Are German Shepherds Cuddly? Breed Facts & FAQs

Are German Shepherds cuddly

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. In fact, according to, they are among the top 5 most popular dogs in Australia.

This dog breed is known for a lot of positive values such as being intelligent, loving, affectionate, protective, and loyal. However, are German Shepherds cuddly?”

The answer to the question above is not a straightforward YES or NO. After asking a lot of German Shepherd owners this question, we have concluded that Yes, German Shepherds are generally affectionate, but not all of them enjoy being cuddled.

Whether your German Shepherd loves to cuddle or not depends on several factors, including their upbringing, age, any past experiences of trauma, and more.

In this article, we have revealed full information about the German Shepherd dog breed. You will also get to know if a German shepherd loves to cuddle or not.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Why Does My GSD Like to Cuddle – Are German Shepherds Cuddly?

A man in blue comforting his German Shepherd

German Shepherds like to cuddle because of their affectionate nature and strong bond with their owners. These loyal dogs crave physical and emotional closeness, which cuddling provides.

German Shepherds are naturally affectionate dogs, they always crave physical and emotional closeness with their owners and one of the ways they build this strong bond is by cuddling.

These dogs are also known for their protective nature. They are widely used by police and other agencies as guard dogs. Even though this guarding and protective sense is instinctual, it is still present in their repertoire of behaviors. Your GSD may snuggle up to you for cuddles, making them feel like they are protecting you.

Your German Shepherd may also seek cuddles while sleeping because this makes them feel safe. In the wild, their wild ancestors had to be on guard even while sleeping because they were vulnerable. This instinct has stuck around, and that’s why your furry friend snuggles close when they snooze.

Cuddling also releases endorphins in German Shepherds. In case you are wondering what endorphins are, “endorphins are hormones produced naturally in German Shepherds in response to activities such as cuddling. This hormone acts as a mood enhancer, and it creates feelings of pleasure, happiness, and relaxation in dogs.

How Do German Shepherds Show Affection

two German Shepherds with their owners

While cuddling is a way GSD shows affection to their owners, there are still different things they do to show affection.

Different German Shepherds will likely show affection to their owners in different ways. However, here are the common ways German Shepherd Dogs show affection to their owners apart from cuddling:

1. They Like Staying Close to You

German Shepherds are very protective. Once a GSD has a strong bond with you, he will always want to stay closer to you to guide and protect you from potential threats.

When GSD are also comfortable being around you, they will attribute your presence to joy, comfort, and good feelings. Therefore, whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, watching TV, or working from home, your German Shepherd will likely be nearby.

2. They Want to Lick You

Dogs use licking as a form of grooming and bonding. It’s a behavior they usually reserve for their closest pack members, and when they do it to you, they’re essentially saying, “You are part of my pack, and I care about you.”

3. They Do Not Avoid Eye Contact with You

When your German Shepherd dog stares and maintains eye contact with you. It is a sign of love and trust from your dog.

According to research led by a Japanese scientist, when dogs maintain eye contact with their owner, it leads to a burst of oxytocin (love hormone) in both parties.

4. They Always Seek Belly Rubs

Although German Shepherds are initially bred as working dogs, they still crave a lot of attention from their owners.

Belly-rub is like a part-time job to all GSD owners because German Shepherd Dogs do enjoy this act.

When your German Shepherd exposes their belly, it’s a vulnerable position for them. By allowing you to give them belly rubs, they’re demonstrating a high level of trust and affection.

5. They Are Always Happy to See You 

When you are away for a while and you come back home, a German Shepherd dog will do all sorts of funny things such as jumping at you, licking your face, running around aimlessly, etc. All these things are a sign of affection, and it shows that your dog is excited to see you.

What Are the Signs My German Shepherd Do Not Like to Cuddle

A stressed German Shepherd sleeping under the duvet

German Shepherds are affectionate, loving, and very receptive to physical touch from their owner. However, not all GSDs enjoy being hugged or cuddled, as it can make them uncomfortable or stressed.

