Are German Shepherds Good With Kids? A Guide On The Temperaments Of A GSD For Parents

German Shepherds, without a doubt, are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, but due to a history of aggression, questions remain about this pooch’s suitability for families with children. So, are German Shepherds good with kids?

Yes, German Shepherds are good with kids, as well as household pets, when properly trained and socialized. And with a strong sense of loyalty and devotion to family, you can be sure that your German Shepherd will always be watching over your kids.

Highly trainable, eager to please, outstanding intelligence, and with a history as working dogs, German Shepherds possess all the requirements of a good family dog, and only need to be patiently trained to develop into their best versions. Now that we’ve established that German Shepherd dogs can be best play buddies with kids, if properly trained, let’s go ahead and examine some of the other traits of this pooch.

Do German Shepherds Have Good Temperaments?

German Shepherds generally have a calm and caring temperament, with a strong sense of loyalty towards their family members.

German Shepherds are some of the most in-demand dogs in the world, and this can be attributed to their strong sense of dedication, and willingness to please their owners, which makes them considerably easy to train.

Image from Instagram:@cali.bear.gsd

In addition, German Shepherd dogs tend to have a standoffish and aloof personality, but they typically show unconditional love towards family. And this is further established by the fact that the German Shepherd dog breed has an 85.3% pass rate for temperament by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS).

In addition to their caring nature, German Shepherd dogs are bundles of energy, and can run and play around the house for several hours at a go. And the German Shepherd’s physical strength, combined with high levels of intelligence gives this pooch a strong sense of self-assurance and confidence.

However, despite all the aforementioned traits of the German Shepherd, the importance of proper training and socialization in developing this pooch’s personality can’t be overstated. And it is essential that you start training the German Shepherd as early as possible, in order to develop a pooch that will make a fantastic addition to your family.

Is A Male Or Female German Shepherd Better With Kids?

It has been observed that female German Shepherds interact better with kids, and this can be attributed to their mothering instincts and less domineering nature, compared to German Shepherd dogs.

Families with children are better suited with going for a female German Shepherd dog as a playmate for their kids and the reason for this is simple – Male German Shepherds tend to be more rough and may push the kids around or knock them over while playing together, while the maternal instincts of female GSDs will encourage them to be gentler around children.

However, this isn’t to say that a family with children can’t opt for a male German Shepherd. And with the appropriate training and socialization, a male GSD can equally be taught how to be gentle around children.

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Is It Better To Have A Male Or Female German Shepherd?

Apart from being gentler with kids, female German Shepherd dogs are considered to be generally less aggressive than their male counterparts; Hence, families looking for a top-notch watchdog will be better served going for a male German Shepherd.

In addition, German Shepherd dogs are generally more domineering than female GSDs, however, this isn’t set in stone, and there’s every possibility of coming across an alpha female GSD.

Apart from these minor differences in temperament and body sizes, male and female German Shepherds are practically the same, and will make a wonderful addition to any family.

How Long Does It Take To Bond With A German Shepherd Puppy?

Typically, it takes between two to three months for German Shepherd puppies to bond with, and become accustomed to their owner’s presence. This duration, however, isn’t set in stone and can be considerably shorter by carrying out specific actions designed to build trust in your pooch.

German Shepherds are generally happy dogs that are known to create extremely tight bonds with their family members. And if you plan on getting a German Shepherd puppy, you should be prepared to devote a considerable amount of time and attention to the upbringing of this pooch.

How Can You Bond With A German Shepherd Puppy?

Some of the ways by which you can create a strong bond with a German Shepherd puppy, and subsequently develop a lifelong friend for yourself include:

Playing With The Puppy

There is, arguably, no better way to create a strong bond with a German Shepherd puppy, than by regularly taking time out to play with the puppy.

German Shepherd dogs are quite playful by nature, and by engaging with your puppy in play activities that it enjoys, you can rapidly speed up the bonding process.

