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What’s the Best Type of Fence for German Shepherds? 6 Main Options

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By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd looking outside the chain link fence

German Shepherds are large, athletic dogs that have a lot of energy to expend. They are known for their superior intelligence and protective, territorial nature. Not every dog is going to require a fenced-in yard but for breeds like German Shepherds, it’s necessary and convenient.

Not only will a fenced-in yard allow your German Shepherd to freely roam and get its needed exercise within the limits of your yard, but it will also keep out any strangers or other animals from crossing into their territory.

Regardless of your German Shepherd’s training and temperament, there are many risks of allowing your dog to freely roam. It is never recommended to leave your dogs chained outside or within a kennel run for extended periods either.

Having your German Shepherd in a secure, tall fence is not only necessary for their safety and benefit, but for yours and any other person or animal nearby.

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The 6 Different Types of Dog Fences

german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Rob Wee, Pixabay

There are a variety of fences available on the market today but not all will be compatible with keeping in a large, athletic dog like a German Shepherd. With this breed, you will run the risk of them being able to jump or climb the fence, so you will need something tall and sturdy enough to keep them in. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of fences and the pros and cons of each:

The 4 Solid Fences

A solid fence can be constructed from wood, chain link, metal, and PVC. A solid fence is best for privacy, keeping other animals out of the yard, preventing someone from getting into your yard and stealing your pet, and will be the best overall option for German Shepherd owners. You will need to pick the right solid fence type for your personal preferences.

1. Wooden Fence

wooden fence
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

Many dog owners prefer a wooden fence. Wood fencing is generally at least 6 feet in height and offers great privacy. Wood looks nice and comes at a lower cost compared to some of the other solid fence options.

Wooden fences require a lot of maintenance that can be costly. They are sensitive to weather and can warp pretty easily. You will want to be well-versed on the best ways to maintain it. German Shepherds are strong and intelligent, if they notice a weakness in the fencing, they will be able to break through it eventually.

  • Affordable
  • Ideal for privacy fencing
  • Versatile designs and styles
  • Requires a lot of maintenance
  • Sensitive to weather
  • Termites are drawn to wood

2. Chain Link Fence

chain link fence
Image Credit: shaunagm, Pixabay

Chain link fences are pretty basic when it comes to looks. They are pretty standard, inexpensive, and relatively easy to install. These types of fences typically don’t work well for large dogs like German Shepherds since they typically are not tall enough and the construct of the fence allows them to climb up and over.

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Easy to install
  • No privacy
  • Easy to scale
  • Basic, rugged look

3. PVC Fence

pvc fence
Image Credit: Genotar, Shutterstock

PVC or vinyl fencing is a durable, low-maintenance option but it comes at a pretty high cost. The PVC material is pretty expensive to purchase. The good news is, it isn’t a costly fence to maintain. You won’t have to paint or stain this type of fence like you would with a wooden one and it provides the same amount of privacy.

PVC fencing is very aesthetically pleasing and comes in a wide variety of looks and designs. They are easy to clean with a garden hose and won’t attract termites. These fences are also pretty easy to install. The biggest threat to PVC fencing is extremely cold weather, as it can cause cracks. Overall, PVC is a great fence option for a German Shepherd.

  • Durable
  • Little maintenance required
  • Easy to install
  • Provides privacy
  • High upfront cost
  • Can be sensitive to extreme cold

4. Metal Fence

metal fence
Image Credit: Peter H, Pixabay

Metal fences are comprised of a series of evenly-spaced metal bars. They are either made from wrought iron or aluminum. Wrought iron is the strongest and most durable choice for a metal fence but is more expensive than aluminum. You do have to worry about rust with wrought iron fences.

Aluminum costs less than wrought iron and it will not rust but it doesn’t have the same strength and durability that wrought iron possesses. Wrought iron would be the best option to house a German Shepherd but regardless, with a metal fence, you will not get the privacy and your dog will be able to see what is going on outside your yard’s border.

  • Durable
  • Versatile styles
  • Low maintenance
  • More expensive than wood
  • No privacy
  • Can rust over time

Divider-Dog bone- NewThe 2 Electronic Fences

Electronic fencing has become popular among owners who wish to have an open yard without any visible fencing. With this option, you place a specific collar on your dog and when it reaches your yard boundary the collar will emit either an audible tone or a static shock to keep them from the boundary.

These fences have been known to cause behavioral problems in some dogs, as they can resonate the discomfort of the shock with anything outside the fence passing by, leading to aggression.

There are two types of electronic fences, wireless and in-ground. We will cover both options briefly but neither option is going to be the best for a German Shepherd. These fences cannot keep other animals or people from getting into the yard.

In addition, German Shepherds are very strong-willed and have a high pain threshold. If they are determined enough, the electric shock may not be capable of keeping them within your boundaries. Any dog using an electronic fence would need to be well-trained.

5. Wireless Fence

A wireless dog fence is easy to install and typically won’t take more than 1 to 2 hours to set up. They are different from in-ground fences so there are no wires to bury within the yard.  This option requires a transmitter to be placed in a weatherproof location, it will only cover a circular diameter range. You will plug the transmitter into an outlet and radio frequencies will pick up on the yard boundary.

Since this is a circular boundary, your range will be limited. It’s not uncommon for these fences to be unreliable with bad signal transmission. They are portable and can be taken anywhere you need to use them.

  • Easy to install
  • Low cost
  • Invisible
  • Portable
  • Signal interference
  • Not ideal for uneven terrain
  • Circular perimeter
  • Cannot keep other animals out

6. In-Ground Fence

The installation of an in-ground fence can be a complex and tedious task. They do not have a high upfront cost but you will have to dig a trench around your preferred perimeter, place the wires underground, and then bury them. There is a lot of labor involved and if it’s hired out, it can be costly. The perimeter is much more stable with in-ground fences and can be easily customized to your yard.

  • Affordable
  • Invisible
  • The dog will need training to recognize the boundary
  • Adaptable to different landscapes
  • Difficult installation
  • Will need flags to show the boundary
  • Cannot keep other animals out
  • Easily breached


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As a German Shepherd owner, it’s best to avoid any type of electronic fencing or chain link fencing. Tall metal fencing can be durable enough to keep in a German Shepherd but will offer no privacy. Overall, a solid 6-foot privacy fencing made from wood or PVC is going to be the best type of fence for a German Shepherd.

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Featured Image Credit: andr74b, Pixabay

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