Aspen Peak Shepherds

Breeders of champion line pedigreed AKC registered German Shepherds.

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The German Shepherd Dog in Reality

The German Shepherd Dog is an extremely magnificent creature and a desirable, loyal companion. The AKC specifically defines the ideal German Shepherd Dog by breaking down the body and mind and detailing traits that breeders should unquestionably aim for.

But what is the real German Shepherd like in its home setting, as a family pet or a companion. Make no mistake, the German Shepherd Dog is unlike any other canine breed.  While each dog has individual traits, there are some common traits that are inherent to the German Shepherd breed. It is only fair that I share these with you, so you are not misled in getting a German Shepherd Dog.

Activity Level

First and foremost, the German Shepherd Dog is a high-drive animal. This means they need to be working or playing.  They are inherently active creatures that do not lead sedentary lives. The German Shepherd Dog needs something to keep it busy every day; they do not know the meaning of a weekend or a day of rest. They must be doing something: working, training, or playing. The ideal home for a German Shepherd Dog is one that has an owner or family that can guarantee an interactive lifestyle for the dog.  One that will play, train, or work the dog. These dogs DO sleep but if you get up at night to use the bathroom or check on that bump in the night, your German Shepherd will be up in an instant, ready to back you up.

With that said, the German Shepherd Dog is an extremely intelligent dog, so much that you might think it stupid at times. But there is always a method to their madness. They are calculating creatures and can con you at times into thinking that you got the only dumb German Shepherd in existence. But be careful, you are being duped for sure.

Our Lakota seems not to have come with an on/off switch. As a puppy, she went nonstop. The idea that puppies need sleep did not seem to apply. She was always on the move. We had to learn to live with a German Shepherd Dog. There was definitely a steep learning curve and Lakota was the one doing the teaching. We had to learn to adapt to her, not the other way around. But how could we not?  Everything about her was pure bliss. She was lively, happy, and charming. She knew how to work it. We couldn’t get mad when she wanted to play in the middle of the night. She was a puppy, after all.  A child at heart.

A German Shepherd Dog will mellow with time.  A LOT of time.  About 18 months. In the meantime, the owner of a German Shepherd Dog should be committed to having the dog trained, exercised, and played with. The owner of a German Shepherd Dog is a committed owner. The  payoff, over time, is incredibly worth it.

German Shepherd 0-4 months

German Shepherd 4 months- 18 months

German Shepherd 18 months

Left: Lakota with a stick during drywalling. She has not destroyed anything but her stick, but she does want to be a part of EVERYTHING.

Aspen Peak Shepherds screens homes for the right family or individual suited for the rigors of owning a German Shepherd Dog. We strongly encourage anyone interested in ANY German Shepherd Dog to be prepared for the activity level and the needs of this breed. Do not be swayed by any breeder who tells you otherwise. THIS IS A BREED TRAIT.

In return, with attention, love, and training, the German Shepherd you will get later on is incredibly loyal, intelligent and committed to the family. It will be a constant companion to you and a symbol of strength and protection for the family. The German Shepherd Dog is courageous and will lay down its life for its family.


I lovingly call the German Shepherd Dog the German Shedder. The coat is an extremely lush coat that continually sheds, more so at the turn of summer to fall and winter to spring. Make no mistake, you will be vacuuming or sweeping more often with a German Shepherd in the house.  I raise Minuet cats, which are long haired cats, and we have a shepherd/husky mix, so we are no strangers to loose hair. But we also sweep daily, mainly due to my neurosis to do so. Living with any pets, unless they are the hairless kind, means living with hair on your furniture, bed, and clothes. In these pet-friendly times, this is a badge of honor, having your pets’ hair clinging to your clothes for all to see. I am not ashamed if a hair adorns my pants or shirt out in public. But you will have to invest in a lint roller if you have a white collar job or like to attend fancy gatherings.

