17 Pros and Cons of Owning a German Shepherd


If you’re thinking about getting a new puppy, you’ve probably thought about getting a German Shepherd. These dogs are known to be capable and smart working dogs that add a lot of fun and love to your family. 

It could be said that there is no ideal dog. All dog breeds have their pros and cons that we must considered in order to know which is the dog that best suits our lifestyle and needs.

So, what are the German Shepherd pros and cons? Keep on reading to find out.

German Shepherd Dog Breed Facts

German Shepherds are among the most popular dogs in the world, with 3.5 dogs in the USA alone. Also known as Alsatian, this dog originated in German in the late 1800s as a strong and intelligent herding dog.

By the end of World War 1, a puppy was brought to the USA and took part in show business. Later, it became one of the most popular dogs and the parent to one of the most popular breeds in the USA.

In addition to being fantastic guard dogs, this large dog became quite famous in movies because it’s intelligent. It is a working dog that can also help the blind as a reliable guide dog, chase criminals, sniff out illegal substances at the airport and in malls, visit the sick as a fun dog, and herd sheep.

After 9/11, German Shepherds became national heroes because they helped in the rescue. They were able to help find survivors and comfort rescue forces.

American German Shepherds are slightly different from their German counterparts. They have become more accustomed to family life and will show slightly different behavior.

In Germany, this dog is bred for work purposes and will have to pass through various tests to match the benchmark’s physical and mental abilities. When you’re adopting a puppy, the characteristics of the dog will be different, depending on where they descend from.

The dog usually lives up to 14 years, with an average life of 10 years. The male reaches a maximum weight of 90 pounds, while the female will be slightly lighter, weighing around 70 pounds. This dog is quite active and observant, but it’s not for everyone.

In all cases, getting a German Shepherd is a smart decision if you understand this breed’s traits and how they act. If you’re the right owner for the German Shepherd, you and your dog will have a long happy life together.

German Shepherd Pros and Cons

German Shepherd Pros and Cons

There are several differences between members of the same breed, so these traits might not be common in every German Shepherd dog you encounter. Here are the pros and cons of the German Shepherd.

German Shepherds Pros

A German Shepherd is a loving and loyal companion. Here are some of the advantages of getting a German Shepherd.

1. Strong body

German Shepherds have strong muscular bodies to be able to herd sheep. Due to their strength, it’s quite common to see this dog performing the duties of working dogs.

It’s common to see the dog working with the law-enforcement forces because it chases criminals and doesn’t get tired of running. Due to its history as a herding dog, you can expect a lot from this strong and smart dog.

If you’re into jogging, this dog will make a great jogging buddy. It likes to stay active and will appreciate daily walks and play sessions that you both can enjoy together.

Playing with Frisbees is one of the dog’s most favorite activities, and it’s a lot of fun for children and adults in the family.

2. Long Life Span

German Shepherds can live up to 14 years. Reaching this age usually comes with a few problems, but as you understand the nature of your German Shepherd, both of you can enjoy each other’s companionship for a long time.

As long as you keep an eye on your dog, take them to the vet, pay attention to their diet, and make sure that they exercise regularly, they will have a long healthy life. Some health problems are expected at an older age, just like other dog breeds.

3. Intelligent

If you take a moment to think about all the things that the German Shepherd can do nowadays, you will realize how highly intelligent this dog breed is. According to their previous and current owners, German Shepherds are among the world’s most intelligent breeds.

Living with a smart dog is a big plus because they will listen to your orders, won’t get themselves into trouble, and will be easy-going companions.

4. Easy to Train

From working in the military and police to helping disabled people, there’s little that a German Shepherd can’t do. This dog loves to have a job. As a matter of fact, if you don’t give it a task, it will become too sad and depressed.

German Shepherds were the first service dogs in the United States. They were also used to help the blind, the deaf, and people who suffer from seizures. Dogs can detect epileptic seizures 45 minutes before they occur.

This dog is an excellent rescue dog and can sniff out survivors in buildings collapses as well as avalanches. They will go out of their way to warn you in case of danger.

In addition to being highly trainable, a German Shepherd also has a desire to please. This means that you can teach your dog to do anything you want.

German Shepherds Family Dog Breed

5. Obedient

This dogs understand the rules and will follow them. They will always listen to orders, and this qualifies them as excellent show dogs. German Shepherds take part and succeed at agility and obedience competitions because they are easy to train.

To make sure that your dog is following your orders, you should be the alpha leader. Your German Shepherd will follow you because you’re the leader of the pack. In general, German Shepherds are easy going and will listen to whatever you tell them to do.

6. Loyal

German Shepherds are loyal dogs and will go out of their way to help you in case of danger. These dogs make great family dogs with a strong desire to protect their owner.

A German Shepherd is approachable but takes time to trust strangers. Once you have established a good relationship with your puppy, you will have a loyal life companion.

All the time you spend with your dog as a puppy will be reflected in a lifetime of loyalty where your German Shepherd will always try to keep you safe and happy. Your dog will usually identify the parental figure in the house and have a huge love and respect for you as a protective parent.

7. Great Guard Dog

Although a German Shepherd is an excellent family dog, it’s not very welcoming of strangers. Excellent guard dogs, they can have an aloof attitude and can even become a little aggressive if they feel danger.

This dog is extremely protective of its owner and will do their best to protect you in case of danger. It has a powerful jaw and will not hesitate to attack anyone who might threaten you. This is why it will work for you if you live alone and need a companion to keep you safe.

