Are you looking for a loyal and protective canine companion but don’t have the space to keep them in a home with a huge yard? German Shepherds are among the most popular breeds due to their intelligence, trainability, and devotion. But can they live comfortably in an apartment setting?
With proper care and training, German Shepherds can make excellent pets for apartment dwellers. However, as with any breed of dog, they need plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. German Shepherds, in particular, can become bored and destructive easily if not given enough outlets for their energy.
In this blog post, we'll explore why these dogs are suitable for living in apartments and discuss tips for preparing your pup for apartment life. So if you're considering bringing a furry friend into your small space, read on to learn more about keeping a German Shepherd happy in an urban environment!
Will German Shepherds be okay in an apartment?
Most people believe that German Shepherds can't live in apartments because of their large size, high energy levels, and need for lots of exercise, but this is not true. If your German Shepherd is mentally and physically stimulated, he will be okay with living in an apartment.
While German Shepherds are active dogs with an instinct to guard and defend, they can adjust to various living situations with proper training and plenty of exercises. With the right care and attention, these intelligent dogs can thrive in both large homes and small apartments.
Most dog behaviorists share the same option, and that is: the house/flat doesn’t matter as long as they get enough mental and physical exercise.
Working line German Shepherd dogs are a type of German Shepherd dog breed that has the highest energy level. These dogs usually live in the huge outside kennel, and, in most cases, they spend around 14-18 hours inside these kennels.
Their owners will give their best to mentally and physically stimulate them when they're outside. On average, the kennel size built for this type of dog is 8ft x 8ft (2.5m x 2.5m), and they're the happiest dogs on the planet!
Why? Because they're mentally and physically stimulated at the end of the day.
So, as long as you mentally and physically stimulate your German Shepherd, this dog can live in an apartment or small house with you.
Can German Shepherds be indoor dogs?
German Shepherds can be indoor dogs with a proper and consistent daily routine. These dog breeds need plenty of exercises in order to stay healthy and happy. German Shepherds may become bored or destructive without enough mental and physical stimulation.
To keep your German Shepherd active indoors, try a few of the following activities:
- Play fetch with toys
- Teach your dog new tricks
- Go for a walk around the house/apartment
- Hide and seek game
- Run up and down the stairs together
- Puzzle games
- Sniffing scavenger hunts
- Interactive food-dispensing toys
- Practice agility moves in an open area of your home/apartment
- Training sessions
These activities can help keep your pup active and engaged and build trust between you and your dog. If your German Shepherd is properly trained, it can also be a great indoor pet.
Remember this: this is not about how big space your dog can have but how you use it.
Where should a dog sleep in an apartment?
German Shepherds need their own space to relax and sleep. It’s important to consider where your dog can rest comfortably overnight in an apartment. A good option is to create a designated sleeping area for your pup, such as a large indoor crate or dog bed.
Dog crates are ideal for German Shepherds because they provide a safe, secure resting space. Crates also encourage better house training habits, as dogs naturally prefer not to soil their sleeping areas.
In addition to providing security and comfort, crates can help puppies and younger dogs learn boundaries and help older dogs with anxiety or mobility issues.
For apartment dwellers, it’s important to find a spot for your pup’s bed or crate that is away from traffic and noise. A quiet corner of the bedroom or living room can work perfectly!
How much room does a German Shepherd need?
German Shepherds need plenty of room to roam, play and explore no matter where they live. The size of your home or apartment doesn’t dictate how much space a German Shepherd needs, but rather the amount of exercise and stimulation you can provide them.
If you have an apartment, try to find time every day to take your German Shepherd for a walk or run. This will allow them to stretch their legs and get the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.
Giving your pup plenty of room to roam around is key for those with larger homes. A fenced-in outdoor space is ideal for German Shepherds, as it allows them to explore and run around without worrying about running off.
We'll mention this again: this is not about how big space your dog can have but how you use it.
Your German Shepherd can live a happy life even in the smallest apartments as long as he is mentally and physically stimulated.
