German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the world. Their intelligence, trainability, and athleticism make them a great choice as both a family pet and a working dog.
They also tend to get along well with other dogs, and as households with more than one dog are on the rise, it’s no wonder people may be wondering if it’s a good idea to have two German Shepherds living in the same house. But is it better to have two German Shepherds?
German Shepherds are adaptable and can do well in a household by themselves or with other dogs, including another German Shepherd. They do have some specific needs and the energy and financial investment in two German Shepherds may not work for all owners and lifestyles.
Below we’ll discuss why having two German Shepherds is a good idea, as well as some things to think about before getting two German Shepherds. We’ll also discuss whether it’s a good idea to get German Shepherds of the opposite sex or not.
4 Reasons Why It Might Be Better To Have Two German Shepherds
It’s important to remember that every dog is an individual, and while many German Shepherds may share similar breed traits and characteristics, there’s more than just genetics that go into a dog’s personality and behaviors.
Whether you are considering adding a second German Shepherd to your household or if you are interested in getting two new German Shepherds at the same time, make sure you thoroughly analyze each individual dog and how a second dog may affect them (both positively and negatively).
German Shepherds, despite their reputation as fierce guard dogs, are fairly emotional and thrive on companionship and being part of a family (they don’t really like being alone). For the most part, their owners can fill this need and provide them with all of the love and attention they crave.
While some owners can dedicate large chunks of time and energy to their needy German Shepherds, in many cases it’s just not realistic for your typical dog owner to provide 24/7 attention to their beloved pup.
This is where having a second German Shepherd can be of help! With two German Shepherds, even if you aren’t able to be with your pup as often as you’d like, they’ll have the other dog to keep them company.
2. Activity Levels
As a breed that tends to be high energy, German Shepherds can require quite a bit of physical activity. Similarly, their high intelligence levels mean they also need to be mentally stimulated or else they can become bored and destructive.
While owners can do a lot to help meet those needs and make sure their German Shepherds are kept happy and healthy, sometimes adding another German Shepherd can help, too. Provided both German Shepherds are of similar age and energy levels, it’s likely that both dogs would be able to play with each other and tire each other out.
Because dogs can obviously communicate and interact with each other better than a human could, having two German Shepherds interacting with each other could potentially tire them out even quicker than an owner trying to do the same.
3. Similar Breed Needs
While there are many other breeds of dogs who make good companions for a German Shepherd, having two dogs of the same breed means it can be a little bit easier for an owner to plan for food, supplies, and general care such as grooming, vet appointments, and exercise as both dogs likely have similar needs and requirements.
Most German Shepherds are between 50 and 85 pounds depending on their gender, age, and genetics. They usually wear collars and harnesses in sizes Medium, Medium-Large, or Large, so when you are shopping for equipment it’s a little easier to find a collar or harness that can fit either dog (if they wear the same size, this also means the equipment is interchangeable!).
Bowls, beds, and other typical pet supplies are also usually the same size for each German Shepherd, so the dogs can mix-and-match and you don’t need to worry about finding things in different sizes.
When it comes to feeding, unless there is an underlying health condition, dietary need, or extreme difference in metabolism or energy levels, you can also feed your two German Shepherds the same type and size of food. This helps when purchasing dog food and finding places to store it, as well as making sure each dog is getting the correct type and amount of food.
Overall, having two dogs of the German Shepherd breed can sometimes make it a bit easier to manage their overall lifestyle and your efficiency when providing for their needs.
It’s no secret German Shepherds are one of the smartest and most trainable dog breeds out there! Training can take quite a bit of time and patience with many breeds of dogs, so having two German Shepherds likely means your training sessions will go a lot faster and your two pups will pick things up quicker.
This trait also makes them a good choice for first time dog owners, who may not have all of the knowledge and experience that is necessary to deal with some other breeds of dogs that are considered more stubborn. German Shepherds, while they can be sensitive and emotional dogs, also tend to be fairly forgiving of minor mistakes in the training process.
Well-socialized German Shepherds with a good training foundation are also less likely to develop behavioral issues later on (provided the owner keeps up with their training and positive life experiences).
4 Reasons Why It Might Be Better To NOT Have Two German Shepherds
As a reminder, it’s important to remember that each German Shepherd is an individual, and they may not show certain behaviors typical of the breed, or they may show more or less of a particular behavior.
Always look at the dog in front of you when deciding whether they would be a good fit or not! When considering whether to add a second German Shepherd to your household, make sure you evaluate the pros and cons and that you consider how a second German Shepherd may impact your life.
1. Excessive Noise
Unfortunately, one of the downsides to owning a German Shepherd is that they are quite the vocal breed. With two German Shepherds, you’ve got double the noise!
German Shepherds like to express their opinions, and while they aren’t quite as communicative as a Siberian Husky they do still tend to bark frequently and with vigor. This trait stems from their history as working dogs and guard dogs, and their fierce bark is an alert to you and a warning to the potential intruder.
