Training and intelligence
They take to training well. They are very intelligent, and enjoy activities that challenge their mind such as obedience, agility etc. German Shepherds are able and willing to serve in a huge variety of roles, but positive, reward based training methods will get the best results.
German Shepherds are loyal, brave and protective. They can be wonderful family dogs, but children must be taught to respect them.
Attitude towards strange dogs and people
They are natural guards, and German Shepherds can be wary of strange people. They can also be dominant with other dogs. Socialisation is a must with this breed - the effort will pay off in a well-balanced companion who is a joy to be with.
Grooming and shedding
German Shepherds do shed heavily, and daily groomin will probably be necessary. Some strains have longer coats than others, and obviously, the longer the coat, the more the grooming and shedding.
The German Shepherd has a lot of physical energy and mental capacity - both of which need to be given an outlet. Activities that use all the German Shepherd's abilities will lead to a happy dog. These are not couch potatoes - they will only be happy and relaxed if they are given opportunities to burn off their abounding energy.
Need for company
They form a very close bond, usually with one person, although they love the whole family. Being with their people is important for a German Shepherd, and he will probably want to know where every member of the family is within the house, so he can keep en eye on you.
German Shepherds are very demanding - do not underestimate the commitment you are making in taking one on. Make sure you go to a responsible breeder, as breeding is very important for many reasons. A well bred dog, that you have put the effort in to socialise, train and exercise, is a marvellous companion.