Top 5 Dogs for Protection

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd was the first dog to help the blind. During World War I in 1916, a German army doctor was on the field helping wounded men. His German Shepherd, Excelsior, whined and sniffed the air. The doctor let him go and was amazed when Excelsior found a wounded soldier whose eyes had been blinded. The dog pulled the soldier out of the pit he was in and led him around the littered field to safety. Excelsior became the inspiration for the first school for Seeing Eye dogs.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 51 to 100 pounds


Common Reasons for Surrender

As with most breeds, German Shepherds are adorable as puppies. The behaviors that are so cute during puppyhood, however, often become annoying when that puppy becomes an adult, especially if there hasn’t been any training. Lifestyle changes—a job loss, a new baby, or moving to a new home—all lead to German Shepherds losing their homes.


Loyal and social, a German Shepherd just wants to be with her people. The German Shepherd’s natural curiosity and love of activity makes her an ideal exercise partner. Training also tends to be easy with German Shepherds due to their ability to learn quickly.


A lot of hair and consistent shedding means you will need to spend time and effort grooming your German Shepherd. A large breed, German Shepherds must have moderate exercise of at least two half-an-hour walks each day and, because of their size, German Shepherds are often prone to health problems such as hip dysplasia and arthritis.


Be prepared to try several different foods with your dog. Because of their sensitive stomachs, German Shepherds should be fed a high quality food with protein. You may have to try several different brands before finding the right one for your German Shepherd. Treats should be offered in moderation. Meat or fish based treats are ideal. Many dogs also enjoy fresh vegetables such as carrots and green beans.


German Shepherds need moderate exercise daily. A fenced-in yard is ideal for running around and expending energy. However, two half-an-hour walks a day are essential to keeping your German Shepherd happy, healthy, and tired.

Possible Health Issues

Overall a hardy breed, German Shepherds are susceptible to hip dysplasia, skill allergies, and arthritis. Many suffer from bloat, so be sure your dog’s head is elevated when he eats. Skin allergies, another common health issue, can be rectified by find the right dry food that contains sufficient protein.


Though German Shepherds shed, they don’t require much more than a good brush every day. However, consider whether you have the time to thoroughly brush your dog every day. Be sure to bathe your dog regularly and clip his nails as needed. While grooming may take time on your part, you don’t need to take your German Shepherd to the groomer for proper care.


German Shepherds have an innate ability to learn quickly, which has its up sides and down sides. On the one hand, they typically train quickly. On the other hand, they pick up the bad habits as fast as they pick up the good habits. Many German Shepherds are stubborn, so you must remain patient and provide consistent training to ensure success.


German Shepherds want to be on the go, so keep that in mind when considering adopting the breed. In addition to walking, German Shepherds enjoy swimming, hiking, tracking, herding, rallying, and playing ball. Many also excel at agility training. The key to a happy German Shepherd is providing him with plenty of ways to expend energy.

We want to thank German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Georgia for help with this profile.

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