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Old 12-01-2012, 08:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New member, beginning research into breed

Good morning!
First off, I'm so happy to have found this forum.
I'm looking into a german shepherd dog in the next two years or so and I'm beginning to research into the breed, breeders, breed culture, breed health, but most important to me, breeders who take into consideration breed temperament.
I am single, work in Washington DC in information technology. I have worked for the federal government for 23 years now, so I have a steady job. I am relatively healthy, except for carrying around a few extra pounds. I am active but not athletic, meaning I hike and go places as leisure activities but not as, say, a competitive runner. I own my own home, fenced.
I currently have a ten and a half year old border collie, Billy. We were active in sheepdog competitions in California, where I competed with my other two border collies who have now left me, Cassie and Dru. Billy is uncharacteristically mellow, so he takes things in stride.
I also currently have a two and a half year old golden retriever, Max. He is very much a companion, always in bed with me, on the couch curled up on my legs as I type this. He is a Velcro dog. I am pursuing initial training with a goal of getting into animal assisted therapy, since he has the perfect temperament for this activity.
I work at home one day a week, on Wednesdays. The rest of the week I go into the office and the dogs go to doggy day care at Greenbriar in Urbana, MD.
What I am looking for: all my life I have wanted two breeds of dogs....a golden retriever, whom I now have in Max. The other was always, ever since I was a little girl and first read and saw movies, a dog like RinTinTin. I didn't know about the german shepherd dog, I just knew I wanted RinTinTin. In my early adulthood I had a couple of mixed breeds who had german shepherd in them, but never a full german shepherd. I love the breed, from the dogs I've met and culminating in the dogs I met in sheepherding. My husband at the time didn't like german shepherds, so we got border collies. First was Cassie, then Dru and then Billy. When I became single I got my golden retriever, Max. Since Billy is now ten and a half and I know the inevitability of what is to come, I am researching the breed I've always wanted, the german shepherd.
In reading some of your materials here on the site, I came across several articles. The german shepherd of my dreams would be a dark or black male, of substance, with solid temperament and highly social, with no aggression issues toward humans or other dogs since he will go to doggy day care along with Max when my Billy leaves me. Having bought Max from an AKC breeder of merit with a stringent contract, and who emphasized temperament, I am looking for a similar breeder. I will be prepared to travel to pick up a puppy anywhere in the U.S. and fly back with him in the cabin, but I will not have a puppy delivered in cargo.
My dogs are crate trained, are highly socialized both with humans and other dogs, routinely visit with family and kids, but are not engaged in competitive sports. I might consider activities suited for a german shepherd such as shutzhund, but many animal assisted therapy organizations that I have communicated with do not allow dogs who have done bite work. So that would be a consideration but not an assumption.
I am looking for companion dogs, not show quality dogs. Temperament and health are the most important considerations. I prefer a male dog, since I bond better with males.
Long story short....(too late)....I am introducing myself and beginning the search for a german shepherd dog breeder of merit, hopefully in the Delmarva region.
I suppose I should include pics of Billy and Max.
Thank you for reading!
Lil
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Last edited by Lilliam; 12-01-2012 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Picture of myself
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You have beautiful dogs I also have a golden retriever, that was the dog I always wanted. I also love border collies, my oldest dog resembled a border collie when I got her at the shelter(this is why I liked her) Then along came my GSD that stole my heart. Like you I wasn't a very active person, but I find that I'm much more active since the GSD came into the picture. You will eventually have three great breeds of dogs. I don't think you can go wrong with what you have or what you are looking for. The only thing that I'm thinking might be an issue, is the doggie daycare. My GSD has a wonderful personality, she loves people, dogs, cats, etc, but I would not take her to a doggie daycare or a dog park. GSD's play completely different and I find that most dogs do not and will not accept this play. I have a similar pack structure as you in my home and it works great in the home, but I'm not so sure how it would work in a doggie daycare situation. Mine is also in agility and she loves it...you will actually have three dogs that would love agility
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!!! So nice to hear about people that take their time doing their research into the breed. There is so much to learn, from the different types and lines, to how to find an ethical breeder.

Hanging out on the forum is a great way to learn about issues you never even knew existed, and getting advice and direction. Some of the best advice anyone can give is to learn about the different lines (American Show, German Show, and Working), and to go out to dog events, and visit breeders of the different lines to see the dogs for yourself, interact with a lot of dogs, and find out what it is that you like, want, and don't like, want.

You seem to be an excellent fit for any type of GSD you will decide to bring into your life, but often the person's age, living situation, activity level is not as important as a person's understanding of a GSD's needs, mental and physical, and their dedication in meeting those needs. I think you are a bit self-conscious about that, but if I can be middle aged, err . . "well nourished", sedentary, arthritic office worker and still manage to get out there with my two dogs and have fun and exercise and train them, I'm sure you won't have any issues.

