At What Age Does A German Shepherd Become Aggressive?

At What Age Does A German Shepherd Become Aggressive?

German shepherds are ranked as some of the protective and aggressive dog breeds in the world. As a result, you will find some countries and certain states in the USA have enacted the Breed Specific Legislation.

This legislation forbids ownership of some breeds, like the German shepherds. Unfortunately, such legislation has been driven by a rise in dog-related injuries.

So when does all this start? At what age does a German shepherd become aggressive? Is it at puppyhood, puberty, or adulthood? That’s all about this article. In this section, we shall cover more about German shepherd aggression.

At What Age Does A German Shepherd Become Aggressive?

German shepherds will become aggressive when they are six weeks. It’s at this age they will start exploring their surroundings and start displaying dominance to their siblings.

However, depending on their upbringing, other German shepherds can start displaying dominance when they are 6 to 8months when puberty is settling in.

Type Of German Shepherd Aggressions

Territorial Aggression

Some German shepherds dislike when their personal space is interrupted or disturbed. As a result, such dogs are often possessive and will tend to attack anyone who gets close to their items or space.

Dominance Aggression

If you don’t take charge of your dog, then the reverse might happen. Your dog will try to dominate you. Such a dog picks up the alpha role and often becomes aggressive when you don’t bow down to its request or demands.

Furthermore, alpha German shepherds adopt such a personality if you are not stern in your commands or instructions.

When expressing dominance aggressive behavior, your German shepherd will ignore your commands, growl, and snarl, or even lunge at you.

This dog will even tend to jump on you every time as a sign of dominance.

Fear Aggression

When your German shepherd is cornered and looks threatened and has nowhere to escape, aggression could be the only resort.

Often German shepherds who display aggressive behavior are adrenaline-driven and display this behavior to defend themselves.

Protective Aggression

As you have seen in most blogs, German shepherds are protective canines. It’s their temperaments to protect their loved ones.

Your German shepherd can become aggressive when it perceives you are threatened. And through its judgment, your dog can even attack harmless strangers. Such dogs often need socialization and proper training. Such aggression is recommended for protection or guarding dogs; however, it should never go overboard.

Pain-Related Aggression

Your German shepherd can become aggressive when in pain.

Predatory Aggression

Another type of German shepherd aggression is predatory aggression. This happens in German shepherds who have a strong prey drive. These dogs will tend to chase small dogs, pets, or other small moving animals in your yard, perceiving them as prey.

How To Control German Shepherd Aggression

Sometimes aggression in German shepherds can go overboard. With that, you will have to look for ways to put a stop to such behavior.

Watch Out What’s Causing The Aggression

Sometimes you will need to explore what has driven your German shepherd to become so violent. Research whether your dog has had an awful experience there at the back. Is it fear, or is it more hormonal driven.

After knowing what’s causing your dog to become aggressive, you will be better positioned to put this behavior to a stop.


Socialization is one key aspect that every German shepherd needs to undergo. Socialization helps in opening up your dog’s mind. You will need to expose your German shepherd to lots of sights and sounds. Let the dog know who it should trust. While at that, let the dog understand that not every stranger means danger to it.

Socialization will make your dog understand that violence is never a solution to everything.

Be The Alpha Leader

As we earlier discussed, dogs who don’t obey your commands will display a certain level of aggression. Such dogs will never respect your authority.

With that, your German shepherd needs to understand that you are the pack leader and your rules need to be followed.

When saying you need to be the pack leader, don’t make the dog feel inferior or bully it, instead let the dog understand some boundaries it should not cross. For example, don’t let the dog jump or sit on your every time. And always take the lead when walking with your dog.

Again, don’t praise any aggressive behavior that your dog displays.

Seek An Animal Behaviorist

If everything seems not to work out your way, you will need to talk to an animal behaviorist about your dog. The animal behaviorist will craft ways of putting this behavior to a stop.

Final Thoughts

German shepherds will start displaying aggressive behavior when they are six weeks. If not controlled, this behavior can go overboard and can be hard to manage. If you cannot stop your dog’s aggressive behavior, you can seek the services of an animal behaviorist.

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