How to prepare yourself for apartment life with a German Shepherd?
So, after thinking for a couple of days can the German Shepherd live in an apartment, you decided to get this dog and create a routine that will keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated.
But where to start? What supplies do you need to have? How much time per day should I take out my German Shepherd? What type of crate is the best for him?
Related blog post: German Shepherd Shopping List
We're glad that you ask! Below is an ultimate list that will help you prepare for life with a German Shepherd dog in an apartment.
1. Provide ample exercise with walks, runs, and playtime
2. Create a secure sleeping area with a crate or dog bed
3. Establish boundaries early on through training sessions
4. Research nearby parks and trails for regular visits
5. Monitor noise levels to make sure your dog and neighbors are comfortable
6. Take opportunities to socialize in pet-friendly places
7. Stick to a consistent schedule and routine
8. Purchase interactive toys that promote mental stimulation
9. Keep treats handy to reward good behavior
10. Invest in pet insurance for peace of mind
Provide ample exercise with walks, runs, and playtime
German Shepherds need plenty of daily exercises to stay happy and healthy. Take your German Shepherd for walks two to three times a day and long runs or hikes on the weekends if possible. If you have an outdoor space available, set up agility courses or play Frisbee with your pup!
To save on time, you can, for example, go in grocery shopping with your German Shepherd dog. Before that, ensure your dog is well-socialized, and the store is pet friendly.
Pro tip: always keep your dog on a leash in public places, not for the security of others, but for the security of your dog and you. Always bring with you a dog muzzle and poop bags.
Create a secure sleeping area with a crate or dog bed
A comfortable and secure sleeping area is essential for any dog, especially a German Shepherd. Crate training can be an effective way to house train your pup and give them their own safe space to retreat to when needed.
Dogs instinctively establish a den-like atmosphere and will generally settle down quickly when placed in a crate or bed.
Be sure to choose the right crate size for your pup and fill it with comfortable padding and blankets. If you don’t want to use a crate, provide your German Shepherd with an elevated dog bed instead. This will give them a cozy place to rest without feeling.
Establish boundaries early on through training sessions
Establishing boundaries is one of the most important things you can do for your German Shepherd. Training sessions should include basic commands like “sit”, “stay” and “come”, as well as teaching them how to respond to their name or other cues that they should stop whatever they are doing.
These simple commands will go a long way in creating a harmonious life for both you and your pup. Further, regular training sessions will help your German Shepherd understand what is expected of him living in an apartment.
When it comes to training sessions, consistency is the most important part of every training. If you are consistent in your approach and expectations, your pup will understand that following the boundaries is essential to living in an apartment.
Be sure also to provide positive reinforcement when they obey commands or follow expectations properly. This can include verbal praise, petting, treats, toys, or any other reward that makes them feel rewarded for their efforts.
This will help them understand that they are being rewarded for their good behavior and that it is something to strive for.
Research nearby parks and trails for regular visits
Living with a German Shepherd in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors. Research nearby parks and trails that are safe for your pup to explore. You can also look into dog-friendly areas near you that allow your pup to interact with other furry friends.
Always have a leash handy, as some places may require this, even if they are off-leash areas. Researching nearby parks and trails can also help you save time from traveling farther to explore nature with your pup.
Remember, German Shepherds, need plenty of exercise and socialization, so take advantage of these opportunities when you can!
Also, if you have a dog park in your area, feel free to explore it with your German Shepherd. But be careful; dog parks can be hell on earth. Visit them only when they're almost empty or empty. If your local dog park has obstacles designed for a dog, encourage your dog to overcome them!
Monitor noise levels to make sure your dog and neighbors are comfortable
German Shepherds are extremely vocal dog breeds. That being said, monitoring noise levels when living in an apartment is important. If your pup is barking excessively, promptly address the issue.
You can start by determining why they are barking and try to find ways to fix the situation as soon as possible. For example, if they’re barking due to boredom, try to provide them with more activities or treat dispensing toys.
