When you decide on getting a German Shepherd dog, one of the main questions that a lot of future dog owners ask is, ˝Can German Shepherds live in apartments?˝
This is a normal question to ask because German Shepherds are considered to be large dogs. When thinking about German Shepherd dogs (GSDs), apartment living might not be the first thing that pops into our mind.
There is a lot to consider when talking about this large breed living in an apartment, so let us start with the article.
Can German Shepherds Live In Apartments?
We have good news when it comes to the answer of this question. Yes, German Shepherds can live in an apartment. This might be amazing to hear, but there is a lot that you need to consider before bringing your dog into an apartment.
One of the main things that needs to be addressed is the German Shepherd’s size. A lot of people prepare the apartment only for a German Shepherd puppy, which is helpful when they are… well, a puppy.
German Shepherds are one of the large dog breeds, as we already mentioned, and they will take up a lot of space when it comes to apartments. This does not necessarily mean that they can’t be apartment dogs, but a lot of things need to align.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), German Shepherds can grow to be 23 to 26 inches high, and will, in most cases, weigh around 90 to 95 pounds – and in some cases, even more.
This size is, of course, completely different from the size of a puppy. Yes, you will need to prepare your apartment for the puppy, but you will also need to prepare it for the future when the dog grows up.
Things You Need To Consider When It Comes To German Shepherds And An Apartment Life
We have mentioned that these pooches are among the large dogs, but still, they can live in an apartment. If you want that living arrangement to be successful, you need to make sure that everything that we have listed is fulfilled.
This can be too much for some people, but don’t worry – this is completely normal. This is the research that needs to be done in order to figure out if a certain dog breed fits in your life properly.
Here are some of the things that you need to consider and keep in mind if you want to bring a German Shepherd into an apartment:
1. You Need To Keep Up With Their Physical Activity
When it comes to getting your German Shepherd in an apartment, you need to know that physical stimulation is very important. These dogs are big, and they are known for always being on the go. In other words, they have a lot of energy.
These dogs are used as police dogs, service dogs, military dogs, herding dogs, etc. You can’t expect your pooch to be cramped in an apartment with little physical movement.
There are some large dog breeds that are just fine with lounging around the apartment since they have low energy levels, but German Shepherds are not one of those dogs.
The first thing that can be considered as part of the exercise is taking them out for walks. With this breed, walks should be long enough that they can almost be considered as hiking.
Since these pooches need a lot of exercise, a walk or two is not enough for their daily needs. There needs to be some off-the-leash activities. Taking them to a dog park where they can run freely and play with other dogs is a good option.
These working dogs will need at least 2 hours of exercise (or even more depending on what exercise you provide them with) on a daily basis. If you don’t provide them with enough physical exercise, you can end up with a destructive dog.
This is all up to you because in an apartment, they do not have a big yard where they can roam. If you don’t take them out, you will have a bored German Shepherd that can develop behavioral problems.
2. Finding The Right Apartment
This is one of the key things that you need to make sure is correct even before getting your GSD dog in there. There are some apartment buildings that will simply not allow a dog to live there.
Some apartment complexes will let a small dog in, but not a dog as big as a German Shepherd. This might sound unfair, but it is the reality.
The main thing that you should never do is lie to the landlord about what breed you are planning on bringing with you. They will eventually find out, and you can get yourself in a lot of problems.
Carefully watch out for the size and weight limits that a certain apartment landlord has set. If they didn’t set these on their ad, then you should always ask. Finding a dog-friendly apartment for your big doggy is very important.
3. Get Your German Shepherd Used To A Crate
Crate training can be considered as one of the most important parts of the dog’s training if you plan on living in an apartment. These dogs are big, and they take up a lot of space.
If they are crate trained, you will have it a lot easier. The dog will have a good time in their crate while you can do some chores or whatever you need to do during a part of the day.
A good idea is to make your dog get used to sleeping in a crate. This way, you will have no problems with them while you are sleeping.
You should look into crates that can fold, and will not take up a lot of space when the dog is not in them. There are plenty of options on the market today.
Some people will prefer a bed over a crate, and here, you can find the best beds for a German Shepherd.
