Is a German Shepherd a Good First Dog?

Is a German Shepherd a Good First Dog?

Thinking of getting your first dog? Wondering if a German shepherd is the best choice in your compiled list of dog breeds?  

A German shepherd is a good first dog, since it is good for families with kids, and it can be a good guard dog. However, certain characteristics may not be desirable, such as its loud barking and high maintenance costs. You should consider certain factors when buying a German Shepherd to determine if it is an ideal dog for you.


Why a German Shepherd is (or is not) a Good First Dog

Your Lifestyle

The moment a German shepherd steps into your life, there will be a great change in your lifestyle.

This is because if you spent most of your time partying, traveling, or just sleeping, you will have to adjust everything to create time for your GS. You cannot just leave your GSD indoors for long hours, he will be hostile, or else you will find your house in a mess as he tries to keep himself busy.


GSDs are big active dogs; thus they require spacious room for exercise. When raised in small rooms they can show hostility traits. If you have limited space, German shepherds are not the right choice for you.


A pure-bred German shepherd dog may be expensive to own and maintain. You have to consider the added expenses of food, grooming, vet’s checkup, and training costs.


GSDs lifespan is up to 12-14 years. You will have to be ready to be his provider, coach, leader, and a good friend too for the whole of his life.

Pros and Cons of Owning a German Shepherd

Every dog breed has its advantages and disadvantages; German shepherds are not an exemption. The pros and cons play a major role while selecting the best dog breed for you.

 Pros of Owning a German Shepherd

  • Great family pets-GSDs are committed and composed making them more preferred by many families. GSDs are good with kids, and they can be your kid’s best buddy. GSDs are active dogs, hence they can entertain your kids.
  • Wise and easy to train-GSDs are rated among the wisest breeds, they can easily learn a new trick. They are trainable from as early as the age of 8 weeks.
  • Heavily protective–  GSDs are very loyal and committed to protecting their owner. They can easily detect danger and if not properly trained they can easily harm anyone who can pose to be a threat to his owner.
  • Great in any weather– GSDs coats are two-layered, this helps them to endure extreme hot or cold weather.
  • Follow orders easily-GSD are very submissive dogs, they can easily follow orders without hesitation. If well trained they obey at least 70% of the orders.
  • Brilliant watch dogs-Most of the time, GSDs are used as watch dogs because they are ever alert and their big size allows them to triumph over a hostile criminal. They also bark out loudly whenever they identify a potential threat.

Cons of Owning a German Shepherd

  • Requires a lot of time, energy, and space-GSDs will take most of your time as you have to exercise him on daily basis. They also require regular potty breaks and also a spacious environment for playing. If you are too busy or lazy to exercise him, think of another dog breed.
  • They need your company-GSDs dislikes loneliness so much. The maximum you can leave your GSD puppy is for 2 hours and 6 hours for adults
  • They shed a lot-German shepherds’ two-layered coat makes them shed two times a year and this is mostly when there is a change in season. Furthermore, they shed throughout the year, which means that you have to regularly brush their coats to remove the unwanted hair.
  • Prone to health issues- Due to the rise in demand for German shepherds, breeders have become crooked and unprincipled by using wrong breeding practices hence making GSDs prone to many diseases. it’s always advisable to buy your dog from a reputable breeder.  
  • They are Vocal-German shepherds bark loudly every now and then; they also growl and whimper. Be ready for noise once you welcome a German shepherd into your life.
  • They can harm kids– your GSD puppy can unintentionally harm your kid while playing.  This happens through bites especially if your puppy is not well trained. GSDs have a strong bite therefore you should train your dog common commands and be attentive when he is near kids. `
  • A German shepherd will own you-GSDs can own you, you read that right. GSDs have their ‘chosen person’ whom they can follow everywhere including the bathroom. They will be more protective of their ‘person’ rather than the whole family.


With all the above considerations put in place, now it’s easy for you to decide if a German shepherd is the best dog for you as a beginner. Having all the pros and cons will make you know if you can handle a GSD or not.  Hope you will find a suitable breed for you.


Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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