This will help alleviate the problem and ensure your pup is comfortable and content. Furthermore, you must respect your neighbors by monitoring noise levels to prevent any disputes from arising.
Living with a German Shepherd in an apartment doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you are mindful of your pup’s needs and the needs of others.
Take opportunities to socialize in pet-friendly places
Socializing your German Shepherd is essential. If you live in an apartment, take advantage of pet-friendly places such as cafes and stores that allow dogs to enter. Make it a weekly activity where you can bond with your pup while introducing them to a new environment.
This will help them become more confident around other people and animals. Additionally, visiting pet-friendly places can help you save time from traveling farther to give your pup a break from the four walls of your apartment.
German Shepherds need to be socialized from a young age. Socialization helps them learn how to interact with other animals, people, and even objects in the environment.
Socializing allows them to learn about their surroundings and build confidence in unfamiliar settings. Not only does it help to reduce fear and aggression issues, but it also allows them to become well-rounded dogs. Please don't skip or avoid the socialization process.
Stick to a consistent schedule and routine
Living in an apartment with a German Shepherd can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. That being said, one of the most important things you can do is to stick to a consistent schedule and routine. This will help your pup understand what to expect and when.
Dogs thrive on consistency and predictability. Routines help reduce their stress levels as they become familiar with daily activities and know what to expect.
With a routine, dogs can anticipate when they will receive meals, potty breaks, walks, playtime, and cuddles.
Routines also give dogs mental stimulation and physical exercise, essential for a healthy lifestyle.
Purchase interactive toys that promote mental stimulation
German Shepherds are very intelligent and curious dogs. As such, they need plenty of mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
Interactive toys are a great way to entertain your pup in an apartment setting. Not only do they reduce the risk of destructive behaviors, but they also give them something constructive to focus on.
Some interactive toys are designed to make your pup think by rewarding them with treats when they solve the puzzle correctly. Others require physical activity, such as tugging and chasing. All of these activities can help stimulate their minds and keep them entertained.
Keep treats handy to reward good behavior
Rewarding your German Shepherd with treats is a great way to reinforce positive behavior. If they’re barking excessively, give them a treat when they stop. This will help remind them that being quiet is desirable.
You can also reward them for responding to commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “come”. Doing so will help encourage good behavior while preventing any unwanted misbehavior.
Treats are a great way to bond with your dog and give them something positive to look forward to. Plus, they don’t take up much space in an apartment setting!
Invest in pet insurance for peace of mind
Investing in pet insurance is another great way to ensure your German Shepherd is taken care of in an apartment setting. Pet insurance could help cover the cost of veterinary bills and treatments if something happens to your pup.
It’s a good idea to shop around for the best policy that fits your needs and budget. That way, you can know that your furry friend will be cared for if something happens.
Living in an apartment with a German Shepherd is possible but requires dedication and effort. By following these tips, you can ensure your pup stays happy and healthy while still getting all the necessary exercise.
Can a German Shepherd live in a studio apartment?
A German Shepherd can live in a studio apartment if they get plenty of exercises and mental stimulation. Ensure you provide your pup with interactive toys, keep treats handy for rewards, and consider investing in pet insurance for peace of mind.
Additionally, you should stick to a consistent schedule and routine. Doing so will help reduce stress levels and ensure your pup gets all the necessary exercise.
Also, don't forget to socialize your German Shepherd regularly so that they can become a well-rounded dog. With dedication and effort, you can make sure your German Shepherd is happy and healthy in an apartment setting.
Can German Shepherds live in a small house?
We already know that with a consistent daily routine German Shepherds can live in apartments, but what about small houses?
German Shepherds can live in small houses as long as they get plenty of exercises, mental stimulation, and socialization. You should also provide interactive toys for entertainment and reward your pup with treats for good behavior.
When living in a small house with a German Shepherd, staying consistent with the daily routine is important. This will help reduce stress levels and ensure your pup gets all the necessary exercise.
