You've finally decided you and your family are ready for a dog. This in itself is a big decision. The next decision you have to make is on the breed. Your choice of a German shepherd is an excellent one, as this breed is known for their loyalty, intelligence, and ease with which they can be taught to behave well. The one choice you have yet to make is on the gender. You have probably heard good things about both sexes so it's a tough decision to make.
One factor you will be taking into consideration before you get your German shepherd is if you have intentions or plans on breeding when the dog is ready. If breeding is your intention, you will want to get a female. It is important to know that breeding is a huge step, especially for an inexperienced dog owner. While the idea of having puppies and eventually selling them sounds good in theory, it requires a lot of work. With the amount of dogs being put up for adoption, breeding is something that is not often encouraged. Many people choose to have their dog either spayed or neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, if you do choose to get a female with intentions of breeding, this is a matter of personal choice.
Some say females are more protective than males and others swear that the males are the protective ones. I've had the privilege of owning both genders. With my experience, I've found that males are more protective and "territorial" of the home, but females are more protective of the individuals living in the home. Females, I believe, are more affectionate as well. I don't know if there is any truth to this, but many say females are more affectionate towards men and male dogs are more towards women.
If you do choose to get a female and not have it spayed, you will have to deal with it coming into heat twice a year. While twice a year may not seem like a lot right now, they will bleed for anywhere from 7-11 days of their heat, which can cause quite a mess if they are a housedog. Many people purchase dog diapers for this period. Another concern is preventing an unwanted pregnancy with one of the male dogs in your neighborhood. Males can smell a female in heat for many miles. If you own a female and don't intend to use her for breeding, your vet will recommend having her spayed to prevent breast cancer, which is very common in unspayed females.
Many people choose to get a male German shepherd so they don't have the worry about having a female in heat. However, male dogs have a tendency to roam when they know there is a female in heat in the area. Regardless of how well trained your male is, if he picks it up in the air, he'll be gone for a while if you don't keep him under control.
Male dogs have a tendency to be more aggressive than females as well. There are many reasons why dog owners choose to have their males neutered. Vets often feel that neutering them will take some of the aggression out of them if aggression is a problem.
Although German shepherds of either sex are wonderful dogs and will make wonderful pets, you should take into consideration all these facts when deciding whether to get a dog or a bitch. If this dog is going to be a second dog, you may want to choose one of the opposite sex of what you already own. Although same sex dogs do often get along, occasionally there are problems later in life when they are both trying to determine which one is the "alpha" in the house.