Why German Shepherd Dogs Make Good Working Dogs

When it comes to German Shepherd dogs most people think that one of their finest qualities is herding. Most likely their thinking is linked to GSDs being grouped in the herding group at conformation events. However, it might surprise you to know that GSDs are also one of the best all-purpose working dogs. GSDs have an incredible enthusiasm for learning new things coupled with a strong work ethic. Definitely worthwhile traits to have in a dog who will perform assignments. The more you get to know the German Shepherd breed the more obvious it becomes that they truly are unique in the canine world. Here’s why German Shepherd dogs make good working dogs.

German Shepherd Dog’s Working Dog Origins

It is inherent in their name that German Shepherd dogs give a clue to their working dog credentials. This magnificent breed was originally bred for herding and guarding sheep against potential predators. In the late 1800s, the original GSD was discovered. The dog’s name was Hektor, who was then renamed Horand von Grafath, and he displayed the unique skills necessary for herding sheep. These included traits such as intelligence, speed, strength, and keen senses of smell. From Hektor came all German Shepherd dogs, and for that, we are truly thankful. Fast forward to today, and we at Roche’s German Shepherds are proud to continue the tradition of superior (VA 1) bloodlines as the foundation for our pedigree puppies for sale in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

What Does VA 1 Mean?

Annually, at the much-touted World German Sieger Show, pedigree German Shepherds are accessed for excellence. Eventually the top male and female receive the coveted VA 1 rating. In other words, it means a dog has earned the status of being the best of the best, as Sieger means ‘champion’ in German.

Why German Shepherd Dogs Make Good Working Dogs

By all accounts, a GSD is a sizable, muscular, agile, intelligent, smart and loyal breed. Pedigree German Shepherd dogs are great for families, as well as they make for excellent working dogs. But is it just the aforementioned traits that make GSDs good working dogs? No. There’s a lot more to it than that. Here are a few additional skills that a good working dog must have/be:

Easy to Train

While all training takes work, working dogs must demonstrate an ability to comprehend and perform fairly expeditiously. Training for a service dog isn’t ‘playtime,’ it’s learning time.

Good Recall

They must able to remember a variety of verbal cues and as well as hand gestures. Also, they must be able to recall all of these cues when performed out of sequential order and comprehend what the human is saying or doing.


Good working dogs must thrive in action-oriented environments yet still adhere to boundaries without being overstimulated. This means that regardless of what is going on externally, the dog has self-control sufficient to reliably respond to commands.

Well Adjusted/Temperament

While working dogs may be required to be protective by virtue of the work they are performing, they must also be even-keeled and display a calm demeanor during downtime.

High Stamina

Endurance is a must in good working dogs as they may be required to be at high levels of alertness and or activity for longer periods of time. The level of stamina required depends on the type of work a dog will perform.

Intentionally Driven

Not only does a good working dog require good stamina, but he or she must also be focused and goal-oriented. This is a very sought after trait for a dog entering the rescue field.

Yes, I See It

Now you can see why German Shepherd dogs make for good working dogs. Even great working dogs. And possibly the best working dogs. High-quality, pedigree GSDs reflect all of these traits. Plus they are fun-loving and affectionate to their families. So knowing this, what type of work would be good for a GSD? It’s probably easier to ask what work would be bad for a German Shepherd dog… But, let’s list a few jobs that we believe could be good for GSDs:

  • K9/Police
  • Search and Rescue
  • Herding/Ranching
  • Hunting
  • Tracking
  • Detection
  • Military
  • Watchdog
  • Service


Again, this list of working dog professions is just a start. There are many more ‘jobs’ that a German Shepherd dog can perform. Particularly when the work draws upon his or her natural instincts. Some of the more infamous GSD working dogs include:

  • Buddy, the first seeing eye dog (source).
  • Bullett, the wonder dog on the Roy Rogers Show.
  • Chips, the most decorated WWII dog (source).
  • Rin Tin Tin, was in 27 movies and had his own show.

German Shepherd Dogs Never Cease To Amaze

We’ve been working with and breeding pedigree German Shepherd dogs since 2009, and we’re still amazed by this magnificent breed. Now, that’s likely due to the amount of passion we have for our highly regarded dogs. That’s often the reason people travel to buy our GSD puppies. Knowing the fastidious care and attention to detail we take with our breeding program, we are sure that any one of our GSDs would make a fabulous working dog.

Even if that work is being with you and your family every day, making sure you are well taken care of and loved.

Like only a German Shepherd dog can do!

Why German Shepherd Dogs Make Good Working Dogs