If your house has a small yard, try creating a special place for your German Shepherd. This could include a comfortable bed, toys, and even a kennel. Doing so will help ensure your pup gets the stimulation they need to stay happy and healthy.
How much space does a German Shepherd need?
Ideally, the space should be between 300-500 square feet (28-47 square meters), about the size of a small backyard. This will enable your German Shepherd to get plenty of exercises and have room to move around freely.
If you don't have access to an outdoor area, try taking your pup on regular walks or runs instead. Further, ensure you provide them with interactive toys and enrichment activities so they get the mental stimulation required for their age.
Your German Shepherd would be much happier with a huge yard. But still, even if you have a large yard, you must train your dog and take him out on regular walks.
Reasons why German Shepherds are not the best apartment dogs
Having a German Shepherd as an apartment pet can be tricky, especially if you're a first-time dog owner.
Here are 10 good reasons why German Shepherds are not the best apartment dogs:
Lack of Exercise
Large dogs require more exercise than small breeds and may not get enough in smaller apartments. German Shepherds are known for being energetic and active dogs, requiring daily exercise and physical activity.
Without sufficient exercise, German Shepherds can become irritable or destructive. In apartments, giving them enough space to run and play is often difficult, making it challenging to meet their daily exercise needs.
Ideally, they need at least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily, and an apartment may not be able to provide that.
Many apartments limit the size and breed of dogs allowed, meaning larger breeds, such as German Shepherds, are not welcomed. Regarding space requirements, German Shepherds need room to move and run around.
Unfortunately, many apartments cannot provide enough space for adequate exercise or other activities like playing. The average apartment size is roughly 500 square feet (46 square meters), which may not be enough for a large breed such as the German Shepherd.
German Shepherds not receiving sufficient exercise can become bored and develop behavioral issues like barking or destructive behavior if left alone for too long in an apartment setting.
When German Shepherds don't get their exercise needs met, they can start to exhibit signs of anxiety and stress. As a result, they may bark or whine excessively, have difficulty settling down, or become destructive.
They can also begin to chew on furniture and other objects in the apartment when left alone for too long.
To prevent such issues, providing your German Shepherd with plenty of activities and exercise is important. Besides, make sure they are properly trained and that you are consistent with enforcing the rules.
Neighbors may be disturbed by the sound of a large dog's bark, especially in tight-knit apartment buildings with thin walls between units.
German Shepherds, like any other large breed dogs, can have loud that could disturb the neighbors in tight-knit apartments.
Apart from barking, their howls and whines can also be quite disruptive. It's important to note that different breeds of dogs bark for different reasons – German Shepherds may bark more out of boredom or frustration because they can't get enough exercise.
Therefore, it would be best to consider a different breed if you live in an apartment and want to avoid barking issues.
Apartment balconies offer no protection to a large dog falling off them; they could be injured or even killed if they jump over the railing while trying to chase something outside. Safety should be a major concern regarding having a German Shepherd in an apartment.
Apartments usually have balconies that can offer no protection to a large dog that may fall off them. It is essential to practice caution and closely monitor your pet when letting them onto the balcony, as they could be injured or even killed if they accidentally jump over the railing.
It's also important to ensure that all doors are securely locked when leaving the apartment, and that windows are fastened properly to keep your pet safe.
Pet Deposit Fees
Regarding pet deposits for German Shepherds, landlords often charge higher fees due to the potential damage they can cause from jumping around inside the unit or scuffing up carpets with their claws.
Knowing this cost is important when considering getting a German Shepherd for an apartment. Depending on the landlord's policy, these deposits can range from $200-$600.
It is, therefore, essential to check with the rental property before considering getting a German Shepherd as an apartment pet.
It's much harder to keep an apartment clean when there is a larger breed occupying it since shedding fur and accidents are more likely occur.
German Shepherds shed a lot of furs and have a double coat, so grooming and brushing them regularly is essential. Their thick fur can become matted without proper grooming, leading to skin irritations.
