Can German Shepherds Survive In The Wild?

When you are thinking of spending time in the wilderness, you need to think if your dog can handle this type of environment. Most dogs bring protection and comfort. However, every dog is not the best partner in crime to take with you in the wilderness. 

can german shepherds survive in the wild
Can German Shepherds Survive in the Wild?

Are German shepherds a good dog to bring into the wild? Yes, they are. German shepherds are strong, obedient dogs and are great for training in the essential skills needed for wilderness survival. Their thicker fur and sharp senses make them keen to adapt well to an outside setting. 

German Shepherds are very trainable, so any skill you want or need them to be able to do, you can easily teach them. German shepherds have an average life span of 12 years and must maintain a healthy life during those years. It’s important that your dog stays in good health if they are going to be enduring a wilderness environment often. 

Originally, German Shepherds were bred for herding sheep, so they are used to hard work. They have become a staple dog in assisting police officers, people with disabilities, and search and rescue missions. They are smart and reliable, which makes them a great candidate to survive the wild.

 Skills A Dog Needs To Survive In The Wild

Taking a dog out into the wilderness may seem natural but you have to ensure that they will be able to survive in the elements. Dogs all have some of the same traits and qualities but there are some varying differences that make one dog breed more apt than the other for the wilderness. 

Some of these traits are:

  • How well they can be trained
  • What type of fur do they have
  • Frame
  • The dog’s temperament
  • How well do they obey
  • Their health

All of these traits are important to have in the wild, but if the dog is better at one or more of the traits that they are lacking, those stronger traits can accompany the lacking ones. Let’s go deeper into each of these skills.

How Well They Can Be Trained

You can’t have a dog that will not follow instructions out in the wild with you. First, they will not feign well for themselves if something goes wrong such as a wild animal coming towards them. 

If they are in danger, you want them to be able to protect you as well as themselves. That is where the training comes in. So, if they are not trainable, this will be useless. 

The great thing about German Shepherds is their willingness to be trained. They are ready for you to teach them. They retain and respond well to what they are taught. 


If you have a dog that is hyperactive, the wild is not a place for them. They will be all over the place and potentially bring dangerous attention to themselves. A calmer, more reserved dog suits better in the environment.

They could be putting you in danger too because if they are high-strung, it probably means they do not listen to instructions well, and if a wild animal approaches you, they will stray from your side. They will be too hyped up to be able to help you or themselves. 

They have to be able to handle the stress of the wilderness. A German Shepherd has a strong demeanor and knows how to use their power when needed but holds it back until they do. 

What Type Of Fur They Have?

The climate in the wilderness can change rapidly. Therefore, a dog with a thicker coat of fur is ideal. That thicker layer of fur will keep them warm during the cool nights in the wild. 

A German Shepherd has a double layer of fur that enables it to stay in colder climates for long lengths of time. They would have no problem battling the weather in the wilderness. 

Bigger dogs with shorter fur coats, like a Great Dane or a Labrador, might have the adequate size for a dog to take to the wilderness. However, their shorter fur means they will not last as long out in the elements. 

The Health Of The Dog

It goes without saying that any dog that is unhealthy should not be anywhere near the wilderness. However, thinking about the lifespan of the dog is an important factor when you decide if your dog can survive outdoors.

You wouldn’t want to take any years away from your dog’s life. Every breed of dog has a different projected lifespan. 

German Shepherds have an average of eleven to thirteen expected life. For dog years, that is a long time. 

Because they are almost born to work, German Shepherds are normally healthy as long as they are active. As they age, they can develop problems with their hips. So, if your German Shepherds are in the few years of their life, it would be better if they did not risk injuring their hip or joints by going out into the wild. 

german shepherd dog in the wild
German Shepherd dog in the wild

Related Questions

Can smaller dogs go into the wild?

A smaller dog would not be a good asset to bring into the wild. They could not protect you or fend for themselves from potential adversaries.

Can A Change In Altitude Hurt My Dog?

Yes, a change in air pressure when going higher in altitude can make your dog sick or lose oxygen.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.