Thanks to all for the useful comments, all of which make sense with this breed. [Here comes a little rescue rant - apologies in advance, and no offense intended to msvette2u in case she is a rescuer] Re: Rescues - As detailed by others in the excellent thread re: giving up on rescues due to their seeming over-process, I, too, find their process daunting and confining. While the shelter wants a 1 page application, the Seattle area rescues want 6 pgs of info, some of it personal (name/address of employer, etc.). I appreciate that they've been misled by others who've misrepresented their circumstance, and that a rescuer's effort is a labor of love, etc. Rescues seem to insist on a fully-fenced yard, but mine is only partially fenced to permit the deer to move through. The fenced portion is there to prevent an excited dog from running to "greet" other dogs that walk by on the street (little to no traffic, and what there is slow on this dead-end street). I've owned the property for 17 years and have had 3 permanent dogs, as well as multiple foster dogs, living in the house and using the yard without incident. I've never lost a dog because I don't let them off-leash until they're ready, a timing I've learned from lots of experience, including fostering dogs for 20+ years. I've obedience-trained many dogs, including some problem children. How do I adequately communicate that level of dog awareness to a well-meaning but previously fooled rescue person via a 6 pg questionaire that is prefaced with "all yards must be fully fenced or no adoption"? I'm placed in the position of taking time and effort to plead my case (and possibly lose it) to someone who may have less experience with dogs than I do. Sure it's doable, but it's a lengthy, time-consuming, potentially frustrating process of which the shelter's is a mere fraction for the same result. I've got $$ to get a sweet puppy or young adult from any one of several qualified breeders within 50 miles of my house (very lucky in Washington state). In fact, I'm going do just that, along with the shelter dog, if that works out. Those breeders will be able to accurately size me up as a possible puppy purchaser in 15 minutes by talking to me without a questionaire, and they'll accurately match my needs/abilities to the proper puppy based on their own experience. The rescues, however, state they will match me with one of their rescue dogs based on their determination of the best fit as set forth in the questionaire (and other input, I'm sure). Frankly, when I consider a rescue dog, it's because I've seen a particular one I want (based on appearance, as well as the description provided). I don't want to take additional time/energy to also plead my case as to why I don't want one of the other dogs. The rescues may have their own reasons for promoting one of the other dogs. If I'm not appropriate for the dog I'm interested in, tell me - I can take it, but telling me up front in the application process that you'll pick my ADULT dog for me is enough to make me not want to undertake the burdensome process. It sounds like I'm arrogant, imperious, etc., but I'm really not. Getting a good dog is part of my life and I'm willing to devote reasonable effort/time to the process. Happy to provide the vet references, home visit, video, pictures of past happy dogs, etc., but I'm not prepared to be judged on whether my yard is fully fenced, nor to be told which homeless dog in need of a home is best for me after I've expressed interest in a particular dog. Has any of this happened to me? Not yet, and maybe the rescue process is less cumbersome than their questionaire and edicts make it appear. For the time being, however, I'm looking at the shelter and to professional breeders to fill my 2 slots. Re: Fostering the shelter dog - that's a good idea, especially if they'd give me the right of first refusal if someone else expressed interest. I'd hate the idea of getting attached and having to give it up. We fostered a death row pitbull that we just had to adopt. Her death, after 14 years, is what has opened the 2 slots for GSDs. I've written the shelter to ask if they'd xray their dog's hips/elbows and let me know the results. No response, so I'll have to call. Even the shelter's a bit of a process. :] Thanks again for the helpful responses.