Why are people so afraid of German shepherds?

Whenever I take Nina for a walk, a lot of people are scared of her. Even when she doesn't bark, I've seen people who yell at me that they're allergic to dogs and to get away (and after that they'll go and pet my friends puppy). Or one lady picked up her little dog and started shushing it like it was a baby and and like my dog was going to attack it. Which she didn't even look twice at it. Nina minds her own business for the most part, she rarely barks, and when she does I quickly use the cue for her to stop. She's a little on the small side for a shepherd, she's not like, gigantic or anything. When kids come up to pet my friend and I's dogs, they go straight to the puppy and their parents warn them to stay away from Nina. Why are German shepherds so scary to people? I mean, I don't care that they're not giving my dog any attention, because Nina's sort of aloof, doesn't care much for it. That's how the breed usually is. I just don't really get why she's so terrifying.

Asked by Nina on Apr 25th 2010 in German Shepherd
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Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

I feel your pain. I'm fortunate enough to live in an area with lots of decent, or at least half-way so, GSD owners, so people are pretty familiar with the breed here, but there are those who keep their distance and really hurt me with their ignorant comments.

The problem is that so many people have owned GSDs that either shouldn't (whether it's because they're not good owners or it's just not the right dog for them) or they're ignorant about proper training and behavior. Some think it's normal for GSDs to bark, growl, and lunge at every stranger they see. "He is a guard dog after all", some think. There's more to it, such as how well the dog was socialized, but if I were to name everything that adds to the problem, this answer would probably turn into a miniature book.
The same problem lies in all breeds to some extent, but people don't tend to be afraid of smaller dogs and may even feel that it's cute when a Poodle tries to nip someone's ankles.

How to combat ignorance? With knowledge. Learn the facts and share them with others, and train your dog so that he will be a good example of the breed.

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 8 Report this answer


German Shepherds are used for police dogs they are trained to hunt down people and bite them.People think with there wolf like face and how big they are they are quite imitating.I know they are big softies but you need to make sure Evan the kindest of dogs can take a turn on someone or some thing.Some people are scared of big dogs and it is not there fault

lola answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


yeah, its because they are trained for police work and they look big and scary, and people assume that just because some german shepherds are used as police dogs and used to hunt down people, that every german shepherd is mean and ferocious, well its not true. : ) i think its best to educate people about german shepherds and what great dogs they can be, reassure them, that nina is not going to hurt them and she is friendly and explain that not every shepherd is not going to attack. some people can just be ignorant or they just don't know any better, because of maybe past experiences. i LOVE shepherds, pit bulls, any bully breed and any big dog. yay! for german shepherds!! : )

Member 765056 answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Shiver Me Timbers

I agree with everyone else on the police thing and general fears. Some of those people may have a genuine fear to a breed, size of dog, etc and it may not be their fault. Others are nervous about strange adult dogs around their kids. But the biggest concern is police dogs with them. GSD's are used so often for police work, guarding, security, etc, that people automatically think it's engraved in their brains. What they don't realize is that a dog THAT well trained, will listen to every single cue or command, right on the spot and will not go after someone unless told to do so and even then, they follow through with going for just that specific person, rather than the person next to them. I own three rottweilers and often, people will cross the street when I walk even one of them. I intend to get a GSD in the near future, as well. Don't be hurt about it, it might not even be that SHE is specifically terrifying, rather than the breed itself. Just remember people are undereducated.

Shiver Me Timbers "Charlie" answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I find it ironic that people will want to pet Squ'mey & love on him (he doesn't like it much, but tolerates it) and then they ask what he is. When I say white gsd I get one of three reactions. 1) they back away in horror; 2) express amazement that he is so "gentle" or 3) get mad i didn't "warn" them he is a gsd! All we can do Nina is be responsible owners & nice, polite ambassadors for our breed!

