11 Best Companion Dogs for German Shepherds

Best Companion Dogs for German Shepherds

For many dog owners, the phrase “the more the merrier” could easily apply to how they feel about their pets. One dog is great and all, but just as two heads are better than one, so are two hounds.

As such, it’s common for a family with a dog to add a second dog.

Since German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in America, they’re also one of the most likely breeds to be the first canine member of your family.

Now that your German Shepherd is settled in, you’re starting to really think about adding a second dog to the family. After all, your German Shepherd is your new best friend; another best friend sounds ideal, and your Shepherd needs a buddy anyway.

Of course, you’re aware that not all breeds get along harmoniously. You certainly don’t want to start falling in love with a new dog just to find out that they can’t get along with your existing one.

So, what are the best companion dogs for a German Shepherd?

German Shepherds are friendly, playful, energetic, and adaptable dogs that can get along well with many dogs of similar size and temperament. Some of the most compatible companion breeds include Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Boxer, and other German Shepherds. Low-energy breeds like Saint Bernards and small dogs such as Chihuahuas are better avoided.

In total, I’ve listed 11 great companion breeds for German Shepherds below, and I’ll explain a bit about what makes each breed a great match.

First, it’s important that we understand what German Shepherds are like and what types of dogs will complement them best. That will make it easier to determine which breeds are most compatible.

What Are German Shepherds Like?

Before discussing compatibility, we have to establish common traits of German Shepherds. This will allow us to figure out what traits will be most desirable in a companion to compliment the German Shepherd’s nature.


Physically, German Shepherds are medium-sized dogs standing 22-26 inches tall at the shoulders. Males can weigh up to 90 pounds, though females are a bit smaller, weighing between 50 and 70 pounds.

German Shepherds are lean and muscular. They are bred for great endurance since many are employed in careers where athleticism and impressive physicality are vital. Thanks to these traits, German Shepherds excel at many physical endeavors from agility competitions to search and rescue operations. While the GSD is unique, there are several breeds that look quite similar.

Highly Intelligent

In 1994, psychologist Stanley Coren published a book called “The Intelligence of Dogs.” This book included extensive research used to rank different dog breeds by intelligence.

German Shepherds performed incredibly well in Coren’s testing, ranking third out of more than 100 breeds testing.

This earned the breed a spot in the “Brightest Dogs” category, meaning that on average, German Shepherds can learn new commands with fewer than five repetitions and will obey the first command given at least 95% of the time.

All of this is to say that German Shepherds are exceptionally smart. This is one of the primary reasons that the breed performs so well at such a wide range of different jobs. Few breeds have seen such success at so many different careers as the German Shepherd.


Another trait that helps German Shepherds to perform so admirably in such a variety of situations is their adaptability. They’re as adaptable as dogs come, with the AKC giving them a 5/5 for adaptability.

This means that German Shepherds can easily handle changes; even major changes such as adding a new dog to the family.

Protective of Family – Wary of Strangers

When it comes to being naturally protective of their family and wary of strangers, German Shepherds again get 5/5. They’re extremely protective of the ones they love, and not particularly friendly towards strangers.

So, when you bring a new dog around, you’ll have to be very careful that your German Shepherd doesn’t view them as a potential threat. If they do, you might see your German Shepherd becoming aggressive as part of their natural protective instinct.

Just be aware that you’ll need to give your German Shepherd more time to warm up to new dogs since they’re slower to accept strangers.


Dog breeds can vary widely in energy levels, but German Shepherds have far more energy than most. Once again, they’re rated 5/5 by the AKC for their energy levels, indicating that they’ve got boundless energy! Starting to see a pattern yet?

All this energy helps a German Shepherd work all day. It’s one of the many reasons that the breed is so popular for canine employment. But if you don’t find an outlet to expend some of that energy, whether it’s playing games or going for a swim, your German Shepherd is likely to become restless and destructive.


Even after working all day, German Shepherds are so playful that they’ll want to keep playing all evening rather than laying down and relaxing.

That’s not to say that German Shepherds never relax because they do. But you’re far more likely to look over and see your German Shepherd playing than relaxing at any given time, and they’ll probably try to get you to play with them every chance they get!

Trainable and Obedient

Because they’re so trainable, it’ll be easier to train your German Shepherd to get along with other dogs than it might be with other breeds; even if your Shepherd doesn’t seem to want to play nice in the beginning.

