Nara is 25.5" and 88 lbs, and we still get the "she's too small to be a pure bred GSD." It's ignorance, or people only experienced with seeing oversized GSDs. Now people think the standard is that they're extra large dogs, when they're not supposed to be. Nara is West German bloodlines, and people have told me she's got to be a mix based on her size. Ummm, she's as pure of a German Shepherd as you can get, and she's from freakin' GERMANY! Haha. I call her a German German Shepherd. I think it's the American GSDs that people are used to seeing, as it seems the American dogs are larger, whereas the German dogs are more compact and stocky. Nara is slightly over the max end of the standard for a female, so I just laugh when I'm told she's too small to be a real GSD. She's actually TOO LARGE! Oh well.
I know from researching dogs and breeds that, on average, the larger the dog, the shorter the lifespan. I'd rather have a smaller, standard sized dog that lives 14 years instead of a large, oversized dog that lives 8. I want these dogs to last as long as possible with me!