Can German Shepherd dog attack its owner - GSD Colony blog post

Can German Shepherd Dog Attack its Owners?

You want to get a German Shepherd dog, but have you heard or read somewhere that these dogs are very big and dangerous and can attack their owners?

Maybe you are not sure that this dog breed is perfect for a family dog, because of its big teeth and strong bite. If you want to know will a German Shepherd attack its owner or family member, then you are in the right place!

This topic is trendy, and everyone wants to know whether they should feel safe next to their German Shepherd dog, so let’s waste no more extended time and start discussing this topic.

The short answer is yes, German Shepherd can attack their owners, family members, or any other person or animal when they feel threatened, but this doesn’t mean that they are aggressive dogs. 

German Shepherd dog attack its owner

On the other side, the German Shepherd is a very friendly dog, an unbelievably good family guardian dog, and they really, really love kids. So why are people scared of German Shepherds?

The "aggressive" look of a German Shepherd dog.

Before we continue, let’s clear some stuff. Most people who think that German Shepherds will attack them as owners don’t know too much about this dog breed. When we say “too much”, we mean the relationship between a German Shepherd and its owner.

Most people are afraid of the German Shepherd because of his look. The look means nothing. They are big, fast, and strong dogs that can inflict fatal wounds. This is the reason why most police officers, soldiers, or any other special forces, get these dogs to train them and use them in their missions and jobs. The other reason is that they are too smart.

If you are a terrible person who doesn’t care about dogs, people, or any other animal or nature, the chance is pretty significant that you will be attacked by a German Shepherd when you find yourself in their environment or any other dog that you get. They are one of the most intelligent dogs on this planet, and they can easily recognize who’s a “bad boy”.

Can German Shepherd dog attack its owner? Scary looking German Shepherd.

You’re scared of German Shepherds because of their “scary” look? Don’t be! Trust us, they are lovely dogs who will care for you like no other person, but if you mistreat them, know that they can attack and hurt you. Just be a good dog owner who cares about your dog, and you will get a lifetime partner!

The reasons why German Shepherd dogs can and will attack their owner.

Now that we have learned that a German Shepherd will attack you only if you are a bad guy or a bad dog owner, let’s see some specific reasons why this dog breed usually attacks its owners. 

There is always a reason why German Shepherds attack their owner, it’s not just because “oh, they are dangerous dogs”.

The main reasons why German Shepherd usually attacks their owner is the bad history of their parents, bad environment, trauma, territorial aggression, injury, and fear. Let’s now talk about each reason separately.

Bad history of parents of German Shepherd dog.

Sometimes, it’s not just our fault. Unfortunately, some dogs are not raised and cared for properly, which can cause negative consequences. German Shepherd with parents with a history of benign aggressive tends to be “initiated” into an environment when they may not be suited for it. 

And that’s why it's essential to know the puppy's parents' history before buying that puppy. This is the reason why most purchases go wrong. Don’t rush; inform yourself well before getting a new puppy.

Your German Shepherd is in a bad environment.

The environment plays a significant role in dog behavior. A bad environment can cause a huge problem for dogs, like aggressivity or depression. According to the Toronto Star article, the dog’s environment has the biggest influence on its personality, and we agree with that. This is the truth, and the proof for that you can find almost everywhere. 

So, what’s the difference between a good and bad environment? All of these items make a bad environment for your dog:

  • Living in the cold or wet place
  • Living in a family in which no one cares about the dog
  • Don't have regular opportunities to go to the toilet (or outside)
  • Doesn't have too much space, or live in a small place without any regular exercise

This is something that you can change. There are many other things that make a terrible environment, and you should explore more about this topic so that you can build a suitable environment for your dog.


As with every person, a German Shepherd can also have trauma if we “cross some boundaries”. German Shepherds' most common traumas are bathing, yelling, playing with your dog the wrong way, and strangers. ers. 

