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Are German Shepherds Good Hunting Dogs

Training To Track The Deers Hide Scent

Can a German Shepherd Be a Hunting Dog: Find Out If Hunting Is a Good Fit for a GSD

Take your German Shepherd to swampy areas where his sense of smell will work best. Hide the treats at a smaller distance. Grind the treats under your shoes and walk between the goodies to create a trail of scent.

Take your German Shepherd off-leash and let him follow the trails. If he follows the course of scent, praise him otherwise, ignore him.

You can also create a trail by a deer hide. Leave treats somewhere between tracks so that your German Shepherd feels motivated to follow the trail.

Gradually remove the treats and just let him follow the deer scent. If hes able to locate the deers hide, reward him and praise him.

Teach your dog to speak on command when he tracks the deer down. After some time, he will give you a signal on his own by barking.

Working Breed Line German Shepherds

The original line of German Shepherds, developed by a military captain named Captain Max von Stephanitz, was a working line. These dogs were bred for a particular personality and temperament traits rather than a uniform appearance standard.

Working German Shepherds are bred for stamina, speed, athleticism, high pain tolerance, intense focus, intelligence, loyalty, obedience, and drive.

Because these dogs are bred for traits, their appearance can vary even from one puppy to the next within a single litter.

However, if your primary reason for choosing a German Shepherd is because you have a job in mind for your dog to do, such as hunting, a working breed dog is going to give you greater assurance your dog will have the traits the job requires.

Can A German Shepherd Kill A Deer

German Shepherds were initially bred for herding, guarding livestock, and protecting others from wild animals such as wolves and coyotes. They were not bred for hunting but commonly accompanied and assisted hunters on trips. So, can a German Shepherd kill a deer?

German Shepherds typically cannot kill a mature deer, and deer may kill dogs in some situations, such as an aggressive buck or a defensive doe caring for her young. But if a GSD is trained in hunting from a young age, its speed, agility, strength, and wit can allow it to kill a baby deer.

Still, whether or not a German Shepherd could kill a deer will depend on the unique dog. Most are not adept with hunting, but many display prey and hunters instincts from a very young age, making some potentially suitable for hunting dogs. Training that involves luring and tracking can encourage hunting skills.

The breed has inherent traits which make them great hunting companions, such as their obedience, soft mouths suitable for carrying prey to their owners, and their sharp hearing skills suitable for noting movement. These traits are directly in line with their original breeding purposes, making them more likely to act as pointer dogs, retrievers, flushers, and assistants than hunting and killing the deer themselves.

Although deer commonly flee at the sight of a predator, some cases can be fatal for dogs. Aggressive bucks and defensive doe caring for their young may attack and kill a German Shepherd.

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The Character Of A German Shepard Puppy

German Shepards tend to be intense and somehow aggressive, unlike other dog breeds that are gentle and friendly. This, however, is not a reason why you should not get one. If well trained and exposed to the community, the dogs are amicable. They can, however, show some overprotective traits to strangers.

They also bite anything that comes their way, which can be an annoying trait to some people. If you dont mind playful biting, the breed is perfect for you.

The History Of Wolves And Dogs

Anyone every had any good luck with a German shepherd ...

With some dogs, its incredibly easy to see the wolf ancestry. Other breeds, youd hardly imagine theres any wolf at all. German Shepherds fall onto the wolf end of the spectrum, with their sharp eyes, long muzzles, and upright ears.

While dogs were originally bred from domesticated wolves, enough history has passed for them to be a distinctly different species. And this stands for temperament, as well as appearance. Wolves remain wild animals, and are considerably dangerous.

Nowadays, dogs are primarily seen as companions. However, there are still many working dogs. If youve ever seen a German Shepherd working as a police dog, or watching over livestock, it isnt difficult to see they retain close ties to their wolf ancestors. But could a German Shepherd ever take down a wolf?

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What Animals Can A German Shepherd Kill

It has a strong prey drive This means that they have it in their nature to chase after small things like cats, rabbits and even small dogs. They have actually been known to kill small animals so its important not to keep them together until you are certain that your German Shepherd wont do anything.

Can A German Shepherd Beat A Wolf

A German Shepherd cannot beat a wolf. A wolf is the stronger animal, and has numerous advantages.

For a start, theres quite a size difference. Although German Shepherds are large dogs, theyre nowhere near the size of wolves. The average fully grown male German Shepherd is 60 65 cm, and 48 88 pounds. A wolf, on the other hand, is 80-85 cm tall, and can weigh between 66 and 176 pounds.

German Shepherds have been domesticated, and any good owner will have trained and socialized their dog from a young age.

While some German Shepherds have experience in hunting, theyre mostly pets. Even working German Shepherds are unlikely to need to hunt for their food. Conversely, wolves will be hunting from a young age. Its how they keep themselves fed. Although German Shepherds have a voracious prey drive, it isnt as necessary or as well-honed as that of a wolf.

