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Are German Shepherds Good with Kids?

By Molly Weinfurter


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Are German Shepherds good with kids? It’s something that every family wants to know before bringing home a new dog. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always simple though. Every dog is unique, regardless of their breed. So, while breed can be a good indicator of a dog’s personality, it’s not always a guarantee. But if you’re interested in adopting a German Shepherd, here are some things you might want to know for your family. 

What is a German Shepherd?

German Shepherds are large, fluffy dogs that are known for their police work. Some see them as dangerous, but like all dogs, they just need to be trained properly. There’s a lot more to these dogs than meets the eye. 


As the name implies, German Shepherd Dogs (also known as “GSDs”) originated in Germany. They started out as herding dogs in the early 1800s, but eventually expanded into a variety of different roles, including police work today. As livestock management improved, German Shepherds slowly moved away from sheep pastures to K-9 work instead. 


German Shepherds are fairly large, standing 22 to 26 inches tall and weighing 50 to 90 pounds. They have a thick, fluffy coat that sheds frequently. Most German Shepherds are brown with black patches of fur, but others can have unique colors like solid black or white. They have rounded ears that stick upright and a long, hairy tail. 


These dogs have all the best qualities of a working dog, which is why they’re so versatile. They’re intelligent, athletic, and courageous. To some, these characteristics make them seem overwhelming, but they can have a soft side too. They’re overly loyal, so they’ll do anything they can to make their humans happy. 

Are German Shepherds Good with Kids?

Yes, German Shepherds can be good dogs with kids. But will they always be? Not necessarily. No dog is a cookie cutter example of their breed. Most dogs of the same breed share vaguely similar characteristics, but they still have their own unique personalities. So, while some breeds are known for being great with kids, don’t get a dog without getting to know their individual personality first. 

German Shepherds can be good with kids because they’re one of the most protective breeds. They’ll always be alert, keeping an eye out for danger. So, you and your kids can feel safer knowing your dog is there for you. They’re also loyal, so they’ll want to spend lots of time with your family. Additionally, they’re highly trainable, so training your dog can be a great bonding activity for the family. 

On the other hand, German Shepherds might not be as good with kids if they’re not trained enough. Since they’re such brave guard dogs, they can get too protective if not trained and socialized properly. While it’s rare for a German Shepherd to harm a loved one, a dog showing aggressive behaviors can be scary for children.

So, if you want one of these dogs for your family, you need to be willing to put in lots of training and socialization to ensure that they behave nicely. Although this is true for any breed of dog. 

German Shepherd Care Requirements

If you’re still unsure if a German Shepherd is the right dog for you, there’s no need to fear. There’s a lot to learn about the breed, and it can help you decide whether they’ll be good around kids or not. Here are some care requirements to consider before bringing one of these dogs home. 


German Shepherds are active dogs, so they need food that can boost their energy. While all dogs need lots of quality protein in their diets, it’s especially crucial for energetic dogs like German Shepherds. Find a food that’s high in real animal protein and fat, not any by-products or other fillers. If possible, trying a fresh or raw food diet could benefit German Shepherds the most. When it comes to treats, try to find supplements that benefit their joints, coat, and immune system.


As mentioned before, German Shepherds are active dogs that love to be kept busy. They have an above average activity level, which includes at least an hour of exercise a day. While they can enjoy walks, especially at new locations, they often prefer exercise sessions that are more unique and intense. Agility, running, hiking, swimming, and herding are great alternatives to regular walks.

German Shepherds also need mental exercise just as much as physical exercise. They’re highly intelligent dogs, so they like to find activities to keep them thinking and learning. Having a job to do, such as herding or guarding, can help with this. You can also give them puzzle toys where they have to figure out how to get a treat out of a complex toy. Learning new commands and tricks can keep them busy too.

If German Shepherds get bored often, they might find other ways to entertain themselves. Unfortunately, this could result in causing destruction to your home. Plus, a busy dog is usually a happier dog.


German Shepherds have a dense double coat that sheds often. A double coat is a coat with a dense under layer and a protective outer layer. It’s designed to keep your dog warm in the winter and protected from the sun in the summer. You won’t have to trim a German Shepherd’s fur at all, but you will need to brush them often.

It’s recommended that you brush a German Shepherd at least weekly to remove the dead fur from their coat. Although, brushing daily is the best method. If you neglect brushing, you will have fur all over your house no matter how much you clean.

On top of brushing, you’ll also have to remember bathing, nail trimming, and teeth brushing like with every dog. Bathing should be done every 6 to 8 weeks, nail trimming should be about every month, and teeth brushing should be done daily if possible. 


Training a German Shepherd is easier than most breeds. They’re alert and easy to please, making learning new tricks a walk in the park. This is one of the reasons German Shepherds are good with kids, because you can encourage your children to help train the dog, ultimately forming a closer bond. 

Like all dogs, German Shepherds learn best from positive reinforcements and consistency. So, just because your dog is smart doesn’t mean training will always be easy. Be patient with your German Shepherd and remember to let them know when they’re doing a good job. Training is a great way to keep your German Shepherd busy and content. 


Health concerns might not affect your child’s relationship with the dog, but they’re a good thing to keep in mind. German Shepherds are often prone to hip, joint, and heart problems. So, when you bring your dog to the vet, cardiac and joint evaluations can help ensure your dog’s safety. As your dog ages, make sure they take it easier to further avoid these issues. Taking joint supplements from a young age is also a good idea for any large, active dog.

All dogs should have a vet checkup once a year. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure they’re up to date on all their vaccinations and to ask your vet about any questions or concerns you have. Vets can often spot illnesses that you might not notice, so checkups could save your dog’s life. As your dog reaches their senior years at around 8 years old, you might want to consider scheduling vet checkups more often just to be safe.

Is a German Shepherd Right for Your Family?

Every family is unique, and so is every dog. So, just because one German Shepherd is great for one family doesn’t mean another will be perfect for yours. Getting a dog is a big decision, so don’t rush into it and don’t make a decision solely based on breed. The best way to go about it is to visit your local shelter or rescue and spend some one-on-one time with the dogs. That can help you see which one gets along best with your kids.

A German Shepherd will only be a good fit for your home if you live an active lifestyle with lots of free time. Any large active dog requires at least an hour of exercise a day, which can be difficult to keep up with. They also don’t like to be bored for long, so they need something to occupy them when you can’t play with them. All dogs can be a handful, but a German Shepherd needs extra love and devotion geared toward them.

So, if you have lots of free time to train, exercise, and play with a German Shepherd, it might be a good idea to look for one. After all, German Shepherds can be good with kids, but they should still get proper training and socialization. Any new dog is a big commitment, so take your time and make sure all family members are on board with it. 

About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

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