The German shepherd is a loyal, friendly dog that loves its owners and is aware of danger at all times.
If they encounter danger, you can trust them to put their lives on the line for your safety.
Whether you believe it or not, German shepherd dogs (GSD) are also the number one breed of dogs in terms of popularity.
Year after year, this breed has proven itself worthy of being the most popular breed through their loyalty and love, and compassion that they show to their owners.
GSD has also proven their mettle in every field, whether it’s guarding your house, working in a police force, or being a cute little friend when you’re tired or down. However, being the most popular does not mean that they have no cons or are straightforward and provide only benefits to their owners.
Humans, no matter how perfect they make themselves, will always lack something; the same goes for German shepherds.
Therefore, in this article, we will look into all the pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd. So, you can decide if you want to adopt it or not.
40+ Pros And Cons Of Owning A German Shepherd
Having all the qualities that people want in their furry little friend and more is something that has made this breed be among the top breeds in the world and number one in terms of popularity.
This breed can also be helpful for someone who is adopting a dog for the first time.
However, some people like to do all their research before they make any decision, and so if you are among them, here is a list of GSD pros and cons that will help you make the right decision.
- Easy to train.
- They are energetic.
- Highly adaptable.
- Great watchdogs.
- Healthy breed.
- Good personality
- All-weather dog.
- Bonding with children.
- Versatility in colors.
- Excellent work dogs.
- Do not require daily baths.
- Do not develop odors.
- Vast information.
- Great show dogs.
- They love swimming.
- They can change their habits.
- They are playful.
- They are very loyal.
- Long lifespan.
- More handsome than other dogs.
- They need a job.
- They shed a lot.
- They need a job.
- A lot of exercising needs.
- They can be aggressive.
- They require a lot of your time.
- Good dog breeders are hard to find.
- They bark a lot.
- They have a lot of energy.
- They favor only one person.
- Not welcoming to strangers.
- Slow to trust someone.
- They need attention.
- They can display destructive behavior.
- They are aggressive.
- Some German Shepherds are ‘too big’.
- Aggressive with small dogs.
- They are nervous.
- They are content with protecting their territory.
- You shouldn’t leave them alone for too long.
- They are going to be a big financial investment.
German shepherd pros
Easy to train
As german shepherds are energetic, they always want someone to be around them, which adds to their ability to learn and adapt to the person training them quickly.
Their capabilities and skills were further enhanced by having to herd sheep and hunt for a long time.
German shepherd dogs are also not overly aggressive, rather friendly and easy-going, making them a good match for every person.
German Shepherd dogs are known for their intelligence. They understand what they need to do and are eager to please their owners. It is said that they can read a human thought. Some GSDs are even used as therapy dogs to help people who have trouble communicating or need help to deal with stress or anxiety issues.
They are energetic
As aforementioned, the german shepherds are herding animals, and that task requires a lot of energy. Naturally, these dogs are also brimming with energy and can efficiently perform high-intensity tasks or exercises.
These dogs, however, can sometimes also display aggressive behavior when they are not given enough exercise.
German shepherd dogs are energetic, lively, and easy-going, but it can also have an adherent effect as these dogs can sometimes display aggressive effects.
However, because the dog is highly adaptable, these dogs can also adapt to small apartments and places. Although they prefer a lawn, if you are giving these adorable pets enough exercise, they can be happy with you.
Apart from being loyal and loving, these dogs are also fearless, giving them the ability to be perfect watchdogs.
There are many instances where the German shepherd has put his life on the line to protect his family.
Its coat is a combination of black and brown color, giving a fierce look to this dog and making the dog seem more intimidating to anyone who tries to break into your house.
That is also one reason that German shepherds are widely used in operations and special forces.
Another interesting fact about the German shepherds is that they smell everything with their nose and have millions of receptors in their nose for detecting different scents, making their scent detection more accurate than humans.
That is also one reason these dogs are used in forces and airport drug detection teams.
One of the many benefits of having a GSD is that this is a healthy breed that does not have many diseases.
Albeit, there are some diseases in this breed, but they are lesser than other breeds.
People who own a german shepherd are seldom sad because they seek attention and love from their owners.
These dogs are joyful and optimistic and are always looking for ways to get praise from their owners. This personality trait also helps these dogs in training at a faster pace.
