LOL.....oh, you've gotta post that pic! :)
LOL.....oh, you've gotta post that pic! :)
I do think that your other comments about temperament & health issues though are stereotypical and therefore not necessarily true. There are sketchy temperaments & health issues in ALL lines and breeds. The raising & training of the dog has a tremendous amount to do with personality disorders in dogs.
As I've said, one of mine is "American pet line" from the dog pound and he is the most wonderful dog in the world. Totally untrained, chained in the backyard and fed "once or twice a week" by people who got tired of the adorable puppy and couldn't deal with him when he got big and rambuctious. The dog pound people put him in the pit bull wing of the pound and labeled him as vicious. Some dog pound people are idiots. I took one look at him and KNEW he was a good dog (but at that point I'd already had dogs, although not GSD, for over 40 years). He's a fabulous dog, about 9yo now.
In the OP's case, she can certainly meet this individual dog and determine whether or not she's a good fit, but I wouldn't write her off because she's a "pet."
As to the breeder taking her back - unfortunately often people never let the breeder know they're getting rid of the dog. They feel bad or are too proud to admit they made a mistake and they never tell them.
LuvMyperch, excellent post.
I rescued my Shepherd five years ago. Someone had dumped him at a gas station and told him "stay".
He was "guestimated" by the vet five years ago to be about 10-12 years old. (he's still with me, but has slowed down considerably due to his hips)
He is the MOST trainable dog that I have ever owned...(and i've had Rottis, German Shorthairs and Dobermans.)
His background was unknown, and he was/still is very protective of his family. He's never taken a step out of line, but he makes it known if he doesn't like someone.
His "job" at my house became taking care of his baby ducks every spring... and he took his job very seriously and enjoyed every second of it.:)
Here's the pic, just for the cuteness factor.
And the facebook pic in case my picture isn't attaching correctly...
Here's a link to one of mine as a 3 month old puppy. I think it'll work - I made it public.
I have five German Shepherds right now. Worst thing about them is absolutely the constant shedding. Just get a good vacuum cleaner. Mine are all American lines. Bred by a careful breeder who breeds for a sound temperament and a sound body. Three of them are therapy dogs seeing kids, hospice patients, and making all types of visits. I get really tired of people putting the American dogs down. All three of mine that are therapy dogs have been shown. One is an AKC Champion. I have had working bred dogs as well. Just like the show line dogs, each one is an individual. I tell everyone that having them is like having 5 little people running around the house. They are that smart. And not anything like a Lab. ( I have Labs too and love them!) But I would think someone with Pit experience would not have trouble with one. I also have cats and chickens and horses and llamas. Eventually each of the Shepherds has trained out of trying to herd them. All are good with the cats. And kids. Good luck with your new dog. I love the breed!
Don't know much about GSDs, but my 1.5 year old pit mix's best friend is a lovely 2 year old GSD named Jack. He's owned by a family down the block from me, and they have frequent play dates, and while they do generally like to roughhouse, the cutest thing about it is that they take turns with who is pinned beneath the other. He shows no dog aggression at all (or people aggression, for that matter). I'm not sure what his breeding is, but as far as I know his family hasn't done anything super special or intense in regards to training him.
Just for fun, here is a picture of them:
All in all, a very pleasant dog to be around. If it weren't for the hair, GSDs would be a lot closer to the top of my list of dogs I'd like to have!
RedmondDressage - Have you gone to see the puppy yet?
In any case I greatly appreciate all of your input. It seems that my SO is ready for another dog after a long wait so while we're not in a hurry, we'll probably start looking more actively. GSDs are definitely up there on his list along with another pittie so we may put the info to good use in the end.
For the record, I have two GSDs adopted from the pound. No bloodlines, undoubtedly backyard bred. They are sweet, loving dogs whose worst fault is that Andy sometimes will take one of my shoes outside. He doesn't destroy it, he just puts it in the spot in the yard with his treasures. Admittedly, Andy blew an ACL and Wylie had to have an FMHO, but they were destined for the needle and now provide me with security and amusement.
I don't have the expectations for my dogs that some people have for theirs. They aren't perfect. I'm not perfect. We are imperfect together.
This is Ares.. (Formerly Shadow)
My Dad called me one day said to me "I have a dog for you.. I know you miss your boy and a friend could no longer keep this guy so come pick up your dog"
When I got there I found this big giant bounding bouncy Black GSD about a year old my Dad said. Brought him home and he fit right in. He is SUCH a baby. He lives to please me, follows me everywhere I go and HOLDS my hand. He will put his mouth on my hand and hold it lightly and follow along beside me.
