Breed Tips

What is A German Shepherd’s Personality?

To know about the German Shepherd’s personality, you would have to know about its history and thus its roots. Because, without knowing that, you won’t know what triggers certain behavior in them and why are they the way they are. So, here’s a quick introduction to one of the most popular dog breeds in the world – German Shepherds.

  • Average Height – 22-26 inches

  • Average Weight – 49-88 lbs.

  • Origin – Germany 

Also known as the Alsatian, the German Shepherd is a working dog breed. It was for herding sheep. However, its abilities are not restricted to it. It has been used for disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police work, and even warfare. They are like the Einsteins of the canine community, boasting intelligence that makes other dogs look like they failed obedience school. 

Don’t be too soon to think of them as serious dogs with a mission. Beneath the tough coat lies a furry goofball that loves to play and fool around with their humans. Their IQ may be high in the dog world, but you’ll yet be in for loads of entertainment as they display their cute silliness at your house. It’s like a top-tier security expert who moonlights as a stand-up comedian. 

If these facts haven’t wooed you enough – (1)

  • Two German Shepherds have stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin. 

  • Even Batman had a German Shepherd named Ace the Bat-hound. 

Looks, like an Alsatian is going to have a star on your house’s Walk of Fame now as well! 

What are the Personality Issues with German Shepherds? 

German Shepherds

We wouldn’t call it an issue per se, but their size does feel intimidating to many. On top of that, their protective instincts for their human family are very strong. This can make them quite alert, watchful and suspicious of strangers. However, if socialized properly with different people, environments, and situations at an early age can help promote a well-rounded and friendly temperament. (2)

Another issue that some might think of here is their separation anxiety. They may show a variety of different behavioral problems like digging holes, trying to escape, or barking. But any dog can feel anxiety when separated from their owners for a long time. Don’t we when our loved ones are away for a long time? Behavioral training can help here. (2)

They may have a leash-pulling issue though. And if they want to pull, you might not be able to control given their massive strength. Nipping and biting is another commonly seen issue in this breed. It’s like they like their teeth on people’s arms. A chew toy can help here. (2)

And while people often think that every dog from a particular breed behaves the same way, it’s untrue. German Shepherds, like any other breed, can have individual variations in temperament. Genetics, socialization, training and even playtime play a significant role in shaping a dog’s personality. (2)

Is a German Shepherd a Good Family Dog?

Photo of a German Shepherd Sprinting

German Shepherds can turn out to be incredibly beautiful, gentle, and loving family pets with work and effort. They form real deep connections with their owners and thrive on a strong bond. The myth around them that they are only suitable as working dogs is completely false. They can be excellent family dogs. You’ll have to offer attention, companionship and quality time to feed the bond though. They can even be great with children and other pets given that they receive adequate socialization at a young age. 

We wouldn’t recommend this breed to first-time pet owners though. They need someone who shows strong leadership. They have a natural inclination to follow a confident and assertive leader. They cannot deal with the ambiguity of who’s calling the shots. They will quickly step into the driving seat and that could be a problem at times. 

What do German Shepherds Love the Most?

Photo of a German Shepherd With a Ball in His Mouth

They are working dogs with high amounts of energy in them. What they love is spending it! Here’s what all you can do for them – (3)

  • Create tasks for them. Get some canine games and puzzles. The goal is to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

  • Give them space to run and explore.

  • Ensure a regular exercise routine.

  • Spend time with them. Everything may not be needed on the field. You can just sit with them and snuggle. 

Do German Shepherds Have Anger Issues?

German Shepherd

By looking at them, you would feel that they are just waiting to pounce on you for your slightest of mistakes. But they are very far from that. The American Veterinary Medical Association have refuted these baseless claims of them being dangerous and angry over and over again. (1)

Just think of it this way – They are highly employed by the police and military forces of the world. But would they have done so if the breed was dangerous and angry? Their selection criteria would be intelligence, obedience, stamina, and strength and not aggression. They would want dogs that can be trained easily. And these dogs are the ones that will follow orders even in the most dangerous situations.  

More About Spot Pet Insurance

In summary, a German Shepherd is like having a Swiss Army knife on four legs—capable of just about anything and always ready for the next task. But even these tough dogs are prone to certain medical illnesses during their lifetime. These include – (4)

  • Bloating

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia

  • Degenerative myelopathy

  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV)

  • Heart diseases

  • Cancer

With pet health insurance, you can save up to 90% of the treatment costs. Dog Insurance can help provide financial assistance for eligible veterinary care in case of unexpected accidents, illnesses, or injuries. Our plans can help pet parents manage the eligible costs of covered veterinary care and help ensure that their pets can receive the best treatment possible. Here are some ways that Spot pet insurance plans can help:

  • Covers Unexpected Veterinary Costs: Spot pet insurance plans cover the eligible costs of unexpected veterinary treatments, such as emergency surgeries, X-rays, and prescription medications for covered conditions.

  • Customizable Plans: Choose your annual limit, reimbursement rate, and deductible from a range of options, and create the plan that will fit the needs of your pet and your budget. 

  • Peace of Mind: With Spot pet insurance plans, pet parents can know that they can provide the best care for their pet with less worry about the cost.

To learn more about Spot Plans or to get a free quote, click here.

Related Readings

German Shepherd Names


  1. Wag. (2017, April 4). 8 Interesting facts about the German Shepherd.

  2. Dan, D. (2024, June 9). Common German Shepherd behavior problems and personality traits. The Online Dog Trainer.

  3. Pal, M. (2023, November 10). Understanding German shepherds’ temperament. Forbes Advisor.

  4. Morrison, B. J., DVM. (2024, April 19). German Shepherd.

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