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What To Know When Buying A Puppy German Shepard

Before getting the furry little puppies, there are some things you should consider. These are elements that will help you not only to train the puppy well but also comfortably maintain one if you are ready to take care of the brown-eyed dog. Before buying a German Shepard pet, consider the following.

Can You Teach A German Shepherd To Hunt

German Shepherd (Army dogs) hunting must watch

As weve mentioned above, German Shepherds have managed to find themselves in various roles due to their intelligence and loyalty.

We can take from this that they learn things pretty fast. So it would be fair to say that they can learn the basics of hunting.

However, it takes more than the ability to learn to be a successful hunting dog.

Ask any pro trainer out there, and they will tell you that most of a hunting dogs work comes down to instinct.

This is why hunters spend thousands of dollars for certain breed lines.

My GSP came all the way from Poland from a special breed line I sought out, while my Chessie came from Canada.

This gives you an idea of the importance of breed lines.

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Are German Shepherds Easy To Train

Some are easy to train, while others are more moderate.

As we’ve seen, different lines have different temperaments. German Shepherds from working lines are typically more assertive and stronger-willed. A “tougher” German Shepherd will be more challenging to train unless you pay closer attention to building the right Leader-Follower relationship with the dog.

That doesn’t mean “softer” German Shepherds are automatically easy to train. Some dogs with soft temperaments are skittish or shy, making them just as challenging as a strong-tempered dog.

In general, though, a sound-tempered German Shepherd who is a good fit for family life should be easy to train. Just establish the right Leader-Follower relationship and the dog will be happy to work with you.

This is taught in my puppy training book, Respect Training For Puppies .

Or see my advice on dog training

German Shepherd Vs Polish Hunting Dog Comparison Which Dog Is Better Alsatian Or Polish Scenthound

“Find similarities and differences between German Shepherd vs Polish Hunting Dog”

Comparison Criteria
Alsatian, Berger Allemand, Alsatian wolf dog , Deutscher Schäferhund, Schäferhund Polish Scenthound, Goczy Polski
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908 as a Herding breed. Not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
FCI Group Recognized by FCI in the Sheepdogs and Cattledogs group, in the Sheepdogs section. Recognized by FCI in the Scent hounds and related breeds group, in the Scent hounds section.
Breed Recognition Dog Registry of America Inc.Federation Cynologique InternationaleKennel Club of Great BritainNorth American Purebred Registry, Inc.American Canine Association, Inc.German Shepherd Dog Club Of America No data available

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Is A German Shepard Good For Hunting

German Shepard dogs were initially used for herding. They portray a lot of desirable characteristics that make them suitable for many activities, like hunting. These dogs make excellent hunting companions, especially for tracking and trailing the animal.

However. You have to ensure that the dog is familiar with the hunting environment. Exposing your dog to the scents, sounds, and all involved in hunting will make it an excellent tracking dog since it learns very fast. There are several methods that you can use to train your dog for hunting.

Can I Train My Gsd How To Hunt

Are German Shepherds Good Hunting Dogs

The simple answer is, yes. Ideally, it is best to start German Shepherd Hunting training early on to maximize results. You can begin training your GSD to hunt as young as 6 months old, as most of its physical and mental faculties will have developed enough for practical use.

Take note of the following methods you can use when training your german shepherd to be hunting dogs.

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Can A German Shepherd Hunt Rabbits

Normally you would expect to see some breed of hound hunting rabbits. It may be untoward to see a German Shepherd hunting rabbits.

The idea of using dogs to rabbit hunt is not to let the dog catch the rabbit but to get it back to the hunter so he can take a shot.

Rabbits run in circles, so when a dog sets after the rabbit its only a matter of time before its back in front of the hunter.

The baying of the hounds is a good indicator for the hunter to know where the rabbit is.

A German Shepherd may be able to perform moderately here.

It would need to be from a working line as it would need a few choice traits to keep up with and outsmart the rabbit.

You would need an agile German Shepherd with a good nose and quick reaction time.

One other thing you would need is for your dog to alert you when it spots a rabbit. This may be easy or almost impossible.

My GSP will roar like a hound when she spots a furry creature but is silent when she spots a feathered one.

My Chessie is silent all around.

What Category Does The German Shepherd Dog Fall Into

After reading about the three main types of gun dogs in the section earlier here, you may be wondering which category the German Shepherd dog falls into.

As the American Kennel Club explains, the German Shepherd dog breed is not a gundog breed at all.

Rather, the GSD is classified as a herding dog breed. This is accurate, as the first dogs that Captain Max von Stephanitz bred to produce the German Shepherd were herding dogs as well.

In fact, Captain von Stephanitz had the goal of producing the perfect working dog, but he chose herding dog breeds to base his new breed off of.

This is why many hunters say that the German Shepherd dog is not the ideal choice for a true hunting dog. Their instinct as a dog breed is to guard, herd, and protect, not to hunt, track, or point.

However, there is a hunting element in the herding dog skillset. As part of the herding dogs job description, these dogs are expected to drive away or, if necessary, kill predator animals that are threatening their livestock or their people.

But when this type of need arises, the German Shepherd will more likely be working on their own at some distance from their human keepers.

