Are German Shepherds Dangerous? | No, They are Excellent Dogs, but not for everyone | thegermanshepherd.org
Are German Shepherds dangerous? This is a rather straightforward question that can be answered in many ways, thus it’s important to understand the German Shepherd breed before giving a definitive answer. Generally speaking, NO, German Shepherd dogs are NOT dangerous, so long as they are bred using sound, ethical breeding practices, raised in a loving and caring environment, properly cared for and well-socialized. Sounds like a large list of responsibilities, and to be fair, these are conditions that should be in place for ensuring that German Shepherds, or any other dog, do not end up being dangerous or aggressive.
Many individuals seeking out a German Shepherd dog need to understand that when they ask themselves “are German Shepherd dogs dangerous”, they should know that the breeding history, bloodline, along with proper care and socialization play an enormous role in determining a German Shepherd’s personality and overall temperament. Ill-advised, inexperienced, and unethical breeding practices often lead to German Shepherd dogs with unstable and poorly balanced temperaments, ranging from excessively shy and passive animals, to overly aggressive, unruly and unsociable dogs. Additionally, poor upbringings, such as not socializing your German Shepherd at an early age, neglecting to spend quality time whereby you engage with your dog both mentally and physically, along with other poor pet owner decisions will only increase the chances of having a dangerous, aggressive and unpredictable dog.
Remember, the German Shepherd dog is a highly intelligent, capable, and versatile breed, excelling at any task given to him, ranging from therapy work for the elderly to family protector and guardian. Because of this, there are different types of German Shepherd bloodlines being bred to accommodate the varying needs for each owner. Specifically, understanding the American vs. European German Shepherd bloodline is an excellent starting point for learning more about the breed and its personality, while also gaining a stronger appreciation for the importance of sound, ethical breeding.
And to be fair, when asked or posed the question “are German Shepherds dangerous”, you need to remember that this was a dog originally conceived by Captain Max Von Stephanitz as that of a “working” dog, one capable of protecting its immediate surroundings while also engaging in strenuous physical activities. This natural “working” ability, left largely intact within the European German Shepherd bloodlines, if often misinterpreted as a dog that could be dangerous or aggressive. Noting could be further from the truth as the sound, stable temperament of working lines makes them an alert, attentive dog, NOT a dangerous dog. In fact, many working line advocates actually point to the growing trend of breeding the German Shepherd for “show” lines as a contributing factor for aggression in the breed. They claim that the dog’s temperament is secondary to the “looks” of the German Shepherd, for which this can often result in unstable, ill-conceived personality traits, ultimately leading to aggressive dogs. Proponents of the “show” or non-working line German Shepherd bloodlines state that their breeding practices, while focusing on physical characteristics, also promote breeding for a softer, more gentle personality within the dog’s temperament when compared to the working bloodlines. It’s a hotly contested topic within the German Shepherd community as a whole, and one that won’t be dying out any time soon, so stay tuned and informed.
And because the German Shepherd, much like the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler, have always been associated with that of military, security, guard, and family protection roles, people have a natural tendency to ask if they are dangerous. It just comes with the territory, as the old saying goes. After all, we’ve all seen movies, television shows, or photos depicting an aggressive, “crazed”, unruly or protective dog, and often times it the likes of a Rottweiler, Doberman, or even a German Shepherd. In short, Hollywood and print media have contributed to much of the ill-informed, uneducated views of these types of breeds, thus it’s natural for people to ask “are German Shepherd dogs dangerous”.
Any dog can be considered dangerous when not properly bred or socialized, neglected, abused (both verbally and physically), or left without any human interaction. So before asking yourself “are German Shepherd dogs dangerous”, ask these questions:
• Have you asked yourself why you want a German Shepherd and have you spent time learning about the differences between the American and European bloodlines, specifically the “show” or non-working vs. “working” bloodlines?
• If planning to obtain a German Shepherd puppy, are you willing to spend the time, effort, and resources for ensuring your new family member comes from a sound, ethical breeder, one that can validate the dog’s lineage and bloodline?
• Are you willing to spend quality time with your German Shepherd, such as enrolling it in obedience classes, exercising him or her, along with socializing your new family member with friends, neighbors, and all other immediate family members?
• Are you willing to make a lifelong commitment to your dog, ensuring your German Shepherd is properly trained, fed, exercised, and socialized?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then you can effectively answer NO to the question, “are German Shepherds dangerous”.