Is the GSD the breed I'm looking for? (Kinda long . . ) - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 06-21-2014, 05:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is the GSD the breed I'm looking for? (Kinda long . . )

Hello everyone! I'm new-ish to the board and just joined. I say new-ish because I've been secretly stalking various GSD boards for about a year now and this is the first time I've actually joined one to post on.

I'm hoping to get some feedback, on traits that I'm looking for in a dog and whether or not the GSD, or maybe another breed altogether, fits what I'm looking for.

I've been in love with the GSD ever since I got one as a kid. Ok, I didn't get one, I wanted a Golden, but my mom veto'd that decision and found a $50 who-knows-what-line GSD instead. I LOVED this dog. She was calm in the house, playful outside, always up for a walk or whatever I wanted to do with her. I even discovered one day that she was naturally protective, putting herself between my brother and a not-so-friendly neighbor. From that point on, GSDs were officially my heart breed. I had decided that I wanted to one day become a GSD breeder.

So I started doing research on "real" shepherds. The kind that come with pedigrees and papers and naturally I started looking at ASL in the AKC. I loved how vibrant their coats were, but could never quite get over how their back-ends looked. After seeing a few Champion "hock-walkers" I started looking elsewhere. I found German line GSDs, which I then learned could be split into working line and show line. I liked how they seemed to have more substance structurally than the ASL, but couldn't get over the curve in their back.

Then I found the East/DDR/Czech(sp?) lined GSDs and I was in love. I loved their big blocky heads, I loved their straighter backs, and I've never seen one walking on their hocks. It was after this that I discovered IPO (VPG?) and the importance of nerves and stress testing. So I seek out as many workingline breeders I could find (I've got a "favorites" list bookmarked with about 20 breeders in it) and stalking GSD boards and reading everything I could about what real owners were saying.

That's when I learned that the IPO had gone from a reliable breed test to a sport and it's not enough to simply be ABLE to work, you need to be ABLE to win. Competitors wanted high prey dogs who saw it as a game. Obviously still able to work, but maybe not so much emphasis placed on actual defense. And THEN there are those who compete at "midnight trials" which efficiently help render impressive IPO3's worthless. On top of that I was wondering exactly what kind of energy level these dogs are packing. I'd read one breeder bragging that you could only pet their dog briefly as they ran past you. I just don't know if that kind of energy level is . . . I wanna say practical? And then I read recently a thread on here about how much/long members exercise their dogs and it seemed that most members with working line shepherds worked their dogs for several hours a day. How does one find 2-3hrs/day to exercise/train 1 dog (let alone a pack of GSD breeding stock) and have time for work, family and other life chores?

I have this vision in my head, and I'm hoping you guys can help me figure out if I'm barking up the wrong tree. In my mind I see a versatile, adaptable dog. They have the drive/desire to work with their handler, driven to please and sensitive to what the handler wants. The dog can go from calm house dog to active agility/IPO/Obedience dog with ease. The dog CAN work, WANTS to work, but doesn't NEED to work. It can adapt to whatever the situation calls for. The dog can walk/hike/jog for miles eagerly, but wont complain if weather or otherwise interferes and they can't work for a while. And, most importantly for a shepherd, a natural protective instinct, like I saw with my GSD girl all those years ago.

Does this dog exist? And if so, is it the GSD? I think it is, everything in my wish list seems to match the GSD exactly except that I want a lower energy dog to whom working isn't a NEED the way eating and breathing are. The GSD is a working breed and I agree needs to be ABLE to work (and breeding stock, of corse, needs to be able to prove this), but is it too much to ask for a lower energy GSD who is a loving, protective member of the family?

If it's not a GSD I'm looking for, what breed might you recommend that is both adaptable and protective with a moderate energy level?

Sorry this was so long and wordy. I wanted to get as much of what was in my head out so that maybe someone could help me sort this out. And don't worry about any litters from me, as I don't even have a GSD at the moment and probably wont even be ABLE to have one for the next 5 years (unless something miraculous happens).
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Energy and drive are different things. A good sport dog will probably be high drive and maybe low threshold which is not what you are looking for.

You probably need a low to moderate drive dog with a high threshold.

The problem is that many working line breeders will say their dogs can be top sport and also great pets. It is certainly possible but if you wind up with a hyper dog with high prey drive and low threshold you most likely won't be happy.

It's a bit of a jungle out there and I'm not an expert but I would advise you to seek some help off the forum to locate a breeder who has what you want.

Be cautious of recommendations from here or other forums unless you know the person. I say that because I have seen people join this forum who have had there first GSD for about ten minutes and in a month or so become experts in all things GSD. Including breeder recommendations.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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yes , it is possible and there should be more of them.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
yes , it is possible and there should be more of them.
Oh good that's a relief. So when I find that GSD I'm looking for I should be sure to make more of them

Thanks for the replies guys. It's good to know I'm not completely crazy. At least about this.
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Old 06-23-2014, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Does anyone else have any opinions about this? I'd love to know what people think
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Old 06-23-2014, 05:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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All of my GSD have been what you are looking for. Maybe I have been lucky. But none of my dogs have ever required 2-3 hours a day of exercise. They all settle in the house, will work when asked, but don't generally drive me batty.

Mine have been from every "type" except ASL.

