They’re both big dogs that are often a similar size in many respects. Both breeds enjoy immense popularity, as well as traits that make them excellent family companions. If you’ve ever encountered these breeds, you may wonder if they get along nicely.
In short, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers can get along very well. Both types of dogs ordinarily have similar energy levels. As with any new pet introduction, you will need to give the dogs time to adjust to ensure everything works out.
Why Are German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers Suitable?
According to 2 Puppies, a similar size is just one thing that makes these dogs suited to life in the same household. GSDs and Goldens share many other traits in common.
German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers both have high intelligence levels. High intelligence is a common trait that makes these breeds popular as service animals. These dogs are also popular for therapy and emotional support needs.
Even though both these breeds are very intelligent, they are also reasonably calm. All dogs, regardless of the breed, require appropriate stimulation. When a dog has the right level of stimulation, they will be better-behaved.
Both GSDs and Goldens will require plenty of interaction with their human family members. Living out in the backyard all the time is not a suitable life for these dogs. Play with each other, and activities like walks make a difference.
How Similar Are German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers?
According to Kelly Wilson, the German Shepherd is the second-most popular breed in the United States, while the Golden Retriever is second.
Some of the traits that make these breeds so popular include being good with children, as well as having a playful nature when appropriate. Both dogs also have a strong tendency to be loyal to their family members.
However, owners do well to remember that these breeds have different histories and were bred for different activities. Shepherds are herding or flock guardian dogs, while Retrievers are hunting dogs.
What Are the Origins of German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers?
German Shepherds originated in Germany during the late 1800s. The breed came about from Shepherds used for herding that were bred for their intelligence and working skills.
Golden Retrievers have their origins in Scotland and England of the 1880s. This type of dog came from setters and water dogs that gatekeepers used to retrieve waterfowl.
Both dog breeds’ appearances became more standardized during the early 20th century. Today, both dogs enjoy appearances and temperament traits that make it easy to predict their size, grooming needs, and behavior.
What Are German Shepherd and Golden Retriever Physical Traits?
GSDs are medium and often large dogs. When grown, these dogs may weigh from around 55 up to over 100 pounds. Heights between 24 to 26 inches at the withers are also average.
Goldens are medium-sized dogs, with a reasonably strong build. A healthy weight for a grown male should be around 75 pounds, with females being a little less heavy.
German Shepherds have longer, square muzzles that help provide a powerful bite. The ears on these dogs usually stand up naturally, without the need for cropping and posting.
Golden Retrievers have broader heads and floppy ears. One trait that stands out with these dogs is the tail that has a feathery appearance.
Both dogs have medium to long coats that require regular care. Shepherds have double coats, with an undercoat that sheds in the spring. Retrievers shed their undercoat layers in the spring and fall. Both breeds benefit from regular brushing.
Truly hypoallergenic dogs do not shed. Under these criteria, neither breed is hypoallergenic. Read more about What dog breeds are hypoallergenic?
The typical coat color for GSDs consists of a reddish or tan coat with black markings on the back, muzzle, and tail. Sable, black and all-white are possible, as well as rarer colors like liver or silver.
Goldens have a golden or yellowish coat that is not much different from a yellow Labrador’s coat color. Some of these dogs might have a more reddish tint to their coats.
What Are German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers’ Personalities Like?
German Shepherds have a reputation for following commands given 95% of the time, according to Petrix.
Golden Retrievers have a high degree of both confidence and friendliness. Even though Retrievers are very enthusiastic, their intelligence is high, almost on the same level as that of Shepherds.
Mental stimulation is of great importance for German Shepherds because of their working background. These dogs are active learners that will enjoy any challenge, which makes obedience training a necessity and makes them perfect agility dogs.
Golden Retrievers enjoy outdoor activity, particularly anything that involves being on the water. These dogs have a strong desire to please their family members. Food rewards work very effectively with this breed.
Both breeds have high exercise needs and benefit from daily walks as well as exercise time in the yard. Games such as fetch or Frisbee will help stimulate both of these types of dogs. You can read more about how much exercise does a Golden Retriever need?
GSDs are known for being very protective of their families, making careful introductions to strangers necessary. Goldens, on the other hand, tend to lean towards being too friendly to strangers, making them less useful as guard dogs.
Both of these dogs tend to bark a lot, although for different reasons. German Shepherds bark because of their protective nature.
When most Retrievers bark, on the other hand, it is usually play-related. Both breeds benefit from their owners knowing how to help them control their barking through positive training methods.
What Health Issues Could German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers Have?
Both breeds might have varying health risks based on whether they come from American or European lines. Either breed can be vulnerable to health conditions that arise due to obesity, making regular physical activity important.
Joint issues, such as hip dysplasia, can be common in both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers because of their large size. Owners should also expect arthritis as these dog’s age, although a proper diet and supplements make a difference.
Of the two breeds, Goldens, especially from American lines, have a higher chance of getting cancer. Treatments have varying degrees of success, depending on the type of cancer in any dog.
Introducing a New Dog Effectively
This video demonstrates how well these dogs can get along, especially at play. Unless you own both dogs from puppyhood, knowing how to introduce them properly makes a difference.
Regardless of how you acquire the second dog, you will want to make sure they are suitable matches for each other. A puppy might get on an adult dog’s nerves, and a senior might not be able to keep up with a young dog’s energy level.
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue recommends setting reasonable goals when a new dog joins your family’s “pack”. The new dog may seem like a threat to them.
Remain calm and introduce the new dog slowly. Fear-based aggression could be a problem if the newcomer came from an abusive background. The last thing you need is hard-to-break aggression issues between two big dogs.
The dogs should never be unattended, even if only for a few minutes. A stressed dog can turn aggressively quickly, and you need to be able to put a stop to the hostility. Even if you have one of the dogs created, they should not be left unattended.
Make sure that you, not the dogs, control their interactions. Dogs that are the size of German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers can get very rowdy. Consider having one or two other people present to help you keep everyone under control.
Addition Tips for Introducing Your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever
Get your resident dog acclimated to the new dog’s scent before any interactions. One of the best ways to do this is to allow the dog to sniff a blanket or towel that the new dog has been lying on. This step will decrease the shock during introductions.
Consider making the initial introduction in a neutral location, such as a park or a neighbor’s yard. Have each dog handled by a different person and on a six-foot leash.
Allow the dogs to walk near each other without interacting with each other at first. Even if one or both dogs initially ignore each other, this is a better outcome than combative behavior. Keep a positive attitude to keep the dogs calm.
Let the dogs sniff for a few seconds, and offer praise for their positive behavior. Lead them away from each other, them back again more than once. Make sure the dogs continue to receive praise for behaving nicely toward each other.
Helping Your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever Settle In
Regardless of whether the GSD or the Golden is the resident dog, keep toys and other personal items put away to avoid fights. The dogs should eat and sleep in separate areas to prevent any problems.
Make sure neither dog gets more attention than the other. You’ll help avoid problems with jealousy-related fighting.
German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers can be best friends. Make sure they have proper introductions, and all should be well.