It should be no secret to you that I love the German Shepherd breed of dog. They’re my favorite for multiple reasons, which we’re going to go over in just a few moments. But first …
I want to state that I’m a dog person first and foremost and I tend to love all dogs. I believe that any dog can be an excellent companion. And, I believe the phrase “man’s best friend” (or woman, for you ladies) rings true for all dogs of every breed and sex.
Dogs, all dogs, are just great animals. Period. But the German Shepherd stands a few tails above the rest, at least for me..
I have the personal belief after owning nothing but a few German Shepherd dogs for the last 17 years that, pound for pound, there is no other dog as capable the German Shepherd. But it even goes beyond their capability. Let’s take a deep dive into why German Shepherds are the best dogs —
Why are German Shepherds the best dogs?
German Shepherds are the best dog breed because they can do all things well, are extremely smart, strong, have the innate desire to please their master, are loving and loyal protectors who have earned a reputation as being one of the easiest dog breeds to train in both family settings as well as working dogs.
Now that we’ve got that brief explanation out of the way, let’s take a deeper dive.
German Shepherds are Great Protectors
These dogs have the best traits out of any other breed combined into one dog and it makes them great at protecting their families. While I know this isn’t “technically” true, they do have excellent traits that make them the best all-around dog breed.
For me it all comes down to this: the dog’s ability to protect my family, if I cannot do it myself.
Not all dogs have the ability or desire to protect, but the German Shepherd has both of those attributes.
The German Shepherd has an innate sense of family built into its instinct, so it doesn’t even need formal training to kick its protective prowess into gear (though training does help). All these dogs really need is a hint of danger and they act. I’ve seen it first hand.
Takeaway: The German Shepherd dog is a great protector. It’s ability and desire to protect its family doesn’t need any training, but training can help
German Shepherds are Extremely Smart
It has long been said that the German Shepherd is the third smartest dog breed, only after the Standard Poodle and Border Collie. I can say that, after having direct contact with a Standard Poodle for many of my adult years that my mom had, if they are smarter than GSDs, it isn’t by much.
The German Shepherd is so smart that they get bored very easily if their brains aren’t mentally stimulated. They’ve got a knack for figuring things out easier than most dogs can, which is a trait that lends itself well to some of the other traits as we’ll see in just a moment.
Just an example, is that we adopted an adult GSD male named Jumbo several years back who sadly died about 11 years ago as of this writing. Jumbo came to us trained in multiple languages. But, because we didn’t know this at first, because we had no backstory, we stumbled upon it by accident.
Imagine my surprise one day when I uttered setzen (the German command for sit) and the dog sat.
Even though we had him for a couple years and who knows how long ago his previous owner trained him, he retained it. I Googled the other German commands and he nailed most of them.
I wasn’t about to try the attack command, so we I can’t say for sure if he knew that one or not.
But because these dogs are smart and learn very quickly, they’re also easy to train.
This, of course, leads us directly to the next trait.
Takeaway: These doggos are very smart. Some experts put them at #3 on the list of smartness, which is excellent. I can speak for their intelligence personally, as I’ve seen it firsthand multiple times now.
German Shepherds are Easy to Train
These dogs are so easy to train they almost train themselves with minimal intervention from the human. We’ve already taught our 9-week old GSD girl how to come when called and to sit like the pretty girl she is for dinner.
Even better, she has minimal potty accidents in the house because we were able to potty train her in only a couple of days. As of this writing we’ve had her for just over a week and she tells us whenever she has to go out, for the most part. And, as stated, she’s only 9-weeks old.
Again, it’s not perfect and she still has accidents, but for the most part she’s got it down pat.
They’re not just easy to potty train, along with some basic commands though. They are quite capable of learning just about anything with extreme ease.
Takeaway: The GSD is very easy to train, for many doggy tasks. Obviously you won’t be teaching it calculus or anything complex, but the simple things will be learned well.
German Shepherds are Loyal to Family
There is a lot of talk lately about whether or not dogs are actually pack animals. While I can say that maybe the Yorkshire Terrier isn’t a pack animal, after having lived with German Shepherds for nearly 20 years, I have to disagree about the GSD.
They are pack animals to at least some degree, even though they know we are different. The point is that they instinctually know who their family members are and have an innate desire to be loyal to their family/pack members.
By the way, when I say loyal, I mean protective. They’re loyal in a protective manner. I’ve seen this firsthand with my above mentioned Jumbo who literally tried to kill anything he thought was my enemy (squirrels, rabbits, other dogs, etc.).
By the way, I’ve also experienced it first hand with my current 10 year old female Shepherd, Casey.
(The next few headings tell a story that starts now, don’t skip ahead or you’ll miss it.)
We had just moved into a new house in a brand new state that was 500 miles from where we previously lived. My son was playing outside in the cul-de-sac we live on, when I saw someone pull up in a Toyota pickup truck.
I was watching from the upstairs window and really thought my son was about to get kidnapped in an area we had researched and thought was very safe.
I got up from my office chair, ran downstairs yelled “Casey, COME!” She perked up and ran down stairs with me, as I skipped several steps at a time, somehow managing to stay upright. I opened the front door to our house and knowing that she could get to my son before I could, I told her: Casey, go get Andrew!
She took off after my, then, 6-year old son (and I mean, she bolted) which brings me to the next point.
Takeaway: The GSD is the best dog because of its loyalty to family. Almost everything else falls under this. It has the desire to protect its family at all costs, and that instinct is built in. I’ve seen it firsthand.
German Shepherds are Intimidating
(If you haven’t read the previous point yet, you’ll be confused because I’m in the middle of telling a story. Go read it, before continuing.)