Be aware that GSDs as a herding breed may not do that well in a daycare setting, at one point they may decide that all those dogs are running out of control, and a GSD will try to control them and make them behave, which can cause issues. If you absolutely need a dog that will be okay with daycare, I suggest you adopt an older dog with a known, easy-going, submissive and social temperament, or have a back-up plan for your GSD in case daycare doesn't work out.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
You have beautiful dogs I also have a golden retriever, that was the dog I always wanted. I also love border collies, my oldest dog resembled a border collie when I got her at the shelter(this is why I liked her) Then along came my GSD that stole my heart. Like you I wasn't a very active person, but I find that I'm much more active since the GSD came into the picture. You will eventually have three great breeds of dogs. I don't think you can go wrong with what you have or what you are looking for. The only thing that I'm thinking might be an issue, is the doggie daycare. My GSD has a wonderful personality, she loves people, dogs, cats, etc, but I would not take her to a doggie daycare or a dog park. GSD's play completely different and I find that most dogs do not and will not accept this play. I have a similar pack structure as you in my home and it works great in the home, but I'm not so sure how it would work in a doggie daycare situation. Mine is also in agility and she loves it...you will actually have three dogs that would love agility
Thank you very much!!!
To be clear, I'm beginning research now so that when my Billy leaves me I will have a plan that I can walk into. I know that when I lose I dog I go into a serious depression that lasts weeks, and I owe it to Max to be ready to a decision as to a companion for him when the time comes. I am not looking for a puppy at this time; rather, I'm conducting initial research into temperament, health, and companion lines.
One of the things I will need is a dog who will be able to step into a doggie daycare. I cannot leave my dogs unattended at home and I do not trust dog sitters. I'm more comfortable in a setting such as what I have now, where there is a doggy day care adjacent to his regular vet and groomer.
The facility where my dogs go is located in a building where one wing is a vet hospital/surgery/vet practice and the other is a pet "resort" with day care, boarding, and groomer. The dogs are split into small groups based on activity leve, size, and personality type....rambunctious dogs are not placed with mellow older dogs and small toy breeds are not placed with Newfies. Max tends to like big doggies, his girlfriends are a Newfy and a Bernese Moutain dog. Billy is mellow, so he is placed with the more mellow group. Occasionally Billy will go in the same group as Max if he happens to be full of beans on a particular day, and when he's feeling lazy they will put him in with the small doggies since he tends to be a great snuggle pillow for them.
There are several german shepherd dogs at this day care. One of them, Sierra, is one of Max's girlfriends. She's a young one, can't say what color...she is very diluted and I think her coloring is wrong for the breed....a dusky reddish shade instead of the strong dark reds and blacks that I'm more familiar with. I guess I will learn more about colors as time passes.
The reason for my initial and early membership here is to find a GSD breeder who breeds the type of dog I'm looking for, temperament wise. Hopefully I've got time....Billy is healthy. But as I said, he's ten and a half and his sister and brother (literally so, they were the same lines) only lived to be twelve and twelve and a half, respectively.
Thank you so much for your response. I hope to find a GSD line that is appropriate to what I want and hope to find.
Lil
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
Welcome to the forum!!! So nice to hear about people that take their time doing their research into the breed. There is so much to learn, from the different types and lines, to how to find an ethical breeder.

Hanging out on the forum is a great way to learn about issues you never even knew existed, and getting advice and direction. Some of the best advice anyone can give is to learn about the different lines (American Show, German Show, and Working), and to go out to dog events, and visit breeders of the different lines to see the dogs for yourself, interact with a lot of dogs, and find out what it is that you like, want, and don't like, want.

You seem to be an excellent fit for any type of GSD you will decide to bring into your life, but often the person's age, living situation, activity level is not as important as a person's understanding of a GSD's needs, mental and physical, and their dedication in meeting those needs. I think you are a bit self-conscious about that, but if I can be middle aged, err . . "well nourished", sedentary, arthritic office worker and still manage to get out there with my two dogs and have fun and exercise and train them, I'm sure you won't have any issues.

Be aware that GSDs as a herding breed may not do that well in a daycare setting, at one point they may decide that all those dogs are running out of control, and a GSD will try to control them and make them behave, which can cause issues. If you absolutely need a dog that will be okay with daycare, I suggest you adopt an older dog with a known, easy-going, submissive and social temperament, or have a back-up plan for your GSD in case daycare doesn't work out.
Thank you so much for that suggestion.
Although I would prefer a puppy that can bond with Max, I am absolutely not against adopting an older GSD, or an older dog who a breeder has taken out of his/her breeding program.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Congrats on your pursuit of research BEFORE acquisition, love when people do that.
I'm about to head out the door but just wanted to let you know that I own a private dog park that offers dog daycare to our members. Probably 70% of our daily attendance in the daycare is GSDs. Mostly from working lines since and a few West German Showline dogs in there as well as 2-3 regulars that are American lines. I had a pic around somewhere showing the "pack" recently, I think it was 13 GSDs, a Berger de Picard, a Boxer mix, a Dobe and my Lancashire Heeler among others .
Looking forward to seeing where you go with your GSD, I'm betting you'll find there are a myriad of choices in good breeders (there a quite a few on this board) as well as endless possibliities of activities you can pursue.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ah yes, but Annette, you are a GSD EXPERT! and the GSDs know that (and thus defer to you) !

My two dogs can play rough together, and to me, it is nothing, but can't tell you how many people freak out at a bit of crazyness from those two!
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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At the risk of seeming like spam, which is NOT my intention, please refer to the facility where my guys go now and where I would take my GSD.
It is a well run facility with excellent care. I would never consider having a dog in a facility where any dog, mine or other clients', would be harmed.

Pet Health Care | Greenbriar Veterinary Hospital & Luxury Pet Resort | Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown, Rockville
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bocron View Post
Congrats on your pursuit of research BEFORE acquisition, love when people do that.
I'm about to head out the door but just wanted to let you know that I own a private dog park that offers dog daycare to our members. Probably 70% of our daily attendance in the daycare is GSDs. Mostly from working lines since and a few West German Showline dogs in there as well as 2-3 regulars that are American lines. I had a pic around somewhere showing the "pack" recently, I think it was 13 GSDs, a Berger de Picard, a Boxer mix, a Dobe and my Lancashire Heeler among others .
Looking forward to seeing where you go with your GSD, I'm betting you'll find there are a myriad of choices in good breeders (there a quite a few on this board) as well as endless possibliities of activities you can pursue.
Thank you so much! I hope to put up my feet and spend some study time here with a cup of coffee in hand!!!
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lucia, you are right about this. I meant to add that the right daycare is paramount to the equation.
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