Member 904338 answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


It was quite ironic to find your question posted here, as I was googling virtually the same thing for my dog hoping to get some perspective and perhaps ask the same question myself somewhere- I signed up on Dogster just to answer and contribute to your question. I can completely relate to your feelings- and it is tough. I don't have an answer, it bothers the heck out of me, when people are so dramatic and make scared faces or walk the other way- but what breaks my heart is when kids are nervous around her. I am training her to be a therapy dog too! she is beyond sweet. I am a big guy myself so I am hypersensitive to that feeling to begin with and now feel bad that my dog is getting that too. I love when people know the breed and see how well behaved she is and give her hugs, but I hear you man, it is tough. Chalk it up to ignorance I guess and we need to continue to love our dogs and be proud! I am in the exact same boat and am hopeful our big sweet dogs can change the world :)

Member 983571 answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I get silly stuff too. But, you know you can't change them all. They have their quirks about what our breed is all about. Maybe it is the size or the ears but this is a very talented dog. They deserve the upmost respect as any other dog.
Give it time there is some very cool people out there who love the breed. You just haven't met them yet. I get people stoppping and asking questions all the time. They especially take interest in me doing dumbell retrieves or if I am doing competitive obedience routines. They ask how I get my dog to do that. It is simple, because she wants to. What ever your breed be proud and just laugh off the bad ways people act out on.
If your dog knows tricks or command, perform for them. Show them you are proud.
I am more afraid of small dogs to tell you the truth. :)
I have alot of fun with my dog and people seem to like it that I do things and go places with them.

Dieta answered on 4/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Cookies and Cream had a really great answer. The more responsible German shepherd owners the less fearsome their reputation will be. If you have never owned one and are considering getting one, talk to breeders, owners and research about them on the internet.

Kayak answered on 4/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Unfortunately, GSDs are not the only breed treated this way. When I walk Thunder most people cross the street instead of passing us on the sidewalk. I think this is because thay are big "scary" dogs. Which of course is the funniest thing ever. On the other hand the children in my neighborhood love him. And they now believe all Rotties are the sweetest dogs ever. I am not sure what their parents think and really I don't care.

Thunder answered on 5/22/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


While its true that most fears towards this breed are irrational, please understand that it goes both ways.

Yes, some ignorant parents will shoo their children/little dogs away from "the big bad K9"... but I'm sure those less sightly members of society are also inclined to think twice before going toe to toe with your girl.

I for one enjoy the security I get with having Mulder around me. Sometimes people make fools of themselves, and at those times I just have myself a good laugh and keep on with my business. And on the occasions when someone wants to pet the cool "police dog", well, I'm happy to oblige ;)

Mulder answered on 5/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


We can relate. Mackenzie is our bully girl. 75 lbs. half American Bulldog/half Olde English. Some people stand still, staring with mouth open as we walk by. Shockingly, many kids want to actually pet her.

There are a brave few that come right on up because they just want to give her "smushie face." Mackenzie knows who the doggie people are. She lunges up, they catch her on their knee to get some good head rubbing. Mackenzie slobber kisses & leaves white hair in return.

Big Breeds Rock! Love 'Em Or Hate 'Em! :)

MACKENZIE answered on 6/2/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Jersey Girl, HIC

It's not just German Shepherds that cause people to behave like that, any of the big "scarey" breeds will do it. Before our Kelpie we had Rotties and more time then I can count people would scream as soon as they saw them(for no reason I might add our dogs were minding their own business). Also people tended to cross the street as soon as they saw us, which is fine by me as if someone is going to be that misinformed I don't want to meet them anyway.
Personally I am not afraid of Shepherds but I am more aware of them when they are around my Kelpie as she has been attacked 7 times by Shepherds where blood was drawn. It's not the dogs fault as the owners of those dogs obviously knew NOTHING about prey drive and so didn't call their dogs off when it kicked in. But now my Kelpie prefers to go after the Shepherds BEFORE they go after her.

Jersey Girl, HIC answered on 6/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Alot of people have pretty much summed your question up. Even though I know the answers, I still find myself asking the question.

As a little puppy, Caddy got all kinds of attention! However it sort of depressed me because I found myself saying in the back of my head, 'Enjoy it while it lasts pup.' I`ve always known that Caddy would receive less and less attention as she got bigger and bigger. Which really sucks because Caddy loves attention,shes a real sweetheart.Its just the reputation GSD`s have.

Caddy answered on 6/7/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


because German Shepherd is a big dog breed,and others might think that the dog is big and the dog can easily bite them? <i think>

Member 992080 answered on 6/19/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Most people are afrraid of german shepherds because they are in the "big killer dogs" catagory. Yes that would put them up there with rotwilers. I am not afraid of any type of dogs because you have to get to know the owner and the dog more befor you can place it in a catagory.

