Pros and Cons of German Shepherds – Are GSDs the Right Dog?

Pros and Cons of Owning A German Shepherd

Having a German Shepherd for a pet can be a fantastic experience, but let’s be transparent here and admit that it won’t always be fun and easy to take care of. If you’re already a dog owner, you’ll surely relate to how heavy the responsibility is to take good care of a dog; it might even get more challenging if you consider a larger dog like a GSD!

In this article, we’ll be tackling the pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd, so do try to evaluate if its physical characteristics and personality traits match what you’re looking for in a dog, maybe or maybe not, a German Shepherd is what suits you best! Let’s get started.

The advantages of owning a German Shepherd

A longtime companion. 

If you’re looking for a furry friend you can be with for a long time, German Shepherds are genuinely one of the healthiest dogs you can ever own. German Shepherds’ life expectancy can range from 9 to 13 years, and from that period, you can just imagine how plenty of memories you could make with your dog. 

Playful and not lazy AT ALL. 

These canines are great to join you in any fun and active adventures! You can take it to the beach, the trail park, or have it with you when you plan on hiking or camping; to cut it short, they live for these moments, but most entirely, they live to make you happy. If you happen to be fond of an athletic and energetic dog, and your lifestyle permits that as well, a German Shepherd can be that dog for you. 

Protecting you is a priority. 

Once you’ve established a solid bond with your German Shepherd, except that it will stand by your side and it will pursue watching over you and your loved ones. This breed can genuinely be your watchdog and will guard you wherever you go; it’s naturally alert and can easily sense if there’s danger in its surroundings. 

Big brain energy. 

German Shepherds are rated high in intelligence and trainability. They are considered the third smartest dog breed in the world. You won’t find it challenging to teach them new tricks, and it would only take a few rounds of practice and repetition for it to understand and follow; the best part about these dogs is that they’re willing to learn. Consider training your GSD at a younger age, and they will carry that obedient attitude with them until they grow older. 

Plain out beautiful! 

With its lush coat and strong-looking stance, you would agree that these animals are breathtakingly beautiful. Not to mention, its big brown eyes and pointed ears do make them appear smart and alert. You’d really want to show off your dog if it’s a German Shepherd, their physical traits would absolutely draw people’s admiration. 

They’re good whatever the weather. 

German Shepherds can tolerate cold or hot weather as long as you provide them shade and shelter, especially when the weather starts to go extremely bad. It’s essential to bathe your dog or provide it with water to keep it hydrated for hot and humid weather. While for cold rainy, or wintery weather, it’s best to keep your dog inside your home, warm and dry. 

Sensitive and highly affectionate. 

You may not always suspect this characteristic because German Shepherds tend to have independent and strong personalities, but they also do love to receive signs of affection from you. Petting your dog and giving it its favorite treats are some of the simplest ways of showing your care and love to your friend! Sometimes large dogs need babying too!

GSDs are good with children. 

A German Shepherd with an excellent exposure to children during its socialization stage will surely do well being around kids and babies. Although it’s important to note that this goes with giving your dog proper and progressive guidance, German Shepherds can be patient and very slow to anger when they’re with children; they also tend to become protective and gentle mostly with babies. 

Working is a purpose. 

This breed is not your typical house dog that would like lying around the house and being belly rubbed all day. It appreciates some action and thrill; it’s mostly excited to do outdoor activities with you or help you with physical work. They’re destined for police/military work as well, say a rescue dog that would help attack enemies or chase criminals. 

GSDs are extremely loyal pets. 

Having a strong bond with your German Shepherd will naturally make them loyal to you and other familiar faces (like your relatives or friends) overtime. Once you gain its trust, no doubt it will tend to become protective of you, even guard you with its own life. Their loyalty to you will have you speechless as they would express it in both small and big ways you might not expect. 

The Disadvantages of owning a German Shepherd

GSDs Shed heavily year-round. 

German Shepherds have fairly thick coats that can be difficult to groom and maintain. Its hair would often shed off, so it’s possible to scatter on the floor or even on your furniture. Avoid having your dog sit or lie down on the couch or bed; it’s also suggested to have it sleep and stay outside the house, perhaps have its own dog kennel placed at your backyard or front porch. 

A big dog needs ample space. 

