The breed of four-legged friend should be chosen responsibly because you will have to live with the dog side by side for at least 10-12 years. This article will detail the pros and cons of the German shepherd dog.
Pros of the German Shepherd
Representatives of this breed are in dire need of daily communication with humans. They have high intelligence, taking third place in the rating of the most intelligent dogs.
The pros of German shepherds can include:
- Excellent trainability. These dogs quickly memorize new commands and are happy to perform complex tricks. They are eager to fulfill any wish of the owner, but only if there is a trusting relationship between the pet and the owner.
- Loyalty to all family members. With proper training, the German Shepherd becomes a good “babysitter” for the little ones. Particularly sensitive to babies are females. They bravely endure twitches by the tail, ears, and other parts of the body, but this does not mean that the dog can be left alone with a child.
- Exceptional loyalty. Shepherds are strongly attached to only one person, but they also treat the other members of the family favorably and will stand up for each of them.
- Undemanding the conditions of maintenance. Germans are versatile dogs. They are kept not only in private homes but even in small apartments. This dog does not occupy much space in a small room, but only if the animal gets enough exercise (active games, long walks 1-2 hours in the morning and in the evening, learning and following commands). Shepherds can be kept outside as well – in case of frost they grow thick undercoats, which keep the animal warm even in severe cold.
- The undemanding nutrition. Most Germans fit a diet made up of natural products. Many people feed their pets with dry ready-made food. But a certain percentage of dogs have a sensitive digestive tract, and in this case, the diet should be approached more responsibly.
- Attractive appearance. German Shepherds are always an eye-catcher. They have a noble appearance, a stately body, and an easy-flowing gait.
- Sociability. Socialized dogs easily come into contact even with strangers. Germans are predictable in their actions, do not tend to outsmart the owner, and are honest and open, which is a definite plus of the breed.
- Lively, balanced temperament. These dogs can easily switch from a working to a calm state. Shepherds actively play, follows commands, and are lightning-quick to “work”, but also quickly calm down. Although not all Germans have this quality, some can be excessively excitable.
- Strong guarding qualities. The shepherd bravely stands up to protect his family. They are strong enough to knock down even a mature male. These dogs are observant and react with lightning speed to an attempted attack by a stranger on the owner or family member.
- Versatility. German Shepherds are suitable for almost all sports. With them, you can engage not only in obedience, but also in protective guard duty, agility, frisbee, freestyle, weight pulling, and other types of training. Germans are excellent at finding objects by smell, so they are popular with customs officials.
- Affordable puppy cost. The low price is also one of the advantages of German shepherds. However, show-class dogs with excellent appearance and high exhibition potential can have a higher price.
Cons of the German Shepherd
Despite all the listed advantages, representatives of the breed have their own disadvantages.
The cons can include:
- Mandatory training. These dogs need at least a basic training course. Without proper training and education, the dog can become uncontrollable and dangerous to others. The German Shepherd must listen and hear the owner, respect him, and remain obedient even in extreme situations.
- Need for active games, activities, and walks. These dogs need regular and long (up to 2-3 hours and sometimes more) outdoor time. And the Shepherd needs not just games, but mental exercises. While walking it is necessary to repeat commands or learn new ones, you should do it for 15-30 minutes. Without such activities, the German will be bored and will look for his own entertainment (will start to chew things and the couch, gut the trash can, etc.).
- Aggression control. Some Shepherds may show excessive aggression toward others. The owner should pay special attention to socialization, in which the dog is explained that not all people and animals are a threat.
- The presence of fur and smell indoors. During the shedding period, German Shepherds shed a lot of undercoats. As a result, daily cleaning is required, otherwise, the entire floor in the apartment where the dog lives will be covered with fur. Also, representatives of the breed have a specific smell, which is not to everyone’s liking.
- Large size. German Shepherds are not small decorative companions. They are strong pets that can leave quite a few bruises on the body when jumping on the owner and playing games. This should not be forgotten when buying a puppy.
- Sensitive digestion and weak musculoskeletal system. Some representatives of the breed suffer from food allergies. In this case, the food should be carefully selected. Also, many show-line German Shepherds have joint dysplasia, but in recent years breeders have paid more attention to this problem and are trying to exclude sick dogs from breeding.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a German Shepherd in an Apartment
Many dog owners keep Germans in apartments, even one-room apartments. Contrary to the prevailing opinion that a large animal is uncomfortable in such conditions, representatives of this breed feel quite well in a small room.
On the positive side, shepherds are practically unnoticeable in a small apartment, because they sleep on their bed almost all day. But this is only true if the dog walks a lot outside and gets the necessary intellectual exercise.
If the animal is bored and walks no more than half an hour a day, it begins to entertain itself. Germans can tear the floor covering (linoleum, laminate, etc.), ruin the walls, chew the furniture, take all the things out of the cabinets, etc. And this is a disadvantage of keeping such a dog in the apartment.
Also, the disadvantage of living in the apartment can be attributed to their excessive “speaking”. Shepherds like to be vocal, especially on strange noises in the entrance hall. But this can be weaned from the pet.
The abundant shedding, during which everything in the apartment is covered with German Shepherd’s fur, also refers to the disadvantages of keeping these dogs in the apartment. This problem can be solved by regular brushing.
The German Shepherd is a great animal for a family that loves outdoor activities. For people living a quiet lifestyle and avoiding long walks, this dog is not suitable. Before you buy a puppy, you should study the pros and cons of the breed and consult with dog experts and family members. Always remember that the dog becomes a companion for many years.