German Shepherds are strapping, powerful dogs, but they are also incredibly affectionate dogs towards their pet parents. But are German Shepherds good with other dogs?
German Shepherds can be good with other dogs with the right training. They do have natural instincts to protect their territory, as well as their family, so knowing the proper way to socialize dogs is crucial when bringing them together. Socialization can also look different depending on whether or not your German Shepherd is the first or second dog in the home.
Part of being a responsible pet parent is knowing the right way and wrong way to have multiple pets in the home. Additionally, knowing which dogs do and don’t get along with each other is your responsibility, so you don’t put any dogs in potential harm’s way.
Are German Shepherds Good With Other Dogs?
German Shepherds can be social, loving dogs towards other dogs. The way they are trained and socialized will be a big determinant of whether or not they are good with other dogs. If you have never owned a dog before, having a German Shepherd could prove to be a challenge unless you have help with training them.
It’s also good to be aware of other dogs’ preferences if you have a dog of a different breed. German Shepherds can be intimidating to other animals, given that they are so big. Two dominant personalities can clash as they might fight over territory.
Many studies have been done on dog aggression, including on German Shepherds specifically. Aggression is often misunderstood when it comes to animals, which can often lead to incorrect information being spread about whether or not a dog is inherently aggressive. With German Shepherds, they typically only act aggressively when they feel threatened or feel the need to protect someone else.
German Shepherds And Small Dogs
German Shepherds and small dogs may not be the best combination to have, but not because German Shepherds don’t like small dogs. In fact, some pet parents have had success with small dogs and German Shepherds getting along. The risk is that your German Shepherd could accidentally hurt a small dog when trying to play.
Small dogs that can be nippy may also be unwise to have around a German Shepherd, as your German Shepherd might misinterpret that energy for aggression, and might feel protective. German Shepherds were also bred to hunt small prey, and there is a rare but possible chance that your German Shepherd might not realize that this small dog isn’t prey.
German Shepherds And Medium Dogs
A medium-sized dog can get along quite nicely with a German Shepherd. Given that they are closer to the same size, if they have similar temperaments, they could become best friends once they are socialized with each other. A medium-sized dog that is calm but enjoys walks and playtime can make for a wonderful companion.
If your German Shepherd is especially playful, you want to ensure the other dog is as well. The same can be said for if your German Shepherd is less active. Two dogs with opposite energy levels and playful tendencies might end up butting heads occasionally.
A medium-sized dog is less likely to be intimidated by your German Shepherd’s size, and your German Shepherd might find a medium dog to be less of a nuisance than a small dog.
German Shepherds And Big Dogs
Big dogs can also make for great companions for your German Shepherd. One thing to be cognizant of is if the other dog has an overarchingly dominant personality that could potentially clash with your German Shepherd’s propensity for being territorial. Socialization might take a little bit longer for two dogs of this nature.
You also want to make sure that you are able to physically manage two larger dogs, especially if there are situations where you might have to separate them when they are both feeling overwhelmed. A bigger dog with a calmer disposition would be the best option to mingle with your German Shepherd.
German Shepherds And Other German Shepherds
Having more than one German Shepherd at home can be a fantastic way to have more than one dog while being able to worry a little bit less about whether or not they will get along. Being that they grow to be about the same size, and understand each other on a deeper level, socialization should not be as complicated.
If you adopt two German Shepherds at different times, you might have to put in a little bit more effort when getting them acclimated to each other. Training them will involve similar strategies since they are the same breed, so that could make things easier for you as well.
For the best results at socializing, if you can bring home two German Shepherds that are close to the same age, they should have an easier time getting along. Additionally, having two German Shepherds of the opposite sex is said to be easier to handle.
German Shepherds And Dogs Outside Of The Home
At first instinct, a German Shepherd could be a little bit apprehensive about a dog they don’t know. They like to be able to snuff out other dogs to ensure they aren’t a threat. If they have been properly socialized with other dogs within the home, they might be less likely to react negatively towards a stranger dog on the street.
It’s best not to let your German Shepherd off their leash, even if you’re at a dog park where leashes aren’t required. Furthermore, it may not be the wisest choice to bring your German Shepherd to an off-leash dog park. Other dogs might run up to yours and try to interact with yours, which may not be what your dog wants.
As part of your German Shepherd’s socialization process, you can try to bring other dogs around them in neutral territories, such as a park. Be sure to keep them on a leash still, and have treats on hand to reward them for good behavior. This exposure tactic could help ease them into being around outside dogs for short periods of time.
How To Socialize German Shepherds
You want to get your German Shepherd acclimated to other dogs when they are still young. Of course, when it comes to adopting dogs, you never know how old they might be or what their past experiences have been. Thus, unless you’re adopting your German Shepherd as a young pup, you want to ask as many questions about their socialization before bringing them home.
Socializing your German Shepherd needs to be a slow, gradual process. They should be kept on a leash when around another dog, and they should have a safe space to go to when they feel overwhelmed or they need to calm down. You should also reward your dog with treats when they do good, and bring them out of the situation when they misbehave.
Don’t force your German Shepherd to get along with other dogs if it seems too hard for them. Of course, if you already have another dog at home and bring home a German Shepherd, you will have to keep at it. Patience is key, however, and you should separate the dogs outside of socialization until they get along.
Once they seem to get along nicely at home, you should take them both for walks together. This can be an excellent bonding activity between your German Shepherd and your other dog. Some pet parents will even do this before bringing the other dog into the home, as the neutrality of being outdoors on a walk can help ease the tension between the two pups.
Dogs That Tend To Get Along With German Shepherds
Based on the experiences of other German Shepherd parents, there are some dogs that German Shepherds have been known to get along with more than others. While it’s no guarantee that things will work out the same for you, it could help guide your choice about which pup to adopt next.
Some of these dogs that could make great companions for your German Shepherd are:
- Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers
- Siberian Huskies
- Border Collies
- Belgian Malinois
- German Shorthaired Pointers
When taking your German Shepherd out for a stroll, it’s inevitable that they are going to encounter other dogs. Inside your home, you have more control over whether or not your German Shepherd is going to have to interact with other dogs. While German Shepherds might be misunderstood to be aggressive, they won’t act out in this manner unless they feel provoked.
Otherwise, these loving dogs can grow to love the company of another dog, so long as the choice is made carefully and socialization is made to be a high priority. Ultimately, every dog is their own individual, so there’s always a lot of trial and effort involved with bringing up any dog. You can’t predict if two dogs will get along; all you can do is try.