Their excellent trainability also leads to exceptional obedience, which is another contributing factor in the breed’s overwhelming success at so many canine jobs. Once a German Shepherd is trained, they listen and obey.

Very Affectionate with Family

When a breed is as popular as the German Shepherd you can be certain that they have some endearing mannerisms with their family.

Even though German Shepherds can definitely be intimidating and imposing, they can also be sweet, affectionate, and loving, though they generally only act this way with their close family.

So much so, in fact, that the AKC rates them 5/5 in the category.

German Shepherds are such lovers that they have lots of ways to show love and affection to their family, and I think we can all agree that it’s hard not to love a dog that offers you that kind of condition-free affection!

Not the Best with Other Dogs

German Shepherds might get along well with all of your human family members, but dogs can be an entirely different story, unfortunately. This can certainly make it more difficult to keep a German Shepherd in the home with a second dog, but don’t let that deter you; it can definitely be done.

With a 3/5 rating for how they get along with other dogs, it’s not like German Shepherds are automatically averse to other canines. They’re just not necessarily going to gravitate towards other dogs and look for social interaction.

Strong Prey Drive

Since they’re such popular family pets, it may surprise you to realize that German Shepherds have a rather strong prey drive.

All predators have a prey drive, and canines are classified as predators, which is why your German Shepherd will happily chase after small animals it sees like rodents, rabbits, and maybe even the neighbor’s cat.

These are essentially expected behaviors for pretty much any dog. German Shepherds have a bit stronger prey drive than many breeds though.

To an extent, breeding has continued to accentuate the German Shepherd’s prey drive. They’ve become such popular working dogs, employed in a variety of jobs from military work to search and rescue, that most of the breed’s traits are specifically bred to aid with their work.

Prey drive is necessary for any dog that must rely on its sense of smell to track anything.

It’s that prey drive that helps narcotic detection dogs keep searching for their quarry for hours. The same prey drive helps motivate search and rescue dogs to continue the search after hours of turning up nothing.

Of course, prey drive looks a bit different when your German Shepherd is chasing down your other dog.

This isn’t to say that German Shepherds will all automatically chase and kill smaller animals. That’s not the case. But the breed’s prey drive is healthy, so it’s certainly a possibility.

Best Traits for a German Shepherd Companion

Now that we have a good understanding of the most pertinent German Shepherd traits in regards to keeping a second dog in the family, we need to figure out what traits the second dog will need to possess in order to be a good fit for a German Shepherd.

Breeds that display the following traits will be better suited for co-habitation with a German Shepherd than those that display few or none of them.

So, if you can find a breed that meets all or most of these criteria, then you can be relatively sure that they’re a good candidate for German Shepherd companionship.

Good with Other Dogs

It should go without saying that if you want your new dog to get along with your German Shepherd, you should probably pick a breed that’s known to play well with others.

Not all breeds are like this. Some breeds are consistently averse to the company of other dogs. Naturally, these dogs are not a good fit for cohabitation with any breed, let alone a German Shepherd.

If you’re unsure of how well a breed might get along with others, you can check that breed’s page on the AKC website. The AKC provides ratings of each breed for important characteristics, including how well they get along with other dogs.

Dogs that are rated highly in this category generally do well living with other dogs, so they’re often the best choices when adding a second dog to your household.

Loves to Play

We’ve already established that German Shepherds are extremely playful pooches. Other playful dogs will generally make the best partners for them.

Your German Shepherd will likely want to play with your new dog quite often.

But if your new dog isn’t playful, then your Shepherd might get bored pretty quickly and won’t enjoy the company of your other dog as much.

The best partners for your German Shepherd will be dogs with a similar desire to play. Dogs that want to wrestle, run, and just generally be goofy dogs together will fit best with German Shepherds who love to play.

Has Plenty of Energy

It’s not just about playing though; it’s also about duration.

Your German Shepherd has crazy amounts of energy and all-day endurance. A good play partner will need similar levels of energy and endurance to keep up.

If you choose a low-energy, lazy breed as a companion for your German Shepherd, then your Shepherd will be missing out on all the great exercise and stimulation they could be getting from vigorous play with your second pooch!

So, you want to look for another breed that has nearly endless reserves of energy and likes to use it all for playing the day away!

Physically Tough

Your dogs shouldn’t fight, but they will almost certainly play rough together. It’s just what dogs do.