So, again she took off after my son. And, once more, German Shepherds are very smart, loyal dogs. She picked up on the fact that I was worried and knew who Andrew, my son, is.
The man who was now out of his truck talking to my son got back into his truck very quickly after he saw what was running at him. And, it wasn’t because she was looking for a treat.
He was afraid, and rightly so. My girl was about 75 pounds at that time. And, while she’s the most friendly dog you could ever meet, she knew (or could sense) that there was a problem with one of her family members and used her brute strength to fix it.
I have no doubt that she would lay down her life for us if needed, as I know for a fact that my boy Jumbo would have.
To finish my story, it turns out that it was just the 90-year old neighbor on the other side of the street telling my son to stay out of the road when he sees a car coming.
Oh, and by the way, to remind you of how smart they are, she remembers that old man and still doesn’t like him. She doesn’t usually bark at people who she knows from our neighborhood, but she still barks like a mad woman when she sees him.
Takeaway: The German Shepherd Dog is intimidating to all the right people. When a criminal canvasses a neighborhood and one of the homes has a big GSD, he’ll be more likely to go to a different house.
German Shepherds are Strong
It helps that German Shepherds are strong. They’re not the strongest breed by force alone by any means.
But because they’re also very fast and agile, their strength increases. In fact, it’s this speed and agility coupled with 238 psi of bite pressure, more than any of the other shepherd breeds, is why these dogs are so heavily used as working dogs in police and military situations.
That, and the fact that the nose of a German Shepherd is the fourth strongest in the dog world with 225 scent receptors, as an added bonus.
I knew that Casey could get to my son before I ever could so I sent her on her way to intimidate the person I had perceived to be a threat. And if she bit him, I’m sure I would have felt guilty since he turned out to be an innocent neighbor, but my family comes first.
They are strong and quite capable at defending family and self, and their speed, agility, and sense of smell adds to their strength.
Takeaway: The German Shepherd Dog is a strong breed, not just in brute force but also in agility and speed.
German Shepherds Have a Reputation
And of course, these dogs have earned themselves a reputation as excellent sniffers, police dogs, rescue dogs, guard dogs, helper dogs, and family dogs. This isn’t the bad reputation that some animals get, though sometimes people do give the GSD a bad rap.
Because they’ve earned that reputation, they seem more intimidating than they probably should be. One of our neighbors a few houses ago used to call my old boy Jumbo, Cujo of all things.
Because they’re strong with excellent bite strength (enough to snap bones if needed), with sharp teeth, on a platform that is incredibly agile and fast, they’ve earned the reputation as an excellent family pet for someone looking for companion and guard.
This reputation is known throughout the world by regular civilians, police, and criminals alike. This is usually why a criminal will resist arrest until the K9 unit shows up. The dogs scare the bad guys, and just having a German Shepherd in your house is enough to keep a bad guy on the street to look for another house.
Takeaway: The GSD has earned a reputation of being a fierce protector and excellent working dog with a strong sense of smell.
German Shepherds Live Relatively Long Lives for Big Dogs
Generally speaking, big dogs don’t live as long as smaller dogs do. But German Shepherds break this rule with relative ease. Our last dog, Jumbo who died in 2010, was about 12 when he passed. I say “about” like that because he was adopted and the vet made his best guess at his age, but that’s clearly not exact.
Our current girl is 10 years old and still going strong. She’s healthy, has good hips and elbows, doesn’t have any lumps under her skin, and still wants to play like a puppy all the time. She can’t play like a puppy, but she wants to.
We still talk to her breeder from time to time and found out that her mom lived to be 13.
While those numbers may not impress you if you had little dogs in the past who lived to be much older, for bigger breeds, those are impressive numbers.
For example, when I was a kid our Rottweilers never made it past 10. Our Bullmastiffs didn’t make it past 9.
Takeaway: The German Shepherds live a relatively long life for a big breed.
German Shepherds are Loving
If there is one thing I can say for sure, it’s that the German Shepherd feels some sort of attachment to their owners. They feel the human equivalent of love for us and have a strong desire to please us, no matter the circumstances.
This feeling is vague as a puppy, but it strengthens as the dog matures and is around the family more.
Even better, they love us no matter what. If we slip up and get angry if they destroy the couch and end up yelling like a lunatic, they still love us and want to please us. They just happen to make mistakes just like you and I do.
I don’t know if it’s the same feeling we have toward them, but at least a part of me thinks that what they feel for us is stronger than what we feel for them.
Takeaway: The German Shepherd is a very loving animal.
German Shepherds Want To Please Their Master
The intelligence, loyalty, lovingness, and other traits are used in a way to please the people in their lives. At the end of the day, the German Shepherd just wants to please us.
Our 10 year old German Shepherd loves to fetch a Frisbee like nothing else. It’s her favorite thing to do, but I think she knows that I enjoy throwing it for her as much as she loves to catch it.
For other people, it seems like a chore to throw that flying disc. But that’s not how I see it. I enjoy that time. I love to see her so excited. It brings me happiness just as much as it does her.
So what’s the point?
The point is that if I’m outside with my kids and wife she brings the disc to me to throw for her because she knows it makes me happy. This is true even if she’s fetching someone else’s throw and even if I’m sitting down on a bench seat on a different part of the yard. She’ll bring it back to me each time.
Why? Because she wants to please me.
Takeaway: The German Shepherd really just wants to please its master and will usually try to do things it thinks you’re going to enjoy. Of course, this isn’t always going to happen, but for the most part it is true.
The German Shepherd is the best breed of dog. I’ll have no other, and if you give one a chance I’m sure you’ll fall in love with yours, as much as I love mine. They’re great pets, fierce protectors, have excellent intelligence and instincts, and really, just want to love and be around you.