Is a German Shepherd temperament obedient? This article will answer the common question with some good insight into this wonderful dog’s history and personality with some fun facts along the way.
Many factors contribute to a German Shepherd’s temperament but one thing is for sure. German Shepherds are some of the most loving, loyal and obedient dogs on the planet. They make extraordinary companions and wonderful guard dogs.
To understand the temperament of a German Shepherd, we must first go back in time to the origin of these amazing dogs.
Origin of the German Shepherd’s Temperament:
To answer the question: “Is a German Shepherd Temperament Obedient?”, we must first go back to the beginning of the dog’s creation in the late 1800’s.
During this time period, the German Shepherd was developed from the local shepherd dogs. Farmers used them to protect their flocks of sheep from predators. This was due to their alertness, high intellect and ability to be obedient and follow commands.
It all began when one man, Max Emil Friedrich Von Stephanitz, decided to create the now popular breed. He noticed that modern civilization was slowly decreasing the number of shepherd dogs due to land development and decided to step in.
He set out to create a formal breed of German Shepherds and purchased property close to Grafath, a Bavarian town, to engineer the new breed. His mission to find the perfect stock led him to a dog show in 1899. It was there that he would find “Hektor Linksrhein,” later known as “Horand von Grafrath”. This was the first ever German Shepherd dog with the registration number SZ1.
On a crusade to create the “ultimate German herder,” he began to focus on the German Shepherd’s working dog traits. Up until this time, most of the focus was on the beauty and bronze.
Thanks in part to the insistence of Von Stephanitz, German Shepherds are required to take a brief temperament test performed by a judge at dog shows.
Von Stephanitz spoke of his dog Horand’s temperament and obedience:
“Although untrained in his puppyhood, nevertheless obedient to the slightest nod when at his master’s side; but when left to himself, the maddest rascal, the wildest ruffian and an incorrigible provoker of strife,”Max Emil Friedrich Von Stephanitz
The traits passed on by Horand, made German Shepherds the perfect candidate for war-time dogs. They served along side soldiers in World War I. Their temperament and obedience also made them ideal for assisting the blind and police work.
Thanks to the work of Max Emil Friedrich Von Stephanitz, German Shepherds are easy to train and hard working dogs with an intense desire to please their owners.
The Early Stages of a German Shepherd’s Temperament:
A German Shepherd’s temperament and obedience starts with their ancestry and has a lot to do with which line of the breed it comes from. Picking a puppy from the correct line can make a huge difference.
There are five well recognized lines of German Shepherds. Each of these lines can have a different and unique temperament.
American Show Line:
The title says it all. These German Shepherds were bred to show. They are specifically bred for looks and feature a narrow head and sloping back. Due to these extreme physical characteristics, they may not always meet the official German Shepherd Breeding Standard.
- Easy going and relaxed
- Intelligent, smart and obedient
- Not as physically demanding
- Perfect for a family pet
- Wonderful companions
West German Show Line:
Once again, the title says it all. They were bred for beauty and beautiful they are. These German Shepherds look amazing but still have some of the working dog qualities that make the breed stand out. They are governed by the SV which means they must be fit and healthy specifically in the elbow and hips.
- Great family pet
- Need training
- Require socialization from a young age
- Very active and requires lots of exercise
- Wonderful protectors
West German Working Line:
This line of German Shepherds most closely resembles the dogs that Von Stephanitz set out to create over a hundred years ago. They have a strong work ethic, unparalleled drive and are very reliable and stable. They are great for sports and perfect for real life jobs such as police work along with search and rescue.
- Amazing pet for an active family
- Obedient and calm when needed
- Reliable and stable
- Tenacious drive
- Wonderful working ability
East German Working Line:
Deutsches Demokratische Republik German Shepherds, or DDR German Shepherds were developed as guard dogs during the Cold War era. They were under the control of a strict breeding program in Germany and were used by the police and military for protection. The standard was very high for these hard working dogs who were free of issues such as Hip Dysplasia.
- Endurance and stamina
- Extreme focus and will
- High energy and vigor
- High working ability and drive
- Smart and intelligent
Czech Working Line:
This line of German Shepherds were bred for the single purpose of patrolling the military borders. The breed was developed in 1955 by Pohranicni Straze, the Czechoslavakian Army’s border patrol. Similar in traits to the East German Shepherd, they were great guard dogs with a wonderful work ethic. They are extremely loyal and love to do many jobs.
- Approachable and great family pets
- Eager to please and work
- Highly energetic
- Super smart and intelligent
Is Today’s German Shepherd Temperament Obedient?
A lot has changed over the years and the German Shepherds of today are a distant relative of the former dogs bred solely for working outside as herding dogs.