German Shepherds are naturally tough, athletic canines. This means that they play rough without even meaning to.

A partner for a German Shepherd must be able to withstand this type of vigorous physical play. Moreover, they must enjoy it!

Dogs that like to play rough as well will be able to play with your German Shepherd without the risk of getting hurt. Less tough canines might end up inadvertently getting hurt while playing, and that might turn them off from continued play.

Similar Size or Larger

You don’t need to necessarily look for a Great Dane to be a companion but your second dog is too small, they may not be able to play as well with your German Shepherd. When they start to get rambunctious, your little dog will be at a major disadvantage. However, shorter dogs like the Pittie can still make a decent compansion thanks to their powerful build.

In addition, German Shepherds have that prey drive we discussed. If you have a very little dog in the same house, it’s possible that your Shepherd gives chase and might even attack it.

Granted, this isn’t exactly likely, but you shouldn’t discount the possibility, especially when they’re first meeting.

Still, the best companion breeds for German Shepherds will usually be of a similar size. Since German Shepherds tend to weigh between 50-90 pounds, most of the tougher medium to large-sized dog breeds should be a good fit.

Smart Enough To Keep Up

German Shepherds are one of the smartest dogs around and while it’s nice to have two smart dogs, you can get away with a companion dog that might not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

That’s because the companion dog may take cues from your smart German Shepherd and that’s one reason why the German Shepherd can make such a great companion to the Boxer. It could help your companion dog learn tricks more quickly (including the elusive rollover command) or act more well-behaved overall.

However, you don’t want a dog that’s a total dud in the brains department since your GSD will quickly get bored if their companion can’t mentally keep up.

Opposite Sex

Ok, this has nothing to do with breed, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Male German Shepherds tend to be more aggressive and dominant than females. This can become a real problem when you get two male dogs together in the same space.

Remember that German Shepherds are very naturally protective, which can lead them to be territorial.

When a new male comes into your German Shepherd’s home, they may feel like it’s a threat.

However, they generally feel completely different if it’s a female. Usually, females and males will get along better than two males or two females since they’re less likely to have dominance or territory disputes.

While you can house two dogs of the same sex together, it’s generally recommended that your second dog is of the opposite sex instead.

11 Best Companion Dogs for a German Shepherd

Do keep in mind that differences between individual canines mean that there’s no guarantee your German Shepherd will get along with particular pooches of any breed; even those breeds seem highly compatible on paper.

Having said that, the following breeds are the ones that will temperamentally line up with your German Shepherd the best, providing a high probability of them getting along.

1 Other German Shepherds

Physically, German Shepherds are a perfect match for each other, and they’re nearly as good of a match temperamentally as well.

When you get two German Shepherds, you can be fairly sure that their energy levels and desire to play around will match up.

Furthermore, we know that German Shepherds are highly trainable and very obedient dogs, and two dogs that obey your every command will be more likely to get along. Plus, you’ll be able to put a quicker end to their fighting if it happens!

German Shepherds meet most of the criteria we’ve outlined above that would make them a good match for another German Shepherd. The only problem is, German Shepherds aren’t the most accepting of other dogs.

Even so, they’re a great match in so many other respects that it should be pretty easy to mitigate this one issue by following some of the tips I’ll lay out later in this article.

2 Labrador Retriever

There’s only one breed of dog that’s more popular in the US than the German Shepherd, and that is the Labrador Retriever. They’ve been ranked number one for many years running now, and if you know a bit about the breed, it’s easy to see why.

Like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers are exceptionally adaptable dogs, receiving a 5/5 rating by the AKC.

The breed has also been given a 5/5 rating in trainability, which means they’re easy to train and more likely to be obedient once you’ve trained them. This gives you better control over your dog, making it easier to put a stop to problems before they grow out of control.

Continuing with our 5/5 ratings, Labrador Retrievers are ranked the same for their energy levels, meaning that they’ve got sufficient energy to match any rambunctious German Shepherd. And with another 5/5 rating in playfulness, you can be sure that a Lab will want to play just as much as your Shepherd does.

Thankfully, since Labrador Retrievers weigh between 55 and 80 pounds on average, they’re also a great fit for a German Shepherd physically. They’re large enough to hold their own in any rough play and won’t be seen as potential prey.

