Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle? And 6 Other Signs Of Love

German Shepherds have a reputation for being rough and tough dogs. This can make some people unable to see the soft side that the German Shepherd has. Even though German Shepherds are often used as police dogs and can be tough, the German Shepherd has a soft side that can make them a good and loving family pet. 

Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle 1 1 Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle? And 6 Other Signs Of Love

Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle?

German Shepherds love to cuddle with their owners and with their families. This breed of dog can be super affectionate and clingy to its owners. They can show some really weird traits, but overall cuddling is not something that the German Shepherd will avoid. 

Dogs don’t have the same anatomy as a human at all which can make the idea of cuddling different for a dog than a human. German Shepherds don’t have the proper arm structure to hold someone like a person would hold another. 

Instead, cuddling to a German Shepherd can simply be lying up against you or crawling into your lap. 

If you’re standing or in an upright position, cuddling can look like your German Shepherd hopping onto you and resting its paws on you or your shoulders if you are low enough. This is probably the closest to human cuddling that a German Shepherd can get. 

Cuddling to many dogs simply means closeness and attention. They might seek out extra love and pets during this time or they simply might lay there by you. Either way, this is one of the ways that they show their love and affection towards you. 

Can You Hug a German Shepherd?

Hugs are typically a big part of human cuddling, so it is reasonable for you to want to hug your dog as your way of cuddling. But do dogs like being hugged?

There are certainly many dogs out there that can enjoy a quick hug or gentle squeeze now and then. However, it has been shown that many dogs actually get stressed out or scared by being hugged. 

This can be even more true if you adopted your German Shepherd from an abusive home. Abuse can make a dog even more stressed out by close physical affection such as hugging.

If you still want to try out hugging with your German Shepherd while cuddling, make sure to check their body language for stress and discomfort. Sometimes the body language is obvious, such as them attempting to break out of your arms. 

However, the body language can also be more subtle as refusal to make eye contact or their ears going flat on their head. 

Even if your German Shepherd likes to be hugged, never hug too tight for too long. Always give your dog the ability to move out of the hug if they want to. 

Why Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle?

While there isn’t a definite answer (why does anyone like to cuddle?) German Shepherds do still like to cuddle more than some other breeds of dogs out there.

One reason for their high levels of affection is that German Shepherds are extremely loyal and protective of their owners and families. They always want to make sure that their family is safe and well which can then translate to wanting to be affectionate with them.

German Shepherds also have big hearts with lots of love in them. Even though their reputation can make them seem a bit more cold-hearted, that is far from actually being true. 

A combination of their protective nature, need to accompany their owners (which stems from their herding days,) and loyalty all come together to make them affectionate dogs that like to cuddle.

How Else Do German Shepherds Show Affection?

Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle 2 Do German Shepherds Like to Cuddle? And 6 Other Signs Of Love

Cuddling isn’t the only way that a German Shepherd will show or ask for affection. With these dogs being so affectionate, they have many ways of showing it.

Sitting On You

Even if it’s not for cuddling, a German Shepherd might decide to lay down on you. This can happen when you are sitting on the couch reading a book or trying to lay down for a nap yourself. Sometimes you will find yourself suddenly with another being on top of you. 

There are several reasons why a German Shepherd will lay on you, but a big reason for this behavior is to show love and affection.

Nudging You

German Shepherds will sometimes ask for extra attention for nudging into you. This can look like them bumping into you as you are walking, or it can look like them bumping your hand with their nose while you are relaxing. Either way, this action is to get your attention and their way of asking for some extra love. 

When your German Shepherd asks for extra love, be ready to receive some as well. When they start getting pets, they might shower your hand in kisses or move to get closer to you as well. These dogs love to receive attention just as much as they love to give it. 

Staring At You

While it can be off-putting to turn around and realize your German Shepherd has been staring at you, it can just mean that they love you. German Shepherds, like many people, will stare at the things that they love.

Of course, they love you, so you will sometimes find yourself being stared at. 

If your German Shepherd is staring at you and you turn around and notice, they might take that as a sign to receive some attention. They might walk up to you and start nudging your hand as soon as they know that you are paying attention. 

Following You

A classic way of showing attention for many dogs is to follow you around. This means that your dog is interested in what you are doing and wants to be a part of the experience. With German Shepherds being curious yet smart creatures, they are likely to follow you around to see what you are up to.

Taking Your Things

This can be annoying, but just know that German Shepherds have good intentions when they take your things. German Shepherds have a strong sense of smell and will be able to smell you on your stuff. 

When they miss you, they might take your things so that they have stuff that smells like you nearby. 

A Happy Greeting

And of course, a classic way for a German Shepherd to show affection is to be excited when you get home from somewhere. 

Jumping and running around when you step through the door is them being happy that you are back with them instead of out in the world. This can be especially true for German Shepherds with Separation anxiety.

Why Might a German Shepherd Not Want to Cuddle?

A German Shepherd won’t always want to cuddle and have the right to be left alone for that time. There are a variety of reasons why a German Shepherd might not be in the mood to cuddle. 


Abuse can make it hard for a German Shepherd to be loving and vulnerable with its owner. If your German Shepherd was previously abused, make sure to give them space and respect their boundaries. They can still be affectionate but of their own will.

Being Protective

If your German Shepherd is in a protective mood where they are standing at attention and listing to something outside, they won’t want to cuddle. 

At that moment, cuddling would be distracting them from making sure that you are safe. 

Social Anxiety

Dogs can struggle with social anxiety just like people do. With this, they might be more hesitant to cuddle with you. This can be from a lack of socialization training and can be helped through  socialization training. If your German Shepherd struggles with social anxiety, make sure to give them space and don’t force cuddling onto them.

A Health Problem

If your German Shepherd is sick or has an injury, cuddling might be painful for them. This will come with other symptoms, so be on the lookout if your German Shepherd acts apprehensive or under the weather suddenly.

As always, if you notice that something is wrong with your German Shepherd, don’t be hesitant to take them to the vet.

Final Thoughts

Under most circumstances, German Shepherds are highly affectionate dogs, and they love to cuddle with their owners and their families. Their way of cuddling may look different from how humans cuddle, but it doesn’t make their intentions any less meaningful.

German Shepherds have many ways to show their affection for their owners and cuddling is just one of them. From staring to laying on your lap, German Shepherds can show affection in ways both far away and up close. 

Always respect your German Shepherd’s boundaries when it comes to physical affection. Don’t be offended if your German Shepherd doesn’t want to cuddle when you do. Respecting boundaries builds trust between you and your German Shepherd which gives you a better relationship. 

Besides, having a healthy relationship can mean that you will get more affection down the line. 

Similar Posts