Here are some of the signs that your German Shepherd Dog is stressed due to cuddle:

  • Your dog is shifting frequently, or restless while being cuddled.
  • He is pacing or trying to escape.
  • Your dog is Growling or snapping.
  • He is scratching or licking his body excessively during cuddling.
  • He is trying to avoid eye contact with you.
  • His Ears are down and flat against the head.

How Can I Encourage My German Shepherd to Cuddle?

If you want your German Shepherd to be more loving and affectionate, here are some of the things you should do

Avoid Punishing Your GSD And Use Positive Reinforcement Instead

One of the ways to build a stronger bond with our dogs is by using positive reinforcement instead of punishing them when they do something wrong. Hitting or scolding your dog will make them more hostile. Instead of doing that, make use of positive reinforcement.

Whenever your dog displays the desired behavior, immediately reward him with treats and also use a verbal cue like “Good!” or “Yes!” to mark the behavior. This helps your dog understand that the behavior is desirable.

If your dog is exhibiting undesirable behavior, redirect them to a more appropriate activity. Do not shout or scold them as this can lead to anxiety. For example, if they are chewing on furniture, give them a chew toy instead.

By doing this, your dog will be more affectionate, and he will feel safe and loved around you.

Give Your GSD More Time and Attention

A female GSD owner with her dog on the field

German Shepherds are active dogs, and they crave a lot of time and attention from their owners.

To build a stronger bond between you and your GSD, Demonstrate your affection towards your dog always. Take him out on walks regularly, groom him, engage him in exercise, feed him adequately, get him toys, and always visit your vet for regular checkups.

Real-Life Experiences (Asking Some GSD Owners)

To shed light on the cuddliness of German Shepherds, I have gathered some opinions from real-life owners who have experienced their cuddly nature firsthand:

  • GSDFan520, a German Shepherd Owner and Reddit user says: “Our first one didn’t care much for hugs, snuggles, etc. He’d give us a moment and move away. Our current GSD is the complete opposite, he’ll come over and snuggle when we get on the floor”.
  • Kreed, a dog owner and Quora user says: “There are breeds who enjoy it more than others. But within those breeds are individuals who have their own life stories and experiences. If they’ve been abused, they may not be comfortable with hugs, regardless of their breed. Dogs sometimes get nervous with hugs (not all, but some do) and you can tell if they begin to yawn or try to pull away. Listen to what the dog is telling you and respect his/her space”.


The answer to this question “Are German Shepherds cuddly?” is not a straightforward YES or No. While German Shepherds are loving and affectionate dogs, not all of them show affection by cuddling their owner.

German Shepherds may show affection towards their owner in some other ways apart from cuddling. Some of the ways GSD shows affection include, licking your body, always being willing to follow or stay around you, always seeking belly rubs from you, etc.

FAQS (Are German Shepherds Cuddly?)

Does A German Shepherd Attach to One Person?

Yes, German shepherds are known to always bond with their owner or rather, someone who gives them more care and attention in the family.

This act is completely normal, and it is easily noticeable in male GSDs. The male German Shepherd is more likely to form a stronger and deeper bond with a member of the family.

For their female counterparts, they may also get attached to one person, but it is not common, as they always bond with almost all members of the family.

Are German Shepherds Less Affectionate?

No, German Shepherds are very affectionate dogs. They always show affection and love to their owners.

The female GSDs are more affectionate, and they are friendly with almost everyone. However, the males are less affectionate, and they tend to bond with only one person who gives them more attention.

What Are the Top 10 Affectionate Dogs in The World?

If you are looking forward to adding a new pet to your existing pet collection, here are the top 10 affectionate dogs in the world:

  1. Boxer
  2. Golden Retriever
  3. Pitbull Terrier
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Labrador Retriever
  6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  7. Boston Terrier
  8. Pugs
  9. Border Collie
  10. Labradoodle


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