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German Shepherds are an excellent choice of dog breed for first-time owners who are active and willing to put lots of time and effort into their pet.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent, loyal, and committed dogs that are very easy to train and provide great companionship for families, single owners or couples.
German Shepherds are very obedient, and love to learn new things and engage in lots of varied activities.
They are medium-large dogs, so they need a minimum of two hours daily physical exercise as well as lots of mental stimulation to keep them happy.
If you’re considering owning a German Shepherd, you will reap the benefits of owning a smart, loving and enthusiastic pet.
But, you need to be willing to put hard work into training your dog and maintaining it’s specific care needs. Keep reading to find out whether your lifestyle fits the needs of a German Shepherd.
Is Your Lifestyle Appropriate For Owning A German Shepherd?
German Shepherds can be brilliant for first-time owners, as long as they are committed to putting the time, love, attention, and money into raising them.
If you’ve been trying to decide which dog breed is right for you and you have considered a German Shepherd, there are a few important factors that you need to keep in mind.
German Shepherds need two hours of daily physical exercise, as well as lots of socialization and attention to keep them happy and mentally stimulated.
The typical 9-5 work pattern, with no one else to spend some time with your pet won’t be well suited to a German Shepherd.
The dog will get bored and lonely, and it won’t get enough exercise which means it could develop physical or behavior problems in the future.
It’s smart to check your financial situation before opting to own a German Shepherd.
You need to account for food, toys and bedding initially, and as your German Shepherd ages, you may need to factor in vet bills due to the specific hereditary diseases that can be a problem due to bad breeding practices over time.
You need to take a look at your living situation before owning a German Shepherd. Do you have enough space to comfortably house your pet? If you live in a small flat, it’s maybe not the best place to raise a big breed.
You’d also have to ensure you take your dog out for plenty of high energy walks if you don’t have a garden for it to play in.
If you live with someone else or have a close neighbor who can look after your pet while you are away, this could be really helpful during your time as a dog owner.
German Shepherds are a calm and tolerant breed of dog, so normally having children shouldn’t be a problem.
However, the dog should be socialized successfully with children, and teaching your children how to treat your dog properly is very important to ensure both the dog and the children’s relationship, safety, and happiness.
What are the pros and cons of owning a German Shepherd?
German Shepherds have both pros and cons as a pet, so make sure you take some time to think about these before you decide to go ahead with adopting one.
Intelligence and ease of training – German Shepherds are the third most intelligent breed of dog, so it will be very easy to train them to follow commands and learn all sorts of tricks and abilities.
Loyal and protective – These dogs form an exceptionally strong bond with their families which makes them very protective and alert to dangers.
Excellent as a family pet – Because they are extremely loyal and even-tempered, these dogs are great at tolerating children and form strong bonds with their pack.
Love to learn new things and follow commands – German Shepherds are enthusiastic and quick learners.
They’re also highly obedient and will follow their owner’s command no matter what, as long as they’ve been trained well.
Excellent guard dogs – German Shepherds are highly alert to threats and protective of their family members. This makes them perfect watch dogs for your property.
Great at tolerating different weather conditions – German Shepherds boast a double coat, so they can keep cool in hot weather and stay warm in cold weather.
Don’t tolerate being alone well – German Shepherds need lots of companionship and won’t be happy if you leave them alone often.
Leaving them alone for more than two hours as a puppy or six hours as an adult is a recipe for disaster.
Need lots of time and effort – German Shepherds need daily physical and mental exercise, they need to stay active in lots of different ways such as walking, running and jumping.
It’s important to incorporate this into your daily routine if you plan to successfully raise a German Shepherd.
They can be vocal – German Shepherds are very alert and vocal. They bark, whine and howl pretty often, so if you’re looking for a quiet breed, this isn’t the dog for you.
Heavy shedding – Because German Shepherds have a double coat, they shed a large amount of hair twice per year when the seasons change. They continue shedding smaller amounts year round, too.
Potential for health issues – Poor breeding practices over time have caused German Shepherds to develop common hereditary diseases such as degenerative myelopathy and hip dysplasia.
It’s important to look for a reputable breeder before you purchase a German Shepherd, and to keep in mind that you might need to fork out for expensive future vet bills.
Need lots of stimulation – German Shepherds are very active dogs, and are used to working in some way or another. They are originally herding dogs, and as such they like to always be doing something.
This is why they are often given roles in the police and military services, because they are very enthusiastic about the tasks they are assigned. Make sure to give your German Shepherd a daily purpose to keep them happy.
Can become aggressive if they are not properly trained – It’s important to incorporate a strict training program in the formative years of your dog’s life.
German Shepherds, like most other dogs, can become aggressive towards other animals or even people. Raising a dog successfully takes time and effort, which you should put in from day one.
German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent, loyal, and diligent dogs with strong athletic skills and the ability to form unbreakable lifetime bonds with the families they are adopted into.
First-time dog owners need to be sure that their lifestyle suits a German Shepherds needs; they need to be active and have the time and effort in to give the German Shepherd the training, love, attention, exercise and mental stimulation it deserves for life.