German Shepherd Dog Breed Info
Ever wonder if German shepherds make great family pets? How easy are they to train? Do German shepherds bark a lot? What kind of grooming do they require? What about German shepherd mixes? Read on to get German shepherd dog breed info, which will answer these questions and more.
Are German Shepherd Dogs Good Pets?
German shepherds are very good pets, especially for active families and homes that have yards where your German shepherd can get exercise every day. German shepherds tend to have high prey drive, though, so they might tend to bolt if they see cats, small dogs and other small animals. If you adopt a German shepherd puppy, we recommend that you socialize it early, to get it used to being around your other pets.
Because they tend to have high prey drive, we recommend leash training your German shepherd.
This breed of dog is highly intelligent and highly trainable (more on that below). They do tend to shed a lot so be ware if you have someone in your household who has pet allergies.
Are German shepherds good with children?
As we recommend with any type of dog, slowly introduce your German shepherd to children, especially if the dog is new to being around youngsters. This breed can weigh between 50 to 90 pounds, so even the most gentle, protective shepherd can easily topple a child. Never leave dogs alone with babies, toddlers, and small children.
Otherwise, yes, the German shepherd dog breed gets high marks for being a kid-friendly dog! They are fun, playful, super smart and protective.
What about newbies? Are German shepherds good for first-time owners?
The German shepherd is a smart dog breed that does very well with first-time dog owners, especially for active adults.
Should you crate train a German shepherd?
When you crate train any dog, the two most important pieces of advice we have are (1) make sure the crate is the right size for your dog and (2) never use the crate as a punishment. A dog’s crate should be large enough for the animal to stand up and easily turn around. The top of their ears should not touch the top of the crate.
Crate training is a personal choice. Some pet owners prefer to crate their German shepherds when they are away from home and at night. Your dog’s crate should be a safe place that your dog looks forward to going into, like a den or cave when he’s tired or scared. Do not use the crate to punish your dog; otherwise, you’ll have a lifelong battle of getting your dog to go to his crate.
Please refer to our guide to crate training for suggestions about other ways to train a dog.
Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?
Bred as working herding dogs, German shepherds do bark. Their loyalty can lead to over-protectiveness of both you and your home, which is often displayed as aggressive barking toward other unfamiliar animals or humans. As with all dogs, German shepherds bark to communicate with fellow canines, other animals, and humans. When your German shepherd barks at everything, there’s a reason. It’s your job to understand what that reason is so you can help control his behavior.
There are several reasons why your German shepherd barks:
- He’s burning excess energy.
- It’s his territorial guarding instinct.
- She’s saying hi and she’s ready to play.
- He’s startled or alarmed.
- They’re seeking attention.
- They have separation anxiety.
If you determine your dog’s barking is not due to any imminent danger, it’s time to train your German shepherd!
How to stop German shepherd from barking?
To ensure your dog training is successful, you need to exercise your German shepherd regularly. This is a high-energy breed that needs more exercise and play than most breeds. A regular routine of both physical exercise and mental stimulation will leave him less likely to react to triggers that make them bark.
Training any dog to do anything requires patience, time, and consistency.
Need help with your German shepherd puppy’s barking? This article will help you understand how to curtail puppy barking at night. And this post, will help you discover ways to control puppy barking without using a bark collar.
Are German Shepherds Easy to Train? Or, Are German Shepherds Hard to Train?
German shepherds are eager to please, extremely intelligent and easier to train than other breeds. Early socialization and puppy training are essential to prevent over-guarding and aggressive behavior. Continued obedience training throughout a German shepherd’s life is recommended. Positive, reward-based training will ensure success when training German shepherds. Lots of praise and high-quality treats go a long way with this breed, but must be given immediately upon completion of the task. Avoid using harsh physical corrections or tone of voice as German shepherds don’t respond well to force.
How to train a German shepherd in 3 steps
The best way to train the highly intelligent German shepherd is by using positive reinforcement. Be clear on what you do and do not want your shepherd to do. This breed responds very well to the ultrasonic training device.
