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Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs? 472 Owners Asked

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German shepherds are one of the most popular breeds for good reason. They’re loyal, fun-loving, and protective of their loved ones.

But are german shepherds good family dogs? Are they safe to have in a home with kids?

Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs:

According to 472 real german shepherd owners they are absolutely good family dogs. When asked whether german shepherds were good family dogs or not every single person said yes. Many also shared how gentle and helpful they have always been with their kids or grandkids.

In this post you’ll discover:

  • What real german shepherd owners had to say about having a family with a german shepherd
  • 5 reasons why german shepherds are good for families with kids
  • 4 reasons why german shepherds aren’t good for families with kids
  • 4 tips to make sure your german shepherd is great with your family (Tip #2 is super important!)

Let’s jump right in.

are german shepherds good with kids

Real Parents Experiences Having Kids & German Shepherds

The only real way to know if german shepherds are good in families with kids is to ask a bunch of parents who also have a german shepherd in their family.

If one german shepherd is good with kids that doesn’t necessarily mean they all will be.

So, I found a survey from IHeartDogs that got people to share their experience owning a german shepherd while also having kids.

In total, 472 people weighed in on the discussion of whether german shepherds are good family dogs or not.

People only had two options.

Yes or no.

Then, they were given the opportunity to share more about why they gave the answer they did.

Here were the results:

100% of people said yes, german shepherds are good family dogs.

Not a single person out of 472 people said their german shepherd wasn’t a good family dog.

A few people gave detailed answers I felt were very helpful that you can find below.

Terri said: “I have had German Shepherds for 40 years. They are intelligent and loyal. Good with children.”

Cynthia said: “Harley lets the kids and grandkids play with him. He is very loyal to us all. Very protective when needed but a gentle giant other times.”

Karen said: “German shepherds are extremely loyal to their families. They adore children and adults equally. They adjust their level of play to the person they are playing with…. more gentle with small children/elderly people. Bear in mind as puppies they are a little wild!”

Connie said: “I have had German shepherd dogs for 50 years, so I’ll write my answer based on that. In my experience, they are great family dogs, unless they have come from an abusive situation – then I’d be careful around any dog. 

They are very protective of their family, especially little ones. I have a photo of our first shepherd standing next to our propped-in-a-chair six week old baby, giving him a tender kiss. Another checked all four children on her way to bed. They are great watchdogs, hearing things that even I don’t. 

I could put a baby in a carriage in the backyard, my shepherd, without being told would lie down by the carriage and stay there no matter what.. Advice for bringing a newborn home from the hospital: Arrive with treats in your pocket, pay immediate attention to the dog (while calmly holding the baby), make a big fuss over the dog, give a few treats. 

Then introduce baby and dog, let dog sniff and lick.(Yes, mom, it’s okay!) This should get them off to a good start on a wonderful friendship.”

My Take On The Survey:

Given that german shepherds were bred to be protectors and watchers it makes sense that people would have an overwhelmingly positive experience having them in a home with kids.

They’re considerably loyal to their family and take it upon themselves to be protectors of little ones.

No one mentioned that their german shepherd was aggressive with children or anything of that nature.

So, all in all, according to many different german shepherd owners, they are very good family dogs in homes with kids.

As with all breeds, they need training and socialization with kids to ensure they’re on their best behavior.

But this is more on the owners part to make sure they learn from a young age how to properly behave around kids.

The more positive experiences they have with kids the better behaved they’ll be around them.

5 Reasons Why German Shepherds Are Good For Families With Kids

1) Loyal Protectors

German shepherds are naturally loyal dogs.

They want to serve and protect their family.

When they grow up in a family with kids, as they grow attached to them, they quickly take on the responsibility to be their protector.

Many owners shared that their GSD would take it upon themselves to watch over young ones in the family.

So if you’d like to have a canine in your family that you know is passionate about keeping your family safe, german shepherds are a great pick.

Related Reading: Are German Shepherds Aggressive? (100+ Owners Asked!)

2) Playful & Fun

German shepherds are also very playful and love to have fun.

In fact, they often become the life of the party in a family with kids.

They love to run around and play games like fetch or tug-of-war.

And as an added bonus, their big size makes them especially good at being able to handle accidental rough play and play wrestling with the family.

So if you’re looking for a dog that is both protective and playful, german shepherds are a great option.

*One thing you may have to watch out for is destructive chewing, especially when they’re teething. While they love to play, they also need to learn what’s okay to chew on and what’s not.

3) Smart & Obedient

Being smart and obedient is another reason why german shepherds are good family dogs.