Although the german shepherds have double coats, they are easy all year long as they shed their coats to adjust to the summer, and when the weather is pleasant, they grow their coats to be comfortable in winter well.
Bonding with children
German shepherds can be great with kids, but sometimes it takes them some time to adjust. The following post has many helpful tips on how you can help your new fur friend and your kids get along well!
Versatility in colors
German shepherds are mostly known to be in black and brown shade, but that is not the only color german shepherds come in. There are as many as 11 colors to choose from when you go to buy a german shepherd. Some of these colors are white, gray, and bicolor. Also, a German Shepherd may have a blue coat or blue eyes.
Excellent work dogs
When you look around, you will find that these dogs can fill most of the workaround you. These dogs are efficient in working as guard dogs or drug sniffers, but these dogs are also efficient in guiding dogs and comforting the old and sick.
They do not require daily bathing
Yes, you heard me right; these dogs do not need bathing more than 3 or 4 times a year. If you bathe them often, there is a chance that your dog’s coat will have oil problems, and there is also a chance that your dog will also have irritating skin.
Although your dog rolls in dirt or gets something on his coat, you need to wash it off; there is no need to bathe him with shampoo.
They do not develop a bad odor
If you are worried that your dog will start to smell bad when he is not bathed, you do not need to be concerned. These dogs do not develop odors; however, you can get some dog deodorant for your furry friend on the off chance that they do.
Being the most popular breed has its benefits. One benefit that every german shepherd owner has is vast information available at their disposal for everyone. Everything is readily available from the disease down to the exercise routine, making it easy to raise a german shepherd.
Great show dogs
What are some top qualities that a show dog must have? These qualities are intelligence, looks, and how well they are training. These dogs fill all of them, being majestic, loyal, intelligent, and easy to train. If you ask us, it’s no wonder that they have won many prizes over the years and made for excellent show dogs.
They love swimming
If you live near a beach or you want to take them with you on an adventure where sometimes taking a dip without worrying about a dog can come in handy, then you can trust this dog.
German shepherds love to swim and can accompany you on your adventure. Swimming can also come in handy when you want to take your dog for additional exercise.
They can change their habits quick
It is suggested to train your dog at an early age because later on it may not be easy. But in case of GSD it’s may not be that difficult as they can change their habits real quick.
They are very playful
When you give your dog enough training, he will be playful and joyous towards everyone, even small animals and cats. There are some instances where the german shepherd enjoys and plays with a cat even though the german shepherd has a strong prey drive.
They are very loyal
Although this fact is well known, once the dog is fond of you and makes you his favorite human, he will do everything in his power to make you happy.
German Shepherds have a long lifespan and they can live for 10 – 13 years, so they can offer good companionship to you for a long time.
They are a lot more handsome than other dogs
The German shepherds have a double-thick coat that is for all-weather and they are dual-tone with deep black and tan coats that look especially good and striking. One look at this majestic dog is enough to make anyone fall in love with him.
German shepherd cons
They need a job
German shepherds are bred as working dogs that are assigned work to do, and while it is not necessarily a con, it also depends on how you are raising your dog.
Being bred as a working dog, german shepherds have a lot of energy, and when they are not assigned any work, they might sometimes feel like they are being punished, and likewise, they will feel good when they are assigned work.
Moreover, some people do not have all day to dedicate it to their dogs; assigning work to your dog will also result in you taking a rest.
They shed a lot
As german shepherds have thick double coats thick, they shed a lot of that coat to adapt to the weather.
Some people have also said that on a scale of 1 to 10, the German shepherds are a 9 when it comes to shedding, which means that your home and all of your clothes will be filled with the dog’s coat.
German shepherds are among some of the dogs that have fewer health problems when compared to some of the other breeds. However, every dog is susceptible to diseases, and german shepherds are no exception.
With age, the german shepherd is also bound to catch some disease. Some diseases are common in this breed, like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, which can be prevented but require additional care.
A lot of exercising needs
As you all already know by now that german shepherds are herding dogs that have been trained to utilize their energy in other activities. And so, having a lot of energy means that german shepherds are always ready to play and exercise.
Exercise is an essential part of every dog’s life; however, dogs like German shepherds are exceptional as they require exercising early in the morning and in the afternoon. This exercise needs to have intense exercises like jogging.