- First, figure out what triggers your German shepherd to bark. How can you eliminate those triggers? If you can’t literally remove the stimuli that make your dog bark, try a distraction. For example, if your German shepherd reacts to a delivery person approaching your house, as soon as you see the truck on your street, give your dog a toy or another distraction. This routine can teach your German shepherd to associate positive experiences with package deliveries.
- Second, use our train, treat, repeat training techniques laid out in our barking guide. Use positive reinforcement with firm voice commands and the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool followed by immediate praise and tasty treats.
- Third, everyone in your home must be on board about how to correct your shepherd’s behavior. This is a smart breed that will quickly figure out who’s a softie and who’s strict.
How to train a German shepherd puppy
When it comes to training tips for training any breed of puppy, whether a German shepherd puppy or a mixed breed or nonspecific breed, we recommend following the advice of our team in the puppy training guide. In short we have these tips for training German shepherd puppies (which apply to any breed of puppy, to be honest):
- German shepherd puppy training should start around 6 months of age.
- Prior to 6 months, your puppy training should consist of socializing your German shepherd and simple commands like “sit” and “no bites.”
- Avoid yelling at, scolding and punishing your German shepherd puppy; instead, use positive reinforcement training — plus a lot of patience.
Facts About German Shepherds
Ranked number two on the AKC breed popularity list, German shepherds are smart, confident and courageous dogs. The bond between a German shepherd and his owner is unsurpassed by other breeds and as such make a great choice as a family pet. This breed is deeply loyal and protective of their family and is well-known for their work in the military, search and rescue, drug detection, and as guide and assistance dogs. German shepherds are active dogs that require plenty of daily exercise, otherwise they can get into mischief.
Here are German shepherd facts:
- Size: The average height of German shepherds is 22-26 inches and the weight range is 50-90 pounds.
- Life expectancy: The average lifespan for a healthy German shepherd is 7-10 years.
- Coat: The German shepherd has a medium-length double coat with a dense and harsh outer coat and softer undercoat.
- AKC group: German shepherds belong to the AKC herding group.
Do German Shepherds Need Grooming?
German shepherds shed year-round. Brushing your pet’s coat every few days will help remove loose hairs. If you notice an uptick in shedding once or twice a year, daily brushing will reduce hair on your furniture and floors and also prevent matting. German shepherds need only occasional baths unless they get into something.
The best dog brush for a German shepherd is a slicker brush or a pin brush for dogs. This is also the best type of brush for a long haired German shepherd.
Be sure to trim nails with the proper tools like the BarxBuddy nail clippers or visit your groomer. Regular tooth brushing is necessary to keep your German shepherd healthy.
What If My Breed Is a German Shepherd Mix?
Over the years, this popular breed has become a favorite choice for designer dog breeders. Today you can find several German shepherd mixes. Because a mix takes on the traits of both parents, there’s no guarantee what characteristics the offspring will inherit, so it’s important you research the parent breeds to understand the potential characteristics your mixed pup might possess.
Here are some popular German shepherd breed mixes:
- Beagle shepherd = German shepherd + beagle
- Boxer shepherd = German shepherd + boxer
- Chow shepherd = German shepherd + chow chow
- Dane shepherd = German shepherd + Great Dane
- Doberman shepherd = German shepherd + Doberman pinscher
- Gerberian shepsky = German shepherd + Siberian husky
- German Australian shepherd = German shepherd + Australian shepherd
- German rottie = German shepherd + rottweiler
- German sheprador = German shepherd + Labrador retriever
- Shepadoodle = German shepherd + poodle
- Shepherd pit = German shepherd + pitbull
- Shollie = German shepherd + border collie
Additional Resources for German Shepherd Owners and Fans
Here is a list of official clubs for German shepherd breed owners and lovers, as well as resource links for obedience training for German shepherds and German shepherd protection training.
- German Shepherd Dog Club of America
- American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation
- American German Shepherd Rescue Association
- BarxBuddy’s Guide to Dog Training
- AKC’s Canine Good Citizen, a resource for German shepherd obedience training
For German shepherd protection training, agility training, and other types of highly specialized German shepherd dog training, visit APDT, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, which contains a library of resources if you are interested in becoming a dog trainer or if you want to find one who specializes in protection training.