I love shepherds. I've had sighthounds for many years, but will consider a shepherd -I'm just intimidated by all that hair! Their intelligence is uncanny. Years ago I had a flood in my house and had to move out with all the animals while it got repaired. It was a very stressful time to say the least. The friend I stayed with had a retired therapy dog (female GSD) who had been taking care of her partner who had anxiety disorder.
Well one night I awoke in the midst of one heck of a panic attack (from the stress) and the shepherd was in my bed with me. She came from upstairs, and climbed in my bed even before I woke to the panic attack. She had one paw on my arm like she was saying, "It's okay, you're just having a panic attack. Everything is going to be allright". I mean seriously? My hound was asleep on the floor oblivious!
That's how smart they are. And Scout is still my fast friend to this day.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
Current foster is a 6 week old GSD mix. He is the smartest d@mn dog I've ever fostered. He's pretty much house broke, now if he would just teach my 18 month old Aussie! He goes up for adoption on Tuesday...just sayin'
I've always wanted one but I don't want to get one until I retire so it can be with me all the time.
BUT, as a horse person, I can not stand the bad back end of so many. Where do you get normal looking (i.e. not crippled looking) ones, like the ones in the OP's pictures?
The crippled, overly-angular hock walkers are American-bred GSDs. You want a German showline or German working line. There are a lot of German showline breeders in America, a simple google search will yield lots of results. They are THE BEST DOGS and you will love having one!! I have a 10 year old female and 5 year old male and they are just amazing, so intuitive and helpful with the most stable temperaments ever. Small screaming child? No problem. Elderly person with a squeaky walker? Sure. Intruder? You better believe there won't be any robbers with a GSD on your property!
I lost my Shepherd/Husky mix not too long ago, most loyal awesome dog that I ever owned. He was a rescue too, found him at a gas station on the side of the highway...Best farm dog ever...
I missed having a Shepherd, so look what I got this weekend?
Here she is, in all her cuteness! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=980bb61164
The crippled, overly-angular hock walkers are American-bred GSDs. You want a German showline or German working line.
I feel obligated to defend my beast. I'm 99.99% certain he's straight up American showline GSD, and he is not a hock walker. Yeah, he can do that "flying trot" gait that is so beloved by the show people, but he doesn't walk like a duck at all. His back is level and he moves out beautifully at the walk, though he does have a tendancy to get pacey.
I've also seen some horridly roach-backed examples from not-so-great German showlines. I saw a half-grown puppy being walked who couldn't even lift up his head all the way, his back was so curved! So just because it's German, doesn't mean it's good! You just have to research the breeders and check out the parents.
I am NOT endorsing these guys (I suspect they are certifiable loonies), but they do breed some nice, normal looking showline dogs. Please note, the show pictures have the dogs "stacked" - they don't stand with one hock on the ground normally!
My wonderful GSD Breezy, who is 12 now, is snoozing on her bed a few feet away from me and by the woodstove.
She is a terrific dog, fabulous temperament,very calm and kind, extremely intelligent.
Her former owner used to compete her in sheep herding and she won!
When I walk to the barn she always walks right at my side, and most touchingly of all, when my husband and I walk together, Breezy walks in between us.
I don't think she wants to show favouritism.
She is German and US working dog lines, but she is getting old, and her hips are sore....
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet" Maya Angelou
I have lived with the GSD breed for most of my 49 years and I always thought I would never have any other breed of dog. I have lived with them, trained them and spent much effort and money involved in breed rescue.
When you find a good one, there is no better dog in the world. But it is becoming harder and harder to find a good one. My West German Showline is now 6.5 years old and is riddled with health and temperament issues. He doesn't have a drop of of American Showline blood in him, but his hips are only "fair", he has extensive food allergies and is so fear aggressive with other dogs that I have to crate and rotate him in my home, with dogs he was raised with.
There are great dogs to be found in every line, and no one line can protect you from heartbreaking problems. The American lines get the majority of attention regarding problems, but those same problems can be found in other lines. The extreme angulation found in American showlines does not "cause" hip problems (the hock walking female who represented the breed in the Westminster herding group has "good" hips according to OFA). There are many extreme dogs that have OFA "excellent" hips. And there are many banana-backed West German showlines dogs with "poor" hips. And there are even workingline dogs that have "poor" rated hips.
Look for a reputable breeder that produces the lines that you like. Search out a reputable rescue, if adoption is the way to go for you. There are nice dogs from every line in rescue these days.