Are German Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs?


When it comes to keeping a dog as a pet in an apartment, the decision naturally depends on the type of dog we would like to have. Sure, a Maltese is easy to manage, as it's small and usually good natured.

But what about bigger and stronger dog breeds? Are German Shepherds good apartment dogs?

As we all know, every dog out there has its pros and cons. Nevertheless, one thing is certain.

Most dogs, if not all of them, can be managed either in a house or in an apartment.

It all depends on how good we are at training them and keeping them happy. Because let’s face it — if the dog’s not happy, we most certainly won’t be either.

So let’s see whether German Shepherds are a good choice for apartment owners.

First things first — what can we expect from a German Shepherd?

One of the most important things when getting a dog is finding out as much as we can about their personality. In fact, their personality will decide if we should get them or not.

Thus, it is crucial to do our research well. We should never get a dog we most certainly wouldn’t like to keep for the rest of their life.

German Shepherds are famous for being somewhat dangerous. But once you delve a bit further into the matter, you’ll discover that their aggressiveness usually depends on their happiness level.

This breed loves running around and sniffing things out — that’s what excites them. In fact, that’s what makes German Shepherds such good police dogs.

Nevertheless, what does this mean if we want to keep a German Shepherd in an apartment?

Well, it essentially means that we’ll keep our apartment in good condition by taking our German Shepherd to plenty of walks. Moreover, we would have to ensure we stimulate him mentally every single day.

Playful little rascals


Above all, German Shepherds love to play. That is what makes them great family dogs.

No matter how large they get, they love children, and children practically adore them.

But there’s one thing we should be wary of when it comes to their good, “we want to play” nature. Since this breed is a large one, an adult German Shepherd can sometimes get too playful.

Their playfulness can even make them break things and make a real mess. Thus, those who want to keep this breed in an apartment should look into minimalist living.

At least that way, we won’t have to replace vases often. Furthermore, we can control their playfulness with proper exercise and a good diet.

A dog that is probably smarter than us

You see, dogs have a different kind of intelligence when compared to humans. Thus, we can say that some breeds seem smarter than their owners.

That’s just the case with German Shepherds. Moreover, that’s why humans love to give them serious jobs, either in police or military.

A great thing about their intelligence is that we can train them quite easily. They will be potty-trained in the blink of an eye, for example.

We probably won’t have to use a tough love approach on them. What’s more, they will quickly learn tricks, where they should go when we are mad and whether or not they can jump on the bed.

However, proper training is crucial, and it needs to start as soon as we get a German Shepherd.

It’s evident that it’s far easier to train them in a garden. But if we want to keep this breed in an apartment, we will have to manage with what we’ve got.

German Shepherds can adjust to apartment living, but the training might last a bit longer, purely because we don’t have a large piece of land where they can run around.

Loud and loyal fans


When it comes to German Shepherds, one thing is for certain — our dog will never stop loving us. In fact, German Shepherds are so loyal that they will often protect their owner with all they have when a stranger comes along.

That doesn’t mean that they will be aggressive by any means. They will just make sure no one is harming us in any way.

Nevertheless, when it comes to keeping them in an apartment building, their loyalty tends to be...quite loud.

If they hear someone on the stairs, they might bark in the middle of the night. Moreover, they might even keep growling very loudly for a few minutes until the person goes away.

Still, with proper training, we can adjust this behavior. Although, we cannot say that we don’t quite like the idea of having a personal canine bodyguard in our home.

In the end, we have to be aware of the fact that German Shepherds are always alert and ready for action. Thus, even the quietest of sounds might disturb them.

As with any dog breed, they can also be scared of fireworks and loud, unnatural noises, from which we will have to protect them.

Otherwise, if a German Shepherd runs away, we won’t be able to catch him unless we’ve trained him to come back at a whistle. And even that is not a guarantee.

Escape artists and kings of jumping over things


Now, we’ve already said that German Shepherds can get quite big. What this also means is that they’ll be able to jump over things with the least amount of effort necessary.

No matter what you put in front of them, if it is not that high (in comparison to them), they can jump over it and escape. So keeping them calm when we’re not home will prove to be tricky, which is why a big crate is an absolute must for all German Shepherd owners.

This crate has to be large enough for their growing bodies, and it has to have a strong, tall fence.

Of course, the dog won’t always be in the crate, but sometimes it is best to barricade them inside it when we have to go out.

That is, unless they’ve been already trained to calm themselves. In other words, if:

  • they are not barking at everything that moves and
  • not nervously pacing across the room, trying to find something to chew on.

To avoid any mishaps, we would have to place some absorbing pads inside the crate, just in case they have to relieve themselves. However, if they are taken for walks at least two to three times a day, there’s a good chance we won’t have to do this.

Average shedding and not-so-average dogs

When living in an apartment and deciding on getting a dog, it is crucial to check how much the dog will shed during the year. Luckily, German Shepherds are easy to manage in that aspect.

They shed only a little bit every day but are known as heavy seasonal shedders, like most dogs. So proper brushing almost every single day is crucial.

In terms of bathing, we can follow the “the less — the better” mantra.

In fact, frequent bathing can negatively affect the skin of a German Shepherd. So to avoid having to bathe them often, we should make sure they avoid dirt and mud.

To live or not to live near a park — that is the question!


Now, if we have an apartment that doesn’t a have a dog-friendly park nearby, then getting a German Shepherd could be a bad idea. As we’ve already said, they need proper exercise every single day so that they don’t become bored or lazy.

Thus, if we live near a park, we are at a huge advantage.

Two to three times a day, we can take our German Shepherd for a long walk and make sure he runs, catches frisbees, balls and anything else for that matter. The important thing is to keep him interested and active.

That way, his manners will improve, and he will be as happy as we want him to be. Plus, we should try to take him out for a hike over the weekends and supplement his daily walks with some strenuous running.

Mental stimulation + German Shepherds = no bored dogs and no worries


Finally, we should address the fact that apart from real training, such as how to recognize bad visitors from good ones, German Shepherds also require the right kind of mental stimulation.

Of course, we should talk to them and introduce them to various people just so that they become friendly. However, we should also get dog puzzles, as well as dog toys and balls.

By having them play with those, we’ll help them recognize obedience as second nature and keep them mentally stimulated.

Some dogs just don’t find toys interesting, as they might not be naturally active all that much. However, German Shepherds are the exact opposite of such dogs.

They can be both physically and mentally active, which speaks volumes of how great they are. Smart, caring and playful, a German Shepherd will require a bit of attention every day so as not to get bored and find a piece of furniture to chew on.

Moreover, mental stimulation is also of the essence in regard to the “escape artist” trait we mentioned above. Some German Shepherds can even go so far as to learn how to unlock doors and search for their owners outside.

In conclusion

So are German Shepherds good apartment dogs? In our opinion, they can be, as long as we meet their needs every day.

Moreover, if we provide them with good training and great exercise sessions each day, there’s no reason why they would be intentionally naughty. After all, an exhausted dog is a sleeping dog, and a sleeping dog is highly unlikely to break the front door when we head to work.

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