German Shepherd puppies temperament
The AKC Standard says the German Shepherd "has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence, and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them."
That's a great description of an ideal German Shepherd.
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to find an ideal German Shepherd today. Nowadays, this breed is all over the map in temperament. Lines that are bred for protection work and the sport of schutzhund tend to be "hard-tempered" and businesslike. Show lines range from mild and mellow, to hyperactive and skittish, to downright dumb and dopey. And many German Shepherds bred by backyard breeders have risky temperaments and suffer from a host of health problems.
Energy levels vary from vigorous to laid-back, but all German Shepherds, to maintain their athletic shape, need brisk walking every day and all-out running in a safe, enclosed area as often as possible.
Mental exercise (advanced obedience classes, agility classes, schutzhund, tracking, herding) is even more important for German Shepherds. This is a smart, thinking breed (at least the good ones are!) and his intelligence is often wasted in a home that simply wants a casual pet.
Finally, early and ongoing socialization is a must to develop a stable, confident temperament.
Most German Shepherds are fine with other family pets, if introduced when young. However, some individuals are cat chasers, and many individuals are dominant or even aggressive with strange dogs of the same sex.
- Is strong, athletic, and natural-looking
- Thrives on challenging activities and exercise
- Looks stern and imposing, so makes an effective deterrent
- Is exceptionally intelligent, loyal, and versatile - when well-socialized and well-trained, can learn and do almost anything