German Shepherds are strong, loyal, and brave. They’re also highly intelligent dogs. 

The American Kennel Club describes them as ‘the finest all-purpose worker of dogs’! They’re often used as police dogs, military dogs, and guide dogs. 

With the right dog owners, they also make fantastic family pets. 

Getting a second dog can be so much fun, and it gives your German Shepherd a friend to play with. Dogs are pack animals after all!

If you’re considering getting another dog, finding a good match for your furbaby is important. 

When they’re given plenty of socialization and proper training, the German Shepherd breed can get on well with other dogs.

However, adult German Shepherds can become less social over time, especially with dogs they don’t know. 

The good news is when you find the right dog, your pooches can become the best of friends!

We’ll take a look at the best companions for German Shepherds so you can make the right choice for your family. 

Which Breeds Make the Best Companion Dogs for German Shepherds?

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

According to the UK Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breedsThey’re also America’s most popular dog breed.

It’s no wonder! They’re intelligent, friendly dogs that were bred to work as well as be good companions.  

Labs have high energy levels and are a similar size to German Shepherds. This makes them a perfect match when it comes to exercise and a good play session.

These large dogs can be quite excitable, so you’ll want to be on top of their obedience training to keep things in hand!

In general, Labradors are known to be sociable. They get on well with other dogs as well as children, so they make ideal family member. 

2. Border Collie

Border Collie

Slightly smaller than a German Shepherd but just as energetic, Border Collies are a great option!

Bred to work, these amazing dogs need a lot of exercise. If you love to go hiking, running, or get involved in canine sports, this breed could be the right choice for you. 

Border Collies are highly intelligent dogs and need a ton of mental stimulation, just like a German Shepherd. Be ready to provide interesting puzzles and plenty of engaging games!

Both breeds have double coats and need a similar amount of grooming. 

Owning these two breeds together can be a lot of work, but for the right owner, they could be the perfect match. 

3. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

These stunning sled dogs are friendly, affectionate pets. They tend to get on well with other dogs and people. 

Bred to work like the German Shepherd, Siberian Huskies are highly energetic dogs and need lots of exercise. 

Huskies are slightly smaller German Shepherds, but not by much. This makes them a good fit especially when it comes to playtime. 

They’re fast runners and have a high prey drive, so it’s best to keep them away from smaller animals.

They need to be kept on a leash unless they’re in an enclosed area, so they’ll thrive if you have an enclosed outdoor space. 

Huskies have a thick double coat like German Shepherds and shed a similar amount, so you’ll already be used to their grooming needs!

4. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Originally bred in Scotland to be a gundog, Golden Retrievers are intelligent, powerful, and active dogs. Plus they’re beautiful to look at!

As a breed, they’re very laid back and friendly, which can balance out the German Shepherd’s high energy levels. 

Don’t be fooled though, Retrievers need plenty of exercise to keep them happy. They love swimming, running, hiking, and generally being outdoors!

Golden Retrievers are clever and always eager to please. These traits mean they respond well to training using positive reinforcement. 

Both breeds shed a lot and have similar grooming requirements. They’re quite high maintenance so keep this in mind when making your choice. 

5. Irish Setter

Irish Setter

Irish Setters are a similar weight and height to German Shepherds, which makes them a good match. They’re unlikely to hurt one another accidentally even during rough play!

Bred as a gundog, Irish Setters are high energy, intelligent, and fast! They’ll easily keep up with your German Shepherd.

They’re naturally friendly and outgoing, so they usually make friends with other dogs and people easily.

The breed is affectionate and tends to form a strong bond with their owners and other members of the family. However, they are hunting dogs so be careful around smaller dogs and pets.

These lovely dogs are often described as mischievous or clownish, making them great fun to be around.

6. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Although this beautiful breed is a bit smaller than the German Shepherd, they’re tough, powerful, and athletic enough to keep up with their new friend. 

Australian Shepherds were bred to work on ranches which means they have a strong herding instinct. 

This working dog is highly intelligent and can be headstrong, so they’re best suited to an experienced owner who can train them well. 

When it comes to exercise, they need as much (if not more) exercise as your German Shepherd. They excel in canine sports and do best with an enclosed yard to run around in. 

Australian Shepherds can be wary of dogs and people they don’t know. But with proper socialization, they can bond well with other dogs in the home.

7. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

Like the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is an all-round worker used for a variety of tasks. 

They’re often used for police work and since they have a protective nature, they make excellent guard dogs. 

That’s not all the two breeds have in common! They look similar, they’re very close in size, and they have similar needs. 

Belgian Malinois need a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation to live happily, otherwise, they can become very frustrated. They also need a lot of attention and time spent with their owner. 

The breed isn’t naturally friendly with other dogs and can be quite aloof. However, with careful introductions and socialization from an early age, they can get on well with other dogs they live with. 

Since they have a strong herding instinct, they’re not the best choice for homes with very young children, small dogs, or other small pets. 

8. Golden Shepherd

Golden Shepherd

A Golden Shepherd is a mix between a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd. This crossbreed shares the qualities of both breeds, making them a wonderful match for a German Shepherd!

They’re energetic and incredibly intelligent, so they need plenty of exercise and fun activities to keep them occupied. 

Golden Shepherds often get the Golden Retrievers’ friendly and loving nature, along with the German Shepherd’s protective and loyal side. 

However, this isn’t an exact science and you never know which characteristics from the two breeds will come through the most. Individual dogs will inherit different personality traits and will vary when it comes to appearance. 

In general, Golden Shepherds are friendly with other dogs and people. 

Since they have so much in common with German Shepherds, they’re likely to be best of friends in no time!

9. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer

Another working breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a fantastic match for the German Shepherd.

Not only are they similar in size, they are both eager to please, have a lot of stamina, and are very intelligent breeds. 

German Shorthaired Pointers have a smaller frame than German Shepherds, but can still stand their ground during playtime. 

If you love outdoor activities with your pooch or getting your dog involved in canine sports, this breed could be the ideal new addition to your household. 

As an added bonus, they shed less than a German Shepherd so you won’t be adding to your grooming duties too much! 

Due to their high energy levels and at times wilful temperament, they’re better for experienced owners rather than first-time owners. 

The good news is, as a German Shepherd owner, a German Shorthaired Pointer should fit right into your lifestyle! 

10. English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel

These two breeds might seem like a mismatch due to their size difference, but they have more in common than you might think!

Cocker Spaniels were bred to work in the fields. This means they’re brave, intelligent, and have tons of energy like the German Shepherd. 

Many Spaniel owners (myself included) find their dog’s tail hardly ever stops wagging! They’re cheerful, friendly dogs that are a joy to live with. 

They love being outdoors and are often described as ‘tireless’. You won’t need to worry about them keeping up with your German Shepherd! 

They are smaller and lighter than German Shepherds, so there is the risk of accidental injury during play. You’ll need to keep an eye on them during playtime to be safe, especially at first. 

Yet despite their smaller size, Cocker Spaniels are well known to be strong-willed. So they won’t be bullied or pushed around by a bigger dog!

11. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

The smallest dog on our list, the Jack Russel stands at only 10 to 12 inches at the shoulder.

Don’t worry though, even though they’re much smaller than a German Shepherd, they’re very sturdy, assertive little dogs. They won’t shy away from a good play session even with a bigger dog!

There’s a lot of personality packed into that small body. These dogs are bursting with energy and confidence!

Bred to work on hunts with their humans, Jack Russels have endless stamina and will happily keep up with a German Shepherd on your family adventures. 

Provided they are socialized from a young age and are well trained, they get on well with other dogs and are a great addition to active families. 

Keep in mind that the breed has a high prey drive, so consistent recall training is key. They’re not the best breed for homes with small animals as they might chase them!

12. Another German Shepherd! 

Two German Shepherds

If you love German Shepherds, why not get another one to complete your pack? There are lots of positives about owning two German Shepherds.

To start with, they’re the perfect match when it comes to exercise and playtime!

They’ll be roughly the same size and have similar strength, personality traits, drive, and intelligence.

You already know that you can meet their needs and for the most part, you know what to expect. Although, every dog is individual so of course, they won’t be exactly the same!

Since the breed is highly trainable, you’ll be able to teach them how you want them to behave around each other, as well as in daily life.

Of course, having two German Shepherds does mean double the brushing and double the Shepherd shedding! But it’s a small price to pay for owning such beautiful, loyal dogs.

If you do choose to get another German Shepherd, ensure you introduce them carefully and slowly so they can become best friends.

Many people feel getting dogs of the opposite sex helps them to get along. It may mean they’re less likely to fight.

If you choose a new dog of the opposite sex, ensure your dogs are neutered and spayed so you don’t end up with puppies accidentally.

What Traits Should You Look For?

Taking on a second dog is a big commitment so do lots of research before you make your choice.

Before you bring your new pet home, it’s best to meet it at least once (ideally a few times). That way you can get to know your potential new pet and see if its personality would match your current dog.

If you are rescuing a dog, the rescue center will allow you to meet their dogs and will give you information about their personalities. Some centers will even allow you to bring your own dog to meet prospective friends so you can see how they get along.

If you are buying a dog from a breeder, ensure you choose a responsible breeder with the proper license and certifications. A good breeder will allow you to meet the puppies and be patient with any questions you have.

There are a few traits that are important when you’re looking for a friend for your German Shepherd.

Sociable

Of course, you’ll want to find a breed that is good with other dogs.

Many breeds are wary of dogs they don’t know, which is natural. As long as they can get on with other dogs when they’re properly introduced, that’s what’s important.

Active

German Shepherds are bred to work so they’re very active and energetic. Any dog you bring into your home should match that energy when it comes to both exercise and play.

If you bring a calmer, low-energy dog into your home they will likely feel overwhelmed by your German Shepherd. Plus your German Shepherd will miss out on a great play partner!

Playful 

German Shepherds love to play and can be quite rough during playtime. It’s best to find a dog who will enjoy this type of play and be able to hold their own.

Size and Strength

It’s important to find a dog of a similar size and strength to your German Shepherd.

Smaller dogs can live with German Shepherds, but they need to be hardy and confident. A delicate or nervous small dog could get hurt accidentally.  

Intelligence

German Shepherds are very intelligent and love mental stimulation to keep their minds working. A good match will have similar levels of intelligence so they can enjoy the same activities.

However, this is less important than the other traits we’ve discussed.

Trainable 

Since German Shepherds are highly trainable, it’s best to get another breed that also responds well to training. This makes your life easier and ensures both dogs behave well.

What is Most Important When Choosing the Best Companion Dog for German Shepherds?

Seeing two dogs you love becoming the best of friends is a beautiful experience. Watching their bond strengthen over time is a privilege.

Before you bring a new dog into your home, you need to make sure it’s the right choice for you, your German Shepherd, and your new family member.

Finding the right breed is of the most important factors in ensuring your dogs get along.

A dog’s breed is a good indicator of its personality traits, as well as its care needs. So, you can make sure it will mesh well with your German Shepherd.

You’ll also need to make sure you can meet all of your new furbaby’s needs. That way, you can all live happily together!