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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
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    Delaware
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    407

    Default German Shepherds

    Who has one? Looking at a 7 month old female from a highly recommended breeder and just looking for opinions :-).



  2. #2
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    Jul. 9, 2007
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    Delaware
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    407

    Default

    Oh, and dog would be a family protection dog and has started obedience training.



  3. #3
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The best dog I ever had was a German Shepherd. He's been gone 8 years and I still miss him terribly. He came from a shelter, so I can't speak for any breeders, but I absolutely adore the breed. I would have another if my apartment allowed them.

    They shed, a lot. Also, check with your homeowners insurance to make sure there won't be any additional premiums. I would avoid mentioning the "family protection" angle to your insurer.
    "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 11, 2002
    Location
    Colorado
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    4,790

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    We've had two. Our first was a pet quality of show dog breeding. He was like the "good son" - always doing exactly what he should, where he should be without any traiing. However, the show dog crouch stance resulted in spinal bridging arthritis that made his life painful, even though hips X-ray'd fine.. We miss him and he spoiled my husband terribly, so that when he decided to eliminate the back/hip arthritis prone conformation and purchased....Number two dog, who is a GERMAN line German Shepard, husband was totally unprepared for the out of control, exhuberant puppy, who took a year to be housebroken. Now, at two, she ('she' may be the operative word here) is starting to mature, starting to listen and not flinging herself against the choke chain to jump all over guests when they arrive, and I am starting to enjoy having her around, whereas a year ago, not.

    I think the second type of GS needs to grow up like a cowboy puppy, and go EVERYWHERe with you from the get go, and be taught how to act constantly.

    That said, love the big bark when a car pulls into the yard, and love going down to the barn in the dark with her to warn me of large critters.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
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    7,938

    Default

    Ask about the parent dogs being OFA certified, checked, for correct structure of the hips. Hip problems are SO common, and so bad, that you don't want to just "jump in" when you get a puppy.

    I am also hearing about eye problems, so you probably should talk to a Vet to get specifics on eyes and any other common problems.

    Know that USUALLY German Shepherds are not long lived dogs. They just seem to age faster than other breeds of similar sizes. 8-9, can be fairly old for some dogs.

    You want to get all the information in your head, so you can make decisions with your head, NOT your heart. Once you start liking a pup, it is really hard when they deteriorate right in front of you. My cousin bought a pup, paid good money, and he is having BAD hip issues already. Not yet a year old! The Warrenty with him was for puppy replacement, but who wants ANOTHER of the same bad breeding?? Her husband is even MORE broke up about it, seems to be more "his" dog. Everything else about dog is great, smart, good temperment, but moving BAD.

    When you go looking for a puppy you need to go with your eyes open. You are getting a friend who will be around for quite a while, so they need to be
    "sound and healthy" not a financial burden to you.

    We used to raise German Shepherds years ago, but got out of them because of the way the breed was going downhill. EVERY breed has holes in them, but you usually don't hear about them until you OWN one. Then EVERYONE has a bad story about "those dogs". WHERE were they when you suggested you were looking?? I never heard the bad Corgi stories until AFTER we bought one. And DARNED if they are not true! They have their good points, but the bad ones will prevent me ever buying another.

    If you can find a sound, good minded German Shepherd, they are lovely dogs. Do be prepared to keep it busy, their brains are working ALL THE TIME. If they don't have jobs, they get "creative making up stuff to do" in ways you may not like. They are bred to work and think, need LOTS of exercise. So if you want a quiet, restful dog, they probably are not the breed you want. Loyal and faithful, they will totally fill the bill.



  6. #6
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    Mar. 14, 2010
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia
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    3,279

    Default

    I dont have direct experience with any, but my friend who is a vet tech said that they are her least favorite breed to work with at the vet. She said most people dont train them as strictly as they should and that results in big, ill behaved dogs.

    My SO's sister and her 110 lb GS stayed with us recently. She was trained, but still not as well behaved as I would like.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2000
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    I'm totally unbiased of course,I love them! I love every one we have had, and each one was/is 'the Best Dog Ever'.
    I think they are wonderful farm dogs, wonderful house dogs, great companions.

