Each month we will be shining a light on differendog breeds in our series, Dog Breed of the Month. This month, we look at the loyal and courageous German Shepherds. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this gorgeous breed, including characteristics, temperament and personality traits.

german shepherd


“German Shepherd Dogs are versatile, intelligent and energetic dogs, known for their loyalty,” Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club, tells Country Living. “They’re capable of learning many commands, which is why they are make good service, military and assistance dogs. Outside of ‘work’, German Shepherds are loving dogs that make a great companion, as well as an exercise or exploration buddy.”

german shepherd
german shepherd

What were German Shepherds bred for?

German Shepherds — a large-sized breed that originated in Germany in 1899 — was part of the Herding Group. Known for their courage, loyalty and guarding instincts, their history of herding has meant they are great guard dogs, police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind.

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“As the name suggest, German Shepherd dogs were originally bred to help shepherds herd animals, but have since become a versatile working dogs, often in the military, police and other emergency services, as well as guide and assistance dogs,” Bill tells us.


What are the characteristics of German Shepherds?

German Shepherds are confident, courageous, intelligent and gentle, although it can take them some time to make friends. Due to history of herding, they are incredibly noble and loyal — both to the work they do and to their owners.

“German Shepherds are energetic, confident and highly intelligent dogs. They are strong and courageous, but also have a well-balanced nature and are considered one of the most versatile and trainable breeds,” Bill adds.

german shepherd dog
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What are the colours of German Shepherds?

According to the Kennel Club, German Shepherd dogs are currently recognised in the below colours and combinations:

  • Bi-Colour
  • Black
  • Black & Gold
  • Black & Tan
  • Dark Sable
  • Gold Sable
  • Grey
  • Grey Sable
  • Sable

Is a German Shepherd a good family dog?

“German Shepherd dogs are a good choice for a variety of owners due to their intelligence and well-balanced character,” Bill explains.

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“They can be a good addition to a family but can also be a great four-legged companion for a single owner or a couple. However, they are large and very active dogs that require more than a two hours’ exercise every day, which means they are better suited for owners with a larger house with a garden, and someone who enjoys exercise and spending time outdoors.”

german shepherd in fall
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Are German Shepherds aggressive?

There are times when German Shepherds will be aggressive to humans, but this largely depends on the dog and circumstances. Some German Shepherds will never act aggressively, especially those who have been trained well, but the breed is tend to be known for their aggressive behaviours and tendencies.

One of the benefits is that German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs, so you can trust that they will protect your house and family from intruders.

“They were bred for herding livestock and not as aggressive dogs,” The Smart Canine adds. “However, many GSDs do have aggressive tendencies that needs to be kept in check. But with the right nurturing, a German Shepherd can be a loving and protective pet. They have also been bred to carry out search and rescue tasks, drug and bomb detection, and as guide dogs for the blind.”

What are the characteristics of a German Shepherd?

Some of the best-known characteristics include:

  • High levels of affection
  • Friendliness
  • Friendly around children
  • Brilliant guarding
  • Alterness
  • Stubborn at times
  • Watchful (which makes them brilliant guard dogs)
  • Courageous