Regular brushing of your German Shepherd dog will help in eliminating loose hair and also develops a stronger bond between you and your dog. All dogs enjoy the attention of brushing, so this is an added benefit to brushing for a reason. I use grooming time to visually inspect all my pets for continued health (i.e. injuries, skin condition, loose stools, etc.). Brushing will allow you to know your dog better simply because you will have a hands on interaction with her.

Food Bill

The German Shepherd Dog is a large breed. With this comes a larger food bill than having a petit pet.  A healthy German Shepherd Dog is one that is fed a high quality food that promotes good health and hygiene. Good dog food is not cheap, but it is an investment that will pay out in droves by extending the life–and quality of life–of your German Shepherd Dog.


The German Shepherd breed, like most breeds, has a tendency for certain health concerns. However, responsible breeding and screening of parent dogs greatly reduces the risk of these concerns. Anyone interested in a German Shepherd Dog should demand that a breeder has done everything required by responsible breeders to only use parent dogs that will produce healthy puppies.  Those requirements are:

DNA testing to screen for canine genetic diseases.

Certifications on hips, elbows, and eyes.

Cardiac exam

Autoimmune thyroiditis

Aspen Peak Shepherds have done the above to ensure that our dogs are healthy and physically and genetically sound to produce quality puppies.  We DNA test through Wisdom Health, Optimal Selection, which tests for over 200+ canine and breed-specific genetic diseases.  Our certifications are done by:

Dr. Brittany Schumack, Village Center Veterinary, Colorado Springs

Dr. Lori Best Hall, Eye Specialists for Animals, Colorado Springs


The German Shepherd Dog is a very powerful beast. At times, it doesn’t even understand it’s own strength. They love to greet you with a run and jump, which can bowl you over. They don’t mean anything nasty by it; they are just enthusiastic to see you. Training, training, and training is the key here. You’ll have to train your German Shepherd not to jump on people, even though this goes against their very nature. Although Lakota is trained, she still does a half-hearted leap that doesn’t complete itself because she can’t help herself but she also knows she’s not supposed to. This is where training and correction is absolutely necessary. A German Shepherd Dog can do damage just by saying hello if you don’t train it properly.

A German Shepherd Dog also plays very hard. If you have other dogs, your German Shepherd will love to play with them. A German Shepherd Dog in full play mode can move furniture. Lakota plays with our shepherd/husky mix and it is like two T-rexes clashing in full battle mode. This is just play.

Having smaller pets or cats will require supervision around a German Shepherd Dog for the life of the German Shepherd. However, this is true with any large, prey-driven dog. Even though your German Shepherd seems to be best friends with a smaller dog or cat, sudden movement by them can spark the prey-drive in the German Shepherd Dog, prompting the German Shepherd to attack.  We have six cats and our German Shepherds are perfectly fine with them under our supervision. But when we go out of the house, we put our cats up in separate rooms simply as a precautionary measure.  In our minds, it is better to be safe than sorry.


German Shepherds love to mouth things. This is not biting, but it can be construed as such by some people. For some reason, German Shepherds love to put things in their mouths and mouth it, especially your hand.  It doesn’t hurt but it is a bad habit to let go on. Training and correction is very important to break this habit. You don’t want company to have their hands in your German Shepherd’s mouth. It is a very disconcerting position to be in.  Like having your head in a lion’s mouth. Besides, do you want to constantly wash your hands of German Shepherd saliva?


These are the upfront caveats to a potential buyer of a German Shepherd Dog to take into consideration before purchasing a puppy.  Please do not think you will get a dog that will not have these traits.  As a member of TWO German Shepherd Dog Clubs, these traits are prevalent in everyone’s (of the clubs) German Shepherd Dogs.  However, the traits are endearing to the people who love the breed.

Make no mistake, most large breeds will have similar traits, so be prepared to contend with some of these issues if you have your heart set on a large breed dog.  In return, though, a German Shepherd Dog is unquestionably – at least in my mind – the best dog breed in the world.