can produce.

Find a healthy specimen and keep it healthy. From hip and elbow dysplasia to heart disease and cancer, stomach disorders and skin conditions, German Shepherds are unfortunately one of the weakest dog breeds in terms of long-term health. The list of serious health problems to which they are susceptible is daunting. To avoid these problems, you need to buy your German Shepherd from the right breeder. And once you have your puppy at home, you need to keep him healthy, starting with proper nutrition.

Provide enough mental stimulation . German Shepherds are very smart and capable. They are not a breed of dog to walk around the house and be in the yard. The German Shepherd thrives when you find interesting things for the one who challenges his mind. Bored German Shepherds, especially when young, can become a boisterous, restless, and unbalanced animal.

I hope it has helped you clarify some aspects and decide whether or not to decide on a German shepherd, if you finally do, do not doubt that it is an incredible breed.

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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