Some dog breeds do well with all sorts of pets, while other breeds may naturally be more aggressive toward small dogs.
What about a German Shepherd?
Before bringing home a German Shepherd, it is important to know how this breed will behave toward small dogs.
This will help you determine what precautions to take involving your German Shepherd’s contact with animals.
German Shepherds are dogs that are naturally very strong, powerful, and fast.
These characteristics may make it hard to control a German Shepherd if things do not work out well between him and another dog.
A lot of owners find that their German Shepherd gets along fine with other medium to large sized breeds.
This is especially true if the other dog is good natured and shows no aggression.
But is this the case with dogs that are much smaller than the powerful German Shepherd?
Are German Shepherds good with small dogs?
Are German Shepherds Good With Small Dogs?
German Shepherds are good with small dogs as long as they receive proper socialization with them as puppies.
German Shepherd puppies that have lots of friendly interactions with small dogs will get along great with them in a household.
A German Shepherd puppy who has never been introduced to them may not always react well to a smaller dog as an adult.
He may act confused, fearful, even show aggression.
However, most German Shepherds will do fine as long as they are allowed to interact with small dogs when they are still young.
Why is this important?
Socialization will let them become familiar with and find out information about others dogs.
It will also help them get comfortable with dogs of all sizes, and acquire positive experiences of meeting them.
Why Does My German Shepherd Attack Small Dogs?
Lack Of Socialization And Proper Training
Some German Shepherds have not ever been socialized, exposed to, and acquainted with small dogs during their youth.
This could lead to problems when they become adults, such as that they won’t be able to get along with small dog breeds.
They will act on what their instinct is telling them to do, and that could even be to attack in defense of themselves.
Training is also critical for a German Shepherd puppy to teach them about behaviors that are acceptable and ones that aren’t.
Without training and basic obedience, German Shepherds will not know how to act appropriately around other people and dogs.
German Shepherds may attack small dogs because they simply do not know how to behave around them.
Aggressive Or Dominant Character
Some German Shepherd individuals are naturally prone to being aggressive toward other dogs, including small ones.
They may growl or even attack them.
This is especially true if a German Shepherd is very dominant of nature. This will likely incline him to want to show other dogs that he is in charge.
If a small dog vandalizes that rule or stands up for itself, this could result in the German Shepherd attacking him.
Sometimes German Shepherds have inherited genes from their parents that make their character aggressive.
This is the case, for instance, for German Shepherds bred especially for protection or the military and police.
Bad Past Experiences
A German Shepherd could have had negative experiences with small dogs in the past, especially during puppyhood.
He may have been growled at, frightened, or bitten by a small dog on a previous occasion.
This could then potentially result in a development of fear, aversion, or hatred of dogs of a smaller size.
The German Shepherd may avoid them altogether, or may display aggressive behavior toward them – and even attack them!
High Prey Drive
German Shepherds are for a fact prey driven dogs, and this may incline them to chase and hunt down what they view as ‘prey’.
For them, potential targets may include rabbits, cats, squirrels, and small dogs.
German Shepherds may therefore run after and even attack dogs of a small size, seeing them as their prey or victims.
If your German Shepherd regularly engages in this behavior, it could quickly get out of hand and become unmanageable.
It could result in him attacking small dogs, hurting, or injuring them. Such an attack could even prove to be fatal.
This is why training is crucial to teach your German Shepherd that small dogs cannot be chased after and attacked.
He should learn to be able to define that this conduct is not acceptable, and avoid doing it.
German Shepherds are naturally very territorial dogs. This is especially true of males.
They will protect both their household and their territory, marking it frequently and roaming it.
If a dog enters what a German Shepherd views as his property, it could end up in a fight. A German Shepherd will challenge an intruder.
He could growl, bite, or even attack a dog that comes into contact or crosses his territory boundaries.
A small dog that fights back will especially fare badly in a case of rivalry with a German Shepherd over territory.
How To Stop German Shepherd From Attacking Small Dogs?
Install A Fence Around Your Yard
If your German Shepherd tends to escape your yard frequently to chase after small dogs, you may need to install a high fencing.
Some German Shepherds can jump to even as high as six feet in the air, so ensure the fencing is higher than that.
Alternatively, you can put up a high net, or a PVC pipe or wire running along the top of the fence.
This will prevent him from jumping up to get across where he can chase and attack small dogs.
Keep Your German Shepherd On A Leash During Walks
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When taking your German Shepherd out for a walk in an area where there are other dogs, keep him on a leash .
