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Can German Shepherds Live In Apartments?

Can German Shepherds Live In Apartments?

If you want to get a German Shepherd but you live in an apartment, you may have wondered can German Shepherds live in apartments? 

This article will answer that question as well as look at the ways to help a GSD do well living in an apartment, in addition to the reasons why some German Shepherds won’t be able to live in an apartment.

Can German Shepherds Live In Apartments

Technically yes, German Shepherds can live in apartments, but not all German Shepherds will do well living in an apartment.  You need to look at your individual dog to determine if the apartment lifestyle will be suited for them.

How to Best Live with a German Shepherd in an Apartment

Although, it can be possible for a German Shepherd to live in an apartment, there are certain things you will need to do as an owner to make sure your GSD is a good tenant.  These things include the following:

Give your Dog Lots of Exercise

The first thing you need to do to live happily in an apartment with a German Shepherd is to give them plenty of exercise.  If you own a German Shepherd you know they have A LOT of energy.  A tired German Shepherd is a GSD that is less likely to drive you crazy or destroy the apartment.

A German Shepherd puppy is easier to tire out than an adult dog.  With a young puppy, you can go on a few short walks each day and have some indoor play sessions and they will be good. 

GSD running outside in spring

However, with teenage and adult German Shepherds they will need a more vigorous exercise regime to tire them out.  There are many ways to exercise your German Shepherd, from walking to running, to biking, to playing fetch

Find a few activities that your dog loves that will also tire them out in the process.  Then establish a daily exercise routine and be consistent for the best results.

Obedience Training

The next thing you should do is to make sure your German Shepherd knows at a minimum some basic obedience commands

There are formal obedience classes all around the country for dog training, and since German Shepherds are so smart, you can teach them many of the basic commands at home. 

Making sure your German Shepherd is well trained is a must for apartment living because you will be around other people and other dogs.  In addition, sometimes apartments want to meet the dog before deciding to accept them (and you) as a tenant.

If you dog is bouncing off the walls, jumping on tables, and knocking people over, they will be less likely to let you rent on of their units.  However, if you dog can demonstrate that they know how to sit and be polite, they are more likely to approve of your dog living there.

Also, training is good for perception.  Some people are naturally more fearful of large breed dogs.  Thus, a large dog that is buck wild, will make some people nervous.  But if you have a large dog that is well mannered, most people will be less likely to complain to the landlord about your dog.

Crate training

Crate training can be a good tool to use in apartments, especially with a younger GSD, or a GSD that is a little mischievous.  The last thing you want is for your dog to destroy something in the apartment when you go out. 

Usually, as the tenant, you can lose your security deposit if there is damage to the unit you are renting.  Crate training can help prevent this from occurring.

If you are still in the process of training your dog, your dog may not be to the point where they can just be calm and not get into anything if leave them home alone. 

I recommend crate training from a young age because it not only protects the apartment, but it also protects your pup from getting into something dangerous and getting seriously injured while unsupervised. 

If you have an older German Shepherd that has already proven that they can be calm when they are home by themselves, then you don’t need to worry about crate training.

Find different ways to play indoors

Another thing you will need to do a little differently in an apartment is playing.  You don’t want your large dog jumping up and down to catch a ball when someone is living in a unit below you.  This will probably lead to complaints to the landlord.

More quiet ways of play are activities that require your dog to use more mental energy than physical energy.  Puzzle toys and mental exercises are great ways to keep German Shepherds entertained indoors but not cause a lot of ruckus.

Although a German Shepherd needs physical exercise, they also need to have their mind engaged on a regular basis.  If you have owned a German Shepherd you know their minds are always going, and they will try and outsmart you if you let them.  So mental games and toys are a way of stimulating their mind and tiring them out.

Of course, your dog still needs plenty of outdoor exercise.  These indoor activities are just a way to keep them occupied, mentally engaged, and quiet while in the apartment. 

Reasons why German Shepherds may not do the Best in an Apartment

Breed Restrictions

One of the main reasons why your German Shepherd may not be welcomed to live in an apartment (especially in the United States) is breed restrictions

Breed restrictions basically ban certain dog breeds from living in certain places.  There are even some states and local counties that ban people from owning a particular type of dog at all in their jurisdiction.

In America, German Shepherds are usually on the breed restriction list of many apartment complexes.  So if you want to rent an apartment with your German Shepherd you may have to look around for a place that doesn’t have breed restrictions.

I live in a large metropolitan area, and when I recently helped a friend look at apartments, only two would accept German Shepherds, and we looked at about 8 apartments. 

Depending on where you live this may not be as much of an issue, but it is definitely something to consider if you are thinking about getting a German Shepherd and you already live in an apartment.  Check with your complex to make sure GSDs aren’t prohibited.

Not enough space to play

Another potential reason German Shepherds may not do well in apartments is the lack of room to play. 

Of course, if you rent a very large apartment this can be less of an issue.  However, a studio, one-bedroom, or even two-bedroom standard sized apartment can be a little tight for a large active dog.

If you aren’t aware, German Shepherds play hard!  When a toy comes out, they go a little crazy and like to run around and jump.  So not having much space can make it harder for them to play indoors. 

As stated above, this is where mental activities and outdoor exercise come in to keep your German Shepherd active when you are living in an apartment. 

However, sometimes there will days where because of the weather, you can’t go outside to give your dog the proper amount of exercise.  Those are days when having the ability to play inside can help.

If you have the ability to rent a slightly larger apartment on the first floor, that will be better because it will provide your German Shepherd with more room to play, and because no one will be below you, so your dog romping around won’t annoy anyone else.

German Shepherds can be loud

Another reason why some German Shepherds aren’t the best tenants is because they are vocal!  German Shepherds don’t hold their tongue, they are known to bark a lot, whine, and howl

Although this is just their way of communicating, in an apartment other tenants won’t be too happy if your dog is always expressing themselves and disturbing their peace. 

Some German Shepherds are louder than others.  For example, my German Shepherd would NOT make a good apartment dog.  She will stare out the window and bark at every bird, squirrel, or deer that she can spot in the distance. 

Knowing your dog is key here.  If you know your dog is like mine, an apartment probably isn’t the best place to live.  However, if you have a more mellow GSD than apartment living shouldn’t be a problem.

They could destroy things

As stated above, if your German Shepherd doesn’t have an outlet for their energy, they can get into things.  I had to learn this the hard way when I got my German Shepherd.

Although no one wants their dog to destroy anything, it is a little different if you live in an apartment.  Usually in apartments there are penalties (usually extra fees), that you will have to pay if there is any damage done to the unit while you live there. 

If your dog is a little on the wilder side and is prone to destroying things, you should consider this when deciding whether to live in an apartment.

Final Thoughts

So, although German Shepherds can live in an apartment, whether your individual German Shepherd should live in an apartment is a determination only you can make.

If there are no breed restrictions prohibiting German Shepherds, then you just need to consider their personality, training, and your ability to keep them active enough when making this decision.

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