Most German Shepherds don’t like bathing, and we must realize that. You must be careful how you bathe your dog; otherwise, he can get severe trauma from bathing. Don’t yell at your dog to stay calm or exert pressure on him. The best practice is to join your German Shepherd in a bath, and he will realize over time that bathing isn’t scary at all! You can also use some treats, but the best way to calm your German Shepherd during bathing is with a silicone mat and peanut butter.

If you’re yelling at your German Shepherd you think that he will realize what you want? No, in that way, you can only traumatize your dog, and he will start to be afraid of you. Be patient and consistent, and you can learn your dog basically everything! 

Be careful how you play with your German Shepherd. Some “games” are bad for our dog, and he doesn’t like them. If your dog loves to play this game, he will continue to come to you and ask for more, but if you see that he is refusing to play your game with you, this is a good indicator that he doesn’t like this game. You also want to be very careful if you have little kids around your German Shepherd because they can realize fast as we can what our dog loves and what he hates.

And finally, but not least, be careful how you introduce your new friends to your German Shepherd dog. Most of German Shepherds care about two things, their family and food, and everything else they can see as a treat.

Can German Shepherd dog attack its owner? German Shepherd dog with trauma.

Territorial aggression.

The main factor that can cause territorial aggression in German Shepherd dogs is lack of early socialization, sexual maturation, environmental factors, inbreeding, pack mentality, or underlying medical conditions. If your German Shepherd dog has territorial aggression, this doesn't mean that he will indeed attack you. Territorial aggression displays may range from barking and growling to lunging, chasing, and biting.


Of course, we want to protect and save our German Shepherd if we see that he is injured, but does he know that? If your German Shepherd doesn’t trust you too much, then there is a great chance he will bite you if you try to touch them while he is injured. 

If you see that your German Shepherd is injured, be careful and gentle, and of course, as soon as possible, visit our local vet.


The main reason why German Shepherd dogs develop fear from their owners is: 

  • Dog is "shy"
  • Owners hit the dog
  • History of physical abuse
  • Aggressive dogs are around
  • Owners are stressed or fearful
  • Owners accidentally hurt the dog
  • Owners raise their voice or scream
  • Negative punishment during training

When your German Shepherd is scared of you, this doesn’t only mean that there is a chance that he will attack you to protect himself, but it also becomes increasingly difficult to train, groom, and feed your dog.

But you’re not that type of dog owner, right? Just be gentle to your dog and patient while you train your German Shepherd; he will show his loyalty like one person!

My German Shepherd has been attacked me, what should I do?

First, don’t try to give him back by punching or punishing him. Once the attack is over, get yourself, your friends, or your family and ask for help. Check yourself and make sure that you have no serious injury, and if you have, call an ambulance. You also want to ensure that your dog is safe where he can’t escape or hurt someone else. 

Can German Shepherd attack its owner - GSD Colony

There is probably a good reason your German Shepherd has attacked you. 8 of 10 dog owners are guilty because their dog has attacked them. 

When the situation calms down, we suggest you find a professional dog trainer so that he can help you rebuild trust between you and your German Shepherd.

What to do if a German Shepherd attacks you?

If a German Shepherd attacks you, it is important to remain as calm and safe as possible. We know hard it's to stay calm in a situation like this, but panicking will worsen things.

The best thing to do is to try and remove yourself from the situation, ensuring that neither you nor the German Shepherd gets injured further. It's also important to not escalate the situation by becoming aggressive or raising your voice, as this could cause the operate with the professionals and take their advice when it comes to training your German Shepherd; this will help build a better relationship between you two.

Do not try to punish or hit your dog after an attack, as this could only further confuse or scare him, leading to more aggression in the future.

Related blog post: What to do if a German Shepherd attacks you?

What happens if a German Shepherd bites you?

If a German Shepherd bites you, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If the bite is more than a superficial wound, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to reduce the risk of infection.

It's also essential to determine whether or not the dog is up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations; if not, consequences may vary from a fine to court proceedings. Depending on the situation, your local animal control might investigate and take further action if needed.

It can be difficult when you need to press charges against your own pet, but it is essential for everyone's safety in case of a severe injury.

Are German Shepherds likely to bite?

