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If you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd you might be wondering how protective they tend to be.

This post will show you how protective German Shepherds are and how you can get them to be more protective when you need them to be.

So, are German Shepherds protective? German Shepherds are widely considered as one of the most protective dog breeds. Most German Shepherds will try to intimidate potential threats. However, only some of them will physically protect their owners when they need to.

While German Shepherds are one of the most protective dog breeds, how protective a German Shepherd will be will largely depend on the personality and treatment of that specific German Shepherd. When treated well, they do tend to be extremely protective of their families.

Below, I will show you how protective they tend to be, why they are protective, why a German Shepherd might not be protective and what to do if your German Shepherd is not protective.

How protective German Shepherds are

German Shepherds are one of the most protective dog breeds with a high drive to protect their owners and their territory when they are raised well.

With that being said, German Shepherds are not always protective. They will tend to be much less protective when they are not raised appropriately. If they are not given lots of training, exercise, attention and care or they are mistreated, it will normally cause them to be much less loyal.

Additionally, most German Shepherds will try to intimidate a potential threat to their owners. However, a lot of them will not actually protect their owners physically unless they are given training to be physically protective. But, most people know that German Shepherds are normally very protective so they will normally act as a strong deterrent from potential intruders.

Normally, German Shepherds will be more likely to be physically protective when it looks like their owners are in danger. But, they will not usually be physically protective in other situations such as when an intruder is in the home but they are not threatening the owner of the German Shepherd unless they have been trained.

If you do decide to get a German Shepherd, I have written about how you can tell if it would protect you physically in this blog post.

Since German Shepherds are working dogs, they are also eager to please their owners. As a result, German Shepherds tend to respond well to training and will normally adapt to roles that they are given quickly. This is one reason why they are used extensively in the military and by the police.

Why German Shepherds are protective

German Shepherds were originally bred to help shepherds in herding sheep.

Key characteristics they were bred for included a high level of endurance, fearlessness, protectiveness, intelligence and loyalty.

This is because they were required to work for long time periods alongside their owners while also being alert and protective of the sheep.

These characteristics were further selected for in the early 1900s where they would gain widespread use as police and military dogs. After the first world war, many American soldiers took German Shepherds back with them after seeing how devoted they were as military dogs.

Why a German Shepherd might not be protective

If you get a German Shepherd, it is not guaranteed that it will be protective especially if it is not trained to be protective. Below are some possible causes of a German Shepherd not being protective.

Not being trained to be

If a German Shepherd has not been trained to be protective it can be difficult to tell whether or not it would actually protect you.

In most cases, it has been found that German Shepherds will act as a deterrent by barking and looking aggressive but they do not actually do anything physically.

With that being said, there have also been cases where untrained German Shepherds have protected their owners which is why it can be difficult to tell whether or not yours would do it.

If you want to make sure it would be protective it would help to enroll it in a dog protection class.

Not feeling like it is necessary

One reason why a GSD might not be protective is not feeling the need to be. This would be more likely if you tend to meet other people with it on walks and it is not protective. This would be a good thing since you do not want it being protective when it does not need to be.

An issue with its diet

If it is normally protective and then it suddenly stops being protective, the cause could be that there is an issue with its diet. This would be more likely if its behavior changes suddenly after a change in its diet.


Some German Shepherds are naturally more protective than others. If you get a German Shepherd and it is not protective it could be that it is that way naturally. In this case, it would help to train it to be more protective as mentioned below.

If you do get a German Shepherd and it is not very protective, I have written more about why that might happen here.

How to get a German Shepherd to be more protective

If you do get a German Shepherd and you want to make sure that it is protective, it will be necessary for you train it to be protective the way you want it to be. Below are some things you can do to get it to be more protective of you and your home. I have written more about how you can get your GSD to be more protective in this post.

Enroll in a defense training class

The most effective way to get a GSD to be protective would be to enroll it in a defense class. However, it is important to be aware that it would likely result in the dog being much less well behaved around friendly people. So, it would only be recommended to enroll it in a defense class if you only want it to be protective.

Train it using the panic word method

The panic word method focuses on training your German Shepherd to become protective when you say a certain word.

To train it to learn the panic word you would do as follows:

Get some treats that your dog likes

  • Give it a small treat so that it knows that you have treats
  • Wait for it to bark by teasing it with the treat if necessary
  • Reward it when it barks or when it shows a sign of barking
  • Continue to do the above each time you show it the treat say the command word so that it learns that the command word means to bark

You can watch the video below to see how it is done

Use positive reinforcement training to get it to protect your home

You can also use positive reinforcement training to get it to become more protective of your home.

You can do this by

  • Walking it around the perimeter of your property while rewarding it with treats to teach it to learn that it is its property.
  • Rewarding your German Shepherd for barking when someone comes onto your property

You can watch the video below to see how it is done

Other dog breeds that are protective

German Shepherds are not the only breed that is protective by nature. Below are some other dog breeds that are naturally protective that you might want to consider getting as well.

  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Pitbull
  • Akita



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