Are German Shepherds Good with Small Dogs?

Are German Shepherds Good with Small Dogs

German Shepherd is one of the highly social dog breeds. Besides a choice of them with temperament issues, Shepherds go easy with other dogs. Also, normally due to their tough and royal physical build, people often take German Shepherds as aggressive.

The already dog parents who want to add a Shepherd to their pet family often wonder, Will a German Shepherd be good with my small dogs? Obviously, pet parents who already have dogs at home will want each of the canines to behave well with each other. The idea is to make sure that each individual dog you own should mend easily with German Shepherds and vice versa. Everything needs to be taken into account, from concerns like rivalry and aggressiveness to the idea of possessiveness.

In this article, we will take a detailed look at whether German Shepherds are compatible with small dogs or not. We will also tell you how to introduce your German Shepherd to other dog breeds properly. These tips will be handy when it is time to socialize your German Shepherd with other small dogs. Furthermore, we will mention the best companion dog breeds for German Shepherds.

Article Published on 15th November 2021 » Updated on 14th January 2022

aditi chef editorWritten By Sergey Uhanov Certified Veterinarian.
Sergey Uhanov is a certified veterinarian for dogs over 10 years, breeding 3 dogs. He loves dogs and has his own pet clinic in Israel. He likes to help other people with their dogs by sharing his experience and knowledge.

Do German Shepherds live well with other small dogs?

German Shepherds generally are cordial with small dogs, but for the first encounter, some aggression may arise.

Some particular from the breed also carries a strong prey drive. This makes them extra aggressive around small dogs, cats, and even humans. It may be a result of bad training or lack of socialization amongst German Shepherds from their Puppyhood.

Contrarily, if you adopt a puppy German Shepherd, he/she may behave cordially with other small dogs are home. Though, when you bring home an adult German Shepherd, chances are, some high-level barking scenes may take place.

How to introduce my German Shepherd to small dogs?

An adult German Shepherd, due to its demeanor and size, may prove threatening to other dogs. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will never get along with small dogs.

Certain tips will help you handle your German Shepherd’s behavior with small dogs. If not friendly, you can still train your Shepherd to behave affably around strangers, including both humans and animals they encounter.

Tips for making it work between German Shepherds and Small dogs

The bond between two dogs is not always about friendship. They can live together as housemates without interfering with each other’s territory. Those who have multiple dogs at home must make sure they together work as a pack without any of them behaving as Alpha or Beta.

Here are some tips on how can you ensure keeping German Shepherds good with small dogs (both at home and outside):

  • Socialize them from Puppyhood

The behavior between dogs comes mostly from their training. German Shepherds who are well socialized during their Puppyhood keep the habit intact later as well. Ensure that your Shepherd meets other dogs and new people during their Puppyhood and does well in public.

All you need to do is take them to social places. At first, they may behave aggressively; however, things will improve with the right training and certain command. Dog owners who keep their dogs alone and isolated invest more into their aggressive and rough behavior.

  • Expose your German Shepherds more often.

Good training at Puppyhood is not the key alone. With dogs of various temperaments, sizes, and breeds make sure you take in positive results with their exposure.

For example, take them to dog daycare where they can meet multiple other dogs. Or plan a puppy play date with your friends, family, or other pet parents in society. Such exposures will make them comfortable around other dogs.

  • Seek help from an animal behaviorist

Animal Behaviourists are professionals who manage, modify and prevent behavioral issues amongst animals, especially pets. They have work experience with animals in shelters, zoos, and private clients.

Thus, if you already own a German Shepherd who has behavior issues, an animal behaviorist can prove you for help. He/ She will train your dog to behave around fellow dogs and humans.

  • If possible, avoid adopting untrained, especially aggressive dogs

While choices are in abundance, if the idea convinces you, avoid adopting aggressive German Shepherds. Especially if you have other dogs already at home or are planning to adopt more, this is important to consider. This way, you can avoid any unwanted incident amongst your pets.

How To Stop German Shepherd from Attacking Small Dogs?

While training and socialization work well with a dog’s behaviors, the chances are that with a selective dog, nothing may help. And with them, all you can do is, stop them from behaving aggressively or attacking other small dogs.

  • Always keep them on On-lease during walks.

While you take your aggressive German Shepherd out for a walk, always keep him on On-lease. Consider having a strong control and pull him around other dogs in the surroundings.

  • Make them wear Muzzle during outdoor exposure.

German Shepherds are strong and masculine dogs who, at times, can become hard to control even with the lease. Especially when they see other dogs around, they try to get free from lease and attack them.

However, if your dog is already wearing a muzzle, chances of them biting others will go down. Or even if a small dog or kids come running towards your Shepherd, a muzzle will prevent any chances of biting.

  • Fence your Yard

To keep your German Shepherd free yet in control at home, fencing the year comes in handy. This way, while your dog can roam freely in its territory, the fence will keep them from escaping out and chasing small dogs around.

  • Consult with the Vet

Suppose your German Shepherd behaves aggressively around small dogs or anyone, maybe because there’s an underlying medical condition. As per experts, dogs who show acute aggressive behavior all of a sudden are maybe suffering from some painful conditions.

For example, adrenal dysfunction, sensory deficits, cognitive dysfunction, seizure disorders, orthopedic problems, and thyroid abnormality can lead to aggression in dogs.  Along with that, Neurological issues, Traumatic mental effects, and low calcium levels in lactating female dogs may result in aggression towards other dogs.

Similarly, new dog mothers show aggression towards other dogs in order to keep their puppy safe.

  • Ensure their mental and physical stimulation

Dogs who are kept isolated and alone for a long time bring out their frustration in the form of aggression. It is because they find no other way to release their energy and regular frustration; it gives birth to aggression.

Thus, ensuring that your Shepherd is getting a daily dose of required mental and physical stimulation, chances are their aggressive behavior will cool down to an extent.

Best Companion Dogs for German Shepherds

Like humans, dogs too get along with others from their territory. It isn’t difficult to keep two dogs together or even multiple dogs, for that matter. Some families own ten dogs, all of whom have been doing cordial with each other for years.

Though, the trick here is to keep together dog breeds that go cordial with each other easily. Along with that, training and socialization skill is anyway a requirement.

Here are a few companion dog breeds for German Shepherds

  1. Beagle
  2. Labrador Retrievers
  3. Australian Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Border Collie
  6. Corgi
  7. Maltese
  8. Belgian Malinois
  9. Siberian Huskies
  10. Toy Poodle

Wrapping Up…

As long as your German Shepherd is well trained and socialized, it will behave well with small dogs. However, this statement does not imply with every individual Shepherd.

Some aggressive and dominant dogs may rarely get along with other dogs, regardless of their size. Whether you are adding a German Shepherd or a small dog to your pet family, do good research about them beforehand.

Know about that dog individually and get a detailed introduction to its health, behavioral traits, and temperament. Only when you think things are under control or improvable, then only introduce it to your pet family.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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