They’re eager to learn and please their owners.

And because they’re one of the smartest breeds around, teaching them to listen to your kiddos is also very doable.

The last thing parents want is a stubborn doggo in a house with kids.

Which is something that’s easily avoidable when adding a german shepherd to your family.

4) Helps Teach Responsibility

Another benefit of having a german shepherd in the family is that it helps teach kids responsibility.

Since they need to be taken on walks, fed, and played with, kids learn early on how to care for another living being.

They get a better understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around them and they need to help out.

And more importantly, they’ll be more inclined to want to help out because they love their four-legged family member.

Related Reading: Do German Shepherds Shed? 100+ Owners Asked + Tips

5) Generally Healthy Dogs

Finally, one of the best things about owning a german shepherd is that they’re generally healthy dogs.

They don’t often get sick and don’t *usually* rack up vet bills like some other breeds.

Which means they’re more likely to live a long, happy life.

Something all families hope for when adding a pup to their family.

4 Reasons Why German Shepherds Aren’t Good For Families With Kids

1) They’re Big Dogs

German shepherds are big dogs.

There’s no question about it.

Which means they can easily knock over a small child or inadvertently hurt them while playing.

While many naturally learn to be gentle with kids, some aren’t super aware of their big size.

Their size also means they take up a lot of space, which can be an issue in smaller homes.

So if you have very young kids in the family or live in a smaller home, german shepherds may not be the best pick.

2) Loud Barkers

German shepherds are also notorious for being loud barkers.

Which can be a nuisance in an already loud family-home.

Barking at every little thing can become tiresome real fast, and may not be ideal if you have young kids who are trying to sleep.

So if you’re looking for a dog that is low-key and doesn’t bark too much, german shepherds may not be the best option.

3) Herding Tendencies

Since they were bred to herd animals before becoming known as police dogs, german shepherds often have herding tendencies.

Which can mean that they may try to herd your kids around the house or yard.

It can also mean the occasional nip on the ankle if their herding isn’t trained out of them.

Which isn’t usually a big problem, but something to be aware of.

4) Can Be Messy

Lastly, another downside to owning a german shepherd is that they can be messy.

They tend to shed a lot of hair, drool a lot, and can sometimes have accidents inside.

All of which can make keeping your house clean when you have a family with kids a little more challenging.

Most owners say that their love and loyalty far outweighs any shedding or messes but it’s something to be aware of if your hands are full already.

4 Tips To Make Sure Your German Shepherd Is a Great Family Dog

1) Don’t Forget To Train Your Kids Too

It’s important to train your kids how to interact correctly with a german shepherd.

They need to know how to pet them, what kinds of games are safe to play, and not to pull on their ears, tail, fur, etc.

Teaching your kids how to properly interact with your german shepherd will help ensure they both get along and have a wonderful relationship.

It goes without saying that your german shepherd will need to be taught about how to behave around people in your family.

But many forget about teaching little ones how to properly interact with their new dog.

2) Socialize Early & Often

German shepherds need plenty of socialization when they’re young.

Because they have a natural tendency to be protective of their loved ones, they need to learn that unfamiliar dogs and people are potential friends.

Not potential threats.

Which means when they’re 2-12 months you’ll want to expose them to as many situations as possible.

Meeting other well behaved dogs, calm dog-friendly people and new environments.

The more socialized they are, the better behaved they’ll be as an adult.

Exactly what you’d want in a loving family dog.

3) Consistent Training

Like with any dog, you’ll need to be consistent with your training techniques if you want your german shepherd to be well behaved.

A mix of positive reinforcement (reward good behavior) and corrective discipline (remove rewards for bad behavior) has been proven to work the best.

This helps show your german shepherd that your home is human-lead and they’re to listen when given a command.

It’s also a good idea to include your kids in the training process as well so they get used to following their instructions as well.

Be sure to start training as soon as you bring them home and keep it up throughout their life.

4) Lots Of Physical Activity

German shepherds need a lot of exercise.

Which can be difficult to provide if you have young kids who also need lots of activity.

But it’s important to try and find some time each day for your dog to get their walks or run around and play to burn off excess energy.

Otherwise, your german shepherd may become restless and even destructive.

Which is the last thing you need/want.

Ensuring your german shepherd gets 45-60 minutes of good physical activity each day helps them stay well behaved and focused on listening to you.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Do German Shepherds Shed? 100+ Owners Asked + Tips

Are German Shepherds Good With Cats? (100+ Owners Asked)

Are German Shepherds Aggressive? (100+ Owners Asked!)


Would you say that German Shepherds are good family dogs?