Is a German Shepherd a good family dog? (Why & Why not)

is agerman shepherd a family dog

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. If you are thinking about getting a German Shepherd, but are not sure if it is suitable for you and your family, I hope that I can help you a little with this article. IIs the German Shepherd a family dog and for whom is it suitable?

The German Shepherd is an excellent family dog. However, one must also meet the requirements as a family. The German Shepherd wants and needs to work and therefore needs more time than many other breeds. He is made for work. They also need consistent training.

Is a German Shepherd aggressive?

Who is looking for a dog for his family does not want one thing – an aggressive dog. Often you read and hear that German Shepherds are aggressive and often bite.

But is this true, or what do you need to look for in the statistics?

The German Shepherd is always in front places in the biting statistics. If another breed experiences hype, it may be replaced in the meantime.

But when you read about a dog that has bitten, it is often a German Shepherd or a German Shepherd mix.

What is the reason for this?

The German Shepherd can be found in every country in the world. They are very common. If there are more dogs of one breed, these dogs bite more in absolute numbers.

What is the main use of a german shepherd? They are used and trained as guard and protection dogs. Also in the private sector.

The image of the aggressive German Shepherd is created because many guard dogs or farm dogs were or are simply German Shepherds.

A Golden Retriever will rarely be found as a guard dog or trained protection dog. But partly the Golden Retriever came because of the absolute numbers, very close in the bite statistics to the German Shepherd.

Nevertheless, no one would get the idea that a Golden Retriever is aggressive.

Basically, no dog breed is aggressive by nature. A dog is made aggressive by its owner.

German Shepherd with children?

The German Shepherd is also suitable as a family dog with children. They are strong nerves, loyal and good-natured. So they have good qualities for a family dog.

It is not for nothing that the German Shepherd is also one of the most popular dogs among families with children.

However, children also need to learn from the beginning firm rules on how to deal with the dog.

German Shepherd for families without experience?

The German Shepherd is suitable for families who already have dog experience or who get help from the beginning in the form of a dog school or a dog trainer and apply the knowledge consistently.

However, you must be aware that education can be more strenuous than with many other breeds.
The German Shepherd needs clear leadership and education. Unnecessary shouting and harshness like in grandpa’s time is not necessary.

But it must be a consistent and yet loving education. Today like this and tomorrow like that, because I don’t feel like it, is the worst possible way with the German Shepherd.

The German Shepherd is generally very good to educate. But it needs more effort than for example with a Golden Retriever.

For which families is a German Shepherd suitable?

The German Shepherd needs an active family. They want and need to be challenged physically as well as mentally.

The German Shepherd is very willing to learn. Not without reason you can find him as a guide dog, police dog, with herding, as a therapy or even drug detection dog. As you can see, the field of application is limitless.

In short, the German Shepherd MUST be kept busy and exercised if he is going to be a great family dog.

is a german shepherd a good family dog

Who is the German Shepherd NOT suitable for?

So, the German Shepherd is not suitable for families who are looking for a dog with which they can go for a short walk 2 times a day and relax on the couch in the meantime.

If you do not train a German Shepherd properly, he will become unhappy and possibly aggressive.

You must remember that a German Shepherd is a dog that tends to bark a lot. So if you live in an apartment with direct neighbors, your neighbor may be bothered by the barking. Especially if your dog has no exercise, the barking will increase.

Activities with the family

If you and a family have an active lifestyle, the German Shepherd may be the per perfect family dog for you.
The good thing about a German Shepherd is that as a family, you don’t have to be incredibly creative to exercise him.

Education, obedience and extensive walks are perfect to keep your German Shepherd busy.
You don’t have to create jam-packed weekly schedules. The basics in sufficient quantities are ideal.

If for you and your family, however, that’s not enough, the big plus is that the German Shepherd is extremely versatile.

For example, if like:

  • Long walks in the forest
  • jogging sessions
  • bike rides
  • obedience training
  • carnicross
  • agility
  • Tug of war
  • dog courses
  • companion dog test
  • ….

the German Shepherd is a perfect partner for your leisure time.

With a German Shepherd you can get a great family dog with whom you can do everything.

Concerns: German Shepherd as a family dog

Unfortunately, the German Shepherd is not a healthy dog. The bred in sloping back makes many German Shepherds cripples.

If you get a German Shepherd as a family dog and at some point your dog can barely walk, it’s a drama for the whole family.

I can’t even imagine how our children would feel if our dogs suddenly became seriously ill or were no longer there at all.

Of course, every human usually outlives his dog and of course every dog can get sick. But with the German Shepherd the danger is much greater than with many other breeds.

Also, if your German Shepherd has hip problems, they may be frustrated because they can’t move the way they want to. Or they may be in pain.

These facts, in turn, can cause them to snap and become aggressive at times.

The issue of health should be considered when choosing a family dog for the sake of your children, especially when they are small.

Conclusion: Is the German Shepherd a family dog?

The German Shepherd is an ideal family dog, if you have time and desire to be active with your dog. Physical exercise such as long walks in the woods or obedience training are perfect to keep the German Shepherd busy.

A happy German Shepherd makes a great family dog and your kids’ best friend.

Happy (Contributed image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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