17 German Shepherd Pros and Cons of Ownership

German Shepherds are iconic and classic dogs that adore affection and companionship. In many ways, German Shepherds are the ideal pet for those who love adventure, road trips, and playing outdoors. German Shepherds are an excitable dog breed that loves spending time with their family and small children.

They are fun-loving dogs who enjoy the thrill of adventure and can adapt to nearly any situation. However, they come with a few of their own issues. German Shepherds can be susceptible to health conditions like hip dysplasia and epilepsy.

German Shepherd pros and cons
17 German Shepherd pros and cons of ownership.

This dog breed is also loud and may spend plenty of time barking.

Dog owners who don’t have much free time to devote to their furry friend may find a German Shepherd is too much for them to handle. With the right amount of love, attention, and training, a German Shepherd can make a dog owner and family happy.

Read on to find out more about the German Shepherd pros and cons of ownership. 


German Shepherds are stunning dogs with lively personalities and vibrant coats. These dogs love spending time with the family and will gladly cuddle, show affection, and play well into the nighttime hours. German Shepherds are also highly vigilant and are ideal protectors and guard dogs in case of an intrusion.

There are many positives to owning a German Shepherd, including plenty of affection, constant playtime, and an enhanced sense of safety.


There is no dog breed as loyal as the German Shepherd. This dog adores their owners and families and will spend as much time as possible making them happy. These dogs thrive on praise, attention, and adoration.

They will also do nearly anything to get them. German Shepherds rarely leave their owners, choose other people to be around, or abandon them.

German Shepherd walk
The owner and German Shepherd go for a walk.

Stunning Features

This dog breed is stunning and has a coat of fur that comes in many colors. Some German Shepherds may have nearly solid black fur, while others have various colors. German Shepherds have stunning features like warm, chocolate brown eyes and a resilient body type.

black German Shepherd
Black German Shepherd running.

Training Is Easy

German Shepherds are easy to train, which is why they are often used by police departments in the United States. German Shepherds are constantly willing to please and want to do anything possible to make their owners happy. Because of this eagerness to please, German Shepherds accept commands and instructions.

train German Shepherd
Owner trains her train German Shepherd.

Adapts Well

This dog breed adapts well to changes in routine and nearly thrives on new adventures as they come up. There is nothing more exciting than a vacation for a German Shepherd. All the new sights and smells can make a German Shepherd excitable and engage their need for something new.

German Shepherd on the water
German Shepherd runs on the water.

Highly Intelligent

German Shepherds are highly intelligent and love to engage in the part of their brain that enjoys puzzles and solving riddles. This dog breed will engage in hide-and-seek or spend hours digging holes in the backyard if it needs to engage its brain.

It can be hard to hide from a German Shepherd since they are so intelligent and often used to locate missing persons and items.

German Shepherd plays with a ball
German Shepherd hyper actively plays with a ball.

Loves To Stand Guard

German Shepherds are very protective and love to watch for potential dangers and threats to their families. German Shepherds will alert to anything they deem even mildly threatening and will use their bodies to shield those they love to protect them. German Shepherds can be very protective of young children and check on them multiple times a night.

German Shepherd approach
German Shepherd approaching his owner.

Loves Small Children

German Shepherds are especially loving to small children. They are also perfect for families with small children because they can balance play and don’t roughhouse often. This dog breed loves playing outside and will spend hours running in the yard, chasing children, and playing catch with toys.

German Shepherds will also do anything to protect small children and enjoys laying down with young children at the end of the day.

German Shepherd and baby
German Shepherd looks after the baby.


German Shepherds are highly affectionate and will cuddle up with you, spend time observing the area to ensure it’s safe, and lick you to show they love you. This dog breed will also give you gifts they find like sticks from outside or their favorite toys. It’s not uncommon for German Shepherds to spend all day playing with their families and cuddling into their laps at night.

