- Full Name
- German Shepherd
- Alternate Names
- Alsatian, Berger Allemand, Deutscher Schäferhund, Schäferhund, Alsatian Wolf Dog
- Your PupScore
- Take the best dog breed quiz to get your Pup Scores!
- Life Span
- 10 - 13 years
- 50 - 90 pounds
The German Shepherd is known for being a family dog, but who can also serve as an excellent guard dog. They are intelligent and alert and are a dog that you and your family can feel safe with. They are courageous, loyal, and obedient. They also have moderate energy and shed a lot. Despite their protective nature, they are still friendly with other dogs and children. The German Shepherd is eager to please, and wants a "job" to do- all of these characteristics add up to make them excellent police and service dogs.
- Bred For
- Herding, Guard Dog, Police Work
- Family Considerations
- Overall Ease of Breed
- Home and Environment Considerations
- Physical Characteristics
Is the German Shepherd good with children?
Yes! The German Shepherd is naturally friendly with children. As always, socialization is always important, but the German Shepherd is an excellent dog for anyone with small children.
Is the German Shepherd friendly with strangers?
Yes, the German Shepherd is very friendly with strangers. We still recommend early socialization while the German Shepherd is a puppy to introduce them to various new people, but in general they are friendly with everyone.
Is the German Shepherd friendly with other dogs?
Yes, the German Shepherd is very friendly with other dogs. We still recommend early socialization while the German Shepherd is a puppy to introduce them to various new dogs, but in general they are friendly with dogs as soon as they meet them.
Likes to Cuddle
Does the German Shepherd like to cuddle?
The German Shepherd appreciates affection and that includes kisses and snuggles!
Does the German Shepherd like to play?
The German Shepherd will almost always be ready for play! The German Shepherd is great for a family with children, or otherwise, an environment that is always ready for play.
Service Dog Ability
Does the German Shepherd make a good service dog?
The German Shepherd is a common service dog. The German Shepherd is smart, dedicated, and patient. However, despite the German Shepherd being an excellent breed for service work, they must pass through an extensive training period and only some will be up for a life dedicated to service work.
Ease for Novice
Is the German Shepherd good for first-time owners?
The German Shepherd is a good breed for first-time owners. A good fit for first-time owners are friendly breeds that are motivated to please their owner. This means they can be trained, and are rarely aggressive and overpowering.
How well can the German Shepherd be trained?
The German Shepherd can be trained to the highest level and is oftentimes seen in various competitions. The German Shepherd is not only intelligent, but it wants to please its owner and is motivated with competition, especially if it feels like it has a job assigned to it.
Amount of Shedding
Does the German Shepherd shed a lot?
The German Shepherd is an average shedder. German Shepherd owners will probably still tell you it's a lot of shedding, but certain breeds shed even more.
Ease of Grooming
Is the German Shepherd easy to groom?
The German Shepherd requires very little grooming relative to other dog breeds, their coat is very low maintenance.
Does the German Shepherd need a lot of exercise?
The German Shepherd has a lot of energy and getting daily exercise is very important, both for their well-being and for their focus, which is important when you train them.
How smart is the German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd is one of the smartest dog breeds. Having a very smart dog is fun, but it is also demanding- they require mental challenge and stimulation just as much as physical exercise.
Amount of Barking
How much does the German Shepherd bark? Does the German Shepherd bark too much?
The German Shepherd barks a lot. This is important to consider with your living situation- will it be ok when you leave them at home alone or will they disrupt the neighbors? The German Shepherd will oftentimes bark just to express their thoughts... even just to be heard!
Guard Dog Ability
Is the German Shepherd a good guard dog?
The German Shepherd can serve as an excellent guard dog. It is both physically intimidating and also enjoys having a "job" to protect its family and property.
Tolerates Being Alone
Is the German Shepherd good at staying alone? Is the German Shepherd independent?
The German Shepherd does not enjoy being left alone for extended periods. They can do well for a couple of hours alone, but may have anxiety for time beyond that.
Good for Apartment Living
Is the German Shepherd a good apartment dog?
The German Shepherd is not the best dog apartment living, but it can work if the owner is dedicated to exercising and training their German Shepherd
How big is the German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd is a large dog breed. A dog's size is important to consider when it comes to travel arrangements, budgeting for food, and how big of a living space you have.
How much does the German Shepherd tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd can tolerate some heat, but should not be over-exposed to hot weather. In general, they can live in hot weather climates, but would do best with air conditioning or at least a fan in their home, especially where they sleep.
How much does the German Shepherd tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd can tolerate some cold, but should not be over-exposed to cold weather. In general, they can live in cold weather climates, but may need clothing on particularly cold evenings or in snow.
Potential to Run Away
Does the German Shepherd try to run away?
It is natural for the German Shepherd to run away. They are easily distracted and excited, so the urge to run away should be expected and prepared for- a fenced yard is important.
Is the German Shepherd a healthy dog? The health of a German Shepherd should be measured not just by how many years they live, but also by how many health issues they've had. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.
The German Shepherd is healthy, but has an average number of health risks that should be taken into consideration.
How energetic is the German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd has a lot of energy and this needs to be considered before bringing the German Shepherd into your home. Can you give your German Shepherd enough exercise? They will need several small daily walks, or a large dog park trip to get all of the energy out.
Amount of Drooling
How much does the German Shepherd drool?
The German Shepherd drools very little, typically to where it's never a concern.
Does the German Shepherd have a large prey drive? Does the German Shepherd like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals?
The German Shepherd has average prey drive. They will probably enjoy chasing after birds and other small animals at the park, and it may be an issue at the home if you have small animals, but with some training and introduction can usually learn to live with them.
Is the German Shepherd atheltic?
The German Shepherd is very athletic and would be well suited for a family that frequently works out or goes on adventures.
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- Shepherd / Sheepdog
- German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a purebred dog that belongs to the Shepherd / Sheepdog sub group, which falls under the larger Herding dog breed group.
Herding group: The Herding group dogs all share an instinctual ability to control the movement of other animals. They have traditionally been raised on farms to help herd and protect valuable livestock. They are intelligent, and have been bred to treat each day like they have a "job" they must do. Their innate herding ability is such a big part of who they are, that they are known to even "herd" their owners, children, or other small dogs. Some can seem stubborn and even obsessed with their herding, since they take it seriously! They have high expectations, and must be stimulated mentally just as much as physically. The reward to these "high expectations" is that they can be trained very well, and are oftentimes used in competitions. Certain breeds such as the well known German Shepard are also used by Police forces, because of their discipline, intelligence, and ability to be trained.
Shepherd / Sheepdog sub-group: Shepherd dogs are the super performers of the dog world. For many generations they have served their owners by performing their job of helping in the farm- guarding, protecting, and herding. Shepherds were bred based off intelligence and temperament, and willingness to serve their families. Today they are excellent family dogs, but also excel as military service animals, emotional therapy dogs, and in competitive obedience competitions. They are highly trainable and intelligent, but that does not necessarily mean they are an easy dog or optimal for first time owners. With this potential comes greater responsibility from the owner. They need a firm owner who is willing to stimulate them both physically and mentally from an early age. They need a leader. If they have one, you will be rewarded with one of the friendliest and most intelligent dogs in the World.
German Shepherds for adoption