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Are German Shepherds Good For First Time Owners Or Not?

Are German Shepherds Good For First Time Owners Or Not?

The German Shepherd is without a doubt one of the best pets you can have. But, is this dog a good first dog? Are German Shepherds good for first time owners? 

A GSD is one of the most popular dogs out there, known to be an excellent family dog, guard dog, and working dog – you must have seen at least one German Shepherd dog working as a police dog or a service dog.

So, this versatile dog has it all – good looks and a wonderful temperament. But, is this dog a bit too much for inexperienced dog owners?

Should you rather look for another dog?

Let’s find out!

Are German Shepherds Good For First Time Owners?

a girl walking with her dog german shepherd on the road

A German Shepherd might be a good dog for first-time owners, but this does not have to be the case with all German Shepherds, nor with all dog owners. 

So, this dog can be a remarkable family dog, but you need to work hard together with your dog. Therefore, having a German Shepherd requires a lot of offer, time, attention, and patience.

We are talking about one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, so, this is not an ordinary dog – all German Shepherds are highly trainable, and this is why so many of them work as military dogs, police dogs, and service dogs.

This dog is an active dog who is always looking for new tasks and new adventures. If you are an active person, you will find the best buddy for adventures in a German Shepherd dog.

When a new owner picks a perfect dog for his new life adventure, this choice will also depend on the owner itself – not only on the dog breed.

Before deciding on a GSD, you should first consider your lifestyle and the character traits you would like your future dog to possess.

What Are Some Disadvantages To Owning A German Shepherd?

german shepherd sitting beside his owner

DIsadvantages of owning a German Shepherd? Is this even real?

Well, from an angle of a new dog owner, you might want to know all the things that a GSD ownership brings.

Owning a dog is not just about fun and games – this is a serious, lifetime commitment and you should do your best to investigate all about the dog you are about to bring into your home.

So, let’s see what are some important characteristics of German Shepherd dogs that you perhaps don’t know enough about.

1. Separation Anxiety

All dogs love to be around their humans. But, some dogs are better on their own than others. Unfortunately, the German Shepherd puppy is not one of them. This dog needs his human close to him all the time.

This might not sound as a bad thing once you imagine it. But, you need to be aware that this dog’s love and devotion goes so far that he might even be depressed once you leave the house.

So, these dogs do not like to be left alone. Furthermore, many German Shepherds might suffer from separation anxiety when their human family members are not around them.

What are some signs your GSD suffers when you are away? He will probably whine a lot, wait for you at the front door while barking, or even show some destructive behavior to make you understand he does not like to spend time alone.

Having a dog like this, a dog that demands a lot of attention, might simply be too much for people with busy schedules.

Of course, with time passing, your German Shepherd might learn to be alone, at least for some time when you and your family members are not around.

However, this might not be so easy, and you will have to invest a lot of your time and effort to make your dog less dependent on you.

2. High Energy Levels

All German Shepherd owners will for sure confirm that these dogs are highly energetic. A GSD needs a lot of exercise on a daily basis. What do we mean by a lot? Around 2 hours or even more!

So, a German Shepherd will not be satisfied with a short walk in the evening. You will need to provide space, entertainment, and physical activity to this dog.

If you are not an active person and you prefer to have a dog that will make you company in your occasional walks, then the German Shepherd is not the right dog for you. You can find some great dogs with some lower energy levels in our list of lazy dog breeds.

3. Barking And Howling

A German Shepherd is a good guard dog – your home and property will be totally safe with this intelligent dog on your side.

But, there are downsides to this GSD’s trait. Not only does a GSD bark loudly, it also howls – hearing this dog howl might even remind you of a wolf’s vocalization.

These dogs might bark or howl to warn you about some potential danger. They might also produce these sounds when they are happy, excited, sad, stressed, or in fear. So – you might hear them barking and howling quite often!

If you are thinking of becoming a new GSD owner, this is something you should take into consideration. New dog owners might not be able to go through the obedience training by themselves.

Of course, there are always reputable breeders and dog trainers that could help you master this!

4. Hard-working Dog

Having a hard-working dog cannot be a bad thing, right?

Well, it all again depends on your lifestyle and your expectations from your pet.

A German Shepherd is known for its trainability and intelligence, so, many dog lovers will be thrilled to provide these amazing canines with a lot of training.

Mental stimulation is equally important for your new German Shepherd puppy as the physical exercise is.

So, having a GSD means providing him with a lot of interactive puzzle toys and other forms of exercise for these dogs’ minds.

You might be quite shocked with the amount of dog training you’ll need to undertake with a German Shepherd.

Is Owning A German Shepherd Hard?

german shepherd dog stood on his hind legs taking a treat bone from his owner

Owning any dog breed is in some way hard, no matter if you have a Pomeranian, a Labrador, a Rottweiler, or a German Shepherd.

Becoming a dog owner does not only mean teaching your dog some tricks, potty training him, or giving him regular meals. The most important thing to understand here is that you will be the person number one in your furry friend’s life.

So, owning a German Shepherd is in some ways quite challenging. These dogs need regular daily exercise, a lot of attention and quality dog training.

So, if you are quite busy and you don’t have enough time to dedicate to your furry friend – then owning a German Shepherd will be hard for you.

Also, every dog breed has some certain health problems that it might be prone to.

Hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and allergies are common health issues that might affect the German Shepherd’s lifespan.

Still, if you are ready to adjust your lifestyle to this amazing dog – then you will be rewarded with a lifetime best friend.

What Are The Best Breeds For First-Time Owners?

beagle dog on a leash walking with this owner

There are some low-maintenance dogs that might be a better choice for first time owners. Low-maintenance might mean that these dogs do not require much exercise, grooming, training, etc.

If you like smaller dogs, you might enjoy the company of a Beagle or a Bichon Frise puppy. If you would prefer a large dog, then you might like a Boxer or a Bernese Mountain Dog.

All dogs are wonderful in their own way – both purebred and mixed dogs – you just need to find the one that will suit you best.

Also, some dog breeds are simply a better option for dog owners with experience.


It is not so easy to give a simple answer to the question: are German Shepherds good for first time owners.

The truth is – these dogs are demanding, and living with them might be challenging, especially in the beginning. Not all people will be able to provide these wonderful dogs with enough exercise, training, and attention.

So, a German Shepherd might be a good choice for a new owner who is well-informed and knows what to expect from this dog breed.

All people who are not familiar enough with this popular dog breed might have unrealistic expectations which can result in a bad experience for both them and the dog.

So, we suggest all potential owners of German Shepherds to thoroughly do their homework and get ready for coexistence with a magnificent dog.

We think it would be a shame for anyone to give up the amazing experience of owning a German Shepherd!