German Shepherds can also be quite whiny, and they may cry frequently if they feel ignored or if they are seeking attention. While proper training can help limit barking and whining, it can never be eliminated completely.
If you live in a neighborhood or housing complex that tends to frown upon excessive noise, then it might be safer to consider a quieter companion for your German Shepherd.
2. Energy Requirements
While this can also be a plus (as I described earlier in the article), it could be a potential con for a less active owner or one who has a busy lifestyle. With two German Shepherds come two high energy dogs that need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored and frustrated.
Active owners may easily be able to provide for their German Shepherd’s needs by taking them for a long hike or perhaps a jog around the track, and then rely on the two of them to entertain themselves the rest of the time.
For owners who do not have enough time or energy to regularly exercise their dogs, they may find themselves on the receiving end of some unwanted behaviors from their bored German Shepherds.
While it’s still possible for a busy owner to still make sure their dogs’ needs are met (hiring a dog walker or taking your pups to doggy daycare are both good options), this often means more financial investment and can be cost prohibitive for a lot of dog owners.
3. Financial Investment
Speaking of finances, having two large breed dogs can be quite demanding on your wallet. German Shepherds, as bigger and more active dogs, generally need more food than some other breeds of dogs. Having two of these dogs means you’ll likely be having to purchase dog food more frequently or in larger quantities, and those costs can add up.
German Shepherds can also have sensitive digestive systems, and often need to avoid certain ingredients to avoid stomach upset. This means that you may need to purchase food that is more expensive, or only available at select retailers.
Another financial aspect to think of when considering owning a pair of German Shepherds is the necessary veterinary care they will require throughout their lives. The breed is prone to many genetic defects such as hip and elbow dysplasia and the care associated with those diseases can be extraordinarily expensive depending on what’s required for the individual dog.
With two German Shepherds, there’s a higher chance you’ll experience a medical diagnosis that can cause you to take a hit on your finances, so it’s important to budget appropriately for any veterinary care for your German Shepherds, including future veterinary care as they age.
If you feel like the monetary investment that is required for two German Shepherds might be a stretch for your current budget, choosing a German Shepherd cross might be a better option. While it’s dependent on the individual dog and their breeding, mixed breeds may not be as prone to genetic conditions as purebreds.
There are plenty of German Shepherd mixes of various kinds in shelters all across the world, just waiting for their forever home! You might also consider another breed of dog that looks like a German Shepherd, but might be a little less work than having two German Shepherds.
German Shepherds are also known for their beautiful coats, but with such beauty comes a lot of maintenance.
While they may not require as frequent a grooming as some other breeds, they do shed VERY heavily a few times a year, and the resulting fur can become almost unmanageable if you do not keep up with regular brushing during this time (in fact, you’ll likely find enough hair around your household that you can create a third German Shepherd).
German Shepherds have several different coat types (long, plush, and stock) but all of them shed in a similar fashion. During the shedding seasons, your two German Shepherds will likely need daily brushing sessions to keep the fur from taking over the house.
Some grooming salons can help you with the brushing if you are short on time, however, that’s another cost to have to budget. You might also be able to live with the hair at times, but it’s still important to brush your pup at least once a week to help keep their coats healthy and shiny.
If all this hair sounds like a bit too much for you and you feel like one German Shepherd might be more than enough, another breed that is less prone to such intense shedding might be a better choice to add to your home.
Is It Better To Have Two German Shepherds Of Opposite Sexes?
This depends greatly on the individual German Shepherds and whether they are fixed or not. While some breeds have been known to have difficulty when living among dogs of the same sex, the German Shepherd breed is usually not one of them.
When properly socialized and trained, German Shepherds (even intact ones) can get along with dogs of both sexes. However, if one of your German Shepherds is intact and you have no intention of breeding, it’s probably better to get a second German Shepherd that has already been fixed or is of the same sex.
If you do plan on breeding your German Shepherds and want to keep intact dogs in the same household, it’s important that you heavily research proper breeding guidelines for the safety of your dogs and their future puppies and to avoid any accidental litters which can create a whole host of problems for everyone involved.
Similarly, if you plan on having one intact German Shepherd and one who is fixed, your intact dog may initiate sexual behavior and this could cause tension between the dogs, especially if the initiator is aggressive in their behavior.
If you have an intact female who goes into estrus, your fixed male may still try to mount her. This is all normal and natural dog behavior, but it could cause a headache for their owner. When in doubt, it’s usually best to just get two German Shepherds who have already been fixed.
In most cases, German Shepherds can live happily with other German Shepherds. However, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual and should be treated as such.
Dog communication can be very complex, so even two dogs that get along may still have scuffles and their relationship may change over time. In some situations, it might be better for your current German Shepherd and your lifestyle if you choose to get a dog that’s NOT a German Shepherd.
If you’re opting to go that route, take a look at our article that goes over some of the best companions for German Shepherds.
If you can meet the needs of two German Shepherds, though, then you’ll enjoy double the amount of fun and love!