    Ours have always been very quiet, very kind around children, other animals etc.
    Loyal, intelligent, protective, beautiful.
    But yes, they do shed. always.
    and yes, they do not live as long as some other breeds, and hips can be an issue.

    Our GSD Breezie is 10, German lines, she does not have the sloping back popular in show lines -but she too is showing signs of wearing out behind, despite our best efforts.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2006
    Posts
    3,214

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    I currently own two. One is 8 years old and the other is 6 years old. Both are neutered males. I grew up with the breed, since my parents bred and showed in AKC conformation classes way back in the 1960s.

    I love the breed. I have been heavily involved in training and different activities (tracking, obedience, sheep herding), and I have been very active in breed rescue.

    But I am done with the breed. I will never own another. Too many behavioral issues, too many health problems. It is just heartbreaking. My 6 year old came from a highly recommended breeder who is very active in schutzhund. I paid a boatload of money for him and I have had to crate and rotate him and my other dogs since he was 18 months old. He has genetically weak nerves and is fear aggressive with other dogs. Even with the two older dogs he has lived with since he was 11 weeks old. Oh, and he has such severe stomach problems and allergy issues that I have to be very careful about what he eats...when he eats, because he will go on inexplicable hunger strikes and refuse to eat for days at a time. And no, he is American Showlines. He is all West German Showlines, out of an imported bitch.

    My 8 year old is a sweetheart, but he is not the brightest dog. I'll take his silliness over my other GSDs behavioral stuff any day of the week, though.

    Above and beyond the problems in the breed, there are the issues of just general dog keeping with them. The shedding is horrendous. They are large, active dogs that must be kept mentally stimulated and that is not easy when you are trying to live your life. They require committed training. They don't do well left out in the yard to entertain themselves (although I firmly believe that no dog does well left out in the yard like that). They need experienced owners, or owners who have access to mentors that can help them learn. Not a good choice for first time dog owners.

    OP, you didn't mention how you found out about this dog. Does the breeder still have it? Was it a return? What is the story? Who recommended the breeder? Do you have personal experience of other dogs they have produced? When you say "family protection" what do you mean? Trained response, or just a dog that will bark when someone knocks on the door?
    Sheilah



  9. #9
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    Nov. 28, 2000
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Idaho,I am sad to read your comments - we have had such uniformly happy experiences with our GSDs - intelligent,quiet,level-headed, extremely obediant.
    When the sad day comes that she leaves us, we would expect to get another....

    Are the changes you are seeing in the breed something that is happening recently? (she is 10).

    What do you know about Romanian GSDs? A young couple near us brought their dogs with them from Romania. I had thought to go to them to look when the time comes.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2006
    Posts
    924

    Default

    I have a GSD mix. (maybe with rottie)

    She is PERFECT

    I adopted her as an adult, depending on which veterinarian you asked, btw the ages of 4-7.

    She is now either 11 - 14 years old, and while she has slowed down some she is still in great shape.

    As far as I can tell she has many of the optimal GSD characteristics without some of the problems that others have mentioned. She looks like a GSD with a slightly altered coat/coloring. People always assume she is one.

    Has been naturally protective without being a lunatic. An example would be that she always sits between me and the doorway. I never taught her that, she just does it. Incredibly sweet with young children/older people without being "annoying". I've trained her to do a million different things and in general she listens very very well. I was incredibly firm about the household rules when I first got her home.

    She doesn't like strange men, but I think it is likely that she was abused before I picked her up. She was initially hand shy but that disappeared with time.

    I've seen a lot of great GSD mixes in my area that seem to be able to bring out the best in the breed.



  11. #11
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    May. 5, 2006
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    3,214

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    I think a lot of what I am seeing has come about in the last ten years, specifically with both the European show and working line dogs.

    In Jan. of 2008 I was asked to foster a ten year old bitch from California. She had been imported from Holland as an eight week old puppy, and had lived her first eight years with the woman who imported her. At one point she was one of the top ranked schutzhund dogs in the country. She had multiple titles, including her schutzhund III. But her owner died of cancer, and she was sold to a woman in California. She ended up being spayed and retired from competition. When the housing crisis hit her owner lost her home and the dog needed to be placed. Shelters were already bursting at the seams and she was deemed unadoptable because of her age. Rescues were full. She had no place to go. But the schutzhund community remembered this phenomenal dog, and her former owner, so they took up donations and shipped her to me.