Today’s German Shepherd doesn’t have the fortune of large grazing fields full of sheep to protect. Although they are still used by the police and military, many families keep them indoors. This is why it is so crucial to socialize them and train them as puppies.
German Shepherds are full of energy and must utilize their minds and stay active to avoid boredom and stagnation. Check out this article “Games To Play With German Shepherd When Bored” for ideas to keep your dog busy!
The Answer is Yes:
The German Shepherds of our day are extremely obedient and very quick learners. That is why they rank number two on the list of most popular dog breeds according to the AKC. Their ability to learn and perform tasks is superior in the working dog category. This is why they excel in many sports such as Schutzhund Training.
The Standard for German Shepherd Temperament:
The American Kennel Club recognizes these traits as a standard for the German Shepherd:
Ability to learn commands for multiple tasks
Their supreme obedience is a trait that allows them to learn several commands for multiple tasks. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and it doesn’t take them long to pick things up. This is the reason they are used for so many important jobs.
Aloofness to strangers
The German Shepherd will be standoffish towards strangers. Their instinctive nature to protect is a double edge sword. They will also be wary of anyone they are unfamiliar with. This trait is what makes them such good protectors. They must get to know you before becoming comfortable with your presence. However, once they form a bond, they will protect you with everything in their being.
German Shepherds are very confident in their abilities which is one of the reasons they are so easy to train. They know what they are good at and prove it everyday in the real world. Police dogs, for example, have to be extremely alert and brimming with confidence to hunt down perpetrators and make arrests.
The courage found in German Shepherds is amazing and another reason they are one of the most sought after dog breeds. They are not afraid to put it all on the line for their family and loved ones. Their ability to stare danger in the eyes and remain calm and focused is second to none. There have been several instances of German Shepherds stepping up to the plate to save a human’s life.
Faithful guard dogs
German Shepherds were bred from shepherd dogs so their natural tendency is to guard their flock. This includes any animal or person that has formed a friendship with the dog. They will always be faithful to their family and will never waiver in the face of fear. You can count on this breed to stand by your side always.
Gentle family pets
Though they can be aggressive towards people they don’t know, the German Shepherd can be very gentle and soft. They are great around kids and very protective. They make wonderful family pets and will keep young ones on their toes.
The willingness to risk their life for family
The German Shepherd is fiercely loyal and will put its life on the line for family. They will risk injury and rise to the occasion when protecting the ones they love and serve. This is why so many of them are used for challenging and risky jobs that require fearlessness.
How do I get my German Shepherd Temperament Obedient at home?
Getting your German Shepherd Temperament Obedient at home will require some dedication and work on your part. You must be willing to take charge and keep your dog on a good schedule. Keeping your dog busy is a great way to avoid any aggressiveness or bad behavior that may come to the surface if they become bored.
Things you can do to keep your German Shepherd Temperament Obedient:
First and foremost on the list, is giving them the correct amount of exercise on a daily basis to keep them happy and expending energy. This will help them release some of that pent up energy and calm the nerves at the end of the day. Two hours of exercise a day is the recommendation for German Shepherds.
Spending some good quality family time with your dog is crucial for developing that long lasting bond that will stand the test of time. German Shepherds have a strong urge to guard and protect. This will give them the resources to facilitate their guardian mentality.
Mental activities will keep your German Shepherd alert, focused and sharp. There are plenty of stimulating games out there to help keep your dog’s mind on a high level. They love to figure things out due to their curious nature and problem solving is right up their alley. You can find some mental games here.
Play time is another great way to keep your dog’s mind and body active. Playing with your dog on a daily basis will strengthen your bond and therefore strengthen their eagerness to protect and serve your family. It will also reduce anxiety and stress resulting in a much calmer attitude. Here is a list of “Games To Play With German Shepherd When Bored.”
Make sure that your dog has some adequate quiet time to relax the mind and body. Find a nice quiet spot in the family room for them to lay. This will give them rest while at the same time keeping them close to loved ones. They will want to keep a close eye on the “flock.”
This should start when they are young pups and continue from there. Make sure your new puppy or dog spends plenty of time with other dogs and humans. This will ensure that they know how to act properly around others and keep their aggression to a minimum. The more they interact with others, the more calm and relaxed they will be. This can also lessen the amount of aggression they show towards strangers.
Training is another necessity and tool used to keep the German Shepherd Temperament Obedient. They love to learn and teaching your dog basic commands is a good way to start. This will keep their mind active and alert which is critical for obedience.
Several factors contribute to a German Shepherd’s temperament but the number one thing that has the greatest impact is genetics. Fortunately for German Shepherd owners, obedience is a trait that was instilled a long time ago and has stood the test of time. They are known for following commands and directions very well. This has led to their success as family dogs and service dogs for many industries.
The German Shepherd is a great dog for any family that will serve and protect. They are easy to teach and very fast learners.
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