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Is a German Shepherd a Good First Dog?

The mere sight of a German Shepherd is likely to intrigue many people. German Shepherds are known to be loyal, intelligent dogs that sometimes may seem a bit intimidating. Some dog owners like the idea of a rough-and-tough type of dog. This begs the question, though, of who their owners should be.

German Shepherds can be a good first dog if their owners are fully prepared to train them, provide adequate exercise, and have a decent budget for their care. German Shepherds, in comparison to smaller dog breeds,  are high maintenance and not for the faint of heart.

So, what do you need to know before further considering whether or not to welcome a German Shepherd puppy into your family? This article should help you decide if a German Shepherd is a right choice for you.

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What Should I Know Before Owning A German Shepherd?

An important thing to consider is that the responsibility of taking care of such an advanced canine has its specific requirements.  German Shepherds possess a range of great qualities:

  • Intelligence – German Shepherds are amongst the top of the dog list in intelligence. This means their owners must be able to lead them with confidence, or else they will be pushed around.
  • Loyalty – If a German Shepherd knows it can trust you, you are more likely to form a meaningful bond.
  • Protectiveness – German Shepherds, can be very territorial, which can often prove beneficial if you’re hoping for a guard dog.
  • Athleticism – While they do demonstrate an impressive physical ability, you must be aware of what it takes on your part to help them reach their potential and keep them occupied. If you can’t keep up, they will likely get mischievous around the house.
  • Instinct – German Shepherds are typically quite alert; how you train your dog will depend on whether or not this will be an advantage for you.

If you are considering having a German Shepherd as a pet, you need to understand that you have a duty to provide for the needs of your dog. If you cannot give the commitment, it takes to properly train a German Shepherd, and you might not want to seriously think about getting one.

Are You Ready to Own a Dog?

The responsibility needed to raise a German Shepherd goes hand-in-hand with the simple idea that is owning any sort of pet will have its pros and cons.

Pets need love, discipline, and encouragement in order to reach their fullest potential. Again, you must be ready to lead the way for them.

Are German Shepherds Expensive To Own?

Dogs are not cheap pets. When setting out your budget, you have to take into account:

  • Their upfront cost, including deposit if getting a puppy
  • Food costs
  • Vet Bills, including spay/neutering, immunizations, and checkups
  • Training
  • Toys
  • Fencing in your yard
  • Leashes, collar, etc.

On average, a purebred German Shepherd puppy costs anywhere from $500 to $1,500. The cost will vary depending upon different factors, such as:

  • Who or where you are buying your German Shepherd from
  • Any specific relevant lineage/ history of the puppy’s family (some show dogs may happen to be more expensive simply because their relatives were a big deal)
  • Whether or not the puppy already has its vaccines, other shots, etc.
  • The fact that it is a puppy, rather than an adult; young dogs are likely to cost more than an older dog
  • If it is purebred of a mix of German Shepherd and something else.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a show dog, prices could be upwards of $6,000 to $7,000. This is a result of certain German Shepherds’ impressive family trees (yes, even dog-world has its celebrities). But it is likely that you are not determined to get the top-notch show dog just as a family pet.

How Much Does it Cost to Feed a German Shepherd?

Quality dogs, like a German Shepherd, need a specific diet with certain amounts of protein and fat. So, feeding your German Shepherd will typically cost you anywhere from around $30 to $65 per month.

German Shepherds require feeding twice a day with about 2-4 cups of food each serving. This price range is not incredibly unordinary; providing for dogs is similar to providing for a child.

Training Your German Shepherd

While you might opt to pay someone else to train your dog, you will just as well find yourself set back up to $400. It is a good idea to personally take on the responsibility presented to you. You bought the dog, so you take care of it. You can train a dog yourself for much less than paying a professional trainer.

Another plus side of training your German Shepherd on your own is the familiarity and trust that can be gained through a relationship with your dog. If you are the one teaching it everything, it is likely to become accustomed to you and, in turn, prove more obedient.

Is Owning A German Shepherd Hard?

Taking care of any pet requires knowledge and productivity. With a German Shepherd, the proper diet, training, and care will give you the best results.

When you think of a police dog, you probably picture a big, tough-looking dog that can overpower a human. German Shepherds are often used in police canine units.

However, this is not evidence that all German Shepherds are inherently violent. Just as you may train a German Shepherd to be a house pet, police sometimes train German Shepherds as fierce units capable of extreme toughness.

This is just another example of the extreme intelligence of German Shepherds. Yes, they can be acquainted with an authoritative position, but that is because they have undergone thorough training to do so.

If you take proper steps to training your German Shepherd, it can be a gentle, fun-loving creature while also maintaining an immense aura of obedience and stateliness.

German Shepherds possess a protective instinct that can detect danger. This could be good in the case of a threatening situation. Suppose you have a small child. Your German Shepherd loves your kid.

They play together, nap together, and have their own special bond. But one day, a stranger comes on your front lawn, suggesting a possible threatening situation. German Shepherds have been shown to recognize instances like this and immediately change into protective mode as a guard for you and your family.

In addition, if you show signs of familiarity with this stranger – let’s say it is the mailman or a neighbor – German Shepherds also have the capability to lower their sense of security if things seem safe.

How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need?

Along with the ability to understand in-depth training, German Shepherds require a lot of exercise.

They need around two hours of activity every day, whether that be walking with it, playing fetch, or any activity that requires your German Shepherd to be on the move.

German Shepherds are at risk of developing health problems, especially with joints and muscles. It is important for you to ensure your German Shepherd is getting enough exercise so that it does not develop any underlying health conditions.

You must also be careful not to push your German Shepherd too much, as the same health problems can result from too much activity.

Further Consideration

As long as you educate yourself on the process necessary for providing your German Shepherd with an exceptional lifestyle, German Shepherds can absolutely be a great first dog for new owners.

Keep in mind that with any pet, a large amount of responsibility is needed for an adequate and productive relationship. Remember: responsibility, initiative, and care all play a role in providing for a German Shepherd.