Some people like to laze around; if you are among them or have a busy schedule that does not allow you to take your dog from strolls or exercise, you may be better off buying another breed.
They can be aggressive
Proper training is required if you are someone who has a big circle and has a lot of friends over at your house. As the german shepherds are loyal and protective, they tend to be not so friendly when it comes to strangers and can sometimes display aggressiveness.
They require a lot of your time
German shepherds are intelligent and loyal, but they are also energetic and protective, and they do not tend to do so well when it comes to dealing with loneliness.
Some people have a tight schedule, and they cannot tend to their furry friends’ needs, which makes them agitated and annoyed.
Sometimes the german shepherd also displays destructive behavior when no one is around. Some special toys can help you calmer your dog and make him engaged in activities while you are out and about on your errands.
Even when the german shepherds are trained, they do not tend to do so well as the training is making an impact on their brain. Taking care of your dog during training also requires a lot of your time.
Good dog breeders are hard to find
As german shepherds are the most popular breed and many people want to have these dogs as their best friend, many people look at these people as a business opportunity and breed the dogs just for the sake of money.
These people forsake every type of training and expense and focus on breeding the dog and selling it.
One way to help you make a sound decision is by checking the dog’s heritage and checking the German shepherd’s medical records.
They bark a lot
German shepherds express themselves through vocals. Some dogs tend to whine, whining for every other reason, like excitement, stress, or to get food, while others bark.
Being big, you can expect the voice of a german shepherd to be loud.
As these dogs were bred to be herders and guard dogs, they have a loud voice in that regard to alert us of any incoming danger.
However, not all german shepherds bark, and there are some exercises and training that you can do to reduce the barking substantially.
They have a lot of energy
Being big and full of energy is what this dog is all about. If you cannot give him enough exercise, you can expect them to have extra energy.
Being big also means that he will most definitely climb up on the couch and take a lot of space.
And so, if you are someone who likes to have a dog for the fun of it or you want a dog that will let you laze around, then german shepherds are not for you.
They favor only one person
Although the German shepherds are known to be good family dogs, they tend to make someone special.
And although the German shepherd will not disrespect anyone in the family, they will not listen to something that everyone says.
Instead, they tend to listen to the person they choose as their favorite. The dogs are more open to this person and will show their love to this person more openly.
Due to this fact, some people say that german shepherds are more suitable for a person and not a family.
Not welcoming to strangers
Two factors cause this, one is inadequate socialization training, and the other is poor breeding. When your dog is not adequately trained, he can start growling and barking at every stranger he sees.
For someone who has a big friend circle and likes to meet people often, this trait can be harmful to you. To stop your dog from continuing this behavior, proper socialization training should be done early.
Although your german shepherd can also learn good socialization when he is an adult, most people like to train their puppies as it is comfortable.
Slow to trust someone
This is also one of the things that may require good socialization training.
By nature, German shepherds are cautious, and that is one of the many facts that makes this breed a good guard dog.
However, it can also be bad for someone who has a big circle as your dog will be wary of them, and it will take some time before they feel easy with people other than you or your family.
They require attention
As aforementioned, german shepherds are warm, loving, and full of energy, and that is why they require someone to always be by their side and take care of them.
People who have jobs cannot take care of the german shepherd efficiently due to their other errands. A german shepherd cannot be left alone for 8 hours or more.
They can display destructive behavior
This is a continuation of the fact mentioned above.
When the German shepherd is left alone to his devices, he can show destructive behavior around the house and destroy some useful possessions of your mother or your wife.
This destruction will be hard for your dog for you due to the scolding you are going to get later.
As german shepherds are easily bored, some people tend to give them toys to help them relax and not show any destructive behavior.
They are aggressive
Although this trait can be found in many dog breeds, it is incredibly high in german shepherds as they are more aggressive than some other dog breeds.
This is also one reason German shepherds have a terrible image, and many people are on their guard when they see this dog.
Many training sessions can help you and your dog to get close and not display aggressive behavior.
If you cannot bear anyone calling your dog bad or aggressive, maybe this dog breed is not for you.
Some German shepherds can be ‘too big’
Most breeders focus on increasing the german shepherd’s size to make it look more appealing and get more money for it.