I think it's in your best interest to find an IPO or other working sport, that you like and start meeting dogs. Talk to owners, and learn. Waaaay before the thought of breeding enters your mind. I would also start volunteering with a local GSD rescue. Get as much experience with the breed as possible. Don't get a dog thinking to breed it. Get your first GSD to learn and explore and experience what it is you like and don't like in the breed.


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Old 06-23-2014, 06:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, it's possible. Go out and meet dogs. You'll find plenty of GSDs who meet that description, but you really need to meet them in person. Words are too inexact; my mental image of "moderate energy level" and "able to work" may not match up perfectly with yours.

But however you define those words,
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, so that's encouraging. Maybe some people were exercising their dogs more than they needed to. It is after all a working breed and in theory if you ask the dog to go all day it should be able to without problem. I wonder how many of the dogs mentioned would have actually gone batty and started causing problems after a day or two without an outlet.

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Old 06-24-2014, 09:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Based on the good and bad stories I've read and know of personally whether you go with a WL or SL above all finding the right breeder is most important.

A breeder who really knows the lines and their lines can help you pick the right pup temperament and energy wise in either line.

Over the last few years I've come to know many people (including my trainer) who have great success having a WL and having it as a family companion who lives in the house. I also know personally (and we have seen on this board) people who get WLs and for various reasons it doesn't work out, but in a nutshell it ends up being too much dog (see the recent thread in the 'Urgent' subforum here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post5670905)

I was going to get a WL but ended up with a WGSL. I had an ASL years ago. While my WGSL isn't like the WLs I've hung around and trained around she's definitely more like WL temperament/energy then my ASL was. I feel fortunate to have gotten her as she was for me a good 'beginner' GSD. Through her I've learned and now (hopefully) will someday have a working line too.

As you have discovered there are extremes in both lines. You can find a WL with a more moderate temperament AND you can find a showline with more moderate conformation and good enough working ability to do IPO at a lower level. With either you will really need to hunt for the breeder that can provide you with the closest match possible you are looking for.

What I like about my WGSL is she really loves her family, very pack oriented, she's aloof but neutral to strangers. We were going to do IPO but unfortunately she's got HD so now we are doing tracking and she LOVES it. (btw just in case, if a breeder tells you WLs or DDR dogs never get HD, don't walk away run....that simply is not true, a false sales pitch).

It also depends on your goals, do you want to be really tops at IPO or another bite sport? If not don't throw the WGSLs out of the picture quite yet.

No matter which choice you make I really, REALLY commend you for having done your research so well and thoroughly. I'm certain you will find the right pup and what fun it is too!
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwenhwyfair View Post
Based on the good and bad stories I've read and know of personally whether you go with a WL or SL above all finding the right breeder is most important.

A breeder who really knows the lines and their lines can help you pick the right pup temperament and energy wise in either line.

Over the last few years I've come to know many people (including my trainer) who have great success having a WL and having it as a family companion who lives in the house. I also know personally (and we have seen on this board) people who get WLs and for various reasons it doesn't work out, but in a nutshell it ends up being too much dog (see the recent thread in the 'Urgent' subforum here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ml#post5670905)

I was going to get a WL but ended up with a WGSL. I had an ASL years ago. While my WGSL isn't like the WLs I've hung around and trained around she's definitely more like WL temperament/energy then my ASL was. I feel fortunate to have gotten her as she was for me a good 'beginner' GSD. Through her I've learned and now (hopefully) will someday have a working line too.

As you have discovered there are extremes in both lines. You can find a WL with a more moderate temperament AND you can find a showline with more moderate conformation and good enough working ability to do IPO at a lower level. With either you will really need to hunt for the breeder that can provide you with the closest match possible you are looking for.

What I like about my WGSL is she really loves her family, very pack oriented, she's aloof but neutral to strangers. We were going to do IPO but unfortunately she's got HD so now we are doing tracking and she LOVES it. (btw just in case, if a breeder tells you WLs or DDR dogs never get HD, don't walk away run....that simply is not true, a false sales pitch).

It also depends on your goals, do you want to be really tops at IPO or another bite sport? If not don't throw the WGSLs out of the picture quite yet.

No matter which choice you make I really, REALLY commend you for having done your research so well and thoroughly. I'm certain you will find the right pup and what fun it is too!
Thanks for the reply Gwenhwyfair. I probably spend a little too much time researching. It's pretty much an obsession at this point. And considering the option for even bringing a GSD of any line into my life is so far off in the future, I should probably cool down and scale it back a bit. But it's like a bag of potato chips for me. "Ok, just one more page. Oh, that looks interesting, I'll stop after THAT page. Oh, I should probably know this too, one more page . . ."

I'll probably be sticking to WorkingLines, mainly East of some sort. I know that it's possible to find some non-extreme WGSL, but their few and far between for me. And, all aesthetics aside, I feel like their just BIGGER. I've never seen one in real life but they just look way bigger than a WL. A moderately sized GSD, maybe around 70 - 80 lbs for a boy, is really as big as I want to get as far as dogs go. Some WGSL's, or even just WGWL, look like they could be pushing 100lbs or more. If that's the case (looks can be deceiving) that's just more dog than I want to handle or FEED!

I have seen some nice looking West German/East German crosses that I wouldn't mind looking at, assuming the drives and temperament where about what I'm looking for. They're just hard to pinpoint. And Google Image search can only help so much =/
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