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Picking a Female German Shepherd for your Family

The German Shepherd is one of America’s most popular and well-known dog breeds. Regardless of whether you bring home a male or female, they are an intelligent and capable working dog with unmatched devotion and courage.

If you’re sure a German Shepherd is the right dog for you, you may be wondering which gender will be a fit for your family.

Both females and males can exhibit the best qualities of German Shepherds. They can be equally loving and devoted, and both can be tough, helpful and brave.

There are some traits specific to each gender that are fairly common. Females often tend to be a little more protective of their family, whereas a male may show more territorial and dominant behavior. On walks, males often mark their territory at every opportunity. Females are generally a bit more affectionate, while males tend to be a bit more independent or standoffish. But females may be less patient than males when it comes to tolerating behavior like jumping or fur pulling from young children.

A female German Shepherd is usually a bit smaller and tends to reach maturity faster than a male. Females are often easy to spot, as they usually appear slightly more refined or feminine than male dogs. A female German Shepherd’s early maturity gives her a leg up when it comes to her training. This does not mean she is more intelligent than the male dog overall, but when it comes time to learn behaviors or tasks, she might be a little easier to work with.

Female German Shepherd Sexual Maturity

A female dog typically goes through estrus (generally known as heat) twice a year, unless she has been spayed. The heat cycle lasts 2-3 weeks. During this time frame, she produces bloody vaginal secretion that is scented to attract male dogs.

Spaying your female is a decision that should be made with your veterinarian. Spaying has been proven to lower the risk of many hormonal cancers, mammary tumors and cancers, as well as ovarian and uterine diseases in most female dogs. It has also been observed that spaying has positive effects on behavior, helping a dog become less aggressive and mellower. Additionally, spaying also prevents accidental or unwanted pregnancies, so if you do not want to breed your dog, it is important to spay her prior to her estrus cycle.

Picking your German Shepherd

So is a female German Shepherd the best dog for your family? In a lot of ways, it comes down to the individual puppy or dog and your needs. Unless you have your heart set on a male or female, keep an open mind. German Shepherds are loyal dogs and, based on what you’re looking for, a puppy or adult rescue might be right for you. The same goes with either gender. Spend time with the dog you’re thinking of bringing home before making a final decision and try to get a feel for how she or he might fit in with your family.

The only big caveat to that is if you already have a dog in your house. Dogs of opposite sex pairings tend to get along better than couples of the same sex.

When you’re ready to bring your new German Shepherd home, take a look at our list of dog names.