The consequence of this breeding can highly affect you when you do not have room to have a german shepherd, and you end up getting an enormous dog.
This can also hurt you because germans shepherds are naturally energetic and require a lot of exercise.
When the dog’s size increases, your furry friend can have an adverse effect on your home and furniture.
Aggressive with small dogs
German shepherds are loyal and friendly and have a loving nature, but there are some things that German Shepherds cannot take control over no matter how much he tries.
By nature, German Shepherds have a strong prey drive, and because most are bred to be herding dogs, they tend to go overboard and attack other small dogs and even cats.
If you are someone who owns a cat and now you are looking for a dog to accompany you, maybe a german shepherd is not the right choice.
They are nervous
As the german shepherds are protective and have a predator’s nature, they are nervous about suppressing these predator feelings and sometimes end up harming some pet.
They are content on protecting their territory
While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not good either.
When a german shepherd is bred as a hunting dog, he makes his territory, and when someone with hostile intent tries to invade his territory, the german shepherd becomes hostile towards them.
However, there are also times when a german shepherd tries to attack anyone who enters the territory even when he has no hostile intent.
You shouldn’t leave them alone for too long
German Shepherds are loyal, fun-loving, and optimistic, but they are also energetic and they are bred as a herding dog, meaning that they have the tendency to be around someone at all times. When you leave your furry friend alone for too long, he will display destructive behavior.
They’re going to be a big financial investment
This is one of the main reasons that many people forfeit from getting a German Shepherd. The costs of getting a German Shepherd from a good breeder is already high, and when you add the medical expenses to that amount, the total bill rises.
Is german shepherd the right dog for me?
Many people fall in love with dogs when they are out and about or see a dog with a friend of theirs, and they get to thinking if the dog is right for them?
Due to the features, colors, and majestic elements, the german shepherd is sure to catch anyone who lays eyes on him, and that is the first dog that comes to mind when one wants to buy the dog.
With 37+ pros and cons mentioned above, many people would have concluded whether they want to get the german shepherd or not. However, if you want additional information, you can continue to read on to make a sound decision.
Are you leading an active lifestyle?
No matter what dog you opt to go for, having an active lifestyle is the basic need of every dog. This goes especially for a german shepherd as they are bred for being a herding dog, and they are always brimming with energy all the time.
When you are leading an active lifestyle, it will mean that you can easily take care of your dog’s exercise needs, and if you want, you can play with him later to make him relax.
As one of the con suggests that german shepherds can display destructive behavior around the house, meaning that german shepherds are very active.
German shepherds require a substantial amount of exercise to keep themselves calm. The least amount of exercise that these dogs need is of about 1 – 2 hours daily.
Some people lead a life where they do not have an active lifestyle, albeit far from it. Some people tend to spend their day sleeping and eating, leading them to be obese.
These people can have two choices at their hands either to make their german shepherd obese and agitated all the time, or they can turn their life around when they get a german shepherd and train with him daily.
Do you have enough time?
German shepherds are good guard dogs, and they are exceptional at everything, but one thing they cannot deal with is being alone. If you are working a job or need to spend a significant amount of your time outside your home, then german shepherds are not for you.
German shepherds can easily get bored, and when no one is around, they can get irritated and start to display destructive behavior.
Although there is a lot of training that you can do to make your dog calm without you, staying away from any more than 7 or 8 hours can have a bad effect on your dog.
There are other methods like giving a toy to your dog to make him engage in an activity and keep him calm, but still, there are many factors that can make your german shepherd nervous and lash out.
Even when you are around, you need to give special attention to your beloved dog. The reason being that your german shepherd needs constant training and exercise.
The benefits of training are more diverse than just sit, stand, and eat commands. Like a little child, learning the ways of the world slowly, your dog also needs special attention from you to learn and grow.
Training is especially important when dealing with a german shepherd as they have a strong prey drive and can sometimes behave rashly, which cannot be afforded as it can be harmful to you or your family.
Can you handle the mental stimulation of a German shepherd?
As we all know that German shepherds are intelligent and smart animals that can quickly adapt to every situation and perform any task that you assign them.
However, German shepherds need to have a strong mental stimulation where the GSD has to use all his brain’s functionality to perform specific tasks.
If you are not giving him enough mental stimulation, your dog can get agitated and bored easily.
