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Can German Shepherds Live Outside

Having A Dog Especially A Large One Like A German Shepherd Can Be A Challenge

Caught on camera: German Shepherd confronts burglar inside of home

If you decide to get one, here is the naked truth: it will cost you a lot of money and it will require a lot of your time. Your clothes, house, yard and car will be full of fur and there will be odd dog odors everywhere.

But I know for sure that I will never have a better more loyal friend. He loves me unconditionally, is always happy to see me and somehow motivated me to become a better person. I made new friends and went outside more, I exercised more and became more disciplined.

That is why your dog deserves all your love and the best life you can give him.

Keeping Dogs In Kennels Can Literally Drive Them Crazy

Not surprisingly, most dogs don’t seem particularly excited when it comes time to be put in a kennel. Who would be? But according to a new study, keeping our canine friends locked up doesn’t just make them uncomfortable — it may be literally driving them crazy.

Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Anthrozoology Institute recently examined videotapes of 30 police-trained German shepherds as they spent time in their kennels after work. What they found was that the animals showed tell-tale signs of extreme stress and even temporary mental illness.

Hamish Denham, the study’s lead author, says that even the highly disciplined police dogs appeared to lose it when kept confined, exhibiting manic behaviors associated with failing mental health. The dogs were recorded repetitively jumping and bouncing off walls, pacing back and forth, spinning, and walking in circles around the perimeter of their pens.

The study notes that “some dogs may find isolation from humans particularly aversive, hence affecting their reactions both to being left in a kennel and to being taken to the veterinary surgeon.”

Researchers provide no definitive explanation of this behavior, but it seems rather intuitive. Extensive studies on the effects of solitary confinement of humans has shown similar symptoms of mental disorders — with many considering the punishment to be a form of psychological torture.

German Shepherds Have Double Coats

German Shepherds have something in common with Siberian Huskies, Shiba Inus, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Great Pyrenees.

They have a double coat.

This means that they have a top coat of long hair that protects them against ice and snow, and a bottom coat close to their bodies that keeps them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

A German Shepherds upper coat consists of long, coarse hairs.

They dont give frozen precipitation lots of places to accumulate.

German Shepherds shed these longer, coarse hair more or less constantly.

A German Shepherds lower coat consists of short, fine hairs. They create a multitude of tiny air pockets that trap air warmed by your dogs body.

German Shepherds shed and renew their undercoat in a blowout that lasts for about 10 days, twice a year. Your house will have a carpet of dog hair about twice a year.

The effect of these two coats is that German Shepherds dress in layers, but they only change their layers twice a year.

Their shedding and regrowth cycles are timed to give them maximum protection from cold just in time for winter.

Double coats make German Shepherds ready to romp and play the first snow of every winter, or even the first snow of their lives.

They wont need any kind of doggie sweater even at temperatures of 20° F .

They can stay outdoors for up to two hours unprotected even at temperatures of -10° or -15° F , if their coats dont get wet.

But not all German Shepherds are equally well adapted to the cold.

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Leaving Your German Shepherd Alone Can Affect Their Behavior

When you leave your dog unsupervised, they might indulge in unruly behavior or cause trouble.

Dogs are naturally social animals, so leaving them alone too long can have negative repercussions.

Disruptive Behavior

Some people believe active dogs can have fun if they have enough space to run. However, if they dont receive proper stimulation, they can become bored over time.

Although you might think leaving toys around can resolve the issue, it wont be enough.

Dogs need motivation while playing and wont chase a ball unless prompted. Leaving them alone with toys might create other problems.

Most people consider German Shepherds to be aggressive chewers due to their strong jaws and teeth.

They might break or tear their toys and devour whats inside of them. You might find yourself spending more cash if they damage anything.

Dogs might remedy this boredom with disruptive behavior to garner a reaction from their owners.

Examples of this might include digging holes, chewing furniture, and excessive barking. These problems can escalate if you dont resolve them as soon as possible.

Increased Separation Anxiety

When you leave your dog secluded for extended periods, they might develop .

This anxiety might be more challenging to overcome if your dog is inseparable from you. When you leave your dog alone, it might engage in behaviors resulting from their distress.

Your dog might attempt to escape the yard whenever they become overwhelmed with loneliness.

Whats Better For Training Outside Or Inside Living

My German Shepherd always lays with her paws folded like ...

As one of the most intelligent dog breeds we know of, it goes without saying that most owners want to train their GSD to a high level of obedience. And whether or not your GSD lives outdoors or indoors does have an impact.

While there are arguments for and against, the majority of professional dog trainers agree that dogs allowed to sleep inside the home with the family are easier to train, are more obedient, and produce fewer behavioral issues down the line.