It's no secret that German Shepherds can be loyal and loving companions, but as with any dog, they can bite when provoked or feeling scared. While the risk of getting bitten by a German Shepherd is low and depends on many factors, such as temperament, training, and environment, it's crucial to understand that they turn against you within seconds.

Dog attacks can occur for various reasons, such as fear, anxiety, or a history of physical abuse. Aggressive dogs may also be around, leading to triggers in other dogs. Additionally, owners who are stressed or fearful of their dogs may indirectly communicate this to the animal without realizing it.

Even when trying to train a dog with negative punishment techniques, an owner raising their voice or screaming can cause fear and aggression in the dog that leads them to attack. Therefore, recognizing signs of fear and understanding how communication can impact your pet's behavior is key to preventing potential attacks.

German Shepherd attacks per year

The German Shepherd is in the top 10 dog breeds most likely to bite you.

Breed Deaths % of Total
Pitbull 284 65.6%
Rottweiler 45 10.4%
German Shepherd 20 4.6% 
Mixed-breed 17 3.9%
American bulldog 15 3.5%
Mastiff/Bullmastiff 14 3.2%
Husky 13 3.0%
Unknown/unreleased 11 2.5%
Labrador retriever 9 2.1%
Boxer 7 1.6%


Source: MKP Law Group LLP 

Every year, dogs bite about 5 million people. 4.6% of all that bites come from German Shepherd dogs, which means German Shepherds bite 230,000 people a year.

And this is only for the United States. It's believed there are still as many bites in all other countries of the world by the German Shepherd.

Has a German Shepherd ever attacked a child?

Unfortunately yes. Most of these cases end in serious injuries or death because the child cannot defend himself at that moment.

In 2020, an 8 years German Shepherd name Lane killed a 2-month-old baby.

News: German shepherd kills 2-month-old baby girl in Hampton

It's important to mention that this wasn't a pure-breed German Shepherd; however, this is a tragic case, and no parent should experience something like this.

It's important always to follow and analyze your dog's behavior to avoid unpleasant situations.

Frequently asked questions

Do German Shepherds bite hard?

Yes, German Shepherd is a dog breed with one of the most powerful bite straight. Generally speaking, a German Shepherd can bite with quite a bit of force, especially if they are feeling threatened or scared. Some German Shepherds can develop a bite force of 238 PSI.

Can a German Shepherd kill a dog?

Yes, it is possible that a German Shepherd can kill another dog. It may happen in cases of severe aggression or self-defense. For instance, if the German Shepherd perceives their territory is being threatened or its owner is in danger, it may be inclined to attack any other animal that poses an imminent threat.

Similarly, if two dogs-exist peacefully but start fighting, the stronger one might try to injure or kill the other.

Will a German Shepherd attack an intruder?

Yes, a German Shepherd can attack an intruder. This is due to their protective solid instinct and ability to assess potential threats quickly. While they prefer to bark and alert their owners of the intruder's presence if they feel threatened or sense danger, they may become aggressive and attack.

With proper training, a German Shepherd can be a perfect guardian dog.

Can a German Shepherd kill you?

It's possible that a German Shepherd can kill a person, although it's very rare. The size and strength of a German Shepherd mean that they have the potential to cause serious harm or even death if provoked. In some cases, an untrained or unsupervised German Shepherd may become aggressive and attack someone if it feels threatened by any conclusions.

How to defend yourself from a dog attack?

First, we hope you will never be in a situation where you must defend yourself from a dog. But in you fund yourself in this situation, you can learn how to defend yourself in this tutorial.


German Shepherd dogs are very friendly dogs and awesome family guardian dogs. If you have been attacked by your German Shepherd, don't get us wrong, but there's a good chance you did something wrong.

They are very smart and loyal dogs, and you should be happy if you have a German Shepherd dog, not scared of them! Work on your relationship with your dogs, every day, and don’t say “oh, but I don’t have enough time”.  30 minutes per day is enough to work on trust with your German Shepherd, and once you built trust and perfectly trained them, he will bite other bad guys and dogs, in order to protect you and your family. 

They are our friends, not slaves. Love them, and love will be returned to you.

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