Some people considering a German Shepherd puppy want to know if they can leave the dog outdoors.
I have heard this question here once or twice. Thankfully, with the particular line of GSDs that we have here, this is not an issue that we run into. Anyone getting a West German Show Line GSD wants a family member and understands the exercise and socialization factors. So, back to our normal blog posts in just a moment. I wanted to answer this question here on our website because people are googling it.
Can they be left outdoors?
The short answer is NO.
A GSD, especially a German line GSD, is a hardy animal. Sure, they are a close relative of the wolf and can survive outside. They can be out for short periods of time. In my experience though, anyone asking this question is NOT prepared to get a GSD.
A German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog. When you get a shepherd you are adding a new member to your pack. You wouldn’t leave your kids out all night long, would you? No. Sure, the kids might be fine but even if they survive physically, it is really going to screw with them mentally if you send them out the back door each night.
Now you might think that I am saying this as a dog fanatic. Rest assured I am not. Socialization and exercise are mandatory for this breed. Exercise levels depend on the dog but expect to be walking this dog daily or giving it a thorough workout every 48hrs, at least throughout the “teen years” (until they are about 3yrs old). They have a certain amount of energy that must physically leave their body. It WILL leave their body one way or another; if it leaves in a healthy manner or not is the human’s responsibility.
In other words, no, a GSD should not be an “outdoor dog”. Rescues will not let GSDs go home with you if the dog will not be indoors, nor will any responsible breeder. They are a pack member and sending them outside is unhealthy.