Thinking about a GSD, have some ?'s
We've been mulling over getting another dog lately and through a friend have come across a gorgeous 11 month old black GSD that is in need of a new family. We currently have my older lab but both of us have owned and been around dogs all of our lives. I always had labs, my SO most recently had a pitbull who passed away a few years ago. He has wanted another dog but just wasn't quite ready, he took the loss of his pittie very hard. He proposed this girl to me when he heard about her so it seems he is ready but neither of us have owned a GSD and I have a couple of breed specific questions. I know there are quite a few people that are experienced with dogs in this board so I thought I would pose a few questions in addition to doing other research!
We're very early into deciding if this lovely girl will be a good fit for the family and we're asking all of the general "new dog" questions. I do know that GSDs are predisposed to hip issues, especially North American show bred dogs. I don't know anything about this dog's bloodlines at this time or what she was originally bred for - show, companion, or work. She is purebred and papered so I will have that information before we make a decision. Are there any other health issues that we should be aware of before we jump into GSD ownership?
From what we've been told she was raised around and is good with young kids and cats, which is good because we have 3 cats and kids that visit regularly. She's never been around chickens or horses so I expect to need to do some training with that, but in general do GSD's have any natural behavior tendencies when it comes to small animals and livestock?
Finally, what sort of training do they generally need? In all honesty this would be my area of least experience. I have always had labs who were super easy to train. I instilled the basic sit, stay, heel plus some little tricks in my current dog without a single obedience class. I never had to teach her how to behave around the chickens and horses - she's just always been a sweetheart about everything. My SO is more experienced in this area - he did a very good job training the above mentioned pittie. I don't yet know what kind of training this little girl has had and if she has any major behavioral problems we will likely pass so for the purpose of this question let's assume she is a blank slate. I know trainability will also depend on breeding and temperament but in general how challenging are GSDs to train? I'm assuming obedience classes would be a good idea?
If you think of anything else not covered above please feel free to share, all input is greatly appreciated. We want to go into this as educated and with eyes as wide open as possible as our home is always a permanent one for cats and dogs.