Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot? (Answered)

I keep getting asked if German Shepherds bark a lot, so I put together information that could help you decide if a German Shepherd could be a good fit for your next dog.

Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?

Yes, the German Shepherd dog breed is known to bark a lot.  Originally bred for herding this is a trait that is ingrained in their nature.  Barking was necessary for them to do their job and in many situations, it still is today. 

They bark when there is something important to tell their owner or family, and otherwise respond well to training.  If you are searching for a dog breed that is alert to their surroundings and needs protection this breed is the right choice!

Why do German Shepherds Bark?

German Shepherds bark for protection of themselves and their territory or family.  Their barking can mean aggression if they are guarding their food, or fear if they encounter a bear. 

If can also mean a warning to an outside intruder or pay attention to me, for their owner who is busy working.  Their emotions and thoughts play a tremendous part in how much they bark.

The German Shepherd was originally bred as a working dog breed.  They possess a high level of intelligence, protective nature, and a great ability to pick up on situations, emotions, and other issues in their surroundings.

As a working breed, they barked a lot to warn the herd or humans of potential dangers or situations that might threaten the herd they watched over.

While in our modern world they have many jobs that they can perform.  Whatever role they play in our community and our home they take that job very seriously.

Barking is a means of communication for dogs.  They bark to express emotions and thoughts as well as to communicate wants and needs or other issues that might go on in the environment.

Some of the emotions that they express include fear, anger, boredom, loneliness, friendliness, or playfulness.

It should be noted that the German Shepherd doesn’t bark for no reason if they are barking it is something that should be paid attention to and addressed.

As a dog owner if we see no immediate threat or situation in their environment we can think about other possibilities as well as pay attention to their body language which they also use to communicate to us.

The first place to check is their needs.  They should have enough fresh clean water every day, as well as adequate healthy food.  They should receive the right amount of outside exercise and playtime as well as plenty of attention to let them know they are loved.  They should have a comfortable place to sleep and a low-stress home environment to live in.

Do German Shepherds Bark a Lot?
Does the German Shepherd make other noises besides barking?
How can I help my German Shepherd be quiet?

If all these areas are in order than their owner should look at their body language to figure out why they are barking excessively.  For instance, if they are barking while returning to the back door that leads to the yard, perhaps they need to go to the bathroom, or something is going on outside.

Does the German Shepherd make other noises besides barking?

Like other dogs breeds the German Shepherd makes a variety of other noises.  These noises aid in communication and can include growling, howling, and whining to name a few.

Unlike their human companions, the German Shepherd doesn’t have a vocabulary to express when they are hurt, sad, or something is wrong.  Barking as well as their many other sounds are the way they communicate these things, along with their body language.

The German Shepherd barks a lot and makes many other noises, but they don’t make these sounds for no reason at all.  Groaning when they lie down or other sounds that they don’t appear to direct towards you can be left alone.  Let us face it, we humans even make noises to ourselves!

Other noises that are combined with emotions or intense body language should immediately be addressed.

How can I help my German Shepherd be quiet?

Training is the best method for limiting unnecessary barking and other noises.  It teaches the German Shepherd what is expected of them in their home, family, and life.

Training is a necessary part of every dog’s life, just as schooling is for children.  Training provides them with the tools and skills that allow them to be a healthy, happy, and likable dog.  It promotes good behaviors while limiting negative behaviors.

Thankfully, the German Shepherd is a highly intelligent breed that responds well to training.  They work best when they are taught what is expected of them.

Training should start as early as possible, preferably with their breeder.  Once training has been completed, they require an owner that can manage them and enforce the rules.  They respond best when they know who is in charge and respect them more if they are firmly but lovingly reminded of this regularly.

These reminders might come in the form of vocal commands to remind them to be quiet when necessary or to sit. 

They are a loyal dog that forms a strong bond with their owner or human family they respond well to training since they not only want to protect their owner or family but because they also want to please their owner.

Should a German Shepherd be taught not to bark?

No.  Barking is a necessary tool for any dog, including the German shepherd.  Barking helps a dog regardless of breed communicate needs, wants, thoughts, feelings they may have.  Barking also expresses their knowledge of situations or issues that arise in their immediate environment that they want to make you aware of.

With proper training and daily reinforcement, the German shepherd will learn what is expected of them regarding barking and other noises.  They will apply this training and bark when they find it appropriate.

Are there certain times when German Shepherd might be more likely to bark?

Yes.  The German Shepherd is a working dog, most of their barking will be for important reasons that can include, informing their family of danger or protecting their family.  If they are fearful or become aggressive this would be another reason why they would bark more.

If they are barking excessively at other times, then they might need to be reminded through vocal commands.  If this doesn’t help than consulting with their veterinarian may be helpful.

Does barking signal a health problem?

Yes and No.  Barking doesn’t necessarily mean the German Shepherd has a serious health problem, but it can mean something is wrong with them, perhaps they are in pain or injured.

If they are barking excessively or displaying body language that signals a problem, this can be a possibility.  At this point, their owner or family should take the time to discover what is bothering them.

If the problem can’t be figured out by a physical inspection of their body than, it is best to consult their veterinarian.  Barking that is excessive, on rare occasions can signal more serious health issues.

One area where excessive barking is connected to emotional issues is concerning anxiety, separation anxiety in particular.  Some dog breeds can have a higher incidence of separation anxiety.  The German Shepherd is one of those breeds.

They are loving and loyal and form a strong bond with their owner or family.  Although they are physically strong, athletic, and capable, they thrive on this connection that they share. 

This is one of the primary reasons they make such good protectors and guard dogs because they will protect to the bitter end.

This protective nature and deep bond that they form can bring other emotional issues if they are left alone for too long.  If their owner or family is away for an extended period, they can suffer from anxiety, and separation anxiety.

This emotional issue can reveal itself in excessive barking or other negative behaviors.  Sometimes it needs to be addressed with their veterinarian but most often not.

Ensuring that they aren’t left alone for extended periods can help keep their separation anxiety as well as barking or other negative behaviors away.

In Conclusion

Barking can be a negative behavior if it gets out of control or is excessive.  The German Shepherd isn’t likely to have this problem.

They do bark often but only when necessary, so it is best to pay attention to what they are trying to communicate to you.

Ensuring their needs are met, including emotional needs as well as offering them ample connection time with their owner will keep them healthy.  This in turn will minimize any barking issues that may arise.

A healthy, happy, loved German Shepherd is a well-behaved dog!