German Shepherd Temperament: Obedient, Curious, Alert Family Guardians

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The German Shepherd temperament is obedient, curious, and alert. This breed is a wonderful companion that will protect you with their life.

Their temperament is known throughout history and stands the test of time as a loyal guardian and protector of the family.

Keep reading to learn more about these top quality characteristics and how to get the most from your German Shepherd’s temperament to increase their obedience, entice their curiosity, and keep them alert home guardians.

The Beginnings of Your Dog’s Personality

german shepherd puppy temperament

Your German Shepherd’s temperament is solidified at 7 weeks of age. Although you can modify some behaviors of your dog, you can’t change their core innate personality.

It’s important when choosing a puppy to look first to the puppy’s parents’ personalities when deciding what personality your pup might have. A puppy with parents who interact positively with you, their family and in the home have a better chance of a more stable temper.

Pups raised inside the home around a family fare better during their critical time of development. This is from about 6 to 10 weeks of age as the puppy develops its personality.

Selecting for Temperament

Different types of breeding produce a variety of characteristics. The temperament of a German Shepherd depends largely upon what type of line he comes from.

There are three main lines of the breed – show, working, and companion/general.

Show Line

show line german shepherd standing in a grassy field

A show line GSD is bred for looks and to achieve a competition standard. While the show line may express less dominance and aggression, they also come with some other issues.

From internal digestive issues to physical and mental problems show lines are best for an experienced handler who understands the pros and cons of the show standard breed.

Working Line

working military german shepherd jumping through a white wooden fence panel with military man standing watching

Working GSDs are high drive and need a high activity level to keep them busy. They are generally bought for competitive protection sports such as Schutzhund.

This working line is not for an average family.

A Shepherd bred for working must go through vigorous training. They need constant interaction to help their high energy needs and can become destructive when not given work and untrained.

Companion Line

companion line german shepherd

The companion line is bred for calmness and trainability.

These dogs tend to balance the better characteristics of their intelligence with less drive than a working GSD. They make great companions.

They are best for active families who enjoy taking their dogs with them on social outings. A companion Shepherd is still capable of agility, rally, and obedience. Look for a generalist breeder who has a record of raising companion GSDs.

Purebreds share some personality characteristics. It’s safe to generalize that all GSDs are watchful and prone to alert barking and guarding behaviors.

But it’s also true that every dog is an individual. Genetics, early experiences and upbringing help shape your dog’s character, personality, and temperament.

Modern German Shepherd Temperament

modern german shepherd temperament

Originally bred to performs tasks primarily outdoors, the GSD is now far removed from these responsibilities.

Their lives look much different as largely indoor, more sedentary dogs.

It’s no wonder there are problems associated with this active, alert and highly intelligent breed when left to the boredom of the indoor life. The GSD is bred genetically and physically to work and has the mental acuity to pursue these parts of their temperament.

But modern life has altered this breeding far from the original breed standards. If you own this breed you must train your GSD or face possible behavior changes that are not conducive to your life.

Breed Standard Temperament: Obedient, Curious, and Alert

german shepherds are obedient, curious, and alert in their personality

The official AKC breed standard lists a dog with a distinct personality.

This personality is marked by a fearless, self-confident expression.

A GSD doesn’t make friends easily with strangers. This combination of alertness and curiosity makes for a faithful watchdog for families and individuals.

The GSD is poised and stands its ground with confidence. He is eager and alert to serve his owner. Loyal to their family, GSDs strive to perform their duties. They are obedient companions that love to work and serve their masters.

The dog must not be shy, but curious about his surroundings. He must have the capacity to understand which part of his character is shown in any situation — guide dog, herding dog, protection or companion.

Shy dogs are considered a fault by the breed standard.

The breed standard GSD is one that is a working dog with an incorruptible character. Its body and gait must be suited for the hard work that is considered its primary purpose of the breed.

Can You Change Your German Shepherd’s Temperament?

can you change your german shepherds temperament

No, you can’t change your German Shepherd’s temperament. This is genetically predisposed and is hard-wired into your dog. But you can modify the behavior of your dog to correct minor issues so that you enjoy your dog more and their personality improves.

If you’re looking to improve your German Shepherd’s temperament from the comfort of your home, then join other creative-thinkers by reading my review of the Brain Training for Dogs online system. The program helps you have a closer bond and encourages better behavior through positive-based training.

But, there’re other ways to improve your companion’s overall temperament.