Jenkins answered on 6/19/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


GSDs ( here in the UK anyway ) don't tend to have that "big, scary dog" label anymore. The late 80's early 90's saw the GSD labelled as some kind of menace to society but all in all the general public from my experiences are not wary of them. I walk with a lady and her bitch Cassie who is a sweetheart, she has some trust issues with people but has always been fine with me. Tyler & Cassie get on like a house on fire!

I am yet to meet a bad GSD, all the ones i've met have been total love bugs and great family pets.

Tyler answered on 7/10/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


People are scared of what they don't know, and a bad experience can traumatize them. Plus German Shepherds are aloof, they don't come up tail wagging like a lab, so people don't really know how to respond to them. I love them and think they're an excellent breed myself, but my sister is terrified of them for some unknown reason. The best thing to do is have such a well-behaved shepherd that people have to notice and be impressed by. I rescue miniature schnauzers and two are licensed therapy dogs and a lot of people say, I thought schnauzers were nippy, barky dogs that are bad with children. My girls love every dog they meet from Great Dane to teeny chihuahua and absolutely adore children and are trained never to vocalize on a therapy visit. And they never have and never will nip anyone in their lives, so it's all about changing people's perceptions of things with positive behaviors. Sometimes teaching your dog to lie down while being petted makes people more likely to approach.

Precious answered on 8/2/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


The people that act that way are not socialized themselves. I say just say "HI" as we walk. My dog is a police dog, and he does protect me. I say job well done.

Member 912047 answered on 8/4/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


I never knew people were so afraid of GSDs until I owned my now 11 month old. I get the craziest reactions when I walk her especially downtown. Just last weekend this lady was pretty much hugging the wall looking at her on the opposite side that my girl was walking. Of course Dakota wasn't even looking her way. Odd... Then a few days ago this guy wouldn't even ride his bike past me and her until I assured him that she's a sweet, very well-trained GSD. Claimed he had been bit twice by GSD. Guess all of us caring Shepherd owners need to set a good example for this amazing breed. Sad they have such a bad rep.

Dakota answered on 8/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


cuase there known for being police dogs and guard dogs.and i agree there really friendsly and affexionate

Member 1002336 answered on 8/29/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I have had my pure GSD for 6 years and everyone loves him! Kids and seniors walk up to me asking about him. He's silly and walks around happy, not snarly. He does bark at other dogs if I walk him with my husky but just us and he's fine. He's not large either only 78lbs. Maybe it's YOU they don't want to walk up to. :) I smile at everyone and always say "would you like to pet him?" because Loki is a therapy dog. If you come across as someone who wants to be left alone people will not walk up to you asking to see your dog. I would--I walk up to ALL GSDs!

Loki answered on 9/4/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I love GSD's but to answer historically, there is one word that says alot: Auschwitz.

"...The SS officer in charge stood with his German shepherd. The officer had one foot propped up on a little stool. We lined up and filed by him. Right there the selection took place. As each person passed by him, he pointed left or right. The thumb left and right was your destiny..." -Memories of Auschwitz

Mya answered on 9/6/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


And somebody had to bring up Auschwitz... wow, way to go...

Honestly, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Auschwitz has little to nothing to do with the fact that people are scared of the breed. The breed is everywhere, in every country of this world. People got a German Shepherd because it was fashionable to own one.

Dogs like RinTinTin painted a picture that sticks in peoples head and that is why everybody wanted a dog like RinTinTin. The brave, intelligent, fierce, affectionate dog that can not only protect you but will get the newspaper and the milk from the fridge for you too.

One thing people didn't understand is that a GSD needs training. They are easy to train but they are very high energy and high drive dogs that need to be socialized and a job.

A lot of people just didn't know how to handle GSD's and that is why the GSD is feared today.

Where I live the GSD is very well respected and I have yet to meet one scared person.

Yukon answered on 9/15/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer

Kaden (RIP sweet boy)

I'm going to answer this question based on experience. There are too many badly bred Shepards out there that are owned by irresonsible owners. A lot of back yard bred Shepards have awful temperments. I've run into so many of them and just about every Shepard I've had in an obedience class has tried to go after one of my dogs. Couple that with an ignorant owner who refuses to believe their dog is anything but a sweet heart and you can understand why people are afraid of them.
I also know some well bred Shepards with responsbile owners so I know how great Shepards can be. Shepard owners need to thorughly train and socialize their dogs to ensure they're putting out a postive image of the breed. If the general public has more postive experiences with the breed then people's views will change.

