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Thread: DDR lines for family companion or not?? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-31-2014 11:17 AM
Gunther der Heinz In short.....DDR/Czech/Slovak lines can and do make awesome family companions and protectors...............if the alpha male and female of the family have experience with large, powerful dogs. They are not necessarily for first timers.

West German showlines are much easier and mellow. LOL. They still have a look that will ward off most criminals or burglars. Health can be an issue.
05-09-2014 06:00 PM
Chip18 Well your doing your research and thats great! But it seems like you made a 180 degree turn and your now looking at another hard core dogie?

Herder dogs are another on my "would not recommend list." I have worked with a few different, it's a "different set of "issues." I have trained a couple dealt with a couple Dominance hassles (female) and I found "herders" to be not so bad, almost kept a foster! I was impressed with her!

Course she was in my care because the original owner had said "I'm done she's going to the pound!"

Not an easy dog, still say a King Shepherd or a Shilo might be what your looking for?
05-09-2014 07:26 AM
cliffson1 Companion, guard, herding and police DO NOT have to be exclusive in a dog.....people who breed dogs that one has to be exclusive to the other are missing the essence of the breed.....those that believe that they have to be exclusive are probably not knowledgable enough to pick a good breeder regardless of what line they choose.
05-09-2014 02:15 AM
carmspack I have been following English shepherd breed for a number of years and did own one.
The breeders have the same issues as GSD , with the exception a conformation group.
They have "working/herding" farm dogs and bred for pet only .
Same story , when you don't pay attention to instincts , same things that you said were important to the GSD to allow it to be a good companion quote "He must possess instinctive behaviour, resilience and self-assurance in order to be suitable as a companion , guard, protection, service and herding dog.."

then you will have the same problems , a dog not suitable as a companion .
The pet group tends to focus on the "irish white" which is the striking lassie type colouration .
Problems are showing up .

The one I had was pretty hard-core working , bi-colour type.

If you think they are not demanding , better have another look.
In the strain I had there were headers and heelers -- dogs that addressed livestock , sheep / cattle head on , or dogs that ran or drove them from behind . Mine was a tough little header .
05-08-2014 08:19 PM
KZoppa Wow so I offer my experience and take with my dog who is considered medium drive as well as things to consider yet unhelpful despite being said by others as well. Good to know.

Yes, they are good companions IN THE RIGHT HANDS!!!! Even the low drive dogs can be a handful, especially for newbie owners. They still need a job to do and training. They don't come instantly perfect.

Nobody said a companion dog is below standard. We said any breeder breeding below standard is bad for the breed. My dogs are primarily companions yet I still have to put in the time and energy to maintain them. Shasta may be lazy as all get out but even she needs the time put in for exercise, whether she wants to or not, because if I don't, she'll get destructive. The creator of the breed wanted the breed maintained as a working dog. Lounging around as a lazy family pet was not and is not how they're supposed to be. Even if they're just bringing in the morning paper, its a job for them. They NEED that mental work to be a solid member of the family.

Breeders who breed below standard are not deserving of respect nor are they breeding with the total package in mind. They see dollar signs. That's it.
05-08-2014 07:54 PM
JakodaCD OA An English Shepherd is a totally different breed than a German Shepherd..Not sure that your saying you are getting one of those instead?

English Shepherds look bernese mountaindogish and are anything but couch potaotes. I have some friends with them and they require quite a bit of exercise. Or maybe your saying your looking at american line shepherds?

I don't recall anyone saying a companion dog is below standard.

My dogs, and probably many here who work their dogs, are my companions first and foremost. They just happen to do things in addition to being companions.

I think you could find what your looking for in any "line",,forget the 'line' stuff, and research the breeders you were sent. A good breeder can either match you or not, to a dog that will fit your wants and don't wants, as many have suggested
05-08-2014 07:23 PM
neal52 I am the person who started this thread, some of the replies have been very helpful and I got some nice mails too with breeder recommendations.

