German Shepherd Temperament and Behaviour

The breed is so intelligent and quick to learn that apart from its history as a sheepdog, German Shepherds have been used as guard dogs, in police work, as guide dogs for the blind, in search and rescue service – due to their excellent sense of smell and tracking ability, and in the military where their tireless energy and courage is highly valued.

German Shepherds were bred as working dogs and have a need to “have a job” and a task in life as well as a consistent pack leader to show them firm leadership and guidance. Without a direction in which to channel their mental and physical energy they can become bored.  These are intelligent dogs and so a bored German Shepherd may very often create their own entertainment which to us humans can be seen as destructive or negative behaviour.

Often described as ‘aloof’ because of their tendency to be indifferent to strangers once they befriend you their devotion is life-long.  Despite this, German Shepherds are very social dogs and they love being around their ‘human’ pack.  This is definitely not a breed that will be happy locked up by itself in the backyard all day as they need companionship.

They respond well to a strong and calm minded owner and in return will be extremely loyal and respectful to the person in this role.  They will not respond to harsh discipline or if they sense a half-hearted approach to a command or guidance.

Whilst being naturally protective of their environment and family, a sound German Shepherd will only bark when necessary as they can be quite territorial.  However in order for your dog to know what is or isn’t a threat, early and ongoing socialisation is a must and will lead to the development of a stable and sound temperament in your dog.

You should only purchase a German Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder

In addition many aspects of German Shepherd temperament is inherited or genetic and therefore is a direct result of the dog's breeding.  A puppy bought from a reputable breeder will be bred to have a positive disposition.  However the environment you raise your puppy in will determine whether or not the puppy grows to be a well-balanced, social and trusted member of your family.