Maybe this issue won’t occur to you when your puppy’s still small, but once it becomes a full-grown adult, it’s going to be a challenging problem. Owning a German Shepherd is not recommended for those who live in small apartments or those who don’t have a very active lifestyle. It needs a big yard to run and play freely or a space that allows them to explore. It’s not your usual dog that you can be a couch potato with; GSDs have high energy and would only be depressed when placed in small restricting areas.

GSDs are very powerful and can be uncontrollable. 

Because of their big sturdy structure, German Shepherds are believed to be tremendously strong dogs. Without proper training and socialization, these dogs can be a real headache! You’ll indeed have a hard time controlling it with its leash or keeping it well-behaved inside your home. If you plan to get a big dog like this, training it and establishing your dominance is vital to keep it in proper and obedient behavior. 

They love to be with you a little bit too much. 

You can’t leave a German Shepherd home alone for long periods; otherwise, they would develop various emotional health issues, including separation anxiety and depression. Owning a German Shepherd is a considerable commitment to make; it needs continuous attention and interaction. GSDs are not recommended for those who work and leave the house the whole day, if not the entire day out; it’s also not advised that you leave your dog for more than 4 hours. 

Owning them can be a pain in your wallet. 

To start with, getting a German Shepherd can cost you a lot of money, and the main reason for this is because their breeding is not so cheap as well. A German Shepherd would cost you a range of 1,000 to 2,000 USD; this is mainly if you buy from a trusted breeder, so you’re sure to own a pure and certified quality-bred pup. Maintenance can also be expensive; they need registration, more significant portions of meals, regular visits at the vet, and other utilities. 

GSDs are prone to several health issues. 

The most common health issues German Shepherds tend to have are hip and elbow dysplasia, polymyositis, and arthritis. Unfortunately, some of these illnesses can be a cause of inbreeding practices and plain genetics, causing pain, discomfort, and gradual weakening of the muscles and joints to your dog. That being said, this can be avoidable. Just bear in mind that it’s really best to get your puppy from a reputable breeder.


German Shepherds love being busy, and if not, they’d usually find something they could do. These dogs are incredibly active, and you must meet the needs of their willful and work-motivated personality! They can be laid back, but oftentimes they’re sporty and are passionate about physical work. Unminding this trait would lead your dog high-strung and up to no good. 

Requires a significant portion of your time. 

These dogs find the best comfort when they’re in the presence of their owner; it would also take a lot of patience and effort from you to have them become the excellent dog you wish them to be. If you’re a hands-on dog owner, this won’t occur to you as a problem, but just an extra challenge. German Shepherds are destined to go under training whether you plan on keeping one as a police dog or only as a family pet. They need the right guidance for whatever role you try to place them; there’s no lie that it can be tiring, but the reward comes right after. 

GSDs can be aggressive. 

Inadequate exposure to different people, pets, and surroundings can make a German Shepherd react badly. These dogs find it difficult to get along with others quickly, but then again, it’s all about the exposure and going through proper training. Don’t neglect this about them, be reminded that you need to nurture them in a caring and loving environment, or else they can turn out to be dangerous or obtain a mischievous behavior. 

Will wake you up with one bark. 

German Shepherds are very loud barkers; their record even states that they can bark as loud as 106 decibels, which is crazy! Barking has always been a thing for most large dogs, especially GSDs that are labeled as the typical guard dog. Too much barking could mean they’re still full of energy and need to let it out; it could also mean that they hear noises they don’t like or are uncomfortable with their environment. There are several solutions to this problem, and one of the obvious ones would be to teach it not to bark; doing this with small rewards such as giving them treats would have them get used to following you. 


Owning a German Shepherd is definitely not for everybody. As for the list of its pros and cons, it would hopefully help you reflect whether you’re a hundred percent ready to take the responsibility. It’s actually a significant step that you’re doing your research, that just proves that you care about whether or not you’re able to take care of it or not.

Understandably, no one wants to decide something they’d later regret, so ask yourself if you can provide it a spacious and welcoming place, nutritious food, and a dog-loving environment. Never decide out of excitement or out of the idea of how cool it might be to own a GSD. Unfortunately, many people who’ve done this only ended up selling or giving away their dogs to new owners, which is undoubtedly hard to swallow. 

In conclusion, owning a German Shepherd is a real tough job and should not be underestimated; despite this fact, it’s always heartening to know that you’ll get yourself the sweetest and most loyal buddy you can ever have. Take all the time you need to contemplate; whatever the decision is, it’s probably for the best. Good luck!

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Dog Advisory Council

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