Is a GSD Right For Me?

The answer is YES, if:

  1. YOU have the time and desire to interact with and teach your German Shepherd the “things to do” and “things not to do”.
  2. YOU include your German Shepherd in your daily activities.
  3. YOU are able to frequently expose your dog to MANY different places, different people, and other dogs.
  4. YOU can provide a job for your German Shepherd or are interested in doing obedience, tracking, Schutzhund, agility, therapy, or other work with your German Shepherd Dog.
  5. YOU admire a big dog and have the physical ability to handle it.
  6. YOU are a confident leader and able to provide direction without being abusive.
  7. YOU are someone who will communicate clearly that you are in charge.
  8. YOU are not “house proud” and do not mind the grooming and exercise involved in keeping a large, double coated, high shedding, energetic dog.
  9. YOU appreciate a protective dog that may intimidate strangers.
  10. YOU can verbally control your dog’s behavior when unknown guests arrive.
  11. YOU have the financial means to ensure your dog gets daily exercise, proper nutrition, health care, and training. Average Dog Ownership costs for a German Shepherd are $1,200-$1,500 per YEAR!
  12. YOU are willing to accept that there are both pros and cons to owning any dog and that the German Shepherd — despite its popularity and fame — is not the perfect dog for everyone!

Top 10 Reasons Why a GSD May Not be the Dog Breed for You:

  1. German Shepherds require a serious commitment. Many of the dogs that come to rescue organizations have no training. It is important that the new family puts time and effort into training their rescue dog.
  2. These dogs have a high energy level. The very energy that allows these dogs to be police, search, guide and herding dogs is often the reason these dogs are surrendered. If you’re looking for a couch potato you may want to consider a different breed.
  3. German Shepherds are highly intelligent. If they are not given a job to do they will often come up with their own.
  4. Like any dog, the German Shepherd is a social animal and needs to be part of a family. The loyalty that endears this breed to many requires that it not be banished to the backyard.
  5. German Shepherds are large dogs. The number one reason given by people surrendering German Shepherds is moving. Usually apartments do not welcome these dogs. If you don’t know where you will be a few years down the line it is not the right time to adopt.
  6. German Shepherd Dogs are a double coated breed. They shed, and require diligent coat maintenance for their health and your sanity on cleaning day.  They are often lovingly referred to as “German Shedders”.
  7. They can be vocal, often whining and barking to communicate. If left alone for prolonged periods of time they may become problem barkers.
  8. If you don’t like doggy smell, consider a different breed. Also, bathing can be challenging due to the dog’s water-resistant outer coat.
  9. A German Shepherd must respect its owner. A GSD can be rambunctious, destructive, and exhausting to live with unless you are completely in charge and “Top Dog” in your home. It is up to you to guide your dog to be a respectful member of your family. GSD’s need training and a structured lifestyle to thrive in the home, and become a responsible member of your family. We encourage obedience and other training activities such as tracking, rally, and agility. An exercised dog of any breed is a happy dog.
  10. German Shepherd Dogs originated as herding dogs. It is a heritage they carry still. Keep this in mind if you or your neighbors have livestock.

– This is an adaption of a list written by Julie Connolly for German Shepherd Rescue