3 Doberman

Dobermans might not be as popular as German Shepherds or Labrador Retrievers, but they’ve still been in the top-20 consistently for many years. This is mainly due to how they interact with their families, and Dobermans have proven to be loving and affectionate dogs that are great with children, similar to German Shepherds.

Also like German Shepherds, Dobermans have only been given a 3/5 rating for how good they are with other dogs.

However, they’re a 5/5 breed on energy levels and trainability, with 4/5 ratings for both playfulness and adaptability.

Given this information, it’s safe to assume that most Dobermans will easily match a German Shepherd for energy and should have a similar desire for play.

Plus, they’ll be easy to train and will adapt well to many situations, making them obedient and easy to control. This helps you to avoid any conflicts that might arise between your dogs if they don’t get along like best friends right off the jump.

Physically, Dobermans are ideal partners for German Shepherds. They’re a bit larger than a Shepherd, with males sometimes weighing up to 100 pounds and standing 28 inches tall.

This means that they won’t be pushovers to your German Shepherd’s rough play style, making them a great match for the rambunctious play that German Shepherds love so much.

4 Golden Retriever

Rounding out the top three of the most popular dog breeds in America is the Golden Retriever. To be fair, these dogs are so amiable that they’ll probably get along with any breed, and it’s exactly this that makes them a great fit for nearly any German Shepherd.

Like Labs and German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers are excellent with kids and affectionate with family. They’re also great with other dogs, receiving a 5/5 rating from the AKC.

Golden Retrievers are also just as adaptable and trainable as German Shepherds, which is why they’re also used for a variety of different canine jobs with great success. The fact is, they’re some of the best candidates for service work.

You’ll find that most Golden Retrievers are almost as playful as your average German Shepherd, though they’re a little less energetic.

Don’t take that to mean that they’re lazy dogs because they’re certainly not, they’re just not quite as active as German Shepherds, which might help to temper your Shepherd’s energetic behavior just a bit.

Weighing in between 55 and 75 pounds on average, Golden Retrievers are a great physical match for German Shepherds, and they will easily be able to give back as much as they take during vigorous play sessions.

5 Boxer

With males weighing up to 80 pounds, Boxers are a bully breed that’s a close physical match for the German Shepherd.

Similar to Shepherds, Boxers are lean, muscular, athletic, and have exceptional endurance, which is part of what makes them a great choice for a German Shepherd’s companion.

Boxers are almost everything that German Shepherds are, but a little less. Where the German Shepherd is rated 5/5 in trainability, energy, and adaptability, Boxers are rated close behind in each category.

Still, this shows that they’re trainable, obedient, and brimming with energy. And as any Boxer parent can tell you, Boxers absolutely love to play! I have a Boxer, and personally, I would rate him a 6/5 for playfulness any day of the week.

Boxers are obedient dogs that listen well, and they’re generally quite easy to discipline. This will make it easy to keep control of your Boxer to help avoid any problems from occurring between them and your German Shepherd.

6 Siberian Husky

Topping out around 60 pounds but standing nearly two feet tall, Siberian Huskies are a bit smaller and more petite than German Shepherds, though they make up for that with incredible temperaments.

Despite the small difference in size, Huskies can still give German Shepherds a good run for their money in any physical arena. After all, we’re talking about a breed that was originally used to pull sleds full of supplies in temperatures far below freezing across vast snowy expanses. These dogs are anything but pushovers.

German Shepherds may not be apt to get along with every dog they encounter, but Siberian Huskies are, which will make it more likely for your pair to get along cordially. And Huskies are also just as playful as German Shepherds with energy levels to match.

While German Shepherds are incredibly protective, Huskies really aren’t, receiving a rating of just 1/5 by the AKC for protective nature. This means that they’re less likely to become jealous of your German Shepherd for getting time with the family. When they’re not jealous, they won’t cause problems, and the household stays harmonious.

7 German Wirehaired Pointer

With a 5/5 rating by the AKC in both energy levels and trainability, you can be sure that a German Wirehaired Pointer will match your German Shepherd in energy and be obedient enough for you to keep control of them both.

German Wirehaired Pointers (GWP) are extremely active dogs that are classified as part of the sporting group. They’re smart, quick-thinking, and require tons of exercise, similar to a German Shepherd. This is what makes them a good match; they’ll be able to push each other and play, ensuring that both are getting ample exercise.

In addition, GWPs are appropriately sized to make great playmates for a German Shepherd. Standing 22-26 inches tall on average, they’re essentially the same size as their Shepherd cousins.