The German Shepherd is a courageous and fearless dog. However, it’s too smart to get itself into trouble. It learns commands quickly and can be trained to be an exceptional guard dog because it’s incredibly protective when it senses danger.

8. Beautiful

In addition to its exceptional personality, this dog is also very beautiful. It has a lush smooth coat and bold yet loving eyes. The pointed ears give this dog an alert appearance while the face shows its good nature.

Combined with their gentle yet strong personality, German Shepherds are very beautiful. The puppies look lovely and innocent, and the adult dogs are also a delight to look at.

9. Various Colors

There are different types and color variations of German Shepherds you can choose from. The most common colors are black and tan, but you can find black and cream, black and red, blue, gray, sable, and even white German Shepherds.

White is not considered a standard color for the breed by the American Kennel Club, but you can still get a white dog if you want to.

10. Clean

Taking care of a German Shepherd is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t have a distinctive dog smell and doesn’t need regular baths.

As a matter of fact, 4 to 6 baths a year would be enough. Too much bathing strips the hair of its natural oils and make it less healthy and more prone to falling and excessive shedding.

You can give your dog a bath whenever they get into mud or if you feel that they need special cleaning. Use a mild dog shampoo and a special brush to remove the tangled hair, mats, and knots.

11. Withstands Different Weather Conditions

Some dogs are too sensitive and can’t handle hot or cold weather, but not your German Shepherd. This dog enjoys all weather conditions and doesn’t get affected by weather changes.

One of the pros of owning a German Shepherd is that you will not have a problem traveling with your dog and take him wherever you want to go.

German Shepherds Cons

German Shepherd Puppy

Despite all the amazing traits of the German Shepherd, owning one comes with a few disadvantages.

1. Needs a Lot of Exercise

If you’re looking for a dog that loves spending time on the couch with you, this might not be the right breed for you. German Shepherds need a lot of daily exercise, love to run, and enjoy long play sessions. If you keep your dog in an apartment, you should take it out for regular walks.

Not getting enough exercise can make your dog too aggressive or depressed. Giving your dog the needed physical stimulation every day will keep them in good health and will also decrease the tendency for less desirable behaviors like barking or chewing.

2. Don’t Like Being Left Alone

Because this is a smart dog, it’s usually very sensitive and hates spending time on its own. The dog suffers from separation anxiety if you tend to leave them for long periods on their own.

German Shepherds are family dogs and enjoy playing and interacting with everyone in the house. If you tend to spend long hours away from home, your dog will become too depressed and bored because they need human interaction.

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long will chew on furniture pieces, a common trait of German Shepherds. They will also bark and act a little bit aggressive. An under-exercised and ignored dog will show you that it needs attention by engaging in destructive behaviors.

3. Health Problems

Like many other dogs, German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, especially when they get older. This condition is too painful and deprives the dog of moving properly.

This dog can also suffer from epilepsy, which leads to seizures. It’s important to get your dog from a reputable source to ensure that they will not suffer from extreme health issues.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloat is one of the common health problems in German Shepherds. It usually happens when the dog drinks a large amount of water after eating or exercises vigorously after a big meal.

The stomach fills with gas and then twists, so it can be very painful. If left untreated, the blood will not be able to travel back to the heart, and the dog can go into shock.

German Shepherds don’t have dental issues because they like to chew. However, their ears are also prone to infections and checking the ears once a week is strongly recommended to prevent health problems.

4. They Shed a Lot

A typical German Shepherd has a dense medium-length coat to protect the dog from rain, snow, and dirt. The outer layer could have straight hair or can be curly or wavy.

The luscious coat of the German Shepherd comes with a few cons. German Shepherds shed a lot all year long, so you need to invest in a good vacuum cleaner that handles pet hair and dander efficiently.

In addition to regular shedding, the dog loses its heavy undercoat twice a year, which can be a serious problem for German Shepherd owners. Regular grooming and cleaning the hair regularly will help you deal with this issue. You should brush the hair at least 3 or 4 times a week to keep the shedding under control.

5. Needs Socialization

German Shepherds are generally quite nervous around strangers. Their aloof nature makes them great guard dogs, but they can become a little too anxious when they meet people for the first time.

Early socialization is essential to help your dog overcome their natural fear. Your German Shepherd is a smart dog and can pick up proper behavior by watching how humans and other dogs interact. Continuous training is needed to make sure that your dog won’t accidentally harm anyone they don’t know.

As long as you socialize your German Shepherd with other pets, dogs, and children since puppyhood, there will be no serious issues. Problems can arise if you’re bringing an adult German Shepherd home because it might become aggressive towards pets and kids they’re not familiar with.

6. Expensive

Unless you’re adopting a puppy from a shelter, one of the disadvantages of German Shepherds is that you will be paying a lot of money for this dog. German Shepherd puppies are quite expensive and need special care and treatment.

You can expect to pay about $1000 for a German Shepherd puppy. If you’re buying a show-quality dog with exceptional lineage, you can expect to pay up to $7000. The cost of feeding and caring for your dog can be between $1000 to $2000 per year.

Final Thoughts

All future dog owners should first consider all the pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd.

A German Shepherd is an exceptional dog. It’s loyal, obedient, and brilliant. Bringing one to your home comes with lots of pros because this dog is easy to train and will always put your life first.

However, you should be able to give this dog the attention it needs. German Shepherds are family dogs and don’t enjoy spending long periods on their own. They also need lots of physical stimulation and should always be given a job to do.