This is why some of the hunting forums we mentioned earlier mentioned that German Shepherds are so intelligent they sometimes dont make great hunting dog partners. They have a tendency to keep their own counsel about how best to do their job.

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The Good German Shepherd

German shepherds are known for doing many duties like watchdogs, search and rescue, detecting drugs among others. It might cross your mind that you can use your German Shepherd for hunting too, but if your GSD was not trained to hunt from an early age, he will definitely disappoint you.

Just like you trained your dog to detect drugs or be a watchdog, the same way you should train him how to hunt. Initially, GSDs were not bred to hunt, but due to their trainability, it is easy for them to acquire hunting skills.

It is also surprising that despite training them, not all German Shepherds can be hunting dogs. Some German Shepherd puppies can show hunting traits from an early age while others might not understand anything to do with hunting, so we can say basically it all depends with the dogs personality.

Play Fetch With Different Decoys

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It is important for GSDs to differentiate between decoy items and real prey. A good technique is to play fetch with your GSD but use different fetch items each time. Some good items to have on hand are rubber ducks, stuffed animals or chew toys. Take some game meat and scent your items with it. Practice playing fetch with different items for about 30 minutes each day for 3 4 days a week. In time, your GSD will be able to instinctively hunt down game from its scent alone.

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What Are The Two Breeds Like

German Shepherd

To understand a German Shepherd Lab Mix, you need to know a little bit about the two breeds that make up this combination. To begin with, a German Shepherd Dog is a breed of beauty, power, intelligence, and obedience. They are often used as working dogs for the military and police force due to their loyalty, courage, and guardianship. Along with this comes a level of uncertainty in that they tend to be more discriminating in who they consider friends.

German Shepherds are originally from, you guessed it, Germany. They were bred to, you guessed it again, guard sheep. With their innate intelligence and loyalty they were soon discovered to be great in their protective roles with the military and police force.

Labrador Retriever

This is paired with a Labrador Retriever who is known for his friendly, outgoing personality. With most labs, the only parts you have to fear is the tail, as it is constantly wagging, and his amazing abundance of energy. Not only are labs great family dogs, they are still very popular as hunting dogs and can be trained to hunt ducks, pheasants, and even deer and elk antlers.

Labrador Retrievers have their roots in Newfoundland, Canada, where their strong work ethic was put to use hauling fishing nets, ropes and pulling in fish. Its no wonder that they are still great water dogs and love to swim.

Can A German Shepherd Be A Gundog

So can a German Shepherd be your next great gundog?

They would easily ace the discipline a hunting dog needs, and they would have no problem with gun shyness given their credentials.

They would have a good nose. They most likely would be an awful retriever due to their mouthiness this is another thing that comes with breed lines.

While it is possible to train a German Shepherd to hunt, its just not practical.

There are many other breeds out there that are already halfway there just from their instinct, and it would be a much better option.

So I do not think a German Shepherd is a good hunting dog due to not having the desired breed lines required for hunting dogs.

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What Kind Of Game Can My Gsd Hunt

GSDs are not natural-born hunting dogs. But GSDs can exhibit behaviors that are a cross between gun dogs and hounds, if extensively trained. The following animals are suitable game for hunting GSDs.


GSDs can be used to track deer. However, German Shepherd hunting deer is ill-advised as they may scare off their target. GSDs may attack deer, but are not as fast or agile as their targets and may end up fouling your hunt.


GSDs can be trained to hunt birds. German Shepherd duck hunting is also a possible application for GSD hunting dogs.

However, you should only train your GSD to retrieve the carcasses of ducks or other birds, as the sheer size and power of your GSD can result in mangled or mutilated game.

Vermin and small mammals

Rodents, rabbits and squirrels can be tracked and retrieved by hunting GSDs. Tracking and retrieval duties are better suited for German Shepherd hunting rabbits as GSDs may be too large to fit into rabbit or rodent holes.

How Sociable Are German Shepherds

Are German Shepherds Good Hunting Dogs

Are they friendly with strangers?

Most German Shepherds are reserved with strangers. As the breed’s national club says, a good German Shepherd has:

“a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them.”

As you might imagine, this can be a fine line to walk. Without proper guidance from the owner, a German Shepherd’s natural aloofness can morph over the line to suspiciousness, distrust, and even aggression or fearfulness.

When you own an aloof breed, you need to socialize the dog thoroughly. This means a careful program of teaching him to pay attention to you and mind you in the presence of other people and other dogs. He doesn’t have to like them, but he must accept them.

One thing I should mention: many German Shepherds who bark and lunge at strangers or other dogs aren’t being either protective or aggressive. Rather, this kind of reactivity can be the dog’s attempt to hide his own insecurities behind a blustering facade.

There are also legal liabilities to consider when you acquire a German Shepherd. For example, your homeowner insurance policy might be cancelled or the rates hiked, because people are often quicker to sue if a “guard dog breed” does anything even remotely questionable.

Are German Shepherds good with children?

Are German Shepherds good with other pets?

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