He wants to be with me at all times and often sleeps at my feet on the ottoman.
For being a surprise he sure has been a god sent and people are a bit afraid of him as he is big, black, a bt fluffy and very wolf like. He has such piercing amber eyes too. I have no doubts if I was ever in trouble he'd end that trouble in a moment.
I have a German Shepherd and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. My PERFECT dog would be German Shepherd with a Ridgeback coat. ;) They shed, seriously shed, I mean tumbleweeds on your floor kind of shed. That's the only bad thing I can say about them.
My Shepherd is the smartest dog I have ever met. I can see him figuring things out. One day my girls were playing with him, running around a piece of furniture with him chasing and all of a sudden he stopped and leapt over the furniture to catch them, it was hysterical. He's a great problem solver.!! Some days I would bet you $$ that he is smarter than all other members of my household. ;) He has always been very easy to train, figures out new things quickly and wants to please. He lives for his people, wherever you are in the house, he's there...quietly, unobtrusively present, wherever you go, he goes but never in an obstructive or annoying way, he's just quietly present. It's hard to understand unless you've had the other types of dogs Wendy mentioned. I can't bear a dog that wants to always be underfoot, begging for my attention, I know there are many that love that...guess that's why I have GSD's and Ridgies. . My boy would like to herd the horses and does need to be reminded occasionally not to, but he always obeys me. The chickens were interesting at first, but once he realized he was not allowed to chase them he never gave them another glance. We have cats that live in the house and he's always been good with them. I could leave a sirloin steak on the coffee table and tell him NO and he wouldn't touch it even if I left the room (can't say that about the Ridgies..lol) He's nine years old now and has been a joy since the day we brought him home at 8 weeks. My dog is an American/W.German/Czech cross, not sure of the percentages, but his mother looked full american. He's been really healthy, hips and elbows still good, but he's had EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficency) since about 6 months old, it's managed with daily supplements, it keeps him in good weight, he's pleasantly padded right now which is a good thing. He has never met a rock, stick or ball he doesn't like and he will patiently return them to you for what feels like hours if it means you would throw them again. I would get another in a second.
Edited to Add - My dog loves everyone, kids, grown ups, feed delivery folks, the mailman, ups & fedex guy, random people that drive up our long as heck driveway, he's a walking GSD ambassador.
Anyway, I expected Cujo or something, but it has not been the case. I was very careful and cautious with him, introducing to barn cat, other dogs, horses, etc, and it has been nothing but a success. So while I do believe there are a lot probably being euthanized, I'm not sure how often it really needs to happen due to temperament.
He is only about a year old, we had him neutered the next day, he's very small compared to my others, but has done well and really was not the crazy aggressive dog I expected.
A couple pics of "Indy" , the one I saw one facebook and him at Thanksgiving with his cousins (four new dogs he had just met that day), waiting for a treat. :)
Shepherds are my favorite. First two shepherds I had while growing up were gotten by my parents (HS - college) and weren't socialized well. They could get very serious and protective around strangers. Had to be careful of introductions. Of course, no way to know if the first two had been socialized better if they would have been different around strangers.
We got these two in the album below almost 5 yrs ago as puppies from the same litter. We've taken these two out and about A LOT. We do encounter people that are scared of them. We usually gets compliments on how well behaved they are though. They have been winning hearts over wherever they go. Before we take them anywhere, we play a session of fetch the ball and get out extra energy. There has only been one person they have refused to greet. Happens to be a newer neighbor. One of them offered a small low growl at which point neighbor backed off. Neighbor has since shown himself to be quite the jerk. Did they sense something?
With these two, we started out with 15-20 min training sessions daily learning the basics (sit/stay/down, etc). Food is put down but they must sit and wait until we give the Ok command. All shepherds I have owned have been very smart and learned very quickly. These two know lots of words now. Haven't had any issues with chasing the horses. They have been easy to introduce to new dogs (always exercised prior to introduction). The cats were a challenge (Something small runs from me and I'm NOT supposed to give chase? Really?) but they know 'leave it' and the cats have finally learned they mean no harm. Even found one of the shepherds and one cat sharing a dog bed in the barn recently.