4. Training Your Dog
Dog training is very important when it comes to owning a large dog in a smaller apartment.
Basic commands need to be taught, and they need to know them very well. You will have no problems with this intelligent dog because they learn everything in a heartbeat.
You can always hire a dog trainer if you think that you are not up for that challenge, but we truly believe in you.
Potty training is also very important, and it might be a bit of a struggle to teach them at first, but don’t worry – they will catch onto it in no time.
You will also need to teach them to not get on furniture and go into certain rooms in the house. Stay, sit, leave it, etc. are just some of the basic commands that can make your life easier if you teach them to your dog.
5. Teach Your Dog Some Manners
This might sound rough, but it really isn’t. German Shepherds are known for being barkers, and that can be really tricky when you live in an apartment complex.
This is also part of the training… obedience training, to be more specific, but we wanted to separate it from the previous thing we mentioned.
Dog barks can be quite annoying for your neighbors, especially if they bark constantly. This can happen because GSDs are known for being protective of their living space.
If they hear any sound, they will go into protective mode. Teach them while they are puppies that it is not allowed to bark at everything.
6. They Need Their Mental Stimulation
Mental exercises are also very much needed with these smart dogs. They love to have their daily schedule and some daily tasks. You can try to include them in some of your own daily tasks.
If you can’t think of a specific task, you can always use interactive toys and dog puzzles. These types of toys are great for apartments because the dog will not need to run around.
It is almost like a calmer part of both mental and physical stimulation that can be considered as a small part of plenty of exercise that they need.
Puzzle toys are combined with dog food. You will put some dog food or treats in a bowl or in a toy that is specifically designed to make it a bit harder for the dog to get the treats.
7. These Dogs Are One Of The Biggest Shedders
An important thing to know is that German Shepherds shed a lot. They are considered to be one of the biggest shedders out of all dog breeds that exist.
There is no way to prevent this but only to be prepared. Brushing is very important, and you should do it daily. This way, you can control the amount of hair floating around the whole apartment.
They have a double coat that will shed the most when the transition from summer to winter, and vice-versa, comes. This is the period when you need to be fully prepared because if you are not, you will be dealing with hair everywhere.
The vacuum will be your best friend, or maybe even your worst enemy, depending on how you look at the situation. This is one of the reasons for keeping some rooms unavailable to the dog.
This way, you can at least prevent the hair from being in every corner of the apartment, and make the cleaning process a bit easier and even less time-consuming.
8. Your Pooch Needs To Be Socialized
Since you are living in an apartment complex that is pet friendly, you can expect other neighbors to own a dog as well. There is a high chance that you will be bumping into some of those dogs in the hallways or in front of the building.
Socialization is really going to be a must for a German Shepherd that will be living in an apartment. However, it will not be that pleasant if you have a dog that is aggressive, and that can not hang out with other dogs.
Socialization is not only for dogs. You should also make sure that your dog is used to kids. This is not something you should worry about because German Shepherds are naturally good with kids, but if they are not used to them, there is a chance that they can attack a child in self-defense.
Take your time and expose your puppy to different kinds of dogs, people, sounds, kids, animals, etc.
9. The Weather
This is more connected to the owner than the dog. German Shepherds have no problem with handling cold weather, but the question is… can you?
For dog owners who live in a house, they can just let their pooch out in the yard to potty and to play a bit. People who live in an apartment need to be outside with their dogs until they have had enough exercise and do their business.
We mentioned that these dogs need a lot of exercise, and this can become a problem when winter comes. You can try to go out more frequently instead of being out for a long period of time.
This is something that can be a bit of a hassle sometimes, but all we can say is find proper clothes, and endure it for the love of your dog.
To Sum It All Up
When it comes to answering the question of whether German Shepherds can live in an apartment… the short answer may be yes, but it is not the final answer. This does not mean that you can take this answer so lightly… oh, no.
There are a lot of factors that need to be fulfilled in order for your dog to have a happy and satisfied life in an apartment.
All of those factors depend only on you, and how much time and effort you are willing to put in to have a large dog living with you in an apartment.
We hope that all of the things that we listed will help you in the future, and also help you make sure that you are ready to bring home a dog like a German Shepherd.