What should I know before buying a German shepherd? (Everything you need to know)

What Should I Know Before Buying A German Shepherd? (Everything You Need To Know)

How Much Is A German Shepherd?

If you can adopt a German Shepherd from a rescue center, then you’re not only saving big bucks, but you’re saving a dog. Usually, adult dogs will be at rescue centers.

However, there are many puppies and young dogs that are sadly also at these centers, so do please contact your local shelters for an update. 

Rescue centers are full of loving dogs, looking for their forever home. While you might be cautious to adopt a German Shepherd from a rescue center — out of fear the dog might be brash, do not let stereotypes sway you.

Every dog has a unique temperament and has a different past. They will be able to inform you what the personality of the dog, and if they have any behavioral problems. In most cases, this can be fixed with the right training, care, and patience.

In other cases, if the dog has had a traumatic past and has extreme behavioral problems, then only an experienced dog handled should adopt this dog.

However, that’s applicable for all breeds, the size of the dog does not determine any positive, nor negative behavior. Generally speaking, adopting a dog from a rescue center could be anything from completely free of charge, to a couple of hundreds of dollars. 

If you’re not looking to adopt, and instead are looking for a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder, there will be quite a big cost difference. Usually, they will be priced between $1500 to $3000.

German Shepherd’s can develop specific health problems, so do ensure you go to a responsible breeder who understands the workings of genetics, and produces seeks to produce the healthiest offspring possible. 

A word of caution, if you come across German Shepherd puppies that were unusually cheap, e.g., $800, then this could be a sign of a puppy farm. This is an awful, and abusive industry in which dogs are constantly bred for their puppies, and the dogs live in awful conditions.

Interbreeding, over breeding, is just a few of the terrible reasons to avoid puppy farms. If you suspect any ethical issues, do not purchase a puppy — instead, report them to your local authority, or the RSPCA. 

Can German Shepherds Be Left Alone?

In theory, yes — German Shepherd’s can be left alone, providing it’s not an excessive amount of time. No dog should be left alone excessively, so keep that in mind. 

While we would like to take our dog everywhere we go, it is not feasible. Through training, dogs will learn that they are safe when they are left alone for a few hours and that you will return. The keywords there are through training.

It can be difficult to get your puppy, or dog to adapt to you leaving the home, and in some cases, dogs can develop separation anxiety. The German Shepherd is like any other dog, and while it can adapt to being alone for short periods, this comes with training. Four hours is the maximum amount of time any dog can, and should, be left alone. 

You should also not leave your German Shepherd, nor any other dog, in a crate. It is seen as cruel and abusive. It is damaging to your dog’s health and means your dog has to go to the toilet in its resting place, something a dog would not naturally do. 

If you have a job that requires you to work in the office, there are some ways you can responsibly leave your German Shepherd at home.

You can either opt to come home during your lunch break, to check on your dog, or ask a family member to pop in. Other options are doggy daycare or asking your employer if you can bring your dog to work. 

How Much Exercise Does A German Shepherd Need?

One thing to remember is that the German Shepherd is a working dog. While they were originally bred for herding, they are now considered to be utility dogs, hence often used in law enforcement. As you can imagine, these dogs are highly energetic and need to be worked on. 

This means that a German Shepherd is not suitable for anyone who is not willing to engage in lots of energy-burning activities with their dog. German Shepherd’s ideally need to be walked for two hours a day, or engage in equivalent energy-burning activities. Ideally, this will be throughout the day, e.g., morning and evening. 

If not exercised properly, German Shepherd’s develop behavioral problems. This is because they have an excess of energy, which becomes pent-up. To get this energy out, they often engage in destructive behaviors. Common behaviors pertain to chewing furniture, or frequent barking. 

The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent breed of dog. Due to this, mental stimulation is also crucial for their health. Compared to several breeds, they can be trained easily with the right guidance. 

German Shepherd - Everything you need to know

Do You Need A Big Backyard For A German Shepherd?

Given that German Shepherds are agile and dynamic dogs, you might be wondering if you need a big backyard to own one. 

The answer is both yes and no, depending on your circumstance. 

If you have a big backyard, then this is the perfect environment for a German Shepherd. As they have lots of energy, having a safe area where they can freely run about and play will do them wonders. All the various smells and scents are also great for their mental stimulation. 

Now, if you do not have a big backyard, that doesn’t mean it’s not ethical for you to own a German Shepherd. It just means that you have to commit to having a rigorous physical and mental workout routine.

If you have any dog-friendly parks near you, then you can walk your dog there. If you’re able to go on hikes, that’s even better. As long as you have access to the outdoors, where your dog can explore and release energy, then you can still be a good pet owner. 

What it comes down to, is space. In your garden, whether it’s small, medium, or large — do you have enough space for your dog to run around and play? Can your dog run and play safely? If so, then your dog will be quite happy. 

Some of you may have an apartment and wonder if it’s ethical for you to own a German Shepherd while living there. Again, this can be yes, or no depending on the situation. If you can give your dog the right exercise it needs, then it is generally OK.

However, you will need to fill your house with activities and toys that can mentally stimulate your dog. German Shepherds are very accommodating and easily adjustable, but their needs must be met.

Otherwise, they will develop behavioral problems, which can lead to aggression. If you do not think you can meet a dog’s need, you should not own it. If the dog bites, then it is your fault, but the dog will sadly get the blame. Be responsible. 

I should also note, that having a large garden does not mean you can skimp out on exercise. All it means is that your dog has more access to outdoor space, which although ideal, does not mean you get to exercise your dog any less.

Of course, if you’re doing energy-burning activities in your garden, this either counts towards, or compliment your exercise routine (depending on the activity and the intensity), but it is not a replacement. 

Summary 

To conclude, the German Shepherd is a unique, energetic breed. If you would like to own one, you can either contact your local shelter or find a legitimate breeder. While these dogs can be left alone, they should not be left for more than four hours, like any other breed of dog.

They require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation and need access to the great outdoors. They’re best suited for those who prefer an active lifestyle. While a big backyard is a luxury, it is not crucial for the German Shepherd.

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