Kaden (RIP sweet boy) answered on 10/3/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I know the feeling. I have two GSDs. I think many people are afraid of GSDs because of the stereotype that GSDs are dangerous. They were trained and used as WarDogs in the early wars. Those that were brought back were not good pets. The military trains them differently now but they are still not meant to be "pets". It's really how you train and treat your dog. You can't change people all that much. I agree that many people see the dark side of the GSD because of the media. The police, military and protection agencies use the GSD and that scares people. But those dogs are highly trained for their specific duties. Those are not "pets", they are trained units. People should stay away and be afraid. These are not your friends. They never will be. This is their job and they take their jobs seriously.

Member 1009666 answered on 10/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I'm not afraid of german shepherds but...
when I ride my bike with my baby in the trailer and my dog in tow- it's always the german shepherds who are off leash and make a dash for us. It freaks me out- makes my dog get loose (because she's got a quick release) and just puts us all at risk. I think german shepherd owners THINK they can control their dogs - they are sooo obedient and then I show up! They don't seem like bad owners- they always look so surprised that their dog is taking off after us. So chances are its the naive dog owners who have done some training and think they got it under control that are freaking everybody out.

Mia answered on 11/2/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I have a shepherd mix I also often get scared looks from others. They ask 'is he safe, or ok to come over to' and I almost feel like saying why because you 'think' he's mean? He is the SWEETEST and most loyal boy. Media and movies have a great deal that has put the mindset in those afraid of german shepherds...they're foamy drooling, jumping, ripping in various police movies are what scare people. In reality they are one of the best breeds to have for a family dog.

I think she looks sweet :)

Member 1011111 answered on 11/11/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


Yeah, Many People are afraid of german shepherd, Maybe because of their wolf like faces and their size. but i like the way me and my gsd dominate the street

Member 1012802 answered on 11/21/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Chloe ♥

Many people find big dogs in general very aloof and impossible to manage. Sometimes when a dog first comes into a new, unfamiliar house they get excited and start barking and standing up on two legs and all those things, like my uncle's dog Chloe. It doesn't mean they are going to bite you or anything like that. But as I said, big dogs have a nature to protect their owners, and some people think that means that anyone who touches a dog like that will be bitten and attacked and pinned down until they bleed. They are wrong about this, especially around a well trained and socialized dog.
Anyways, if the way these people really offends you, try telling them in advance that Nina is actually a nice dog and that she won't bite or anything. Try having your hand on her yourself. This will give them a sense that you are supervising and in a protective zone. Owner in touch w/ dog=safety

Chloe ♥ answered on 12/3/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


GSDs have a long history of being police/guard/military dogs . . . so there's that very ingrained social image of them. They do tend to be bigger and/or at least powerful looking dogs.

And also they are often aloof, reserved, one person dogs and they usually they look self-composed more so than gregarious. Partly it's their personality, but also it's their wolfish, dark face and upright "adult" ears. They just kind of look no-nonsense and I guess to people who aren't dog saavy perhaps that translates to menacing.

I think you'd get the same reaction walking a Rottie or even a Doberman Pinscher . . . Many dogs just look intimidating to some people.

Being the owner of a dog with the opposite image problem, lol (floppy puppy ears, big footed, goofy grin, who couldn't intimidate anyone), I'd say,as long as you know your dog is a good soul and well mannered, I wouldn't worry about what a few people think--sometimes it comes in handy to have a dog that people are leery of.

Member 827073 answered on 12/9/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I love big dogs, we have a very old Rotti, GSD/heeler mix, a Australian Cattle dog (severe work alholic) and will soon be taking care of my daughters GSD. People in general fear GSD, Rotti's ect because they don't really know what they are really like to live with. This attitude can be the same with trainers too. Rotti's are large couch potatoes alot of the time. A well bred GSD has enough confindence to not bark like an idiot all the time. Don't worry about it she is a beautiful dog. Plus little dogs scare me.

Sadie answered on 12/23/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Lucky (R.I.P)

I really do think it has to do with the images of the police dogs as well as the media whenever an incident occurs. Even though my shepherd is no longer with us, people would cross the street when we walked by, or they'd ask for me to let them pass. Shepherds are also known to be guard dogs which I think some people equivocate with aggressive or dangerous. Everyone tries to stereotype, just like with people many do with dogs. These breeds are dangerous, these are friendly, etc. But just like with people, stereotypes are often wrong. People see a big dog, with a serious expression with a lack of a wagging tail or gregarious nature and assume the dog is dangerous. We all know it's not true. You just have to continue to set a good example, and educate people who are willing to listen (otherwise don't waste your breath).