Dog Tasks

German Shepherd dogs will do anything to please their owners. And by engaging your puppy in physical and mental development tasks, you are not only developing the pooch into a disciplined and dependable member of your family, but you are also creating strong feelings of trust and loyalty in the pooch.

The examples of dog tasks can include:

  • Picking up toys after play, and placing them into a box.
  • Fetching the newspapers from your front yard to your living room.
  • Closing doors that have been left open.
Image from Instagram:@thibau_germanshepherd_nl

Constantly Touching Your Puppy

Belly rubspetting, and other forms of physical contact communicate affection to your pooch, and this is another means of enhancing the bond with your German Shepherd puppy.

Feeding The Puppy

Most dogs are motivated by food, and one of the ways to build trust with your GSD puppy is by constantly being the one to serve its food.

That said, feeding shouldn’t be limited to one member of the family. And to further strengthen the bond between your puppy, and family members, it is advisable that you get them to feed the pooch as well.

Why German Shepherds Are Not Good Family Dogs?

German Shepherd dogs may not be the best option for your family due to their tendency to display territorial behavior, an unyielding demand for attention and the absolute need to be socialized.

While the German Shepherd will, undeniably, make a great addition to most families, there remain doubts in some quarters about this pooch’s personality and whether or not they are worth the risk.

That said, the following are some reasons that may make you reconsider your decision to add a German Shepherd dog to your family:

Tendency For Aggression

German Shepherd dogs, especially the males, are quite territorial, and will often display aggression to ward off whoever they feel is encroaching on their territory; This is not an ideal behavior for families with kids.

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They Require A Great Deal Of Attention

If what you desire is a laidback pooch that you can leave alone at home for considerable periods, then the high-energy German Shepherd dog may not be the best option for you.

Leaving your German Shepherd unattended for long periods will only result in boredom and separation anxiety, which, in most cases, leads to destructive behavior.

German Shepherds Absolutely Need To Be Socialized

While it is a fact that most dogs require socialization to develop their personalities and temperaments, proper socialization is non-negotiable for German Shepherds.

Consequently, what this means is that you’ll require a great deal of effort and time to introduce your German Shepherd puppy to new placespeople, and unfamiliar objects, on a daily basis, to develop a well-mannered pooch.

Failure to properly socialize and train your German Shepherd puppy will result in the pooch growing up to be fearful in certain situations, and subsequently resorting to aggression.

They Can Be Overprotective

German Shepherd dogs have been known to develop extremely strong bonds with their families, and this can lead to overzealousness on the part of the pooch, when it comes to protecting its family from perceived danger.

Are German Shepherds Dangerous?

German Shepherds have a history of being guard dogs, and can be dangerous towards strangers and unfamiliar faces, if they haven’t been socialized properly.

The German Shepherd dog has origins that trace back to a line of German sheep herding dogs, and to this day, these pooches still carry trademark traits of a herding dog.

Apart from possessing high levels of intelligence, mature and well-conditioned German Shepherd dogs are remarkably athletic and strong, and can overpower a full grown human with ease. In addition, given their herding history, the prey drive in German Shepherd dogs is high, and these pooches have a strong compulsion to chase after moving objects.

What Can You Do To Discourage A German Shepherd’s Aggression?

It’s not all doom and gloom though, and there are steps you can take to dial down the aggression in your German Shepherd dog.

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Catch And Stop Your Dog In The Act

It is important that you express disapproval whenever you notice your German Shepherd displaying unwanted signs of aggression; Consequently, it is advisable that you get familiar with signs of aggressions in dogs, and step in to prevent the situation from escalating, whenever you observe your GSD displaying any of these signs.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Also, as mentioned earlier, German Shepherds are quite eager to please their owners; Hence, by employing positive reinforcement to reward good behavior your German Shepherd displays, you can simultaneously reduce the pooch’s tendency for aggression.

