Hey all, I'm new to the forums here, and I'm about two months or so away from making the purchase of a lifetime.
A little about myself; I'm 22 years old, single, soon-to-be former military (contract is up, and parting ways) and about to hit a transition between coming off a full-time job and starting up the life of a college student. A good two to three months to where I'll be able to dedicate a lot of time to a little fuzzball. I've tucked away funds specifically for a dog, and I've been in love with the German Shepherds for as long as I can remember. Having spent plenty of time with friends who are K-9 officers where I was stationed only cemented that love even more.
I live up in a rural section of northeast Oregon, and have around 8-9 acres of land (no real livestock, though we do manage a small flock of chickens and occasionally sell hay). It will be just myself and my grandmother, but with plenty of friends (one of them a Husky breeder) for socialization. This will be my first dog that is *MINE*, not a friends/family member's, but actually my own. I've been reading casually the past two years about dogs, so I would like to think I'm slightly knowledgeable about how to bring one up (of course, booksmarts will NEVER meet up with streetsmarts and actual experience).
There's a few parameters to finding my companion though:
* $1000 or less. Primarily a companion/pet.
That's really my ceiling as to how much I want to spend. I'm not looking for a breeding dog, show champion or supreme working dog from a distinguished family line. I'm perfectly fine with Limited AKC papers. This is going to be my furry kid turned furry partner for a long time. While I don't mind casual competition, I'm not wanting to spend four figures for a champion dog if I'm not looking to show him off like that. I've looked at von HausReid/Grunheide/Waldhimmel, and think they're amazing dogs with great breeders, but... the price is a bit much for *me* personally (not to discredit them, I'm sure they're worth it!).
* No gender preference, no line preference, medium-drive preferably.
I've read up on both, and really, the majority of the information I find is anecdotal and varies from family to family, and I can't really nail down any set-in-stone facts about gender or show/working line. As far as drive goes, I'm not lazy bum, but, I'm no athletic super-being or enthusiast. I'm aware of my limitations, and going for a high-drive dog is probably asking for trouble, especially for my first dog.
* Within 400 miles of Portland, Oregon.
1000 miles is the absolute limit I can drive in a single day (tried and tested on road trips before). Adjusting for time spent at the breeder's house, breaks, and whatnot... a 400-mile radius is about as far as I am willing to go, as I'd rather get the pup in his home-home the first night rather than a hotel. And I'm not interested in shipping a puppy, reputable breeder or not; I want to see how things are in person. On a note, I have no idea how difficult it is crossing the border into Canada for something like this is... so... probably keep it to the USA. And, no further east than Boise, ID, and no further south than Reno, NV.
* Appearance doesn't matter, but would prefer a long-coat.
Something about those long coats I just find adorable. Also, I am not against the solid white/black GSDs. It doesn't have to be sable or the perfect pattern of red/black or anything like that.
So, if someone can help point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it. Any and ALL help, on anything anyone might want to comment about, is welcome. I'm doing my best to charge into this life-altering decision as forewarned/forearmed as I can be. I certainly don't want to be one of those people dropping their companion off at the shelter.