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Do German Shepherds Bite?

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Dog owners all over the world will agree that German Shepards are loyal and loveable companions. However, one question that people who are unfamiliar with the breed often ask is “do German Shepards bite?

German Shepards do have a vicious bite, but if the dog is trained it won’t just go around biting people or other animals. A domesticated German Shepard will only bite if it is being provoked or threatened. While these dogs do have an aggressive side, they generally aren’t mean if they haven’t been given a reason.

Dog bites are something you likely want to avoid at all costs. If you’re wondering about whether or not German Shepards bite, you’ve come to the right page. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the reasons German Shepard dogs bite. Keep reading to learn more.

Do German Shepards Bite?

Have you ever heard the phrase “the bark is worse than the bite“? This saying may not be true when it comes to German Shepards. When it comes to the severity of the bite, German Shepards have one of the most powerful bites out of all the dog breeds. For this reason, German Shepards could be considered one of the most dangerous dog breeds. 

Yet, dog owners who have put the time and care into their German Shepard could strongly argue against that last sentence. After all, their beloved dog is a kind, loyal, and affectionate companion. They could never imagine their obedient pet attacking anyone.

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This is true as well. When a German Shepard is domesticated, it has typically experienced the right level of training and socialization. Training and socialization help to eliminate a German Shepard’s aggressive tendencies. These dogs are typically obedient and friendly when they meet new people and other dogs.

German Shepards won’t bite somebody that they trust. If your dog has formed a loving bond with you, then it’s highly unlikely that you will ever be on the receiving end of a bite, unless the dog is just playing. However, if someone that the dog isn’t familiar with tries to touch the dog or you, then it may be a different story.

Why Do German Shepards Bite?

If you’re a German Shepard owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about your dog biting the mail courier or a visitor that drops by. A German Shepard that has been trained and socialized will only bite when it has a reason to. These dogs are very smart and they can sense people’s intentions very well.

Since German Shepards are so intuitive, they can pick up on aggressive behavior as well. If aggressive behavior is displayed in the dog’s environment, the German Shepard can learn from it and may develop aggressive habits. This can often be learned from the dog’s mother or from aggressive people that it lives with.

However, if you’ve created a calm environment for your dog to live in and the German Shepard has been properly trained, there are only specific incidents when it will bite.

The Dog is Scared

If something has scared your German Shepard, it may retaliate by biting. A calm German Shepard won’t bite, but if something or someone has startled it, they may experience a bite. 

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Someone/ Something is Threatening You

As mentioned above, German Shepards are intuitive. They are also very loyal dogs that will go out of their way to keep their owners protected. If another animal were to attack you or a person was violently threatening you, your German Shepard will bite to protect you. 

Protecting Items

German Shepards are also territorial over their favorite items. While your German Shepard may be alright with you touching its food dish or favorite toy, that’s only because it trusts you. If someone the dog hasn’t formed a trusting bond with were to touch an item the dog values, it might try to bite them. 

It’s Playtime

These bites aren’t bad ones. When you’re playing with your German Shepard, it will get excited. Sometimes when these dogs get too excited, they let out a few barks and nips. However, these barks and bites are a lot more friendly than when the dog is aggressive. In most cases, a playful bite doesn’t hurt or leave a mark.

Illness or Injury

If your German Shepard has hurt itself, it may bite or nip at you when you touch its sore spot. Additionally, the dog may also bite if it is feeling sick. This could happen with a German Shepard who is normally very obedient. If you believe your dog may be biting due to illness or injury, always consult a vet as soon as possible.

Do All German Shepards Bite?

Dogs are often a big reflection of their owners. If a German Shepard was neglected, brought up in an aggressive household, or wasn’t socialized, there is a higher chance that the dog will bite. This is also the case with German Shepards who were previously abused. The dog will have instincts to protect itself and will be prone to biting.

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German Shepards that were previously abused aren’t hopeless when it comes to making them less aggressive. They will take more patience and you may need help with training. It’s strongly recommended to have a professional give training lessons to the dog. Depending on how severe the dog’s history of abuse is, you may need to ensure that it goes through rehabilitation. 

Not all German Shepards will bite. In most cases, if the German Shepard has established a bond with its owner, it won’t cause harm to them. It will also remain calm in the presence of its owner and other people it’s familiar with.

How To Tell If a German Shepard Will Bite

As mentioned above, German Shepards won’t just bite out of the blue. Biting isn’t something they get the urge to do on impulse. These dogs will only bite if they have been given a reason. Before a German Shepard bites, the dog will always give a warning. 

When a German Shepard is getting aggressive, there are some signs that owners should be on the lookout for. If the dog shows any of the following signs, it’s a warning that could be followed by a bite.

  • Barking that is louder and meaner than usual. These barks are often mixed in with heavy growling.
  • Barking and growling at the sight of other people or animals.
  • Growling when its food is being served or when you are eating a meal.

While it’s normal for a German Shepard to give you puppy eyes, follow you around, or even let out a sigh or whine while you’re eating, growling is a sign of aggression. If your dog begins growling at your while you eat, it’s signaling that you’re in the way of its food. This behavior could lead to a bite, which is why it will need to be addressed.

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Start Training and Socialization Early

German Shepards are a wonderful dog breed. With the right level of care, a German Shepard shouldn’t show signs of aggressive behavior. This is key to making sure the dog doesn’t bite. When the dog is well-trained, it understands that you are in charge and it must obey your commands. Being socialized is also important so the German Shepard isn’t frightened when seeing new people.

Since German Shepards are smart and very good working dogs, they can be introduced to training early. Owners can start teaching their puppy basic commands when it’s in the age range of 3 to 9 months. It’s important to start early so you can also establish your role as the leader. 

However, when it comes to making sure your German Shepard won’t bite, socialization is just as crucial. Always aim to start socializing your German Shepard puppy around the age of 15 weeks. You will always need to introduce the German Shepard puppy to new people and environments carefully and make sure you create a positive experience for them.

Starting socializing early is key for making sure your German Shepard doesn’t become aggressive when meeting new people and other dogs. However, it doesn’t end while they’re a puppy. Many dog owners will need to continue the socialization process until their dog is 2 or 3 years old.  

Final Thoughts

Do German Shepards bite? German Shepards do have a powerful bite. These dogs can display aggressive behaviors, especially if they haven’t been trained and socialized. However, a domesticated German Shepard that has been trained and socialized won’t bite people, unless they are perceived as a threat. These dogs have good instincts and can sense when someone is threatening. 

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Making sure you take steps to socialize your German Shepard at a young age is very important so it doesn’t act aggressively when it’s full-grown. A socialized German Shepard will be calm and friendly when it sees other people and dogs, giving owners little to worry about. If a German Shepard may bite, it will always give a warning first, which typically comes in the form of a growl.