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Old 07-07-2011, 11:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Health & Temperament of GSD

I have a quick question regarding health and temperament. I see so many posts regarding aggression, fear, health problems (especially digestion) so I'm wondering about the prevalence of these things in the breed. I know this sounds dramatic, but are you doomed to a life of problems if you get a GSD?

If a person goes to a good reputable breeder who does all the necessary health testing and breeds for good temperament, what are the chances that you'll get a dog with problems down the road? I'm of course not referring to health problems associated with an aging dog. I fully expect any senior dog to eventually develop problems just like humans.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fuzzybunny View Post
I have a quick question regarding health and temperament. I see so many posts regarding aggression, fear, health problems (especially digestion) so I'm wondering about the prevalence of these things in the breed. I know this sounds dramatic, but are you doomed to a life of problems if you get a GSD?
Depends on where you get your dog. If you buy from a BYB or pet store, yes, you are probably doomed. If you buy from a reputable breeder who does all required health screenings and chooses their breedings carefully, no, you are not doomed.

There are things that can strike any dog--hip dysplasia can pop up even from a pedigree full of good hips, for example. In any litter, a shy, fearful pup may appear from seemingly out of nowhere. But a good breeder will be doing all they can to diminish genetic problems.

It's always a game of risk; good breeders will do their best to reduce the risks as much as humanly possible, and stack the deck in your favor. BYBs will do their best to put as much money in their pocket as possible, with little regard to health or temperament.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Perhaps some breeders could chime in. For those of you who are reputable and do the health testing/screening etc...what percentage of pups have you produced that developed health problems or unsound temperament despite your best efforts? Is this a rare occurrence?

I have a Shiloh Shepherd with digestive issues and a GSD/Husky mix with no issues and I have thought about getting a pure bred GSD in the future but I'm hesitant because they seem to be afflicted with so many issues.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have 2 GS, siblings although a year apart. So there are I think 22-24 pups of this breedings, ( mom had 11 or 12 each time) the breeding was repeated because of exceptional health and temperment, there are NO problems with the younger ones. All are xraqying clear, all are stable tempered and easy to train. No food allergies, except for Ty after contracting a tick disease, which we seem to have finally won!!! HURRAY!!!!

Would I recommend this breeder?? I have and will again!! BUT I have met so many other breeders with the same health and stable temperments, so many who are conscientiously breeding for that as well as everything else. These breeders happen to be older breeders who have been around long enough to know things, not the new up and comers who often think they are experts too soon, who don't listen to the advice of these old timers, the ones who want to make a quick name for themselves producing that winning dog, and to heck with anything else. The ones who breed the iffy temperment because they like something else, that excuse the fact that a sire has produced some health issues but produces pretty, I love my breeder cause she has a dog out of top lines that she will never use, nor show to encourage others to use his lines cause she found out health concerns where being passed on, so her dog will live the life of a pet, producing nothing nor being campaigned. His beauty and temperment can't negate the potential health risks

So the true good breeders are the older ones and the younger ones who listen and learn!!!!!!!! And $$ is rarely made, sometimes it seems to be, after all 11 or 12 pups a litter, but the $$ is rolled back into the dogs and training and showing, and of course health testings!!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have thought about getting a pure bred GSD in the future but I'm hesitant because they seem to be afflicted with so many issues.
I have to say, the purebred dogs I've gotten from reputable breeders have been the healthiest dogs I've ever owned.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks FreeStep and Trudy. It's good to hear that and helps alleviate my concerns. Sometimes when you read so many posts about problems you start to think a healthy dog is a rarity.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks FreeStep and Trudy. It's good to hear that and helps alleviate my concerns. Sometimes when you read so many posts about problems you start to think a healthy dog is a rarity.
It's really key to research and know Things to look for in a 'Responsible' Breeder

And then keep in mind, those of us with healthy dogs and no issues aren't posting as much. Not to interesting for me to update daily with a 'my dogs are still doing fine (though Glory B did get spayed last week and is, um, well...........doing FINE! )
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Old 07-07-2011, 04:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My mother has been involved with primarily American Show Line German Shepherds (first showing and then breeding) for nearly 50 years. When I adopted my first GSD (my very own) from a shelter last year, I ended up with a dog with SIBO. I called my mother for information and advice and she had to tell me that, in more than 35 years of breeding, she has never had a GSD with bowel disease and has no knowledge that her breeding program has ever produced one. So, not all GSDs are riddled with temperament or health issues. Pick your breeder carefully and visit them to see the dogs. Hopefully you will be abel to meet several generations and have a comfort level when you decide to take the plunge.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have two GSDs from reputable breeders raised from puppy, same litter, great temperament
- One died at the age of 9.5 from hemangiosarcoma, he was healthy until that point.
- The other one is 11.5 and has degenerative myelopathy.

- One rescue foster imported by the police from Germany, reputable working line kennel, the dog had EPI, diabates insipidus, pannus, died of cancer at the age of 10, retired from police work at the age of 8, great temperament
- Another rescue foster, top German show lines, top kennel, had to be euthanized at the age of 2.5 because of skin problems, temperament issues too
- one rescue foster, placed well at the Sieger show, lived 12.5, died of cancer, had mild hip dysplasia and skin issues that went away on raw.
- one rescue foster from German and american lines mixed, seemed healthy and then dropped dead suddenly at the age of 1.5

Many rescue fosters, health not bad in the average, some came in sick from grave neglect, but most of them I managed to nurse back to good health. Temperament was fine with most.

None of the rescues from no name breeders had SIBO or EPI, none of the rescues from no name breeders had skin problems that required euthanasia.

Last edited by RebelGSD; 07-07-2011 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've bought dogs, I've rescued dogs.

With the gsd's I've had/have, they all had/have their quirks, whether it was a health issue or temp issue, but nothing I would call major/life threatening . No cancer, ibd, hip or elbow dysplasia, (1 had ocd), bloat.

The two aussies, the rescue has skin problems off and on, (right now more off than on),,the breeder purchased aussie, 1 life threatening incident several years ago,,fine ever since..

So I'd say I've been pretty lucky, especially compared to some of the stuff on the forum.
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