German Shepherd Dogs: Are they really as good watchdogs and protectors of your home as you think?


Note:  This article is one of many dealing with every aspect of the German Shepherd Dog - breeding, training, bloodlines, famous German show winners, and a great deal more, that appear on the author, Dennis Fisher's website. Visit to see these articles.



It is an unfortunate fact nowadays, that crime, housebreaking and incidents of burglaries accompanied with violence are on the increase.    As a result more and more people are thinking seriously of getting a large, dependable watchdog they can also rely on to protect them in case of emergency.


 In considering which breed of dog to get, one of the first that comes to mind is the German Shepherd Dog. It is a breed generally regarded as having the instinctive guard and protective qualities necessary to protect one’s home, combined with a reliable, trustworthy good nature that makes it an ideal family dog.  


This is the type of temperament the founder of the breed, Max von Stephanitz, had in mind more than one hundred years ago.  It is an ideal for which breeders of German Shepherds all over the world have strived to achieve to the present day.  In fact the recognized written standard of the breed makes specific mention of these qualities with regard to temperament.  


The standard is very explicit in this regard.  It makes it quite clear that an essential requirement for the German Shepherd is excellent self-confident, good-natured temperament, combined with   courage, combative instinct and hardness, so that in addition to being an ideal family dog it  can also serve as a guard and  protection dog.


 People who read about the wonderful qualities of German Shepherd Dogs and decide to buy a well-bred pup, because they need a reliable guard dog in addition to a family pet, are often disappointed to find the animal doesn’t turn out to be bold, protective adult they hoped and expected it would become.  They often find their dog, though friendly and affectionate, lacks natural protective instinct.    


Their disappointment is even more marked if the sire of the expensive pup they purchased, is a well-known show dog with an impressive pedigree and  advanced German training qualifications. 


 There are some German Shepherds that have exceptional, inborn, protective instincts.  They  develop into excellent guard dogs with an absolute minimum of training.  But these days they are the exceptions rather than the rule.    But it is unrealistic nowadays to expect all young German Shepherds to develop automatically into confident, guard dogs that will defend their owner in all circumstances, without  the correct  training.   A great many require careful handling, nurturing  and training by experts in order to develop their defensive qualities.


There seems to be little doubt that German Shepherds being bred today do not have the strong, natural protective instincts that was a feature of the breed some years ago.   The reason is probably due to the fact that breeders are focusing their attention on show dogs and have neglected the working aspect.   The pedigrees of  top winning show dogs in Germany today  are noticeable for the lack of working bloodlines.


It is still possible today  to find  German Shepherd Dogs  that are beautiful,  exceptionally good family dogs, highly intelligent, wonderful with children, easy to train, excellent, discriminating  guard dogs with strong protective instincts, but you are going to find  the search  far more difficult than it used to be.