German Shepherd licks wrist
German Shepherd licks his owner’s arms and wrist.

Doesn’t Drool Much

German Shepherds don’t drool too much, making them perfect for a family home. Although they aren’t without their own messes, this breed of dog won’t slobber all over everything and everyone they touch.

This can be ideal for dog lovers who have visitors often or those who don’t like general germs and bacteria.

German Shepherd smiles
German Shepherd smiles upon seeing his owner.


Although charming and loving dogs, German Shepherds may not be right for every household or family – especially those that are busy. German Shepherds require plenty of work, attention, and affection, which some families may not be able to give during their busy schedules.

In addition, German Shepherds may have some health conditions as they get older and require more cleaning due to their stunning, long hair. Read through our list of negatives to German Shepherd ownership to decide if a German Shepherd is right for you.

Needs Constant Tasks

German Shepherds need nearly constant work to maintain their happy demeanor. When left without toys, tasks, or other things to keep their mind engaged and happy, they may start to show signs of emotional distress or depression.

German Shepherd nudge owner
German Shepherd nudges his owner to show affection.

Constant Energy

German Shepherds have constant energy, and this can be exhausting for some dog lovers and families with older children. The constant energy in a German Shepherd may have them running around the house at odd hours and make for mess and destruction.

German shepherd at the beach
A big boy German Shepherd enjoys a beach visit

Barks Frequently

German Shepherds are hyper-vigilant and always on the lookout for danger, meaning they may bark a lot to alert their families of threats. A family with young children may get annoyed with the constant noise, and some small children may have trouble sleeping if their dog barks all night long.

German Shepherd barks aggressively
German Shepherd barks aggressively at the stranger.

Plenty of Shedding

German Shepherds are notorious for shedding. This dog breed is not hypoallergenic and can cause a lot of issues for families with allergies. This also may be a challenge for families who are busy and don’t want to spend their free time cleaning.

German Shepherd with owner
German Shepherd sits with his owner in the field.

Health Issues

German Shepherds are known to get hip dysplasia as they get older. This usually manifests with noticeable hopping, cracking noises, and trouble holding their own weight. German Shepherds may also get epilepsy or other seizing disorders.

Always keep a watchful eye on your German Shepherd as they get older to ensure that you don’t miss any signs of seizures.

German Shepherd sweet
German Shepherd rests his head on the owner’s lap.

Separation Anxiety

German Shepherds are known to have some separation anxiety. This can manifest as whining, crying, and general unhappiness. Although difficult, a German Shepherd can be left alone for eight hours but should be checked on frequently to prevent damage or property destruction.

German Shepherd unwell
German Shepherd lying on the ground.


German Shepherds are highly sought-after dogs. Due to this high demand, this dog breed is expensive and may require reservations years in advance. It can be challenging to get your hands on a German Shepherd, especially a puppy.

German Shepherd puppy crate training
German Shepherd puppy is under crate training.


Your German Shepherd may need a lot of socialization with other dogs and humans. These dogs prefer to live in a place where there are plenty of visitors and friends who can spend time with them. Without the proper socialization, your dog may start to become sad, depressed, and lonely.

two German Shepherds
Two German Shepherds lying on the grass after a training.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are affectionate, loving dogs who adore spending time with small children. This dog breed will gladly spend hours playing, running around the yard, and standing guard for their loved ones. German Shepherd thrives in adventurous environments and will enjoy running around, listening to your commands, and playing with the family.

However, German Shepherds can have health conditions and other factors that may make them a challenging pick for busy dog lovers. Although German Shepherds are charming, this dog breed may be susceptible to health conditions like hip dysplasia and epilepsy. 

German Shepherds are also loud dogs who enjoy alerting their owners of visitors, friends, or intruders. This dog breed can be overwhelming for first-time dog owners and may be too much responsibility for those who live busy lives.

By considering the German Shepherd pros and cons of ownership above, you can decide whether they will be ideal for your family and needs.