A couple of weeks ago I was laying in bed watching tv. One of them wanted up on the bed with me. I said No. He ran and got his ball and put it on the bed by me. I said No. You could see the wheels turning... went and got another toy. Again I said No. Tried to slowly slink a leg up..I said No. So he sat and just looked at me. Then came up to the edge and put his head on the bed next to mine and just left it there while staring at me with those big brown eyes. At that point I finally said Ok. Little stinker!
As for the hair...yeah...they shed..a lot. I bought a Furminator and that has been the BEST investment ever. Doesn't take care of all of the shedding but really cuts down. Best of luck with whatever you end up getting!!
Could some of you please post links to your favorite breeders? Mostly in the midwest. We have had 2 German bred ones previously, and am really getting the itch for another. It was so hard on us when we lost each of them, that its taken us a long time to be willing to open our hearts again. I just go back and forth about getting a new one. They really are such a presence in your life. TIA
I think the GSD can be a wonderful breed. I have lived with them since 1966, when my Dad brought home a pup we named Kelly. My parents bred and showed in AKC conformation classes for many years. I grew up with them in our home and I have continued to live with them as an adult.
I currently own one 6 year old male. My older male passed away last summer from hermangiosarcoma. I have been active in GSD rescue for many years as well.
In general, this is not an easy breed to own. As young puppies they need a ton of training and socializing. And if you get a dog with weak nerves, all the training and socializing in the world won't give you a stable dog. Sound genetics that give you a stable foundation in both health and temperament are so important in this breed.
They require a great deal of exercise. Not just mindless running and playing, but exercise that makes them work their brains as well as their bodies. They need the mindless running and playing, but they also need the thinking stuff, too. A walk around the block once a day or a 5 minute game of fetch is not enough. Nor is having a huge amount of space with little direction from the human. The downside to how trainable the breed is will be that you MUST train the breed. No short cuts. No time off for bad weather.
I have owned or fostered dogs from all lines over the years and I can attest to the fact that there are horrible examples in all lines and there are wonderful examples in every line. I own a West German Showline. He is out of an imported bitch with a ScH I title, and by a domestically bred dog with a Sch III title. My dog is a nerve bag, who is horribly fear reactive to other dogs. I have to crate and rotate him because he can't be trusted around my two other dogs, despite the fact that he was raised with them. He has bad allergies, too, and needs his diet watched because of it. He has tons of drive, but is too weak nerve to compete in any venue. He came from a well known breeder, and I paid big dollars for him. But he still has explosive diarrhea from the stress of competition.
My old guy, who passed away last summer, was a mix of East German Working Lines and American Pet Lines. He was surrendered to the shelter I worked at as a 6 week old puppy, along with the litter's AKC registration packet, a remaining litter-mate and the Momma dog. Breeder was told by land lord to get rid of the dogs by a certain date and these were the three left over by that date. So off to the shelter they went. He lived until 8.5 years of age and died suddenly when the tumor on the pericardium burst. It was a horrible experience. Wonderful dog. Good with everyone, but fairly aloof to strangers (which is part of the breed standard).
Working lines were supposed to be the savior of the breed but, as sables become the new fad color, we are seeing more and more working line dogs of poor breeding flooding shelters and rescues. Temperament has suffered as color becomes the guiding principle in breeding decisions.
To the OP, just because of this particular dog's age, I would expect a puppy that hasn't had much done with it. Adolescence is a rough time with the GSD. What was cute in a little puppy is not so cute in a big puppy. The behaviors they thought the dog would grow out of are magnified instead. Because of this, 9 months to 2 years is the most common age when a dog is either rehomed privately or surrendered to a shelter. I personally think this breed is slower to mature mentally than many of the other big breeds and adolescence seems to be the end of the road for owners who were not prepared for the challenges of raising a GSD.
As I said, I have one GSD left in my home. I am seriously considering having my involvement with the breed end with this dog. I do think the breed is in danger of becoming hopelessly ruined. The breed has distinct splits in type, and even great breeders are disdainful of the other "types". They don't seem to recognize that they will rise or fall together. The working lines that have such over the top drive that they can't live in a home. The West German Showlines that have allergy and temperament issues, but have a gorgeous deep black and red color because that is what they are breeding for. The American Showlines that are soft and overly angulated, but winning in specialty shows. And the BYB that can't tell the difference between fear and protection in the dogs they are using to breed from, so end up passing along major problems to those least able to deal with them.