Can a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd Live Together? (Explained!)

Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are both intelligent and loving to their owners. But German Shepherds are also known for being intense guard dogs who sometimes become nervous when interacting with other pets. Is it possible for a Golden Retriever and a German Shepherd to live together?

A Golden Retriever and German Shepherd can live together. Golden Retrievers are generally friendly, while German Shepherds can be protective. It is best if they grow up together, making it essential for them to socialize as puppies. However, they can still be acquainted as adults.

This article will go over the similarities and differences between these two breeds. It will also explain why it’s important for German Shepherds to socialize at an early age. Lastly, it will describe how to introduce your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever to each other, so they can live together in harmony.

Do Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds Have Similar Attributes?

First, let discuss the size, activity levels, and personalities of Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds to determine if they are compatible. 

Golden Retriever and German Shepherd

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Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds Are Similar in Size 

When it comes to height and weight, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are pretty evenly matched. 

Average, male Golden Retrievers range from 23 to 24 inches (58.4 to 61.0 cm) tall, and they weigh around 65 to 75 lbs (29 to 32 kg).

Females are slightly smaller than males. They tend to be 21 to 22 inches tall (53.3 to 55.9 cm) and weigh around 55 to 65 lbs (25 to 29 kg).

Golden Retriever (male)23 – 24 inches65 – 75 lbs
Golden Retriever (female)21 – 22 inches55 – 65 lbs
German Shepard (male)24 – 26 inches65 – 90 lbs
German Shepard (female)22 -24 inches50 – 70 lbs
Golden Retreiver and German Shepard size comparison

German Shepherds are slightly larger. The males range between 24 to 26 inches (61.0 to 66.0 cm) tall and weigh around 65 to 90 lbs (29.5 to 40.8 kg).

Females are about 22 to 24 inches (55.9 to 61.0 cm) tall and weigh between 50 to 70 lbs (22.7 to 31.8 kg). 

Size wise and pound for pound Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are overall quite comparable.

Golden Retrievers & German Shepherds Are Both Very Active

Both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers need over 40 minutes of exercise daily to remain healthy and happy. 

German Shepherds are an incredibly active breed since they were bred to be herders. They may become mischievous and likely to develop undesirable behaviors if you keep them cooped up for too long, however.

German Shepherds enjoy doing a variety of activities, including agility, herding, and tracking. They are incredibly smart, so their bodies and brains need to be stimulated regularly.

Golden Retrievers are equally active. Like German Shepherds, they will engage in less than ideal behaviors if you don’t provide them enough daily exercise and mental stimulation. 

They can be great companions on runs and bike rides. However, consult your vet before doing strenuous activities with them. Golden Retrievers may suffer from joint and bone problems that can be worsened by intense exercise. 

(You can find out more about running with your golden in my article Running With Your Golden Retriever: What You Need to Know)

Other than running, Golden Retrievers also love to swim. Make sure to bring them along if you head to the lake or beach. They will thank you for it! 

Watch a Golden Retriever named Bailey meet his new sibling, a German Shepherd puppy named Rocky!

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds Share Many Similar Personality Traits

The personalities of German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers have some similarities. Both breeds are considered to be intelligent, confident, and dedicated to their loved ones. 

They can easily learn several commands and tasks, making obedience training a breeze. Because of this, they are frequently trained to be guide dogs. 

However, their temperaments differ in one significant way. 

Golden Retrievers are not particularly good guard dogs. Their affection is indiscriminate, and they love everyone, so they are more likely to lick a stranger than bark at them. 

On the other hand, German Shepherds are known for their loyalty and tendency to defend their loved ones. They make excellent guard and police dogs since they are willing to put their lives on the line for their owners.

Will Goldens and Shepherds Get Along?

Generally, the answer is yes. Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are similar in size, temperament, and activity levels. This makes them perfect companions for each other with a few caveats.

If German Shepherds are not well socialized as puppies, they can become extremely aggressive when a new dog is introduced.

Also, poorly bred German Shepherds are naturally more anxious and high-strung. Mixing poor breeding with a lack of training and socialization is a recipe for disaster.

Before making your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever roommates, consider the German Shepherd’s training and breeding. If the German Shepherd was socialized with others as a puppy or is still a puppy, he will probably do just fine with his new pal. 

However, it could be a problem if he was kept in the yard or a kennel for most of his puppyhood and did not spend time with other dogs.

How Can I Assure They Will Live Happily Together?

Socializing your German Shepherd as a puppy and having him grow up with the Golden Retriever is the best way to ensure that these two breeds get along.

Train Your German Shepherd as a Puppy

If you want your German Shepherd to be friendly enough to live with another dog, it is best to start their training from a young age. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends starting the socialization training when your German Shepherd is around 8 to 16 weeks old. 

German Shepherds are incredibly observant. At a young age, they can pick up on how you react to other humans and dogs. 

If you expose your German Shepherds to a variety of people and dogs in a safe environment, they will learn that not everyone is their enemy. This will make them more friendly with other dogs later in life, instead of being aggressive and continuously on high alert.

If you like to learn more about socializing your German Shepherd, check this video by the German Shepherd Man:
How to properly socialize a German Shepherd puppy

The video shows tactics that you can try to make your German Shepherd feel happy and confident around other people and dogs.

Raise Your Shepherd With the Golden Retriever Around

Raise your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever in the same household to ensure that they will live together in peace.

It’s easier for German Shepherds to be friendly and accepting of other dogs if they grow up with them other than being introduced when they are older.

However, if you want to introduce a Golden Retriever to your German Shepherd as an adult, it is possible as long as he was trained properly as a puppy.

How Should I Introduce Them if They Are Adults?

German Shepherd World goes over the proper way to introduce your German Shepherd to a new family member. Let’s go over these steps in detail.

Introduce Them in a Neutral Location

Introduce your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever in a neutral location, such as a park or on the sidewalk. Allowing them to meet outside of the home will enable them to get acquainted without feeling overly territorial. 

Since that will be their first time meeting, keep them both on a leash.  

Walk Them Together 

After getting to know each other, take them for a walk. Keep a little space between the two dogs just in case one of them becomes a little aggressive. 

Allow Them to Smell Each Other

If the walk goes well, you can move on to the next phase. Let the dogs sniff each other’s bottoms for at least two minutes. It’s like shaking hands for dogs 🙂

If they decide to play together during this time, allow it to happen. We want the pups to have as much fun together as possible.

Let Them Spend Time Together in the Home

Once the dogs are getting along outside on neutral territory, it’s time to let the dogs interact inside the home. Let the new dog go into the house, without the resident dog. Allow them to sniff around and get familiar with the home. 

After this, bring both dogs into the front yard of the home. Let your German Shepherd and Golden Retriever spend time in the yard together before going inside. 

Once they are inside, let them interact. If things start to get tense, separate them, and repeat the same process later. 

Eventually, the dogs will become comfortable being around each other. However, you should always keep an eye on the new dog and separate them when you aren’t home to prevent fights. You should do this until you completely trust them alone together which could take several weeks.


German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are similar in size, activity level, and personality. 

However, German Shepherds are guard dogs and can be suspicious of other dogs and humans they aren’t familiar with. For the smoothest transition, it’s best if the German Shepherd is well-bred and socialized at a young age. This helps ensure that your Golden Retriever and German Shepherd will get along. 

It is best if the two breeds grow up together as puppies. However, if this is not possible, they can still be safely introduced and live together as adults. Just practice the techniques we talked about above and be patient. 

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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