For me personally, I'm a fan of big dogs and the only dogs that have ever bit me or tried were a chihuahua and a Pomeranian.

Lucky (R.I.P) answered on 1/2/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Personally, I am scared of big dogs. I was bitten as a child and it turned me off of big breeds. When I see a German Shepherd or any large sized dog I immediately get scared and really nervous. I know that my feelings of anxiousness and fear can be picked up by dogs and so I tend to steer clear so that I don't upset the dog and cause the handler any trouble.

I'm going to echo everyone else, though, and say that most people who've never had experiences with a Shepherd have a certain idea of it thanks to TV and movies.

Izi answered on 1/3/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


mostly because they're used as police dogs and for ignorant owners of other GSDs. Half of the people fear Miley when I take her places because of her size (120lbs) and breed (Presa Canario). It doesn't help that her previous owners clipped her ears. But as far as I'm concerned, if I was walking and saw a GDS with a puppy I would ask if BOTH dogs were ok to approach and most likely pet the GSD first. I love big dogs though.

Miley answered on 2/28/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


If it makes you feel better... EVERYONE it seems thinks Dalmatians are freak idiot dogs. I have had people come up to me, tell me how beautiful my dog is, she goes to them loves on them and then they tell me how dumb and mean Dalmatians are. Stereotypes suck.

Birdy answered on 2/28/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I'm sorry to hear that. I personally think it's because of some movies and GSD size.

Member 976406 answered on 3/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


This breaks my heart & I can relate! I grew up with a german shepherd/wolf mix. Kane was the most beautiful & loving dog! Very protective over my siblings & myself. Unfortunatly, we grew up in a neighborhood that gave new definition to the word "hood". Everyone was scared of Kane & we even had to put up a "beware of dog sign". I hated it! We loved Kaine until his age finally caught up with him but he was always my fav pilow growing up!

Abbey answered on 3/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am going to be totally honest with you, I would approach a pitty, dobe, and rottie before I would approach a German Shepherd and I'm the biggest dog lover I know. I actually love the breed, I'm just wary of them.


1. I was bit by one when I was 5. I remember it all too clearly.
2. My neighbors had two when I was in highschool. Max, their male, tried to attack me EVERY time I went into their yard. All he needed was a quick work from his owners to stop, then he would disregard me and even let me pet him but EVERY time I walked up, I was like a new person. He was never okay with me coming over at first. I had to walk over to their house a handful of times when the owners were in, and the dog was out. I was terrified of him.

Because of this, I have to put a brave face on with most of the GSD's I meet. They're just regal, strong dogs with high protection drive. Good for the owner, bad for strangers.

Gunner answered on 3/21/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


German Shepherds are portrayed in the media (as are Dobermans) as "police dogs." Nina is a big dog and has a very wolf-like appearance, which draws a natural reaction of fear. In addition, many people have had bad experiences with German Shepherds or dogs similar to them, causing them to fear any German Shepherd, no matter how well behaved. The fear of Nina isn't because of her behavior, it's because of ignorant people, bad owners who have misbehaving dogs, and a natural reaction to large, wolf-like dogs. Just look at Nina - is she hurt or ashamed? No! Follow her role and just be happy knowing that Nina is a wonderful, friendly dog.

Member 1021005 answered on 4/17/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I don't know the breeding requirements of the US, but in Germany every GSD that is planned as a breeding dog must pass "Schutzhund", a german sport for guarding dogs where the dog must proof his obedience and loyalty to its owner for showing that he/she still can do one of their original jobs: guarding the family.
Some people are scared of such scenes:
a dog, that will attack and won't let them go even when they hit it with a stick.
But these people just know the half story.
These dogs just attack when told (and they just get told when the person attacks the owner) and they let them go when told.
They don't realice that they have to attack first before the dog attacks them.
The dogs only pass it if its obedience is perfect.
But like everywhere, there are some crazy people who use their dogs as a weapon to "pet their ego".
And these people ruin the reputation of a great breed.
Just look at the poor pitbull, same here.
prejustice is dumb!

