Intelligence of German Sheperds

Just How Smart Are German Shepherds As A Breed?

A lot of people from the US and Canada are interested in how smart dogs are.

According to the findings of a recent language development test the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year-old. In terms of ranking, the top three are Border collies, Poodles, and then German shepherds.

But when it comes to training, German Shepherds are considered to be the best. Police and special forces use them almost exclusively.

Border Collies and Poodles might be more intelligent, but they are not as trainable as GSD’s.

About German Shepherds

The German shepherd is a highly intelligent breed of dog with a great deal of stamina and a ‘sharp’ mind. In spite of the findings of the test described above, most dog experts consider the German shepherd as the most intelligent dog breed in the world as well as one of the easiest breeds to train.

The German Shepherd has a fast and retentive memory. This helps it to remember words of importance, commands, and tricks that you may teach him or her. The intelligence rolls over directly from the days whereby the level of intelligence was critical for a keen herding and working dog. The German Shepherd had to be sharp, attentive, and logical to effectively watch out for the sheep under its custody.

The shepherding is mostly a thing of the past now, but the dogs are very focused on their owner and have strong retentive memory. German Shepherds watch out for the people they care about and respond to stimuli quickly. This is the reason why they make for excellent protectors.

Intelligent Vs Obedient?

german shepherd smartnessWith all this talk of intelligence you might mistakenly believe that you will get your German Shepherd already magically knowing basic commands. Your German shepherd will not come understanding when to ‘lie down’ or ‘sit’ or roll over, or when to ‘start’ or ‘stop.’ German shepherds are quick learners but are not psychic.

You should therefore not be surprised in case it takes some time for you and your German shepherd to start learning how to understand each other. You must also be aware that German shepherds are constantly learning so be careful of the kind of example you set for your dog.

How I Stopped Line Pulling And Aggression – After Failing With Even The Simplest Dog Training Advice.

When I first got my GSD, I was super excited. For the longest time, I had been dreaming of owning and training a German Shepherd and the dream was about to come through. Things turned out differently though. As she was growing up, I started having real problems.

House-breaking was tough, but I got there in the end. What I couldn’t solve was her constant barking and fighting with other dogs. And her pulling on the line. So living with her became a constant struggle:

  • Going for a walk meant sore hands and trying to evade other dog owners.
  • Having people over meant I had to leash her outside to be able to have any reasonable conversation.
  • I had to be constantly on the lookout because she would viciously attack any dog we’d meet.

I tried a lot of advice and went to a lot of training sessions, but the problems kept coming back. I wondered whether to keep her because this was not what I signed up for. I read all the well-known books; Training the German Shepherd Dog (by John Cree) and How To Raise The Perfect Dog (by Cesar Milan).

But it only made more aggressive! There was something missing.

Tthen I discovered something so important it changed my view on dog training forever.

Confidence of the owner is the key!! Now that probably sounds like a no-brainer. But wait, I am not done yet. When you read a lot of dog training books, and try to use the advice, you naturally behave less confident. You might be trying to remember that one exercise, or you are wondering what the author would do in this particular case. Either way, you are not acting confidently, and your dog senses that. Some dogs will no longer respect you, others, like GSDs, will also become nervous because they look to you for guidance.

Once I started using my own little trick, and some additional information from The German Shepherd Handbook, things really turned around.

  • She was now relaxed and friendly when approaching other dogs, even on the leash. I am so pleased with this. It’s not just a constant worry when walking, I also felt very embarrassed to other dog owners that mine was so aggressive.
  • I can now keep her in the room when having guests over. She will still greet people enthusiastically and sometimes I need to keep her from jumping up. But after a few minutes, she calms down and goes about her normal business.

Now, I know there is a ton of advice on dog training around. So there might be other ways to accomplish your goal.

It is, however, what worked for me. And there is no reason it won’t work for you, if you are having similar problems.

So if you have, or plan to have a German Shepherd, I would recommend to make sure to act confidently. There is a time to reflect on your actions but it’s not when you are working with your dog.

These books also really helped me understand and train my girl better. Without it, she wouldn’t have passed her Therapy Dog certification!

In my opinion books can never fully replace real life training with a professional but they are invaluable in creating ones own understanding and methods. Because we as owners are the ones who will be spending most time with our dogs, and our behavior and attitude are going to be most influential.


German shepherds are a highly intelligent dog breed. Therefore, respect your dog’s intelligence and ensure that you set a positive example and offer both negative and positive reinforcements when attempting to train your dog. While behavior may be partially inherited, it is also learned. It is as much your responsibility as it is the breeder’s to ensure that you train your dog properly. Good owners make for good dogs.

GSD Specific Dog Products.

German Shepherds are some of the best dogs around. Here are the best products, for owners and fans, we discovered during the last years.

Puppy Calendar

Twelf months of the cutest GSD puppies you have ever seen. Hang it in you kitchen to start the day with a smile, or in your office to cheer up your day.
See Price on Amazon

Swarovski German Shepherd

Swarovski is world famous for their stunning line of crystal animals. Show your love for German Shepherds with an elegant statue on your chimney or desk.
See Price on Amazon

German Shepherd Health Nutrition by Royal CANIN

Good nutrition is vital to a happy and well-performing dog. German Shepherds have uniquely high mental and physical activity levels. That means that they require specific food which is high in energy and nutrients. Royal CANIN is a world leader in high quality dog food and has poured years of research and expertise into this food. it contains all the daily ingredients your GSD needs to be the best dog he/she can be.

See Price on Amazon

Property Protected By German Shepherd Warning Sign

Most burglars will think twice before breaking into a house guarded by a German Shepherd. But they might still damage you door before they find out. Save your locks and windows by placing these signs around the house. Oh, and if you care, it might save the thieves too.

About the Author Kwinten

Pets, and in particular dogs, are my life. When I wake up, I can't wait to see my beautiful dog Leila, and when I go to bed I am cuddling with my cat Sheila. (Yes, I am not very original when it comes to names).

  • Victoria says:

    I love dogs so much im looking for a male dog for a German Shepherd full blood for my female just to breed her to have some puppy’s so she can have some babys

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