This will prevent him from running off to small dogs and chasing after or attacking them.
It will also give you control over him, as you can make sure he does not come into contact with another small dog.
You can also pull him away from the presence of small dogs passing by.
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If you worry that a small dog might run up to your German Shepherd and he will attack, keep a muzzle on him.
You can do this in town areas or parks where there is a high likelihood of small dogs being around without a leash.
Stick to walking your German Shepherd in rural areas where he can run around freely.
There are plenty of places where there will be a lesser chance of meeting a small dog or other kind of animal.
Introduce Your German Shepherd To Small Dogs Gradually
You may want your German Shepherd to act calm around small dogs, or become comfortable with a dog he will be spending time with.
This will require you to keep your German Shepherd on a leash at all times, and a muzzle. This is in case he becomes aggressive or tries to bite or attack.
Allow him to sniff the small dog and socialize with him. When your German Shepherd does this in a calm manner and acts peacefully, reward him with a treat.
Every time he begins to grow aggressive, tug on the leash and command him to sit down.
It is always crucial that your German Shepherd learns from a very young age to view you as the leader of his pack.
If a German Shepherd respects you and your headship, he will most likely be more willing to listen to your commands.
When he calms down, allow him to continue his interaction with the small dog. If he remains friendly, try this with the muzzle off, and reward him for good behavior.
After around half an hour of positive interaction with a small dog, your German Shepherd should be comfortable being around him.
It is important that your German Shepherd is properly introduced to a small dog he is going to be spending time with.
This should be done ahead of time, so that he has become friendly and familiarized with the small dog and is comfortable.
Best Small Dog Companions For German Shepherd
What small dogs will do best living with and being a companion to a German Shepherd?
Beagles are both friendly with people, children, and other dogs. Their good nature will make them a great companion for a German Shepherd.
They are energetic, love to play and have fun, and love the outdoors. This allows them to be able to match the German Shepherd’s energy.
Also, a lot of German Shepherd like to spend time in the yard, so the Beagle can be a great companion for the outdoors.
The Shetland Sheepdog, also known commonly as the sheltie, was bred, just as the German Shepherd, to be a herding dog.
As a result, these dogs are very energetic and great companions for another energetic, active dog. They love to play and are one of the lowest aggressive breeds.
They are very peaceful and friendly toward other dogs of all sizes.
The toy poodle, which is the smallest variety of all the poodles, is a dog that is very playful and friendly with other dogs.
They do well with children, large and small dogs, and even cats. This is because they are peaceful, accepting, and highly sociable toward humans and animals.
Their good nature will make them an energetic, playful, non threatening companion for the large German Shepherd.
Corgis are very mild tempered and calm dogs. They are not aggressive toward other dogs, and seem to do well in households with pets. They even do well with cats.
Since they are herding dogs just as the German Shepherd, they will have similar levels of energy.
They will enjoy running and playing together, as Corgis love to play with other dogs.
Corgis are a friendly breed toward animals, and adapt well to new house members.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is very playful and gentle with both people and other dogs.
They are full of energy, and they love to show affection to their family and household members.
They will do well with a German Shepherd, because they can prove to be an affectionate companion and play mate.
These dogs also have a very happy and cheerful disposition, and are not known to become aggressive.
The Boston Terrier is a very good natured and mild tempered dog.
This makes him calm, peaceful, and friendly toward other dogs, including the German Shepherd.
Additionally, the Boston Terrier is a rather active dog. Therefore, he will love to play and run around with the energetic German Shepherd.
Maltese are small dogs with a good nature that do not have an instinctively aggressive or dominant disposition.
This will make them a peaceful companion for a German Shepherd.
They are very bright, lively, outgoing, and playful, and their energy can make them an exceptional play mate for a German Shepherd.
These dogs do best living with bigger dogs instead of with cats, which they may be inclined to chase after.
In conclusion, are German Shepherds good with small dogs?
German Shepherds are good with small dogs, as long as they are socialized well with them from puppyhood.
They will need to learn how to behave around small dogs, and that chasing after them is not acceptable.
However, a German Shepherd individual could naturally be aggressive or dominant.
Or, he could have had bad previous experiences with small dogs. This could make him fearful, or inclined to show aggression.
What if I find that my German Shepherd attacks small dogs?
This will require you to keep him on a leash and/or wear a muzzle in public areas.
However, in this case, make time to allow your German Shepherd to get to know a small dog under supervision.
After a while, your German Shepherd will learn that a small dog is non threatening and means no harm.
As a result, he will become more comfortable being around small dogs altogether.