Is a German Shepherd Right for You?
When considering a German Shepherd as a family companion, you should make sure that this type of dog is the best fit for your personal situation.
The dog is strong in body, mind, and spirit. They are generally more active and need attention and consistent guidance as they grow. German Shepherds are working dogs. As a result of their genetics, most will need a job to perform daily to satisfy these inherited tendincies.
German Shepherds require exercise, but, this must be monitored as they grow. The German Shepherd is one one of the best breeds as a family dog, although, when chosing a puppy you should consider your life style and the kind of personality you need to fit into your home. (i.e. Are you constantly on the go and very active or more moderate in your life stlye and are simply looking for a gentle companion).
German Shepherds have a coat that only requires occasional bathing and brushing to keep their coats shiny and healthy. They are double-coated with coarse outer guard hair and a soft undercoat. ( Unless you have a "coated or Long hair Shepherd, then they usually do not have an undercoat and the hair is soft and silky and they usually do not shed as much as a typical coat). Guard hairs will be shed year round, but especially when they "blow " their coats in the spring and fall. If you do not like hair in your home or you have a family member with allergies, then a German Shepherd is not the dog for you. Good nutrition is essential for the breed, with pups needing extra care and attention to diet.
A sound temperament is of the utmost importance in a companion or a working dog. Inherited temperament is a direct result of the dog's breeding, but good temperament has the potential to go bad through improper handling either through a lack of knowledge or misguided desire to have a "bad ass" shepherd . Early socialization is important. Once mature, the German Shepherd should be approachable and outgoing though strangers may be regarded with suspicion. Many prospective buyers believe they need a tough, aggressive dog, but the German Shepherd is naturally protective of its home and family.
The perfect German Shepherd has a "highly developed sense of smell, enormous courage, fearlessness, agility and despite its aggressiveness, GREAT obedience."....... Max von Stephanitz-1899
founder of German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany
WORKING vs SHOW LINES......... CONFUSED?
The "Show " German lines are bred for beauty as well as brains and workability. They are some what more angled than the working lines, but not nearly like the American German Shepherds. The German Show lines still have the strength that the original shepherds were bred for. Their working ability is strong, and dedicated breeders today are doing very selective breeding to prove that the "show" lines are just as capable of the "working" ability as that of the "working" lines are.
The "working" German lines are generally not bred to win at the shows although they are capable of receiving a show rating. The dogs are still very pleasing visually, but perhaps not as correct in conformation as the show lines.
They are somewhat straighter in their angulation and have a body type built more for running as opposed to trotting. These dogs are bred for working characteristics with the most attention being directed to strength of temperament and athletic ability. So which German Shepherd is right for you? Good examples of any bloodline should show intelligence, trainability, good health, and stable temperaments. Any German Shepherd physically and mentally capable of the work they were created to do should be able to participate in various disciplines and also make a great companion! One thing to consider, a working line shepherd will usually be much more high spirited and need more interaction and exercise. They can make wonderful family companions, but are not couch potatoes in the least. They do require lots of play and exercise as well as work.