I’ll start off by saying, German Shepherd Dogs are extremely versatile, and can do just about anything, including, being excellent family dogs.
Now, realistically, they are not a dog for everyone. For the intent of this article we are going to talk in regards to German Shepherd Dogs, but keep in mind most of what I am going to say, can apply to several other breeds of dogs, or ANY breed of dog period. Some people just in general should not own dogs. We are also going to assume that we are speaking of a well bred German Shepherd Dog. Dig deeper into our article page to find out what makes a dog well bred.
First ask yourself, why do you want a German Shepherd Dog?
A lot of people are drawn to them because of their looks. Don’t get a German Shepherd Dog just because you like the way it looks. While yes, I do agree they are beautiful, and you can think they are beautiful too, it just shouldn’t be the only reason you get one. Certain bloodlines of German Shepherd Dogs, have rendered themselves almost useless in a working dog role, because they have been bred for only their looks alone. These are working dogs!!
Do you want a German Shepherd dog to protect you?
A German Shepherd Dog (again well-bred) has protective instincts and can certainly be trained to protect and make an excellent personal protection/security dog. Just don’t think that you can get a German Shepherd Dog, and not pursue any training with it, and it will protect you. Sure, it’s happened, it’s not a guarantee.
Do you want a German Shepherd because they are smart?
They definitely are! If left to their own devices, this isn’t always a good thing. They need training! This is not the type of dog (not many are) that you get, and don’t do any training with. They are far too smart, strong, and driven. They need something to do. At minimum the basic obedience is required, but again, they are working dogs, so the more you throw at them, the better. They would thrive with having some type of activity or sport to participate in, however, not a requirement to participate in any “formal” sport or activity.
Do you have an active lifestyle?
Good! They are active dogs! Not the type of dog that is happy with a leisurely stroll around the block once a day. They need regular exercise. If they don’t get enough, they will likely cause havoc somehow! Most days should be at minimum 2x a day 30 minutes of walking/jogging/running/training/ballchasing/bikeriding (For a full grown adult dog). If only walking, and no running, expect to have to do a little more. They are great running and biking partners, and are great motivators for staying active! A tired dog is a happy and well behaved dog. They love chasing balls, running free, hiking, you name it! With that said, a well bred and balanced dog should be able to chill out in the house and not be bouncing off the walls if they miss a day or 2 of exercise, I understand sometimes things happen or weather happens, and you can’t always have time for longer periods of exercise. That is okay, but in general, my point is, they need exercise! I personally don’t have a problem with apartment dwellers getting a German Shepherd, so long as they understand the exercise requirements of these dogs. You don’t have to live on a farm to have a German Shepherd.
Do you have the time and finances?
I don’t mean that you have to have 24 hours a day to dedicate to the dog or $1000000000. But, realistically, they cost time and money. Are you able to get up before work and walk the dog? Hire a dog walker if you are gone for more than 8-9 hours a day? Spend at least 30 minutes in the evening time playing/exercising/training? Routine vet visits, and a good diet, are not cheap. Let alone emergency vet visits, costs for dog training, boarding for times you can’t travel with him/her. Prepare for a 15 year (we hope for atleast) commitment. Where do you see yourself in 15 years? Plan for the dog to be with you, where ever it is! Oh, but don’t worry, a well bred German Shepherd Dog, is great with kids so if they are in your future (or present) that is a non issue.
Do you want a dog to be part of the family, and live in the house with you?
GOOD! German Shepherd Dogs are extremely pack oriented, they need to be part of the family, they are not a dog that you get and just stick in a kennel or tie out 24/7. They crave and need interaction. They will probably follow you around the house from room to room. Doesn’t mean they can’t spend time in a crate or kennel, but they can’t live there! They are house dogs! Which leads me to.. I hope you don’t mind dog hair, or are willing to have to vacuum or sweep a couple extra times per week. These guys DO shed. If they have regular grooming/brushing/bathing, (weekly brushing) you can really minimize the damage.
If you desire all of these things together, a beautiful, protective, smart, dog that will be part of the family and that can do just about anything with the right training. If you can provide said dog, with some type of job (even if it’s just getting the mail, retrieving the remote, walking the kids to the bus), plenty of exercise and at minimum basic obedience training. Then, yes, a well bred German Shepherd Dog is the right breed for you.