However, Pointers tend to be a bit lighter, topping out around 70 pounds. Even so, your GWP should have no problem holding their own against your German Shepherd, even during the roughest of play!

Bred for hunting in a variety of different environments, GWPs are incredibly versatile, adaptable dogs, which should make it easier for one to adapt to a new life with a new family and a German Shepherd.

Plus, GWPs are far less protective than German Shepherds, receiving a rating of just 3/5 for their protective nature, so they’re less likely to display jealous behaviors.

And as an added bonus, German Wirehaired Pointers are low-shedding dogs. When you’ve already got a German Shepherd that’s known to shed an inordinate amount, it could be considered a blessing if your second dog doesn’t shed much!

8 Belgian Malinois

In many regards, Belgian Malinois are very similar to German Shepherds, which is why they’ve become such popular choices for the same types of work that German Shepherds are used for.

Weighing in between 40 and 80 pounds, these dogs are a bit lighter than German Shepherds, though they’re essentially the same size, standing between 22-26 inches on average.

Temperamentally, a Belgian Malinois will also be very similar to a German Shepherd, though they’re usually a bit less affectionate and friendly. This can be an advantage though, as it can reduce the chances of your German Shepherd having jealousy issues because of your Belgian Malinois looking for attention from the family.

Belgian Malinois are very energetic dogs with plenty of endurance to play or work for the whole day without issue, which is exactly what your German Shepherd needs in a partner.

That said, Belgian Malinois aren’t the most playful dogs ever. They’ll still want to play often, but your German Shepherd’s drive to play will probably be stronger than your Belgian Malinois.

As you might expect from a breed that’s used across the world for demanding work, Belgian Malinois are highly trainable and very intelligent. With a little training, you can expect your Malinois to be obedient, allowing you to be confident about your control. When you’re in control of your dogs, you can more easily stop confrontations between them.

9 German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP is very similar to the German Wirehaired Pointer that we’ve already discussed, but it is a separate breed. Still, many of the traits that make a GWP a good companion for a German Shepherd also apply to German Shorthaired Pointers.

GSPs are the ninth most popular breed in the US, and they’ve been in the top ten consistently for many years. It’s very easy to understand their immense popularity once you know a few of the breed’s finer points.

Not only are they excellent with children and affectionate with family, but German Shorthaired Pointers are also known to get along well with other dogs.

They don’t shed nearly as much as German Shepherds, so you won’t be multiplying the loose hair in your household by too much if you add a GSP to the family.

GSPs are protective by nature but less so than a German Shepherd. They’ll still feel the natural urge to protect the family but are less likely to become jealous when your German Shepherd is getting affection and attention.

Like German Shepherds, GSPs are very adaptable. Moreover, they’re extremely high-energy dogs bred for long days spent hunting in the field, brush, or even the water. There’s little chance that your German Shepherd will outplay or outlast a German Shorthaired Pointer!

Thankfully, GSPs are quite similar in size to German Shepherds, standing 21-25 inches tall and weighing between 45 and 70 pounds on average.

In the German Shorthaired Pointer, any German Shepherd will have met their match in terms of energy, playfulness, and obedience, making it very likely that everyone in the household gets along.

10 Rottweiler

Big, strong, and tough, Rottweilers are a bully breed that can’t be pushed around by anyone, including your German Shepherd. This is why German Shepherds and Rottweilers make great companions; Rotties can keep up with German Shepherds in every way.

Rottweilers are quite a bit bigger than German Shepherds. They’re not much taller, mind you, with the tallest males only topping the tallest German Shepherds by an inch. Even so, they’re much thicker dogs, with some males weighing up to 135 pounds.

Despite how much heavier they are, Rottweilers are still incredibly athletic. They’re agile, fast, and extremely strong.

Plus, they love to play, just like your German Shepherd. Both of these breeds require a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour of exercise each day, and they’ll certainly get it with the vigorous play that’s sure to ensue between them!

Do be aware, it might be very difficult to walk a German Shepherd and Rottweiler together, simply due to their immense strength! So, make sure you’re prepared.

11 Samoyed

A snow-white furball with a happy-go-lucky smile, the Samoyed is a relative of the Siberian Husky. There are many similarities between the breeds, some of which help to make the Samoyed a great companion for a German Shepherd just like a Siberian Husky would be.