    She was the best dog ever. I loved living with her. She was rock solid in every area. She was ten years old, but in great shape. She had been trained to the hilt and had been a well loved house dog. She eventually was adopted by a police dispatcher here in Idaho. The department had a dog unit and her owner would send me updates about how Enschi was invited to train with the dog handler. She was everything this breed is supposed to be. Loyal, smart, intuitive.

    Dogs like her are hard to find these days. The American Showline folks breed for the extreme gait. The West German Showlines breed for the deep black and red color. The workingline folks breed for drive. And this intense focus on ONE aspect of the overall dog has meant that the attributes that made this breed so good at so many different things has fallen to the wayside. The dogs like Enschi are a thing of the past, for the most part. Which is a real shame, because she was one perfect dog.

    My six year old male is a West German Showline, just like Enschi. And yet, they are nothing alike. For some reason, the sable color so often seen in working lines has become popular and now they are everywhere, including in shelters and rescues that could go years without seeing a dog of that breeding come in. We have people who mistake fear for "protection" and breed those traits forward. It is very sad, and in the end the dogs suffer the most.
    Sheilah



  12. #12
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    May. 5, 2006
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    3,214

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    What do you know about Romanian GSDs? A young couple near us brought their dogs with them from Romania. I had thought to go to them to look when the time comes.
    If you are interested in their dogs, take a look at what they do with their dogs and see if that matches what you want to do with your dog. These particular dogs could be from Romania, and still have the bloodlines of American Showlines, or East German Workinglines or whatever. So take a look at the bloodlines and research what those lines have produced in the past.

    I am a firm believer in health testing. Go back several generations. You want to see a pattern of healthy dogs. It isn't a guarantee, but at least you're going in knowing that you're doing everything you can do to stack the genetic deck in your favor.
    Sheilah



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2011
    Location
    So California
    Posts
    3,710

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    My sister-in-law had one who was the most noble, sweetest dog ever. Gigantic. Calm. Absolutely protective and careful with her young children. A total gentleman in the house. Of course there was the shedding undercoat, but she's a neatnick and keeps it vacuumed up. He died at about 9 years (we think, he came from a rescue) and it was so sad.

    When they visited us with their two dogs, he would become the benevolent leader of all the dogs. They all respected him, because he had a natural air of authority, and he was aloof, but kind with them.

    He was perfection and a great tribute to his breed.



  14. #14
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    Feb. 23, 1999
    Location
    Cypress, near Houston, Texas
    Posts
    8,599

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    I agree that it is very sad what has happened to the wonderful GSD. The American show lines are pitiful, crippled things. The German working lines have so much drive that they don't make good pets.

    The all-round GSD seems to be a thing of the past.

    I have always had a GSD and have seen the gradual change for the worst. Right now, we have an East German line working bred dog that my DH uses for S&R (HR search) and while she is gorgeous and seems quite healthy at age 5, she would certainly not have been suitable for a family pet. It took almost three years for her to settle down enough not to be a constant challenge.

    I worry about getting the next one when she passes.....Not sure I have the energy for it any more.
    Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2006
    Posts
    602

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    I just acquired one. A stray apparently dumped near the barn. Poor guy was half hairless, skinny, and he STUNK. He was skulking around trying to jump into everyone's cars and clearly just wanted to find a place to go.

    My friend the BO couldn't keep him and she was frantically calling rescues - who were all full up. I didn't want a dog, I didn't need a dog - we have three cats and live in a teeny little house in the city. But there was something about that shepherd, he was so sweet and sad looking - I said I could at least foster him and he could live in the backyard for a bit.

    It's 6 weeks later and he's currently napping at my feet on his giant bed that takes up half the available floor space in our living room

    This dog is SO sweet, he's a gentleman with our cats, doesn't get aggressive about other dogs (we have to do a lot of leash walking since we live in town and I have to drive to the nearest dog park), and really he just lives to be with his people.

