This is my first post on the forums. I’m looking for advice on whether or not a GSD is the right fit for my family. We (myself, spouse, and three boys ages 8, 5, and 1.5) are moving into a new home this summer. My oldest boy is pining for a dog terribly and we’ve decided we will add one to the family once we’re in the new house. He has said for about a year what he really wants is a GSD. As I started researching I accidentally completely fell in love with the breed. My husband has been reluctant to agree for a number of reasons, mostly the shedding and that he is skeptical we can meet the dog’s energy needs. He’s pushing for a Golden Retriever rescue. I am at this point completely hung up on the idea of the GSD, but soliciting opinions to see if that’s maybe just foolish.
Thanks for any insight
I'm in a DINK situation, and we got a GSD as our first dog. We were early thirties, somewhat active (became much more so after getting the dog). I've sort of reconfigured my entire life outside of work to accommodate what the dog needs, but that was something I was happy to do; I wanted to do obedience and some type of dog sport/activity, and we found that was a lot of fun. Your oldest is maybe a tad young to do those things with the dog now, but by the time your dog was 2, I'd think he'd be old enough.
Re the shedding, I find it absolutely hilarious that your husband is pushing for a Golden instead. My spayed shepherd bitch sheds year round and she does a mild version of coat blowing a couple of times a year (a few extra tumbleweeds). The shedding is constant and the struggle is real, but I'm not vacuuming daily, put it that way. Three to four times per week and making sure I go over her with a pin brush at about the same frequency, and it isn't so bad. Golden owners have told me that if I ever got a Golden, I should expect to eat hair, find it in beverages, find it floating in my kitchen cupboard and refrigerator, it is just everywhere and constant and the sheer volume has them marveling at how there's still hair on the dog.
Back to the GSD, I've found based totally on anecdotal evidence that some individuals seem to need more physical exercise, some need more mental, and some need a balance. They all need both, but how the balance tips might be different. I'm one of the lucky ones whose dog needs both in approximately equal measure. So we do Nosework, play brain games in the house, run obedience, AND go for walks and play raucous idiotic games in the house and take weekend runs/hikes. The advantage to this is that she loves to be active both physically and mentally, and I can throw just about anything at her and she'll think it's fun - the downside is that it's just my husband and me who provide her with all of that stimulation. You may find that with more people who can engage the dog, it is easier.
For what it's worth, as she's maturing, I find her developing (slooooowly, because I didn't teach her very well) more of an off switch in the house. Every retriever I've been around ever seems to have no off switch. They don't power down; they just recharge.