Apartments have less space than a house, so the shedding fur and dander will accumulate more quickly in an apartment. Vacuuming and mopping regularly are recommended to prevent this.
It's more difficult to confine a large breed dog within the confines of an apartment, as they may be able to jump over fences or gates that are too short for them. When considering containment issues for a German Shepherd in an apartment, it is important to ensure that any fences or gates used to maintain the pet's confinement are tall enough.
A standard 6-foot fence should be able to contain a larger breed like the German Shepherd, but if there is any doubt, a taller fence may be needed. Additionally, you can use a leash or tie-out to contain the pet outside the apartment.
Considering all these aspects is important before bringing home a German Shepherd for an apartment.
Limitations on Freedom
German Shepherds require much more exercise than what can be provided in a smaller home, and they may become frustrated if unable to explore the outdoors or engage in activities like fetch.
German Shepherds are highly active and intelligent dogs, so confinement in a small space like an apartment can limit their freedom to explore. This lack of exercise and stimulation can lead to destructive behavior like chewing on furniture or jumping on guests.
The breed is known for its herding instincts, so if they aren’t walked daily, they may start to nip at people or other pets in the apartment. This can lead to complications with neighbors and landlords, so it is important to ensure that German Shepherds get enough exercise and stimulation when living in an apartment setting.
If a German Shepherd is not getting enough exercise, it can lead to obesity and other health issues due to lack of activity.
Obesity in German Shepherds is more common than in other breeds due to their larger size and high metabolism. This can lead to various health problems, such as joint and bone issues, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and skin disorders.
Without regular exercise and physical activity, German Shepherds can quickly become overweight, resulting in a higher risk of developing these health issues. Therefore, ensuring that your pet gets plenty of exercises when living in an apartment setting is essential.
Learn from the people who have experience
Do you wonder how it is to have a German Shepherd dog in an apartment? Here are some opinions and experiences of German Shepherd owners who live in an apartment!
"I currently have two German Shepherds in a 1080 sq. ft. apartment. It can be done, but you do have to be willing to spend quite a bit of time outside exercising your dog. My dogs get about 1.5-2 hours of off-leash exercise every day, and I do agility, nosework, and canine conditioning with them to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
The other thing to keep in mind is that very few apartments allow German Shepherds (at least in the US). The apartment I live in is the only one in my area that allows German Shepherds. Even if the apartment you are moving into allows GSDs, be aware that if you plan to move in the future, you will have a very limited selection of apartments to choose from."
"All breeds can live in apartments (with the exception of a few livestock guardian breeds) if both their physical and mental needs are meet. The difficultly with GSDs is that they are high energy and have high mental needs. If you can give 2hours of high intensity exercise (not walking but running, biking, dog park, hiking, etc) per day along with some sort of advanced training (obeidance, nose work, SAR, etc) then yes, a GSD can live happily in an apartment. But if you can't a GSD is going to destroy you apartment and everything you hold dear."
"I have a shepherd in a 950 square foot apartment. We do about 3-5 miles of walking per day, two dog park trips per week, and I take her somewhere like the pet store or an outdoor restaurant at least once a week.
She does really well on that schedule, but if I can't keep the schedule for whatever reason, she gets really bored (she's a good dog so she isn't destructive, but I can tell she is unhappy). For example, she's in a cone right now due to an eye injury and can't go to the park, and I can tell she's really bored!"
"You can, provided
- You train him well
- You take him outdoors
- You play ball with him
- You keep him and your apartment clean and in a hygienic state
Most people would say that you can't keep a German Shepherd in an apartment but that's not totally true. They can adapt to any situation and understand you better than anyone. Although they enjoy being outdoors most of the time but they are very responsible. If you leave him alone in your apartment, you can rest assured that no thief or robber can break in. He will not sleep and will always be on high alert mode.
You must give him time though. You must love him and if you don't, he will take love from you. That's the way they are. And last but not least, they love to play ball. Consider an apartment spacious enough for him to make a quick dash for the ball. They just love it."