Engage Your Dog In Physical Activities

The importance of exercising goes beyond keeping your pooch physically fit, and by engaging your German Shepherd dog in regular exercises, you can drain the pooch’s energy reserves, relieve anxiety and stress, and subsequently eliminate the tendency for aggressive behavior.

How Bad Is German Shepherd Shedding?

German Shepherds are a high shedding dog breed that tend to shed their coats all year long. And if you are unable to deal with cleaning up dog fur on a daily basis, or someone in your family has dog allergies, the German Shepherd isn’t the right choice for you.

The German Shepherd coat typically comprises a coarse, short topcoat, with a considerably thicker topcoat. Generally, the German Shepherd sheds considerable amounts of their topcoat on a daily basis, but there are two distinct periods in a year that this pooch tends to fully blow out its undercoat, and this varies from dog to dog.

That said, the German Shepherd dog is definitely not hypoallergenic, and not the best option for homes with people that have dog allergies. Children with dog allergies that are exposed to dander contained in a German Shepherd coat will typically exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Coughing
  • Development of rashes on the face and chest
  • Skin inflammation, just to mention a few

Why Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot?

Typically, German Shepherds shed as much as they do for one major reason – to protect them from weather conditions, thereby enabling easy adjustment to seasonal changes.

In addition to its function as a temperature regulator, shedding can also be an indicator that something is wrong with your German Shepherd dog, especially when it’s excessive. And other factors that may trigger excessive shedding in a GSD include:

  • Reaction to stress
  • An underlying medical condition
  • Poor diet
  • Allergies, just to mention a few

How To Control German Shepherd Shedding

If you’re hell-bent on getting a German Shepherd dog, there are ways by which you can reduce and manage the amount of fur shed by this pooch on a daily basis. And some of the ways by which you can control German Shepherd shedding include:

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Regular Grooming

By regularly brushing your German Shepherd’s coat with a top-quality brush, you can get rid of loose topcoat and undercoat hair, thereby reducing the amount of fur that falls off the pooch’s body when it is shedding.

In addition, by constantly brushing your GSD’s coat, you can prevent the development of certain skin conditions, and also avoid matting or tangling of the pooch’s hair.

Feed A Proper Diet

Nutrition also plays a vital role in controlling dog shedding. And by feeding your German Shepherd dog with a well-balanced diet containing the ingredients that essentially improve coat quality, such as Omega-3 supplements, vitamins A and E, you can considerably lessen the quantity of the pooch’s shedding.

Maintain Proper Hygiene

Keeping your German Shepherd’s, and by extension, your environment clean, will protect your pooch from coming in contact with dangerous parasites, and reduce the risk of the dog developing skin infections that may trigger excessive shedding.

Are German Shepherds Safe Good Family Dogs?

Conclusively, German Shepherds make wonderful family dogs, provided they are given the best socialization and training to control their aggressive nature and regulate their behavior around children.

As stated earlier, German Shepherd dogs make for safe and good family dogs because of their calm demeanour and caring displays when around family members. With proper training and care, German Shepherd dogs will show their entire family unconditional loyalty and respect.

In addition, German Shepherds are great guard dogs, and are always alert to potential dangers to children, and the entire family, by extension.

According to Stanley Coren’s ranked list of dog intelligence, German Shepherds are considered highly intelligent, and can be taught to carry out a number of tasks around the home.

Image from Instagram:@riga_gsd

Is It Better To Have Two German Shepherds?

It is often postulated that having two dogs can help aid socialization, and curb the development of unwanted habits in the pooches, and for most parts, this theory is true.

For one, both dogs will keep each other entertained and busy while you’re away at work, thereby helping to prevent separation anxiety and destructive behavior. Also, with two German Shepherd dogs, training will be easier. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the pooches misbehaving around your kids.

And for the best part, with two German Shepherd dogs, your children will receive double the love and attention, as well as two enthusiastic playmates – think your GSD is showing you too much love? Try having two doting German Shepherd dogs!

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Pete Decker