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What to Know Before Buying a German Shepherd: 10 Key Facts

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Joyful teens with lovely pet German Shepherd

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of bringing home a new puppy. You’re welcoming a new member of the family into your lives and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love staring at those cute little paws and ears that they haven’t quite grown into yet? Many people love German Shepherds for their loyalty and bravery, but those who haven’t raised one before don’t really know what they’re in for until they have one. Before you bring this dog home, there are a few things to understand about the German Shepherd breed.

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Top 10 Facts to Know Before Getting a German Shepherd

1. They are highly intelligent.

Even though people are told repeatedly that German Shepherds are smart, they don’t fully comprehend just how intelligent this breed is. German Shepherds are animals that catch on quickly to almost everything. Your daily routine, commands, and household expectations are all things that are a breeze for them. Make sure that you have a training plan in place, especially if you’ve never trained a dog before. With intelligence comes a lot of stubbornness. If you aren’t firm and consistent, they’ll pick up on it and use that knowledge whenever they feel like. Still, they are eager to please, and if you stick it out, they’ll be following your demands in no time.

german shepherd dog lying on sand
Image Credit: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay

2. They require mental stimulation.

Long walks are enough to tire out a lot of dog breeds, but with their intelligence, these dogs need more than just physical activity. German Shepherds are working dogs, and they benefit when there is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. If you genuinely want to tire them out, you must incorporate physical exercise with mental exercise.

3. They have a lot of energy.

You may have already known this, but don’t underestimate the amount of energy that they have. Take them to a park if you don’t have a large yard for them to run and play in. Many German Shepherds benefit from agility courses to give them the appropriate amount of exercise. When you keep them stimulated, they are less likely to act out and cause destruction around the house.

german shepherd running on sand
Image Credit: Niels Hansen, Pixabay

4. German Shepherds fiercely love their owners.

German Shepherds tend to bond more closely to one family member than the rest. Still, they are lovers instead of fighters. They want to spend just as much time cuddling with you at night as they want to be out working during the day.

5. They are great listeners.

What else would you expect with those enormous ears perched on top of their heads? Those radar ears are listening to even the most minor sounds, and they are always eager to hear your voice. If you’re lucky, you may even get a few head tilts to show you just how attentive they really are.

closeup of european german shepherd
Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

6. German Shepherds were bred to be guard dogs.

German Shepherds were originally bred to guard the fields of sheep and cattle. Whenever an intruder or predator came onto their land, they immediately alerted their keeper. Without the proper training, this behavior is sometimes territorial and can be aggressive towards other dogs and strangers. However, with the proper training, it makes you feel at ease whenever you go to bed at night.

7. They are clingy.

smiling woman hugging her german shepherd dog
Image Credit: Sam Wordley, Shutterstock

Nobody was lying to you when we said these dogs are loyal. It’s almost to a fault how dedicated and clingy they are to you. Not every German Shepherd is clingy, but this breed is known for following people everywhere they go. You won’t have a moment of alone time if you have a German Shepherd in the house.

8. Landlords don’t always allow them.

Landlords don’t always welcome German Shepherds into their properties. They are known to bark and howl when left alone for long periods. It’s nice to know they’re missing you, but you also might not be able to find a new place to live if they’re constantly disturbing the neighbors.

9. They are better suited for experienced dog owners.

German Shepherds are a handful. Many first-time dog owners think their cuteness is enough to keep them committed to raising them, but that’s not always the case. These dogs require constant training and dedication. Without it, they could be aggressive or destructive.

man oudoors with his german shepherd pet
Image Credit: nori jaafer, Pixabay

10. They do better in pairs.

Because they are so social, German Shepherds often benefit when they’re around another dog in the house. This keeps them entertained while you’re away and stops them from developing anxiety and depression.

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Final Thoughts on Owning German Shepherds

While German Shepherds are certainly amazing animals, they don’t suit the lifestyles of everybody who wants one. Owning a dog is a better experience when it is mutually beneficial to both of you. If you can’t give them what they need, then you probably won’t get much out of the relationship either.

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Featured Image Credit: Vagengeim, Shutterstock

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