Breeder in mid-Atlantic or NE?: Hard time determining what's important
My husband and I are excited to be preparing for our first GSD, but we're finding the process quite overwhelming. We fell in love the the breed after an encounter with a police officer and his companion. The dog was the most beautiful, dutiful, assured and seemingly sweet-spirited animal I've ever encountered. We both realized right there at dinner that the GSD was the breed for us (after both growing up with Labs!). But we're so new to the breed and know only what we've read on forums.
We're attracted to stock coat black and tans and black and reds with the more squarish nose (German show line?). But from what I've been reading on this forum, we may be more attracted to the temperament of the German working lines. And the working lines seem to be more prevalent in the MD/VA/NJ/PA area where we live and would be able to visit with the breeder and dogs in advance. Can there be a mix? A black and tan, eager to please athlete with a great disposition who will lay with us on the sofa? Too much to ask?
We want a dog who is going to be healthy, intelligent, medium drive and a good family pet. I'm an avid runner and hope to take our new family member out for runs (I've read about waiting until 18 mos and building stamina) -- hopefully without a leash at some point. Both of us are committed to participating in training but don't plan to make a sport of it.
1. What line do think fits us best? Is it possible to find a black and tan with the sportier build and temperament?
2. Do you have recommendations for a good, "localish" breeder?
3. We are hoping to have a puppy in hand next April - June. Are we looking too early?
Thanks so much, in advance! And apologies if I don't know what I'm talking about.