Quoting: Anonymous Coward 26365184
They can have hip dysplasia, among other health issues, which is why it's important to go to a good breeder who knows what they are doing. German Shepherds are good dogs though when properly bred and raised. See my avatar :) Quoting: Laura Bow
Please only get this dog if you can give it lots of exercise and stimulation. They are great family dogs but have to be well integrated as one of the family. You will need a firm hand also with this breed they are highly intelligent and need a lot of training to be healthy and happy. They are working dogs and not ones to sit around the house doing nothing.
They are not good with small animals and will chase and kill etc.
Other then that best dog I have ever had.
You can train a shepherd to do whatever you want him to do.
My shepherd does not kill small animals. I have a bunny that runs around him and he is not interested. Once he found a baby oppossum looked dead and was dripping wet from being in my shepherds mouth. The little guy played dead for few minutes then was fine, ran off wet but not hurt. My guess was the shepherd found him in the yard and brought him to the backdoor.
Get a male if you want him to protect more than one person and you want a little larger dog. Female if you want her loyal just to you and a little smaller / agile.
One piece of advise, early on train him about his food dish. My dog was trained to never touch his food until he is told. He will just sit and watch his dinner until I tell him ok. Over the years it has really been great especially if the kids have food or there are smaller animals around eating. He just waits looking at me to give my permission to eat.
Remember a shepherd will not be happy if he doesn't have a job to do. That's all this breed lives for is to have a job. He will try to do anything he may think you would want him to do, so you must make sure he has his special place and certain jobs for him to be happy.
A job can be to protect, guard a gate, carry a backpack, walk certain areas or not walk in certain areas. Even be taught to protect the small animals like my shepherd.
You have to train them young and they will never forget. Last word of advise, train him to go after somebody once they enter your house NEVER just outside your front door.
Have him sit inside the house and not charge outside the front door. This way anybody coming to the door like UPS will not be greeted by a vicious dog. Learned that the hard way and was sued by a stupid ass FedEx guy. Cost me Twenty Thousand to fight a 3 million lawsuit after my dog charged out the front door when my daughter wasn't being careful. Expensive lesson. All my dog did was grab his arm and held on, but broke the skin. Here California that is a good way for somebody to make a lot of money.