These dogs are slightly smaller than German Shepherds on average. Samoyeds stand between 19 and 23.5 inches and weigh up to 65 pounds.

Don’t let their smaller size fool you though. These are tough dogs that were bred in the Siberian Arctic to hunt, herd, and haul heavy sleds in the freezing snow. They can definitely handle a bit of rough and tumble play!

Best of all, they really love to play! Samoyeds are even more playful than German Shepherds, though they’re just a tad less energetic. This combination should make them great partners for German Shepherds since they’ll want to play just as much but will be likely to keep the antics a little calmer.

You might think with all that poofy hair that a Samoyed would shed like crazy, but they actually shed less than German Shepherds, so they won’t increase the extra mess all that much.

Introducing Your German Shepherd to a New Companion

Even if you find two breeds that should be compatible on paper, there’s no guarantee that the two dogs you have will get along. They might be temperamentally and physically suited to each other but still decide that they don’t want to be friends.

Luckily, there are some ways you can help to prevent this from happening. A lot of it comes down to the way that you introduce them.

If you introduce your dogs in the right manner, you might set them up for a lifelong friendship. On the other hand, if you introduce them improperly, you could be setting them up for failure instead, practically egging them into a fight.

Naturally, this is something you want to avoid, which the following tips will help you to do.

Introduce Them Young

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to introduce your dogs when they’re young. But if you can, this is absolutely the best time to do it.

When puppies are still young, they usually haven’t developed the territorial or possibly aggressive tendencies that might manifest later in life. They still rely on other dogs, namely their mother, for love and affection, so they’re far more receptive to interaction with other dogs at this stage.

If you introduce your dogs when they’re still both young, they’ll grow up together. In essence, they’ll be siblings or packmates, and they will see themselves that way. This means they aren’t as likely to be territorial about the home, though they might still be territorial about particular toys or places.

When you introduce two adults, they’re often already territorial or aggressive towards other dogs, particularly if they’re the same sex. But when you introduce them young, they usually haven’t developed these tendencies yet.

Let them Meet in a Neutral Spot

We’ve been talking quite a bit about territorial behaviors, and these are the very reason that you’ll want to avoid introducing your dogs in your home.

I know, it seems to make sense to do this because they’re going to live there, but hear me out.

Your German Shepherd already sees the house as theirs since they’ve been living there for a while as the sole canine inhabitant. When you bring a new dog into the equation, suddenly, your German Shepherd’s place in the pack and the home is in question. This new dog is invading in their territory; or, at least, that’s how your German Shepherd may see it.

So, instead of introducing them in this territory that your German Shepherd thinks belongs to them, you’ll need to find a neutral place, like a dog park or even a friend’s backyard.

Doing this significantly reduces the chances of seeing territorial aggression from your German Shepherd since they’re on strange land too and don’t feel that it’s their space.

Once your dogs start to get accustomed to each other in neutral territory, then you can start introducing them to your home.

Introduce them Slowly

Even if you have to introduce your dogs to each other as adults, you can still reduce the chances of an altercation between them if you introduce them very slowly.

So, what might that look like?

Instead of just bringing your new dogs into a dog park or your friend’s yard and expecting them to play friendly, you’ll have to let them meet in stages.

First, you might keep one dog inside the fence and bring the other dog up to the outside of the fence. This way, they can see and smell each other, but they can’t reach each other. This step might need to be repeated several times.

After you’re confident that they’re becoming comfortable with each other through the fence, you might let them see each other from across the same room of a neutral place like a friend’s home. Don’t let them interact, but they can see each other without a fence between them.

In stages, you’ll allow them to get closer and closer.

Soon, they’ll be able to sniff each other.

Finally, you’ll let them touch.

Hopefully, they’ve become comfortable and trusting enough of each other to remain cordial and friendly.

Granted, this is a time-consuming process. You can’t complete these steps overnight. But following through with such a method can greatly improve your chances of getting both dogs to become friends and avoid conflict. Otherwise, you might not be able to keep them both!

Maintain Control with Leashes

The last thing you want to happen when introducing your dogs is for them to lunge at each other and start fighting. This is a definite, though unfortunate possibility.

On the bright side, it’s a problem that’s rather easy to solve preemptively.

While you’re introducing your dogs, you should never let them just be free. During these early stages of interaction between them, there’s really no telling how they might react. Even if things seem fine for a moment, they could quickly take a turn for the worst.

