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Old 02-16-2013, 08:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New to shepherds--need help choosing a breeder

Hi everyone--
After researching numerous breeds, my husband and I have decided on adding a shepherd to our family in ~2-3 years (the dog will officially be mine but my husband will be involved as well). I know I have lots of time until then (so it might seem silly to be asking questions now) but I want to research as much as possible before the time comes to buy. Similarly, if I find the "perfect" breeder for my future dog, I am aware that there may be waitlist so I want to be prepared for that.
Here’s a little about my husband and I (to help you get a better idea of what kind of dog we would be suitable for)…sorry this is so long!

My husband and I have a son (who will be 6-7 at the time we are looking to purchase the dog). We have “pitties” right now (3 girls, 1 boy) and will all be 7-9 years old when we get the new addition. (They are all very sweet, even-tempered dogs so adding a new pup will not be an issue.) Three are just pets but one female I have worked with (since she has the most suitable temperament). We have done some personal protection with her, she is a conformation champion, has her CGC, TT, and CAL 1. Unfortunately, I think we have taken her about as far as she can go in terms of protection work. The training I have spent with her (since 2009) has led me to realize I really want a serious dog to train for French Ring (or something similar). I know it takes a special type of dog to do this work and I know that my dogs are not made for it. Don’t get me wrong, our dogs have more “drive” than the average dog and are not lazy by any means but this sort of thing is not what they were bred for. There are many nice breeds that come to our training classes (malinois, dutchies, boerboels, filas, dobies, rotties, etc) but my favorites have always been the German Shepherds. I definitely understand the time/effort/money that goes into a working dog and I am prepared for that.

We do lure coursing with all of our dogs, live out in the country on a securely fenced acre (in a home we own), love to go out camping, fishing, hiking, four wheeling (pretty much anything that involves the outdoors) and always take a dog or two with us. Basically, an active dog will fit in perfectly with us.

My husband and I have never owned a German Shepherd before so shepherd “lines” are pretty darn unfamiliar to us (ha-ha). Of course we have (and will continue) to speak with our trainer and the owners of working shepherds we train with regarding breeders and lines. However, I want to hear the opinions of you guys as well (never can get enough information). Everything I learn on here will be brought up with my trainer to hear his opinion as well.

Okay, now to the fun part--what we are looking for in our future dog!

Being that we have a child, a stable temperament in our future dog is especially important. We want a dog with good nerves that will be dependable with our son. I realize that every single dog (regardless of breed) must always be supervised and never be left alone with any child. I also know working dogs (and any dog with a high prey drive) must be treated differently (in the sense that you must be exceptionally careful/prepared for potential problems) but I am aware that there are some very dependable working dogs out there that are excellent with all family members. This is what we want above anything else.

Size and color are not very important to us at all but obviously the dog must be from health-tested stock and be built suitable for work. Most of the shepherds that train with us are what most average (pet) German Shepherd owns would consider “small” but I actually prefer a “smaller” dog with more agility/strength/drive...the “large” size of a dog has never impressed me. (Of course, even a “small” shepherd is bigger than the dogs we have now!) As far as color I must admit though that I do drool over the sable shepherds However…I believe any good dog is a good color! (Sable would just be the icing on the cake!)

It is very important that dog that is confident. I know sport work and real-life work can be two very different things. (I have seen some “sport” dogs that have cared mostly about the sleeve and not “protecting” but I don’t want to get into a debate about it or anything!) As stated earlier, I would like to do French Ring or something of the sort but first and foremost I would like a dog that would be a real-life protector---one that would be willing to take on an intruder/attacker and not turn tail and run. I realize not every dog is suitable for that type of work and it is hard to tell if a puppy will grow up with the right temperament but I figure lineage could give me a pretty good idea J

I live in Arizona but have shipped in dogs before (2 of my dogs were from out-of-state) so that is not a problem. Additionally, cost (within reason) is not a big deal because I know that you get what you pay for. I have seen 1500$ plus shipping is pretty much the going rate and that is fine. (Shoot…the cost of training alone will be much, much higher than that ha-ha!)

So…any idea of what lines we should look into and which we shouldn’t (and why)? Similarly, do you guys have any breeder recommendations? As stated above, being good with my son is #1 priority so any direction/information as far as that goes would be greatly appreciated. I have heard good things about Wildhaus…any opinions? I am wanting to learn as much as possible and do not want to make any mistakes (ie end up with the wrong dog for us) as that would be bad for everyone!

Sorry this is so long and rambles on slightly. I know protection work can be a kind of touchy subject so I hope I expressed myself clearly (and didn't offend anyone). Also, please be patient with my lack of knowledge about this breed…trying to learn as I go. Thank you all so very much for taking the time to read this.
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think talking with the people who you have trained with, who own the type of GSD that you admire, will be a lot more beneficial than taking recommendations from members on an anonymous internet forum.

I think it is entirely okay to be drawn to particular breed of dog, with everything else being equal. I say go for it, if your heart and interest lies with the GSD.

Who breed the dogs you liked watching work or train? That is where I would start.
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the reply! I completely agree--the opinions of my trainer, fellow trainees (lol) and my own experiences will be the main things that determine my final decision. I just figured if anyone had any ideas on here, I could throw them out there in the next training session, and see what everyone's opinion is. Also, at the next trial I go to, I can "look out" for dogs of the lines recommended on this thread. Thank you again for taking the time to reply!
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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NRML, you are well prepared to find your next working dog! Wish you luck. I don't know of the breeders in your locale, and 2 ~3 yrs in the future may be a bit too long into the future to suggest anyone. I know of an upcoming whelp that would match what you are seeking, but obviously that is too near.

I am on some breeder and working dog facebook pages, and that is another option to see whats out there/upcoming breedings. Breeder annoucements on FB is a great way to see what's going on.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply! I am too excited for the future pup...wish I could get one sooner but I know it would not be the responsible thing for me to do. I've seen those working sheps...they are a fulltime job! hahaha I love it!! In 2-3 years my son will be a bit older (as will my canine family members) and life will allow me the time I need to properly care for and train a serious worker. Out of curiosity, is there a way you could PM the breeders you like personally? I would love to check them out! Time flies...before I know it I will be picking out a pup!
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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sending you a pm!
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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good luck with your sable pup.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you!
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Where in AZ are you? Have you found a trainer?

Last edited by Ace952; 02-17-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm in North Phoenix and yes I have, thank you!
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