The German Shepherd is one of the most easily recognizable dog breeds of all, thanks to their distinctive appearance. Overall it is a great breed, but it may not be the right one for you. Understanding the pros and cons of German Shepherds will allow you to make an educated decision about whether this is the right dog breed for you and your family.
The Pros and Cons of German Shepherds
According to the AKC, the German Shepherd has a distinct personality — it should be self-confident and fearless, but never hostile. The Club goes on to say that this breed must be approachable, though displaying confidence without itself making overtures. However, not all German Shepherds are created equal, as certain lines are bred to protect, while others can be hyperactive, too mellow, somewhat dopey, or have risky temperaments. Let’s also not forget that many suffer from numerous health issues.
Additionally, there are varying energy levels. Regardless of this, they must engage in a brisk walk and a good run daily to maintain their athletic shape. They also need mental exercise, as this is a highly-intelligent breed.
Early socialization is crucial with this dog breed to ensure it develops a stable temperament. If introduced to early on, a German Shepherd will be accepting of other family pets, but some may be cat chasers. Some may even be aggressive toward strange same-sex dogs.
Pros of German Shepherds
- Easy to train
- Eager to learn
- Eager to work
- Excellent companion
- Excellent Guard dog
- Numerous health problems
Cons of German Shepherds
- Difficult to locate healthy dogs of this breed
- Difficult to locate stable-tempered German Shepherds
- Aggressive toward other dogs
- Can become destructive when neglected, if bored, or not given adequate exercise
- Excessive shedding year round
- Potential home insurance problems
Overcoming Problems with German Shepherds
The various problems associated with the German Shepherd can be overcome, to some degree. It begins with finding good breeders to ensure the ideal temperament for the dog you want. Remember each breeder produces one type of temperament that may not be right for you. Do your research to find lines that will suit your needs. When you do your homework, you will find the right dog.
Legal liabilities do exist. More aggressive breeds may become a target for “banning.” In addition to that, you may be refused homeowner insurance. Insurers that do provide coverage may take advantage of this fact and charge much higher premiums to insure your home. Do your homework before buying or adopting such a breed to avoid any unpleasant surprises!
German Shepherd Health Issues
German Shepherds are known to have numerous health problems, and that could lead to being refused pet health insurance. Being of the riskiest breeds relating to health, this dog could end up costing you a pretty penny with every visit to the vet. German Shepherds are known to suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, cancer, heart disease and more! The solution is to find a healthy dog through top breeders, and then to help him stay healthy.
Aggression and Socialization. Their protective instincts require them to be socialized as early as possible so that they are accepting of other people, children, and animals.
Shedding is constant, and that’s just something you’ll have to live with if this is the right breed for you. To minimize shedding, brush and comb your dog daily, but be prepared to vacuum regardless.
Mental stimulation doesn’t have to be a task, but it is a requirement to avoid behavioral problems from developing. Give them interesting things to do so that their minds are challenged.
Overcoming these “challenges” is worth it because the German Shepherd is an exceptional dog breed that has lots to offer.