Member 1031287 answered on 4/22/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


They have a bad rep because of the way the breed has been used. Guard dog, police dog, etc.... Even fighting dog. When my Margo was alive I got the same reaction, which was so laughable. She was a rescue and had a genetic problem with her back that didn't even allow her to jump up, much less attack anything. She didn't have a mean bone in her body and I would try to let people know she how sweet she was. But if they were determined to think she was mean, I just let them think it. It was their loss. I had to send my baby to the Rainbow Bridge 3 years ago and I miss her sweet face every day.

Member 818859 answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Sadly it's not just GSD's that have that rep. My husband grew up with Rotties, and I grew up with GSD's and Pits, and Bull terriers. We have a pit now and OH the horrid rep he has, and in his 8 years he's done thing but love people and be the "neighbor hood baby sitter". Just as my GSD was growing up, and my hubby's rotties. We plan on getting a GSD next (along with another pit or rot). It's all in the training, ALL breeds have a potential for being mean, but it's ENTIRELY how they're raised and socialized. GSD's, Rots, and Pits, are people loving breeds. It's the bad media, that give these poor big baby breeds a bad rep, that the uninformed ignorant public believe. The best we can do, is just keep loving them, be the responsible owners we are by getting out the news about the GOOD these breeds do. I do also believe it has to to with the fact of what GSD's are used for in police work, just as rots and pits are used for "junk yard guard dogs", that does NOT help their reps.

Ruger answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I think its what they see on tv shows and in the news.I have the same problem when I am out with my GSD Duke, people will cross the street and I here kids say thats a police dog.

Duke answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


They may have had a bad experience with one when they were a child. In my case, I passed a yard with a very large German Shepherd every day on my way to elementary school. It was almost my size, and would run up and down the fence, barking loudly. It seemed mean. I was afraid of it, and all Shepherds, until I was almost 30.

I gave my husband a shepherd pup for his 30th birthday. I read up on them, and found they are so smart that they can be great dogs if trained well. Because Shepherds have strong herding and protecting instincts, their owners must be firm in letting them know what is and isn't acceptable behavior, i.e. who they can and can't herd, and the difference between a friend and an unwelcome stranger. They want to do their jobs well! Many people are too busy to train them well, however, and their dogs' behavior shows it.

If you and your dog can set a good example by showing people how well-trained your dog is, more people will learn how wonderful German Shepherds can be

Luka answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Yes, I'm one of those owners with a barking German Shepherd that doesn't get along with any other dog and makes a big show about that. Before you judge me... I'm her 4th owner. I've been working with her for two years now and some days are better than others.

There are so many german shepherds in shelters all around the world because people are not willing to put the time and effort into training them. It really makes me sad. And it does give the breed a bad name....

Akira answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have a very large GSD, but I really haven't found too many people that are afraid of him. At home, he is all guard dog. But out in public, he is just a big goof and immediately puts his ears and head down as he approaches most people. I think it makes a difference if you have a dog that is calm and not straining at the end of the leash. I love having such a big dog that is a good ambassador for the breed. I always invite people to pet him if they'd like b/c I hate seeing anyone scared of him and I want to help get rid of the breed's stigma. Knowing that he would be intimidating when he became an adult, I spent a lot of time socializing him as a puppy and it has paid off. A kid's biggest danger with my Trooper is that they'll get a giant nose stuck in their face or his wagging tail will knock them over.

Trooper answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bones Lawrence

I understand where you're coming from, I have a pure bred pit bull and when we go to Baltimore City people are afraid. I live in an extremely pro pit area so it makes it a little easier however he is just a puppy and honestly wants attention so he wines when people are scared of him

Just because a dog looks mean doesn't mean it is mean

Bones Lawrence answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Education is the key. I've owned GSDs for years. As a police officer, I ended up w/ several GSDs that weren't accepted into our K9 unit. While remodeling my house, I had to move into the city (from a rural area). I expected the reaction that Nina got, and yes, I did occasionally encounter it w/ adults.
What amazed me were the kids in the area - they would ask permission to pet my dogs and were not fearful of them at all. The thing that had really made an impact on them were brief presentations in the neighborhood school by one of our K9 officers w/ his dog. I was so impressed by the difference that had made. Because my dogs were well trained + very tolerant of children, I think they helped reinforce the lesson that the K9 Unit had taught them.