-Chiranjib Baruah, Quora.
In this video, you can see who it is to live with a German Shepherd dog in a small house:
Why do some apartments not allow German Shepherds?
The primary reason why some apartments do not allow German Shepherds is that, in general, they are high-energy dogs and can be prone to barking and other noise issues. Also, they may require more space than the average apartment offers and cause damage due to their size (or if they are unruly).
Further, many landlords don't want to deal with the additional liability of German Shepherds. Even if they are well-beh, there have been cases of other issues related to GSDs that make landlords hesitant to accept them.
You must be an incredibly responsible pet owner to ensure a successful living arrangement with your German Shepherd. You must ensure that your GSD receives plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and training to be a well-behaved family member.
Suggestion: The best things to do with your German Shepherd
Additionally, you should always check with your landlord before getting a German Shepherd to ensure they are comfortable with the breed and willing to accept them into their building.
Best apartment dogs
Although German Shepherds can adjust to apartment life, some smaller breeds of dogs are better suited for small spaces.
Here is the list of some of the most popular apartment dog breeds:
1. French Bulldog
2. Shih Tzu
4. Bichon Frise
9. Boston Terrier
10. Labrador Retriever
11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
12. Coton de Tulear
13. Japanese Chin
14. Siberian Husky
16. Australian Shepherd
17. Chinese Crested Dog
18. Toy Poodle
20. English Bulldog
The German Shepherd is an excellent choice if you are looking for a loyal and loving companion. They make great family dogs, but they require lots of time and energy from their owners to become well-behaved. Before getting a GSD, you should research to understand what is involved in owning one and ensure you can provide them with the care they need.
Are German Shepherds good apartment pets? Yes, they can be. But if you're a first-time dog owner or don't have enough time, we highly recommend getting a different dog breed.
Believe it or not, only 10% of dogs born will find a permanent home. Around 3.9 million dogs are abandoned or given up to shelters each year.
Please don't buy this dog breed if you can't handle it. Try to find a person who is a German Shepherd owner and ask what it is like to live with a German Shepherd. Spend some time with this person and learn more about their routine.
In this way, you will see what it is like to live with a German Shepherd and to be the owner of such a dog.
Frequently asked questions
Do you still have questions? Check our FAQ section, and you can find your answer here!
❓Is a German Shepherd good for first time owners?
German Shepherds are generally good for first-time owners, but it’s still important to understand the breed before committing. German Shepherds need a firm hand and consistent training from an early age to become well-behaved, confident members of their families.
They also require plenty of daily exercises and mental stimulation, so having the time and energy to commit to them is important. If you do not have the time or resources for training or exercise, then a German Shepherd may not be the best choice for your first dog.
❓How much does an apartment-friendly German Shepherd cost?
The cost of a German Shepherd will vary depending on the breeder, but a good quality puppy can range from $500 - $2,000. It’s important to remember that these costs don’t include additional expenses such as food, vet bills, and other costs associated with owning a dog.
❓Can German Shepherds be left alone?
German Shepherds can be left alone for short periods but don’t do well for long stretches. They need companionship and are social animals, so it’s best to have someone around to give them the attention and affection they need.
Suggestion: Can German Shepherds actually be left alone?
❓Do German Shepherds bark a lot?
German Shepherds have known barkers and can be quite vocal. With proper training, however, they can learn to reduce their barking and become well-mannered family members.
But, because of this, many people who live in apartments decide to avoid German Shepherd dogs because of potential problems with neighbors and dog barking.
❓Can I sleep with my German Shepherd?
You can sleep with your German Shepherd if they are well-behaved and trained appropriately. If your GSD is known to be destructive or has poor potty training habits, it’s best to avoid sleeping in the same bed.
It’s also important to remember that even if your dog is well-behaved, it can still be disruptive in the middle of the night. If you plan to sleep with your GSD, it might be best to set up a separate area for them or place a crate near your bed.
Suggestion: Can I sleep with my German Shepherd dog?