Anyone know of a Less Aggressive Version of a GSD?

Okay. I would love to own a German Shepherd. I love everything about this breed. When I think of "dog" this breed is what I picture. I love the GSD's fur type, coloring, ear shape, face shape, intelligence, general personalities (obviously individual dogs are going to have different personalities), their temperments, functionality, needed lifestyle (amount of exercise/training/handler involvement), and size.

And yes, I am aware that they are known for aggression. I am willing and able to put the time into training a puppy to be a well behaved canine citizen. Growing up in the country, having really good family dogs with a hint of "stranger awareness" was appreciated and wanted. All the dogs I had growing up were phenominally loyal and great family dogs but were also excellent guard dogs. It's a personality trait that I am drawn to in a dog.

HOWEVER... It would appear that I am not the only one who will have to live with this dog. My SO has "put his foot down" and has said that he does not, under any circumstances, want a GSD because they are seen as aggressive and he doesn't want to scare people. Apparently he wants to make friends in his life and not have them afraid to come over.

But I have had my heart set on a GSD since essentially forever.

So... GAG community, here's your task. Find me a breed of dog that looks as close as possible to the German Shepherd but lacks the aggression that German Shepherds are known for. It can be slightly larger or slightly smaller but I'd like a dog in the 50+ lb range. No small dogs. :) Ready? Go.


Most Helpful Guy

  • Well any of them, Belgians for example, require a lot of training. They are not a good choice if you want a docile dog. There are many breeds more aggressive, Caucasians for example, so pick wisely. All the guard dog breeds are assertive. That is why they are chosen.
    Consider a lab if you want a less assertive dog. You can also adopt a mixed breed. If you go to you can view all the rescued dog's in your area. This allows you to meet the dog as an adult. You can choose one that is not aggressive after meeting him.

    • Why does everyone keep suggesting labs? >.< He wants a lab too. But I have never had a good experience with one. Ever. Of the hundreds of times I have interacted with dogs I have been bitten 8 times. Every dog that has ever bitten me or behaved aggressively toward me has been a lab.

    • they are dogs that require less exercise and thus are less hyper and also happier. GSD'd and their entire family are working dogs. They need a lot of exercise or they become frustrated and the problems with their attitudes worsen. I have owned GSD's. Mine were guard dogs. They were worked also. They were aggressive dogs. Wonderful dogs, dont get me wrong but they do need to be controlled by a firm hand.
      You should read the things by Cesar Milan (the dog whisperer) he has a lot of good info. Picking a dog that needs more exercise or control than you can give it, is not kind to the poor dog who will eventually wind up in the pound when you get to your witt's end.
      Why not adopt an adult dog that looks like what you want? You get a chance to see his adult disposition AND you get to rescue a dog that no one wants?

Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 2

  • Not all GSDs are aggressive.. It varies on the environment they were brought up in

    But if you're worried about it, I'd go with a German Shepherd mix

    have a German Shepherd-Beagle who is docile and a scardeycat. I also have a German Shepherd-Chihuahua laying next to me who is the most subservient dog I've ever seen

  • The German shephardieu. It's a German Shepherd version of Gerard Depardieau.

    • What does that look like?

    • I can't find the picture but it's like a German Shepherd with Gerard Depardieu's face.

What Girls Said 2

  • You need to read up on the kinds of shepherds, and what they were bred for. For instance, those from the Shizhund *sorry, bad spelling * lines are high energy, high drive. American shepherds are more lazy and laid back but inbreeding can make them flighty and nervous (fear biters ). Not all GSD are aggressive, far from it. They do take an owner who is knowledgeable in the different disciplines and breedings, though.

    Biggest problem with GSD, they are extraordinarily smart and will find their own amusement if not given regular exercise and focused play.

  • Any dog can be trained to be aggressive and it's not the breed that is aggressive but rather the individual dog. I guess if people are wary of dogs then any big dog might be seen as intimidating. Maybe try looking at hound dogs or hunting dogs? They tend to be a similar size.

    • I tried to tell him that it's an individual thing and if trained correctly as a puppy it'd be fine... but no dice.

    • You are right though, if you trained it from a puppy then it would more than likely behave how you want it to. I've always wanted a doberman but they also have a 'bad reputation'

    • Those are another breed I like.

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