Why is this? Dogs are social animals and relationships are extremely important. The stronger the bond between you and him, the more receptive and responsive he will be to you. Pack hierarchy and authority are paramount in the ability to train any dog, and by having a closer relationship you are better able to establish yourself as the leader, equating to more effective training sessions.This isnt to say that German Shepherds that live and sleep outside cant be trained, Its just that if you want a streamlined process, indoors will be a better option.

Read Also: How Cold Can German Shepherds Handle

Worst: A German Shepherds Dry Skin Causes Excessive Pet Dander

Bathe and groom your dog regularly to minimize its danders effect on your allergy. But dont overdo it. Not washing your dog enough can lead to excess pet dander, but so can washing him too much. If your dog develops dry skin from too many baths, its apt to begin scratching, leaving dead skin cells lingering in the air. Some breeds, such as German shepherds, are more likely to develop dry skin than others.

Can Your German Shepherd To Sleep Outside In Winter

A healthy adult German Shepherd with a thick double-coat will be able to tolerate very cold conditions without much problem. And will be able to sleep outside as long as they are kept in protective weather-resistant housing.It goes without saying that housing is a must. Without a sturdy protective housing no german shepherd, or any dog, could survive sleeping outside in winter conditions when the temperatures are very low.German shepherds are not as well adapted to the cold as some other northern breeds are, but they still boast thick double-coats with impressive insulating qualities. GSDs have a coarse semi-water-resistant topcoat that protects against snow, rain, and dampness. The undercoat is the soft fur thats next to the skin. This is the layer that will keep a German Shepherd warm when the temperatures drop.

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German Shepherd Dogs Are Protective Of Their Loved Ones

They are known for being fearless and self-confident. GSDs will assertively stand their ground and are suited to be either watchdog or guardian, whichever the situation demands. They can be aloof with strangers yet are not hostile. This natural protective instinct is reassuring to the German Shepherd owner. But it also comes with a certain responsibility. You should be committed to spending time socializing and training your dog to ensure your companion feels comfortable around strangers and other dogs. If you do, you will benefit from all this dog has to offer.

Beware The Land Sharks


German Shepherd Puppies have earned the moniker land shark for their mouthiness. It comes from somewhere deep in their herding heritage, I suppose, but these are very bitey puppies! For this reason, a GSD can be a trying breed with young children, who often become unwitting targets for playful biting. Start teaching your puppy right away that biting humans is inappropriate behavior and channel that mouthiness into heavy-duty chew toys and games that dont involve tasty human hands.

Read Also: What Size Dog Crate For German Shepherd

A German Shepherd Dog Is Not A Golden Retriever

Sometimes I feel like many people assume that a lab/golden retriever is just the default dog personality . Obviously, this is not true for every GSD, but shepherds tend to be one person dogs. Your shepherd doesnt think that every person she meets is her best friend, and thats part of her heritage. Shepherds are a bit suspicious of strangers. Also, be prepared for your shepherd to pick someone to be her person in your family. This can be saddening, but its also a trait of the breed.

Which Dog Breeds Should Not Be Left Outside

Any of the small dog breeds, or even the medium sized dogs with short coats, should not be left outside. Little dogs like Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers can freeze to death, no matter how good the dog house.

This Caucasian Ovcharka can be left outside.

cc-by bortescristian 5335600576

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Why Shouldnt German Shepherds Live Outside

There are a few reasons why a German Shepherd should not live outside full-time. The following are some of those reasons and why they may be bad for a German Shepherd.


One of the most basic reasons is the weather. German Shepherds are double-coated and so they have thick fur. This keeps them nice and warm in the winter and it can cool them off in the summer after they shed. If they are always kept outside, however, the summer sun may become too much. German Shepherds are prone to getting heatstroke due to the heat on their thick fur.

Heatstroke is unpleasant for anyone. If a dog gets it, it can vomit, faint, become lethargic, and have many other symptoms that are unhealthy. Depending on where you may live, summer can be extremely hot, as well as humid, a combination that is not good for German Shepherds.

While they may also be okay in the winter, for the most part, temperatures can get extreme in some places. If they arent acclimated to the harsher temperatures, they can struggle. When they are let inside, they are given a break from the cold. Staying outside in it constantly may be fine in some cases, but it can have adverse effects for other reasons as well.


A German Shepherd may also hurt its paws on salt and chemical melt. If there are sharp tools or objects left outside, that could injure them as well. And if you have a fence, they could hurt themselves trying to jump over it.


Why Some People Might Consider Leaving A German Shepherd Outside

Can a German Shepherd dog Live Outside in the Backyard ...

Depending on your lifestyle, you might find having extra space for a German Shepherd convenient. Many people consider backyards an ideal space for exercising German Shepherds.

You can keep their activity levels high without letting daily walks interrupt your work schedule.

Having a big backyard might encourage owners to place or build an outdoor kennel.

Depending on the location, the kennel should accommodate the breeds size. This kennel should also be sturdy to withstand winter and summer climates.