King answered on 4/25/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Why are people so afraid of GSDs? Because they believe everything they see on the TV.
My GSD is a beautiful sweet girl who adores children and wants to play with every other dog she sees. When I tell people she herds sheep, quite often the response is, "Wow - I didn't know a German Shepherd would herd sheep!" "Uh, think about what you just said - its a German SHEPHERD Dog." Actually I took my dog over to the local Schutzhund Club but she had absolutely no interest in barking at people or biting the sleeve.
Poor Experience - I was walking my girl downtown when one of the street people saw us and screamed at me while she walked around us by going out into the street. It is hard to change someone's mind if they refuse to listen to you.
Great Experience - Shopping in the local home improvement megastore, my GSD spotted a man in a wheelchair and insisted on going over to him. She nuzzled at his arm and rested her head on his knee while he fussed over her. When he left, he thanked us.

Pepper answered on 5/5/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Last weekend I became friends with a German shepherd I met for the first time. He is a search and rescue dog. Also the biggest one I have ever seen. Seriously, he is huge. I love him. He is very sweet and well behaved.

I don't know why people are scared of them because they are used for police dogs. Unless they are told to come after you they are not going to chase you down. I think some people are just scared of big dogs. My 21 yr old son is. lol. Even though I have a lot of dogs pass through the house. He is okay once he gets to know a dog.

I love all dogs. But in my experience the little ones are more likely to bite because most, not all, owners don't correct them. It's considered cute when a small dog growls and snaps. I think it's the same as a big dog doing it, correction is needed. While bigger dogs have a more powerful bite and can do more damage, the principal is the same. Don't let any dogs get away with it.

people scare me, not dogs

Member 1001898 answered on 6/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Maybe they, or their dogs, have been attacked by one. We (Missus and me and the young'uns) have been set upon by two German Shepherds while out and about. One jumped its fence and came after me and Missus. It kept growling and barking at us. Missus had to kick it several times to make it go away. The other came racing over and knocked the young'uns flying, then stood over them (literally). They were terrified. The owner yelled out that it was OK, his dog had a muzzle on. True, he couldn't bite them, but he still outweighed them by about 5 to 1. I know not all German Shepherds are like that, but two bad experiences is enough to make us wary. (I'm equally wary of rottweilers and bull terriers, having been attacked by them as well.) Thing is, big dogs are scary. Little dogs can bite you but they probably won't kill you or even send you to the vet. After I got attacked by a bull terrier cross I was bleeding and so bruised I could hardly hobble for days.

Tess answered on 7/28/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I've got the best of both worlds. GSD/Rott mix, and people almost always love her, but there is those certain people who ask what breed she is, and when they get the answer they rudely say, "Your dog will be dangerous because of it's roots"

GSD's are police dogs and are trained to hunt people dogs and bite them. Rottweilers are number 2 in dangerous dogs, BUT it's how you raise them,

Alice answered on 8/16/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


i don't get it either. i think they watch to much tv and they figure they are police dogs most of the time so there going to attack. people are just really judgemental like that maybe you should take your dog to a dog park and show that your dog is very social.

nutty answered on 8/19/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


There are several reasons people are nervous around the German Shepherd Dog. Unfortunately,some are true. The GSD has become so "overbred" that not only is it having problems in 'structure',it is also having issues in temperament. As a Licensed/Certified K-9 Trainer and GSD lover and co-habitor with this breed for over 45 years,I have worked with clients dogs and my own. Over the yrs I have watched the American lines become completely destroyed,both in structure and temperament. They are a dog I would NEVER consider owning. It would be a total hearbreak and expensive animal to take on. In temperament I often see 'fearbiters' Dogs with very 'weak nerves' that are spooked by almost everything. These dogs are a 'lawsuit waiting to happen.' They also give the GSD a bad name. You see a dog of this temperament walking down the street and they are not a 'pretty sight.'
My last male shepherd was of east German lines. He was a beautiful boy. But,he was big,had a very dark mask on his face,and,a

Member 1053967 answered on 9/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Exercising caution around German Shepherd Dogs is not irrational. First, the Center For Disease Control lists GSD as #3 for fatal dog bites. Second, more GSDs have been trained for protection than any other breed, that is, trained to bite people. Third, poor breeding of GSDs for many decade has created many GSDs with unstable temperament. I see this working in an animal shelter frequently. We get some wonderful Shepherds, but also a few that are too unpredictable to be adoptable. You seem to have found an excellent Shepherd, trained and socialized well, and act responsibly. Unfortunately, not everyone does, and you suffer due the reputation caused by irresponsible owners.

