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Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Joyful teens with lovely pet German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds globally. Their widespread breeding and development might make you think that they are an older breed that slowly spread worldwide. But in fact, historically, German Shepherds are a relatively new breed. They were first developed in the 1800s in Germany. They were supposed to be the blend of many dogs with the most desirable traits.

In the modern-day United States, German Shepherds have ranked among the top 10 most popular dogs for the last 5 years. German Shepherds make great family dogs and it is no surprise that they are considered by many families who want to adopt a dog. But since a German Shepherd is a large breed with a fluctuating temperament, let’s find out why they make good family dogs.

dark sable working german shepherd dog
Image Credit: LNbjors, Shutterstock

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German Shepherd Temperament

Many dogs that you might find in shelters or rescue centers are mixed breeds, so they exhibit a blend of traits from their two bloodlines. When you adopt a purebred German Shepherd, they should have many of the key traits that the breed is known for having.

These include:
  • Loyal
  • Easy-going
  • Protective
  • Aloof

These characteristics primarily come from their initial breeding programs. When they were developed in Germany, they were meant to be the prime dogs to train, fully obedient to the person they considered their master.

Their loyalty is coupled with intelligence and a high level of responsiveness. Once they feel comfortable around you or consider you one of their family, they will be a loyal and obedient breed.

It is for all these characteristics that they became so popular among law enforcement. They were one of the first dogs to work as police dogs and then in the military service in quite a few countries starting in the early 1900s.

Does this make them a good family pet, though?

Related Read: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: Which Dog to Choose?

German Shepherds as Family Pets

Since German Shepherds have such a protective demeanor and a load of intelligence, their personalities can end up being somewhat mixed bags. Most of that comes down to how they are trained and raised. They need careful cultivation, love, and plenty of training to hone their better traits and weed out those that could make them react with aggression.

Since you get the most opportunity from training when you adopt a puppy, you might consider adopting a young German Shepherd.

German Shepherds are known for being child-friendly dogs. Although they still need to be watched carefully when interacting with very young kids, their protectiveness makes them good guard dogs.

We want to emphasize here that socialization and training are absolutely essential in these conditions. You need to ensure that they are used to a wide variety of situations so you will comfortably know how they will react all the time, keeping your family safe instead of becoming dangerous.

For the most part, whether a German Shepherd makes a good family pet depends on your treatment of them and their training. They will faithfully protect and love your family if you give them that time and treatment in return.


Featured Image Credit: Vagengeim, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she ...Read more

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