German Shepherd

Published: Last updated: by German Shepherd standing in a field of grass

The German Shepherd is known for their service and intelligence. They're excellent with families, but require a good amount of exercise.

Average size and lifespan

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Height: 1ft 10in - 2ft 2in
Weight: 75-90lbs
Lifespan: 12 - 14 Years


  • Affection5/5
  • Kid-Friendly4/5
  • Stranger-Friendly2/5
  • Dog-Friendly3/5
  • Barking Amount3/5


  • Grooming Difficulty2/5
  • Shedding Amount3/5
  • Easy to Train5/5
  • Can Be Alone3/5
  • Exercise Need4/5


  • Cold Tolerance4/5
  • Heat Tolerance3/5
  • Apartment-Friendly2/5

German Shepherd Information

The second most popular dog in the United States, the German Shepherd, is a true dog lover’s dog. The breed is easily recognizable by its strong, muscular body; alert, pointy ears; thick, multi-colored coat; and noble, hard-working personality.

Originating from the farm and sheep-dogs of the past, the German Shepherd gained popularity during World War I, gaining recognition for its courage, loyalty, and intelligence. As a pet, this dog is excellent with children and other pups and does well with training. Just be sure he gets regular exercise and stimulation, and you’ll have the perfect puppy.

Are you getting a Shepherd? Check out our list of German Shepherd names!

German Shepherd History

The German Shepherd originates from a herding dog known as the continental shepherd dog in the 1800s. This European Shepherd eventually split into three breeds we know today as the Belgian Shepherd, German Shepherd, and Dutch Shepherd.

The German Shepherd was bred as a working dog in Germany. It was used to herd sheep, as it was intelligent, fast, and strong. However, as herding became a less popular trade, German Shepherds found a perfect career fit with police and military units worldwide.

German Shepherd Training & Temperament

German Shepherds are very intelligent and trainable dogs. They do well with early socialization and training classes. As noted, this breed is often used for police and military dogs because of their excellent obedience and trainability.

They form a strong bond with their family and enjoy spending time with them. It’s essential to socialize them with strangers to help reduce their tendency to be overprotective.

german shepherd breed photo

German Shepherd Exercise

The German Shepherd is an active breed that requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. A tired dog is a good dog! They do great with walks and playtime. They can also be used for dog training like agility, dock diving, herding, and tracking activities.

German Shepherd Grooming

German Shepherds are pretty easy to groom. However, they tend to shed a couple of times a year, and brushing a couple of times a week will help maintain their coat. Increase brushing as needed to remove loose hairs during shedding season.

They need a bath when dirty. Otherwise, make sure to check & clean their ears and clip their nails.

German Shepherd Health

They are a healthy breed that doesn’t usually have many issues. Breeders will screen out issues, but some things to watch for are hip and elbow issues. They are also susceptible to bloat (sudden stomach expansion), which should be monitored. It’s a good idea to avoid strenuous exercise after eating.


All dogs have their own personality and unique training, causing them to differ slightly from these breed stats. However, please let us know if we made an error in the stats, we appreciate your help!

Breed FAQs

Can German Shepherds be apartment dogs?

The German Shepherd needs room to run and play. This makes them difficult to keep in small spaces like an apartment.

Can German Shepherds be left alone?

While German Shepherds prefer to be around their owners, they can do fairly well when left alone if necessary.

Are German Shepherds good with kids?

German Shepherds do well with kids. As with any dog they should be monitored closely, they're unlikely to become aggressive.

Are German Shepherds friendly with strangers?

German Shepherds tend to be uncomfortable with strangers. They will require extra training effort to socialize them with those outside their family.

Do German Shepherds get along with other dogs?

Although German Shepherds will mostly get along with other dogs, they may have some issues. They can typically be dealt with by socializing them with other dogs.

Do German Shepherds bark a lot?

As far as dogs go, German Shepherds bark an average amount. You can expect them to bark to alert you, get your attention, or when there are strangers or other dogs.

Do German Shepherds shed a lot?

German Shepherds shed a medium amount. They will have seasonal shedding, but aren't terrible to clean up after.

Do German Shepherds need a lot of grooming?

German Shepherds don't require very much effort for grooming. You'll just need to provide typical maintenance and baths.

Do German Shepherds need a lot of exercise?

The German Shepherd has a good amount of energy and will need to be exercised with some walks and play to keep them happy.

Are German Shepherds easy to train?

The German Shepherd is smart and extremely trainable. They will learn commands quickly and love the bond of training with their owner.

Can German Shepherds handle cold weather?

German Shepherds do well in cold weather. You may need to protect their paws, but they'll do well in colder climates.

Can German Shepherds handle hot weather?

Although German Shepherds can tolerate hot conditions, be careful not to expose them for too long.

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