Member 1055591 answered on 9/12/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


i love german shepherd and my friend has a german shepherd but they are not afraid of her

Member 1066623 answered on 10/27/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I was raised from two months old with dogs - mostly labradors. I love dogs and big dogs and I have always loved playing with the big breeds. But I am absolutely terrified of German Shepherds since the two times I have been bitten by a dog were both German Shepherds. Now I'm not talking being nicked here - I'm talking about very overprotective and scary behavior. One happened dropping off a paper (ahh to be 11 years old again) and another when a tied up Shepherd at a crowded beach broke free and went for tot that I happened to run un front of. Now I'm sure the fault of these dogs behavior is mostly their owners fault but I definitely feel there is something scary overprotective in the breed.

Member 1079267 answered on 12/22/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am currently the owner of one purebred German Shepherd and a GSD/Husky mix, They are still Puppies but absolutely wonderful nonetheless. I believe a lot of people are afraid of German shepherds because they may have witnessed an ignorant owner not care for theirs and or have had bad experiences with one themselves. GSD are often used for guarding, Not to mention they hold the record for 3rd most dangerous k-9 bite.
For instance a neighbor of mine has 2 very un socialized GSD dogs that recently got out, a kid was riding a scooter and the male dog got very defensive and aggressive towards the kid, (he wasn't more than 7)Thankfully the dog was smart enough to just be loud and bark and chase and not Bite but German shepherds are also Believed to be the number 1 biter as well. People have given them a bad name because they need a lot more than just to be popular because they look cool, and because so many people DON'T do the things these dogs need a lot of people fear them.

Onyx answered on 1/26/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have a 75 pound female german shepherd and a lot of people are scared of her too. i think its just her size and the reputation they have from the media. and her teeth are huge so that probably doesn't help anything.

Jackson answered on 1/30/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Well. I'm not sure about your case, but I have an Akita that's tender but people pet him because you don't see akitas everyday. So I'm not so sure.

Member 1080469 answered on 2/14/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Ignorance and a willful laziness that prevents people from exploring their assumptions and asking the next question, "Is you dog social? Can I pet him/her?" But fellow GSD lovers, embrace the opportunity to educate those who DO ask the questions and ignore those others. My Doc (short for Doctor) is a great dog we rescued from a shelter. We are so lucky to have had GSD's in our lives for the past 20 years!

Doc answered on 2/27/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Maybe because they are used as police dogs and people think that they always attack people. I feel your pain. A TON of people are afraid of Delta, too. My friend who is scared of a lot of big dogs, now thinks that Delta is the sweetest dog ever.

Delta answered on 11/10/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Sometimes people are scared of German Shepherds because they are so big and sometimes they frighten people. My grandma just got a German Shepherd and I myself am still scared of her but I'm getting there. I just don't like it when they jump at you.☻ So that's my opinion but I ♥ her to pieces, the dog.

Bella answered on 11/24/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I was under the impression that everybody loved german shepherds!! They are known for being rescue dogs and service dogs! and they are so sweet and loveable!! I didn't know that so many people were scared of them. I thought because of their work with police to rescue people that they were thought of just the opposite.....

Member 1142914 answered on 12/23/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


i think it's breed profiling. along with pitbulls and rotties and dobermans people think they are all mean. I have a female shephard too and people will cross the street to avoid us. She don't bark at people and she only barks at my dogs when she's voicing her opinion lol.. I've never heard her growl. My golden and my morkie are more agressive than her. I had her at petco and a little dog jumped right at her and she just turned her head. I told the girl i have a small dog at home and she dominates my shephard. I never have to worry about her biting someone or going for another dog. She's both people and dog friendly.

Sheba answered on 4/6/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


There is a lot of prejudice regarding this breed, and it is not the dogs fault. German Shepherds are beautiful and intelligent dogs, and with proper socialization and training they have great personalities. The problem is uneducated, lazy dog owners. I work as a vet tech and can tell you that most of the German Shepherds I have worked with have ill-equiped owners who accept the aggressive and uncooperative nature of their dogs. Shepherds are not for beginners and they need a lot of time and energy. Not a breed to buy and throw in the back yard.

Franklin answered on 6/2/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer