German Shepherds are a dog that will sit beside their family and watch you carefully from across the street, measuring your intent. Many would say there is no better protector in the world (when it comes to canines) than the German Shepherd. Known for their wit, courage, and devotion to those they love, they’re the #2 most popular dog breed in America because they make fantastic additions to the family across the board.
Yet the question still surfaces: for a canine as superior, capable, and tactical as the German Shepherd, how well do they behave around children? Despite their prized loyalty, can they always be trusted? Most families with this dog breed would say they love the children and cherish them as their own. But what about your child’s friends? How about youngsters the German Shepherd has never been introduced to before?
The answer to this question isn’t white and black. In general, a purebred and properly socialized German Shepherd should be fantastic with children within the home, and behaved around those they’re unfamiliar with. The sad reality is that puppy mills often tarnish the purity of the breed and irresponsible owners don’t socialize their dogs properly. No matter what predisposition any breed has towards children, if a dog is not properly socialized they’re going to misbehave in their presence.
German Shepherd Temperament & Personality
Another slight drawback is that German Shepherds have a longer-than-normal puppyhood. It usually ranges until around 3 years. In this time, they’re still adjusting to their size and coming to grasp spatial-awareness.
There is always the risk that when a puppy German Shepherd–large and powerful–plays with a youngster, they can accidentally hurt them from being too physical. This ‘don’t know my own strength’ phenomenon is an issue for all big dog breeds, and it needs to be addressed if young children are in the household.
With that being said, the hallmark of the German Shepherd is the breed’s trainability. Is there anything they can’t do? From service dogs, police dogs, drug dogs, show dogs, and many more, they serve too many utilities to list.
This means that they also respond well when being trained for child-friendly behavior. There are entire canine training programs created specifically to help German Shepherds interact appropriately with children.
The reality, however, is that while a German Shepherd should be supervised when in the presence of children outside the family, within the family there is truly no better friend to your kids.
If raised alongside together German Shepherds protect them like an older sibling, provides unconditional love, and becomes their lifetime companion. They’re known to treat the kids of the home as their own.
More so, their competence and energy level are a fantastic pairing when raised alongside children. As they age, they have the size and stamina to join the family on adventures, remain active with the children, and learn all sorts of skills if you so please. When dog and children compatibility is in question, it’s often easy to forget that outside of behavioral issues, what sort of experience is this canine going to allow the youngsters? A purebred German Shepherd offers a wider range of activities than typical breeds.
Socializing Your German Shepherd
Dogs, as species, are flock animals. They crave belonging. If they’re paired early enough with children and socialized properly, then, in theory, every dog could be a great fit for the youngsters.
Inversely, if they’re paired late and socialized poorly, every dog could be a threat to children. What you need to know about the German Shepherd is they have a predisposition to guard those they love.
These are hyper-sensitive natural-born protectors. With a guard dog this powerful, they always need to be supervised in the wake of children.
With proper socialization and training, however, your pup will make an excellent addition to the family and will behave properly with youngsters outside of the household.
More diligence needs to be placed into socializing a dog of this nature and physical prowess–specifically with children–as they’re powerful enough to cause harm if they’re to have an outburst.
But with the proper preparation, care, and upbringing, many owners will claim that there is no better canine to have in a home with children. The German Shepherd is #2 for a reason and if they weren’t capable of being fantastic family dogs with stable temperaments, they wouldn’t continue to hold and grow that popularity.