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Is a German shepherd Right for You? Survey Results from German shepherd Owners

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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The number three most registered dog breed in the United States according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the German shepherd dog (GSD). We have a breed profile on the German shepherd but the breed profile can only tell you so much. So...we really wanted to give possible German shepherd owners a better understanding of the German shepherd such as: are they good for families with kids? Are they aggressive? Do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? What are their good and bad traits?

We wrote a survey asking German shepherd owners just these questions. Read the real answers from over 250 German shepherd owners. We don't want to discourage anyone from getting a dog. But we want the right match.

Read the responses of hundreds of German shepherd owners and find out if a German shepherd is right for you!

Questions we asked in our survey included:

1.What type of pet or pets do you own? In our survey, 57% have dogs, 1.6% had cats, 38% had both dogs and cats and approximately 4% had a dog but recently lost him or her. As you can see 38 % of German shepherd owners have cats!

2.Do you have a German shepherd at home? Over 99.2% answered yes and the remaining answered that they had a German shepherd until recently.

3.How old is your German Shepherd? In our survey, 15.5% were less than 1 year old, 35% were 1 to 3 years old, 22% were 4 to 6 years old, 12% were 7 to 9 years old, 9% were 9 to 11 years old, 5% were 11 to 13 years, 1.2% were 13 to 15 years and approximately 1.2% were over 15 years old.

4.How much does your German shepherd weigh (Approximately)? The majority of German shepherds weighed 71 to 90 pounds (35.5%) followed by 51 to 70 pounds (27.4%). Approximately 24% were over 90 pounds and 10% were less than 50 pounds. We believe those less than 50 pounds were growing puppies. An additional 2% had no idea what their dog weighted.

5.What is the gender of your German shepherd? In the German shepherds owners surveyed, 35.5% were neutered males, 40.3% were spayed females, 12% were intact males and approximately 12% were intact females.

6.Do you think your German shepherd is weight proportional? More than 84% of responders believe that their German shepherd is just right, 8% believe their German shepherd is overweight and 8% thought their German shepherd was underweight (too thin). In our experience, German shepherds can have a tendency toward being able to maintain their weight pretty well.

7.Do you think a German shepherd is a good "first pet"? (I mean the first dog for someone that has never had a dog before). Approximately 57% say, no, the German shepherd would NOT make a great first pet. Approximately 43% said yes, the German shepherd would make a good first pet. Out of the German shepherd owners that expressed concern about a German shepherd being a first pet, their concern stemmed around the fact that German shepherds can be demanding requiring both substantial time and energy. Any first time dog owner needs to realize and plan for time that a German shepherd requires.

8. Do you think German Shepherds are good pets for senior citizens? Approximately 46.3% say, yes, the German shepherd would make a good pet for senior citizens and 54 % said no, that the German shepherd would not make a good pet for seniors. Many German shepherd owners thought German shepherds would be good companions and would benefit seniors by encouraging them to walk and exercise their dog. However, many German shepherd owners had concern that a high-energy German shepherd may be too much for some seniors and that they dog may not get the exercise they need. They are also very strong dogs and need someone that can handle them. In general, the opinion of German shepherd owners is that if a senior is active and willing to give them the attention and exercise they need, they would be GREAT dogs for seniors.

9.In general, do you think a German shepherd is a good dog for families with children? Approximately 97% answered an enthusiastic YES! Only 3% said no. Relative to other breeds we surveyed, the German shepherd is ranked pretty high as being good with for families.

10.Do you think a German shepherd is good with other dogs or prefers to be alone? Approximately 81% believe that German shepherds are good with other dogs and 19% thought they preferred to be alone.

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