Hopefully, this won’t happen with your dogs, but it’s always best to prepare for the worst.

That’s why you should keep both of your dogs on leashes while you’re going through the meeting process. This might require you to keep them leashed for several meetings, but the end result will be well worth it if your dogs do get along.

Always Supervise Until They’re Familiar

At some point, you’ll start to feel confident that your dogs are getting along. They’ll have met a few times without issue. You should have even allowed them to sniff and interact with each other.

Then, you can allow them to meet off-leash. If things go well, then you’re on track for harmony between your household pets.

Even so, you shouldn’t allow them to roam free together just yet. Things may look great on the surface, but there’s no telling what might happen while they’re getting accustomed to each other.

Here’s a possibility. What if your dogs are going around the house and they find one of your German Shepherd’s toys?

Your new dog might go to pick it up, suddenly engaging your German Shepherd’s territorial and protective side. This could very quickly escalate into an all-out brawl, which is the very last thing you want.

You can easily avoid this with some careful supervision; at least for the first handful of times your dogs interact with each other off-leash.

Of course, at some point, you’ll be able to let them frolic and play without worry, but make sure you wait until you’re absolutely certain you’ve reached that point before you take the risk of allowing them to play together without your oversight.

How to Help Your Hounds Be Harmonious

As we’ve just discussed, introducing your dogs to each other the right way will go a long way towards helping them to get along and form a lasting companionship.

Even aside from proper introductions, there are a couple of steps you can take to ensure the best possible chances of your dogs getting along, not just with each other, but also with other dogs you encounter while you’re out.

Socialization Should Start Early and Often

Socialization is just as important as training, but it’s often overlooked. Many people mistakenly misjudge the importance of socialization, but if you want your dogs to get along with each other or other dogs, then socialization is of the utmost importance.

Socialization is simply allowing your dog to interact with other dogs and people. Granted, most dogs will get plenty of interaction with humans regardless. They might not get a lot of interaction with other dogs though, especially if there are no other dogs in the household.

By introducing both of your dogs to as many dogs as possible, especially early on, you’ll increase the chances of them getting along with any dogs, each other included.

Commit to Basic Obedience Training

Dogs that obey your commands are at less risk than dogs that don’t. It’s a simple fact.

If your dog obeys you, then you can keep them out of trouble. If both dogs obey you, then you can stop them from fighting, running, or anything else that might happen when dogs get over-excited.

How do you get your dog to obey you?

Basic obedience training is a major key.

Dogs that go through obedience training learn to obey the commands their parents give. This will ensure that you’ll have control of your dog, even under pressure, which can mean the difference between a situation ending without issue and a serious problem occurring.

Final Thoughts

The 11 breeds on this list are physically and temperamentally likely to be great matches for your German Shepherd.

However, that doesn’t guarantee that any dog you get will become friendly with your German Shepherd. Either dog may decide to become aggressive, and they might just not get along.

Still, German Shepherds are intelligent, adaptable canines that tend to be obedient, making it easier for them to get along with other breeds. If your second dog is one of the breeds on this list, then the probability is high that they’ll get along.

2 thoughts on “11 Best Companion Dogs for German Shepherds”

  1. Thank you. Great article. A stray pittie wandered onto the property in bad shape and she and the shepherd seemed to hit it off playing the first 2 weeks. Then the shepherd wants to guard the deck and doesn’t like being humped by the small pit bull. So 2-3 weeks of pit wanting to share my son the pack leader, and shepherd holding his ground. But then they had 2 calm weeks of fun and play. The pit was on the ground submissive mode; but mister shepherd still jumped- guarding the deck entrance.
    You are spot on about the shepherd’s energy levels. Trying to get my son to enlist help in figuring this out. They are ready to quit: hands full with a newborn baby. They keep forgetting how many hours a day the shepherd requires of them for attention and play before the stray pit wandered in.
    Again, thanks for sharing your experience with the breed.

  2. Hey Melissa, thanks for sharing and I’m glad you found it helpful! We have a (free) ask the professional dog trainer program that might be helpful if you’re trying to get the pittie and shepherd to settle a bit. You can check it out here:
    We’d want to see some video of the two dogs interacting and as much context information as you can! Then one of our trainers will share a write up on their thoughts. Either way, it sounds like there’s a lot going on and I hope things settle down for your son’s busy family!

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