    It makes me sad when people we meet on our walks are scared of him, he's just a big softie who loves to be adored.

    Now, if I could just sort out his housetraining issues he'd be perfect.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2009
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    Area 51
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliCat518 View Post
    I dont have direct experience with any, but my friend who is a vet tech said that they are her least favorite breed to work with at the vet. She said most people dont train them as strictly as they should and that results in big, ill behaved dogs.

    My SO's sister and her 110 lb GS stayed with us recently. She was trained, but still not as well behaved as I would like.
    Not a favorite of the clinic I work at either. Most of it's fear aggression. When you do get a good one, it's an awesome and impressive dog, but unfortunately there aren't a lot of them. And I agree, a lot people get them and don't know how to handle them resulting in a mess.
    I LOVE my Chickens!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
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    14,502

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    We had one at our last barn...great barn dog, very devoted to owner but cat aggressive.
    I have a half GSD/half Boxer that is wonderful. EXTREMELY devoted. Will be wherever I am. If she accidentally gets locked in a room/out back, she will wait there forever until I come back. (She was found after being dumped on the side of the rd near the barn. She sat at the stop sign for a week, waiting for her owners to return. She was watching each car to see if it was theirs. I tried to catch her the first day, but she ran, and as soon as I got back in my car, she went back to the stop sign to continue waiting. Finally caught her after a week.). She's about 12 yrs old now, and still in amazingly good health.

    Ditto the poster saying check parent's OFA cert status.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 19, 2003
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    173

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    Interesting thread! I was thinking of adopting one from a rescue. Bad idea? Good idea? Obviously I most likely wouldn't know the health history, but they do get screened by their foster families.



  19. #19
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    Apr. 28, 2009
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    Alberta's bread basket
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    We had one. She needed to be kept VERY busy, mentally and physically. Extremely high-maintenance in the exercise department. Very intelligent - did not have to explain much to her more than twice. Very loyal. We had to watch her around strangers as she could get very guardian and that is not always appropriate.

    If you are a VERY busy family - lots of biking, hiking, walking, running, and like to do lots of toy throwing, tennis racket with super-sized tennis balls (don't use standard tennis balls, they can get stuck in the throat).. then a shepherd may be the one for you.

    They are shepherds................... they will try to herd. Not all of them stick with guardian type behaviour. Herding is very strong in their breeding too. So, we had to watch ours around animals. Ours preferred to have everyone lined up and in sight or she got upset, but eventually she learned to chill.

    If you tend to be couch potatoes or only go out once or twice a day, then these are not the dogs for you. They need regular grooming. Some of them have excessive fear and timidity issues. Some of them have aggression issues.

    I would recommend you go to dog classes - not just for her, but rather for you to learn how to handle your dog correctly.

    When we got our dog, we went to puppy classes held by a G. shepherd breeder. We learned a lot from this lady and she spent extra time on the side with us making sure we learned what we needed to simply because we did have a G. Shepherd and because she strongly believed a G. Shepherd is not for a novice dog-owner which we were at the time, and she wanted to be sure we set in the right forward direction. She mentioned that she didn't believe most G. shepherds should be classed as family dogs, but was quick to say that was just her opinion. In retrospect, I can understand her reasoning. She bred her dogs and sold to the police.
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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2008
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    199

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    The nice thing about adopting one from rescue is that, depending on how long they've had them, the foster parents can tell you all the good AND the bad about that particular dog (if they are honest, screen your rescue carefully). A few fosters ago we had one who was getting worse and worse with cats as he grew up, and we had to turn down several interested parties because of that. Better for everyone to get the right home the first time.

    I don't have a GSD, but I work with them all the time and love the breed. One of my favorite dogs in the world is a 8-9 month old GSD that I've been petsitting once a month or so since he was 14 weeks old. He is super sweet, joyful, and obedient. They can be a real handful though, and I wouldn't recommend the breed unless you are willing to put in a lot of time with training. GSDs seem like Border Collies (my breed of choice), in that they can be very sensitive and can develop issues unless you are careful.

    And like the others, it is awfully sad to see the decline of the breed. :/



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