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Are German Shepherds Good With Kids? What Parents Need To Know

Little girl with German sheoherd

Are German Shepherds Good With Kids? What Parents Need To Know

German shepherds are the most intelligent and loyal dogs. Bred in Germany in the 1800s, we knew them throughout history to protect sheep and cattle. The reputation of German shepherds quickly rose to their courageous nature, intelligence, loyalty, and sense of smell. Today, they are service and police dogs as well as family pets.

If you’re considering including a German shepherd in your family with kids, you may wonder if this gentle, large dog would be a good idea. A common question most parents ask: Are German shepherds good with kids? A German shepherd can make a great addition to the family. However, there are certain things to keep in mind. To make sure your German shepherd is going to be good with your kids, it’s important to learn everything you need to know so you can decide if owning a German shepherd is right for your family.

Health Concerns

Most German shepherds are generally healthy, as reputable breeders check their pups for several health issues. Like most large breeds, German shepherds are prone to a potentially life-threatening condition called bloating. Therefore, it’s crucial to fill yourself with the proper information you need to keep your dog happy and healthy.


A German shepherd requires daily exercise and plenty of opportunities to engage in physical activity. If your puppy doesn’t get enough chances to run to blow off energy and exercise its cognitive muscles, it’s likely to develop behavioral problems. No matter how well-trained your dog may be, always keep a leash on them in public settings. Allow your dog to take part in different activities such as tracking exercises, canine competitions, and agility training to keep stimulated.

German shepherd catches frisbee in mouth
German shepherds are active dogs that require daily exercise. ©iStock.com/dezy


Life Expectancy

As compared to other dogs, German shepherds have a relatively low lifespan, averaging 7-10 years.


The German shepherd can grow to be between 22 to 26 inches tall and approximately between 50 to 90 pounds, making them part of the large breed club.

Energy Level

German shepherds are good with kids because their energy levels match, to the point of wearing each other out. Therefore, your dog needs a significant amount of exercise every day to be content and healthy.

Child running with German shepherd
German shepherds have a lot of energy, that matches small children. ©iStock.com/Andrew Angelov

©Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock.com

Additional Maintenance

They shed a lot of fur, so regular brushing will help get rid of the loose hairs and prevent them from sticking to your clothing and furniture. Besides regular brushings, this breed needs an occasional bath, dental care, and nail trims.


The German shepherd is on the expensive end, with dog breeders pricing puppies between $400-$3,500. If you decide to adopt a German shepherd, research experienced and reputable breeders before purchase. 

Are German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

Short answer, no. German shepherds trigger allergic reactions. If you suffer from allergies and experience mild or severe symptoms, is best to stay clear of these dog breeds.

Will My Children Be Afraid Of A German Shepherd?

At first, a German shepherd can appear overwhelming and scary to small children just because of their appearance and size. However, they are gentle with kids and would like to get near and smell your children to know them. It’s important to make sure that both the puppy and your children understand how to interact with each other. That’s why it’s best to integrate them into your family in the right way and that’s while the dog is a puppy.

New Babies And German Shepherds

If you’re worried about how a German shepherd will interact with your newborn baby, you can teach your dog to protect and love your new bundle of joy. German shepherds have a loving and gentle nature to babies and are naturally curious about them. Introducing babies to your dog will allow them to experience unfamiliar smells and sounds to discover, which may take some time to get used to.

When you teach your dog that your baby is part of the family, it will accept and love the baby just the same as everyone else in the household. While a German shepherd is mostly safe with kids, you shouldn’t leave any dog alone with your baby. Even when the dog is perceived as gentle while playing, is not something a newborn can process. It’s always best to monitor your baby and dog when allowing them to interact with each other.

Do German Shepherds Make Good Family Dogs?

With this breed, it’s best to get a puppy that can grow up with your kids. When you train and socialize your German shepherd, they will reward you with a loving and fiercely protective behavior of the family with a strong bond with its owners. It’s always a good idea to get to know basic information about any breed that you plan to add to your family. For example, if you want a small breed, a German shepherd isn’t the best choice for your family, no matter how adorable and small it is as a puppy. German shepherds are so intelligent, they are easy to train. With love and respect, the German shepherd will end up being entertaining, loyal, and a fabulous friend to the household.

Teaching Kids To Be Gentle With The German Shepherds

When people invite a dog into their household, they usually require that the dog has to behave around kids. What’s just as important and often overlooked is the fact that your children have to be good with the dog in return.

As much as you train and socialize your dog, you also need to teach your kids that the dog is a new member of the family that needs to be respected as one. Most dogs won’t tolerate kids petting them too hard or pulling their ears. In reality, no dog is to be used as a toy for children. This is a living being who depends on you to care for and keep it safe. Respecting the dog’s space and gentle handling can be something your child knows from the beginning. 

Training Your German Shepherd

For successful training, German shepherds need proper training as a puppy and it’s imperative to start a training routine with your dog as soon as possible. Enroll your puppy in obedience training courses, which is key to developing a patient and well-mannered puppy. Fortunately, German shepherds are trainable and eager to please their owners. Therefore, training your puppy can be a great bonding experience. You can teach your puppy dog commands many of the fun tricks that can entertain your children for hours or make them the star of any dog competition.

German shepherd police dog training
German shepherds are very intelligent and can learn different tricks to be well-mannered dogs. ©iStock.com/Kachalkina Veronika

©Kachalkina Veronika/Shutterstock.com

Do German Shepherds Attack?

Many assume German shepherds are eager to attack as they are commonly used in military and police work. In movies, we see them being aggressive police dogs, always taking down the bad guys.

In reality, a socialized and well-trained German shepherd won’t attack any more than any other breed of dog. They’re used in the military and police force because of their ability to be trained, have high intelligence, and have a unique personality, not because they’re naturally aggressive dogs.

Importance of Socialization Your German Shepherd

It’s best to socialize your German shepherd as early as possible. If you’re opting for a puppy, that’s a great way to make sure your dog will be friendly with your kids and other people.

Starting when they are puppies means your puppy and kids can likely grow up together, and they’ll always see each other as family. If you’d like to adopt an older German shepherd, look into their background. Ask questions such as, did they grow up with children in the home? Does it have behavioral or health issues that need to be addressed? If you know of someone looking to give their German shepherd a new home, but the dog hasn’t seen kids before, the socialization process may take longer. The actions, sounds, and scents children present might not be an issue for a dog that raised them but could be scary for a dog that isn’t used to them. Some dogs feel comfortable around children.


Are German shepherds good with kids? The short answer is yes. German shepherds are very smart, and you can teach them a variety of tricks that will delight your children. They are loyal and will bond well with children starting at an early age. German shepherds have a lot of energy, making them great playmates for the most active of children. They are protective of their families, watching out for their kids, but it’s important to use caution with other children. Socialization and training can help your dog be the best it can be and get along with people and other animals.

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