Is the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) Right for You?

Top 10 Reasons Why a German Shepherd Dog May Not be the Dog 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. German Shepherds usually 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, such as excavating your sprinklers, taking down your fence, chasing livestock, etc.
  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 apartment managers 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 shed non-stop. If you don't like cleaning up dog hair consider a different breed. Bathing can be challenging due to the dog's water-resistant outer coat.
  7. German Shepherd Dogs can be vocal, often whining and barking to communicate. If left alone for prolonged periods of time they may become problem barkers.
  8. A German Shepherd must respect its owner. This is not accomplished by heavy-handedness; it is only achieved when its owner treats the dog with respect and provides adequate leadership.
  9. These dogs originated as herding dogs. It is a heritage they carry still. Keep this in mind if you or your neighbors have livestock. Remember that in the state of California a dog harassing livestock may be shot.
  10. German Shepherd Dogs are one of the guard dog breeds. They can become overprotective towards possessions or property, even towards family members. If you know you are too soft to establish effective leadership or you know you like to spoil your dog, consider a different breed.

© 1998 Julie Connolly for German Shepherd Rescue with slight modifications