The German shepherd is one of my favorite breeds. Although I’ve never had the opportunity to own one, I hope to some day. They are one of the smartest breeds, bred originally in Germany to be sheep herders and police dogs. The reason I don’t own a shepherd yet is because of their intelligence. This dog really needs a job to do, and I would feel guilty leaving a German shepherd home all day. It needs a lot of exercise, training, discipline and challenges.
The German shepherd comes in most colors, although the most common color combination is tan with black on the back, ears and muzzle. I have seen them in solid black and solid white. Although the white shepherds are not permitted by the AKC, I think they are my favorites.
Advantages to owning a German shepherd:
1. If you want an athletic dog, well, you’ve got one with a shepherd.
2. These dogs are very easy to train and eager to learn.
3. They make a great watchdog. No one will mess with a shepherd.
4. They do not require a lot of grooming, just some brushing.
5. You will own one of the most beautiful, loyal dogs.
Disadvantages to owning a German shepherd:
1. They’re size. These dogs weigh around 75-90 pounds. That’s a big dog, in my opinion. My mutt weighs around 65, and sometimes he’s hard to handle.
2. German shepherds need constant training and discipline because of their watchdog and protective tendencies. Many shepherds are aggressive towards strangers and other dogs because of improper training.
3. The German shepherd has a bad reputation for being an aggressive breed. Because of this, you might have to deal with breed bans in some areas, apartments that won’t allow your dog and just people who are scared of your dog because of its appearance.
4. The German shepherd has a high risk of developing elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, according to the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease more common in large dogs, which can lead to difficulty walking and bad arthritis.
5. This dog will need a lot of exercise, including a good run each day and a big yard.
As I said before, the German shepherd is one of my favorite breeds, it just needs to be owned by the right person. It’s important for responsible dog owners like us to help protect the reputation of this powerful, intelligent breed.