I am going to avoid working line dogs and the DDR, czech, iron curtain etc because its apparent that they will be too much for me.

Gotta say the replies by Kzoppa and the moderator David were totally unhelpful, I almost want the time that I spent reading them back. A waste of bandwidth and space.

I didn't know about the GSD standard so I read it, quoting:
He must possess instinctive behaviour, resilience and self-assurance in order to be suitable as a companion , guard, protection, service and herding dog..

So whoever said a companion dog is below the standard needs to read the standard again.
But anyways those are just words and if people are breeding hard intense dogs that are unsuitable companions in most normal homes then who cares what the standard says.

Is the GSD the next junk-yard dog? Heading towards pit-bull and rottweiler territory?

I will look into the breeders suggested but otherwise I'm going to get an English Shepherd, amazing dogs.

Thanks to the helpful posters.
05-08-2014 03:37 AM
Originally Posted by jmdjack View Post
While I think both dogs are easy to live with and both do well with the kids, the ride has not been without occasional bumps and blips. We deal with them, learn from them, and move on. Everything is relative. We donít sweat the small stuff, donít expect our GSDs to act like anything other than GSDs, and have a high tolerance for chaos, lol. What may seem easy and second nature in my house may seem overwhelming to someone else and vica versa. Neither of my dogs, and in particular the male, would be a good fit for a meek, permissive person seeking a dog with a golden retriever temperament.

This very well put! If the OP is in the research phase I would suggest looking at a King Shepherd it looks like a GSD but has a temperament that is more "comfortable" for most folks.

Having said that my preference is a WL dog. But even with a decade of "pet" training in Bully breeds, my WL GSD handed me my butt! Serious "rank" drive issues and "People Issues" he was "not" a fan of company!

I was up for the challenge and I have a great dog! It was a lot of work but it was worth it
to me. My wife however says "never again", I kinda "think" never without!

In my personal acquaintance of family and friends, I recommend a GSD to none of them!

Not a decision to be taken lightly!
05-08-2014 02:13 AM
simba405 The question the op asked I feel is appropriate and is asked a lot. A big misconception is that ddr or working line is high energy. A dog that has to WORK has to have lots of energy right? That was my biggest concern when getting my first working line dog. I was afraid of a dog that was always go go go. That simply just isn't true. Not to mention my working line dog has very high pack drive and is bonded deeply with my family. He greets every member at the door with great enthusiasm. Yet he is aloof and serious to the outside world. So in short a working line can make a wonderful family companion.

The tough part is finding an experienced breeder to match you with the right dog. I'm sure everyone on here has a different favorite breeder. What I'm looking for in a Shepherd might be the total opposite of what you're looking for. I know when I was looking I didn't know what pack drive was. Or what a civil dog meant. Or that high prey drive didn't mean high energy. Reading descriptions and actually experiencing these things in real life are very very different.

My advice is go to a breeder that is straight forward and blunt with you. One that isn't telling you everything you want to hear or at least is throwing disclosures in there. Go to one that will not only talk but show you in person what they are talking about. Seeing my breeders dogs in person made a big difference to me. In the end it's a little bit of a crap shoot and you have to actually own a Shepherd or two to actually know what traits you really want.

But can ddr lines make great family companions? Imo 110% yes. Any line can make a great pet. It's dependent on their temperament.
05-08-2014 12:01 AM
selzer I think that if you are concerned that a DDR dog will be too much dog to start with, why not get a GSL or even an AL dog to start with. After you have brought the pup through to maturity and have a nicely trained dog and feel ready for a second one (GSDs are like Lays Potato Chips: you can't have just one), then you can move on to a working line dog for your next GSD.

Not all GSL dogs have roach - backs. There are a lot of good dogs out there. Some of them have good drive, good nerve, good health. For a beginner, I think you have a better shot at getting a dog that will be a good match.
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