This point is also linked to the previous point about having enough time to give to your dog. You need to make time in your daily life to think long and hard about the tasks you want to perform with your dog.
You can play certain games with your dog, or you can solve puzzles with him to give him adequate mental stimulation, or you can play simple games like frisbee or fetching.
A german shepherd that is not mentally stimulated can sometimes showcase ill-manners and destructive behavior.
Do you have allergies?
As we all know by now, German shepherds have a double-thick coat that makes it last every season. Due to this heavy coat, German shepherds shed a lot, which is why it is important to know if you are allergic to anything.
Even if you are not allergic to the dog’s hair, there is a possibility that you might be allergic to the dog’s saliva or urine. The German shepherds also spread dander, which can get in contact with you without any close contact.
Dog hairs are not allergic, but they are a source of allergy as most allergens attach themselves to the hair, and then this hair can stick to furniture, walls, floors, and clothes and can be the medium through which the allergens are transferred.
Once the allergens are attached to something, it does not fade away quickly, albeit it takes months to fade away. When you are dusting or vacuuming, the allergens stir up and becomes airborne before settling down again. In this process, someone is affected by these allergens.
You should get yourself tested before getting a GSD to know if you will be okay with the german shepherd or not?
Can you afford the expenses of a german shepherd?
In general, dogs are expensive to keep as they have many expenses, but german shepherds especially require more care, so they are costly to maintain. The cost to take care of a small dog is already high, and with size, the cost also increases. As german shepherds are big dogs, you can expect the cost to be substantial.
When you get the german shepherd, for the first year, you can expect the price to be around $1,600, and after that year, the yearly cost decreases to about $1000, which is still high. However, this price is also not final, and other expenses can pile up in this amount.
These expenses will also be necessary to contain your dog’s treats and toys, and other essential accessories that you will need down the road. All in all, the cost can also increase to a staggering $2,400 in ownership of a german shepherd.
Do you have enough space for a german shepherd?
As aforementioned, the german shepherds are bred to be herding dogs, and they are full of energy all the time. You either need to lead an active lifestyle to take them out for exercises and jogging, or you need to have a lawn big enough to let your dog deplete his energy.
Even when you do not have a yard, you will need to take the german shepherd with you on walks, even when you are not going far, to keep the german shepherd’s mood elevated and avoid boredom.
You can view the german shepherd as an athlete who needs exercise throughout the day, and if you are not using him enough, he will most likely become agitated.
No exercise will also show that your dog’s muscles are deteriorating and his mind is also not running at its full capacity, making your german shepherd dull. This can be bad for your dog and can be harmful to you in the long run. That is why you must have enough time to play and exercise with your dog.
Do you have other pets at home?
This may not seem like a significant factor, but when you look at the breeding of German Shepherds, you will know that this is one of the most crucial things you need to consider before getting yourself a german shepherd.
German shepherds have a high prey drive, meaning that german shepherds are more likely to hurt other small animals.
There are some cases where the german shepherd is mingling with other small pets, but it can be by multiple factors like those pets were with you before you got a german shepherd.
Or maybe German Shepherds are young and can easily be trained to adapt to other small animals.
Being a herding dog and a guard dog, German shepherds, sometimes set up their territory and feel threatened when someone tries to enter their territory.
Once the German Shepherd is at your house or has set up his territory, it can be challenging for him to adapt to other pets being around when they come after your german shepherd.
There are some unique methods and training you can follow to let your dog adjust to other pets.
A dog is known to be the man’s best friend due to its loyalty and caretaking towards the owner. In dogs, some dogs are especially more careful in this manner and cannot bear to see their owner in trouble.
One of these dogs is the German Shepherd.
A German Shepherd is a majestic and beautiful animal that can catch the eyes of any onlooker and make them feel like these dogs are for them.
Some people rush to get a german shepherd before considering the goods and bad things about this animal.
However, other people are looking at whether the german shepherd is suitable for them or not, and for them, here we have 40+ german shepherd pros and cons to let them make a sound decision.
Even when you know every pros and cons of this breed, there are many things you need to consider when getting yourself a german shepherd.
Keeping that in mind, we have also provided additional information to let you know if you are ready to get this dog or not.
Extensive research about everything will ensure that you are prepared to take the big step and welcome an adorable friend in your house.
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