How to Improve Your GSDs Temperament

enhance your german shepherds temperament

The GSD is a working breed.

They are indispensable to shepherds due to their ability to keeps flocks of animals together. They work closely under the direction of a human shepherd.

But at home, this means you have a dog who either looks to you and your family for direction or begins to lead the pack.

With the GSD, you better train them before they train you! Become a confident leader that meets their social, physical and mental needs.

Learn the best ways to embrace your GSDs personality and nature with the following helpful guides.


Train daily to help bring out your GSDs best temperament and personality! Highlight the positive behaviors and learn to lessen the unwanted behaviors through obedience training your dog.


GSDs are active and need to move their bodies. Besides daily walks there’s plenty of other activities that keep your dog moving. Don’t neglect this necessary part of owning a dog with a pleasant temperament.

Mental Activity

As the one of the smartest breeds, your GSD needs to engage their minds. A bored, understimulated dog is a dog prone to act out inappropriately. Find all the ways to keep your dog mentally strong and alert.

Personality and Nature at Home

GSDs are energetic, intelligent dogs.

People-oriented, they need to spend adequate time with their family to exercise, play, learn social skills and practice obedience.

They need quiet time to relax, whether that is alone by the front door (ever guarding their home) or in their crate close to their people. They desire to surround themselves by people and this governs their personality and nature.

German Shepherd Temperament: Alert and Curious Companion

Bred to protect, Shepherds are great watchdogs. They tend to watch and bark at nearly everything – mail carriers, meter readers, bicyclists, neighborhood children playing and even birds flying over the home!

Most GSDs bark when a person approaches the home or yard. But this is usually a desired trait and why people love the breed. They must learn early on when and how much barking you allow before their barking becomes a nuisance.

Obedience training, regular exercise, and mental stimulation help prevent unwanted behaviors.

Obedient Family Member

Your Shepherd loves to please their family. A trained GSD is obedient to their owners and enjoys taking instruction from their leader.

Begin with basic training for German Shepherds and don’t stop there. Once you and your dog have mastered the basics continue to train your dog to more advanced German Shepherd commands and skills.

Obedience isn’t a one-time event. It’s a series of progressions that helps keep your dog performing the commands they are told.

Don’t expect to train your dog for 5 minutes and have an obedient companion for life. Anticipate daily training exercises for short periods and building upon those lessons. Have patience and keep to a regular training routine.

Loyal Friend

A well-trained Shepherd is an incredible companion and working dog.

They are the breed of choice for many guide and service organizations – including the military and law enforcement.

They tend to portray their seriousness in their work and seek to please their handler. But don’t let their seriousness fool you!

Even an adult GSD finds fun in their life and especially when relaxed with their families. In private, Shepherds can be playful, full of silliness and quite the clown! They want to be with their owners and family almost constantly.

This breed is better suited, due to their loyalty, to an owner who truly wants a best friend and companion for life.

Enhance Your GSDs Temperament

If you’re looking to get the most from your breed’s personality, then here’s how to enhance your GSDs nature and personality at home.

Need Action
Family timeKeep your dog indoors with you and don’t stick them in a kennel outside, include them in your daily activities
Quiet timeMake a special spot just for your dog in an area the family spends time, but keep their bed in a corner out of the way
Social timeGSDs need to have other dog playmates to keep them socially adept with other canines, find playgroups or other balanced dogs
ObedienceTrain your dog every day, but only use positive training
ExerciseTake your dog outdoors for walks, hikes, swimming or even off-leash exploration in safe and known areas
PlayUse interactive toys that are for you and your dog to play together
Mental activityEntice your dog’s brain with mental games and toys that take mental power to figure out

Use all of the suggestions to improve your German Shepherd’s temperament and increase the bond you have with your companion.

It’s never too late to start improving your dog’s behavior and your intelligent Shepherd is keen to make you happy.

Your German Shepherd’s Temperament at Home

The German Shepherd Dog standard emphasizes temperament more than any other breed.

Your German Shepherd’s temperament should be obedient, curious, and alert as a family companion at home.

Be aware of your dog’s nature, as well as how his environment affects him. Just as determining the physical strengths of your GSD is important in understanding him, knowing what you provide through your environment is vital, as well.

Focus on a complete routine that reaches every level of your dog’s personality needs for the best of your breed. While there is no perfect Shepherd you can help aim for one by meeting his daily needs.

Find more information to care for and train your German Shepherd by visiting our valuable database of articles on

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