Other owners might leave them outside due to excessive shedding that affects peoples allergies.

Also Check: Are German Shepherds Part Wolf

Not All German Shepherds Are Equally Cold Tolerant

German Shepherds can be born with thick, warm undercoats and long-, short-, or medium-length topcoats.

Once in a while, a German Shepherd is born without and never grows its protective undercoat.

Dogs that have normal undercoats with medium or long hair in their topcoats will have fewer problems with the cold than dogs without an undercoat or dogs that have short hair in their top coats.

How you groom your German Shepherd also makes a difference in how well it stands up to the cold.

German Shepherds shed hairs from their top coats all year long. Keeping a German Shepherd well groomed prevents tangles.

When the long hairs in your German Shepherds coat are free of tangles and debris, they form a continuous protective layer against the cold.

Reasons You Do Not Want A German Shepherd Dog

Now, wait a minute! youre saying. Of course I want a German Shepherd! Otherwise, I wouldnt be looking at this article! Very good. You have taken the first step towards becoming a responsible purebred dog owner, first by doing your research, and second by taking the time to examine the problems inherent in your chosen breed.

Here are 10 reasons you might want to reconsider your choice of a GSD:

1. Health problems.The GSD is not a dog for those who just want to plunk down cash for the first puppy they see and head home . German Shepherds, like any large breed, are prone to canine hip dysplasia, a crippling and potentially fatal disease. The breed also struggles with or is prone to elbow dysplasia, allergies, cleft palate, degenerative myelopathy, perianal fistulas, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, bloat, panostetis, Von Wildebrands disease, Wobblers Syndrome, heart and skin disease and thyroid disease. Many of the congenital diseases in dogs can be tested for and therefore prevented by responsible breeders. But you must be willing to ask questions of your breeder to find out what problems have cropped up in his or her lines. Good GSD rescuers will also be aware of such problems, and whether the rescued dog youre considering has shown symptoms of or has been treated for any health issues while with the rescue.

If youve considered the above and are still interested in getting a German Shepherd, check out our free guide to Choosing Your New German Shepherd!

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What Do German Shepherd Puppies Need While Sleeping Outside

To ensure that your German Shepherd puppy is healthy and safe while sleeping outside, there are a few things you should always make sure he has.

These items include:

  • A doghouse. Now, this is not necessary, but plenty of dogs especially puppies enjoy them. It gives them a safe space to snuggle and feel safe, which is what any puppy of any breed can truly appreciate. Plus, you can put all their favorite items inside, making the doghouse more appealing. If you live in a cold climate, then a doghouse with sufficient warm bedding is essential. I would definitely have this Petmate doghouse from Amazon on my wish list! Its really cool and even has an asphalt roof for extra protection from the weather.
  • Water bowl. Your dog is going to get thirsty no matter what the temperature is at night. Make sure he has a water bowl that is filled to the brink every night. Try and put his favorite water bowl out there to make him more comfortable.
  • All his favorites. I cannot stress this enough! You want your German Shepherd puppy to feel comfy and cozy, as this will make it an easier transition for you and your dog.

Hazards In The Garden

Dogged Determination To Rescue Pair of German Shepherds Left On Hwy. 50 Mountainside

Another factor in helping you reconsider leaving your German Shepherd outside is your garden.

If you leave your curious dog unattended, they might ingest something in your garden. Some of these things can be very dangerous for them.

Toxic Fertilizers and Other Garden Substances

Some ingredients in fertilizers, compost, pesticides, and additives might be toxic to dogs when ingested.

If you see signs of drooling, diarrhea, or vomiting, consult your vet immediately.

Toxic Plants

Much like specific foods, several plants and flowers are toxic to German Shepherds.

If you dont secure your garden, your dog can dig up and eat your plants. Some might cause gastrointestinal discomfort, while others might induce seizures or comas.

Some examples of plants you shouldnt let your dogs come into contact with include:

  • Tomato plants
  • Oak trees
  • Wisteria

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A German Shepherd Should Not Live In Tropical Or Very Warm Climates

Brunos ideal outside temperature is when I am wearing a winter jacket. Hes the most happy when it snows. Go figure!

During hot days of summer he is almost completely idle from 8 am until 7 pm. He drinks tons of water and becomes annoyingly fussy about food.

However, that doesnt mean you should abandon your German Shepherd outside when its freezing cold. The usual dog houses are still not enough for temperatures that are way below freezing point.

Either provide a heating lamp in the dog house or let him inside overnight.

You Live On A Working Ranch Or Farm

Working dogs are bred to do specific jobs, and they are happiest when they are busy doing that job right alongside you. Shepherds, for example, will stay busy minding your animals. Retrievers will accompany you on hunting excursions. Riding in a vehicle around your property might make your dog the happiest pooch on the planet.

Also Check: German Shepherd Hypoallergenic


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