If you’ve ever thought of owning a German Shepherd or you’re lucky enough to already have one, I bet you’ve weighed up the pros and cons at some stage.
Yes, they can provide an endless supply of love and loyalty, but it’s not always rainbows and roses
It’s our opinion that the pros far outweigh the cons, but we’ll let you make your mind up for yourself!
Two other guides you might be interested in if you’re just getting to know the German Shepherd breed are:
- Should I Get A German Shepherd? Checklist of 19 Things To Consider
- The Awesome List of Over 100 Facts And Information About German Shepherds
Otherwise, enjoy simply reading about the pros and cons…
8 Pros of Owning a German Shepherd
1) Great Show Dogs
If one of your hobbies or interests is dog shows, you’ll know German Shepherds have been bred for both showing and working lines.
The show lines obviously need to conform to standard – either for appearance, temperament or health or a range of factors.
You should have no problems grooming your GSD for appearance, training it to perform show-based routines or teaching it not to react to audiences and distractions.
Even if you don’t have a preference for show dogs, the show lines usually make great family pets and companions.
GSD’s are both elegant looking, and highly intelligent.
2) Great Working Dogs
In addition to being show/family dogs, GSDs are one of the most well-known and versatile working dogs in the canine world.
German Shepherds have held down many working roles such as herding, leading and assisting the blind, chasing criminals, drug sniffing, serving the military, visiting the sick, security work, guarding property and even movie roles.
3) Come In Many Different Types and Colors
When most people think of German Shepherds, the American and German show lines is what commonly comes to mind. These are commonly the black and tan type that make great family pets and have become the second most popular breed.
But, the German shepherd comes in different lines, colors, shapes, sizes and even mix breeds.
There are 11 officially recognized color variations, 6 lines plus the mixed breed combinations.
4) Very Loyal and Committed – Will Protect Their Owner, Family and Their House
If you are looking for a family pet, German Shepherds might be the breed for you. They especially bond well with children as long as you socialise them and train them as a puppy.
To their owner and immediate ‘pack members’, they are loyal and fit and willing to serve as a companion, watchdog, and guardian. They show compassion without being overly needy.
They do not form friendships easily with those outside their immediate circle, which is good if you are looking for a dog that stands his or her ground while at home.
5) Highly Intelligent And Trainable
There is a reason German Shepherds are such a versatile working dog…their intelligence and obedience in being trained is off the charts!
Petrix dog trainer surveys have found them to be the third most intelligent breed behind Border Collies and Poodles.
Toilet Training? Easy. Basic Tricks? Check. Star in a movie? No worries!
The German Shepherd does need a strong and firm leader though, as it has a dominant personality itself.
6) Attractive In Appearance
This one is more subjective, but it’s probably part of the reason it is the second most popular dog breed.
GSDs are long, elegant and athletic in build, and have attractive markings.
Even the non standard colors and mixed breeds offer beautiful looking dogs if that is high on your priority list.
7) Require Minimal Bathing
GSDs require regular brushing, but only need to be bathed once every few months.
The reason for this is that they are generally very clean, don’t tend to emit any smelly odours and bathing more than required can disrupt the natural oils and other regulatory mechanisms in the GSDs coat.
Saving on the maintenance of your dog is a save on your time!
8) Lots Of Resources Available For Information and Help
Because of its popularity, there are endless resources out there on the German Shepherd, including TheDailyShep.com!
If you have any questions or issues of any kind about your German Shepherd, there are hordes of communities out there where you can get information on your questions.
8 Cons of Owning a German Shepherd
1) They Shed A LOT of Hair… All Year Long
People who already own a GSD would know this all too well!
GSDs are known to shed alot, and shed often because of their thick, lengthy double fur coats.
If you can’t deal with fur around the house and on your favorite clothes, they might not be your ideal pet!
2) Common Genetic Health Problems
GSDs through their breeding lines are more prone to health problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis.
This can be a problem for both you and your German Shepherd.
It’s troublesome for you as you will have vet bills and potentially costs for specialised supplements and diets.
But, it’s also not great for your GSD who has to deal with pain and deterioration of joints and movement.
It’s definitely worth getting vet checks documentation and certificates from breeders to make sure your GSD is healthy.
3) Size and Energy
Their size (height and weight) and energy levels do not make them suitable for people with little living space or non-active lifestyles.
While they aren’t hyperactive, GSDs need to be walked daily and have a living area that caters to their size if you want to keep them stimulated and healthy.
Most GSDs will be fine around people and display a steady temperament.
If given the correct training as a puppy and young adult, GSDs are among the most disciplined, noble and well behaved/obedient dogs you will find.
They essentially strike the perfect balance between fearlessness and compassion.
However, when the proper time is not dedicated to teaching a German Shepherd right from wrong, they may exhibit dominant and sometimes aggressive traits.
Poor breeding can also lead to an unstable temperament.
Make sure before you bring a new German Shepherd into your life that you know the background of the breed, and how to be a good owner.
5) Don’t Like Being Left Alone
German Shepherds are certainly not needy.
However, due to their high level of intelligence and need for socialisation and stimulation, they can suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them alone for extended periods.
Ensure your German Shepherd always has something to do when you aren’t around, and that they are socialised early and often.
6) They Require Your Time
This could be a positive or a negative, depending on how much you enjoy spending your free time with your pets.
But, German Shepherds do require your time if you want the best out of them.
From training, to diet, to exercise, to health, to socialisation and stimulation, they really do become another member of your family.
Whether or not this time investment or not is worth it is up to you.
7) You Need To Be A Leader
German Shepherds are generally dominant breeds that look to a strong pack leader (you) to teach them wrong from right, and pull them in line when they overstep the mark.
They WILL challenge your command if you don’t establish yourself as the pack leader.
If you are not someone who is comfortable being firm and commanding, a German Shepherd might not be your cup of tea.
8) Financial Investment
Like any dog, a GSD will cost you money over their lifetime.
Being a large dog, they eat a lot of food – which can be more economical if you buy dry food.
Genetic diseases like hip dysplasia can be costly.
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