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Old 06-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Breeding aspiration hesitation

Hey there! I'm Sarah, rooted in downtown Atlanta, GA. Nice to meet you

For a good 10 years I have been a ravenous admirer of the working line GSDs, particularly East German and Czech lines. Not to sound like a typical working-line snob, but I feel they are just very distinct and the healthiest, soundest, most versatile and best looking of the breed.

My concern with the line, however, is that in order to keep one of these dogs, it is essential that you are committed to devoting half of your life to their care, training and stimulation because of their intense drives and constant need to work. This is a very fun adventure if you are dog geeks such as ourselves, however it is not realistic for most people looking for a dog.

It isn't quite fair to me that in order to keep a German Shepherd as a companion animal, you are limited to West German and American lines (not to say they aren't perfectly wonderful dogs!) or a rare pup with moderate drive out of a working breeding.

THEREFORE!! I am very excited at the idea of starting a breeding project from Soviet-lined dogs of moderate drives and energy level. This will allow companion and casual sport seekers the ability to keep the distinct temperament, versatility and excellent health of the this line without being completely overwhelmed by their intensity and the inevitable disaster of an untrained working dog. I will be looking for a balanced bitch to compete and title in various sports, completely health test and be bred to very select males.

What is your opinion of this endeavor? Am I being over-ambitious? I have never intended to breed in my life and have little experience with the area, however I am very knowledgeable in the pedigrees and the selection process of suitable dogs.

Any advice is welcome, sorry for the novel
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well not to sound like an "American lines snob" but if I wanted a pet quality (medium to low drive) dog I'd seek an American lines or WGSL because I don't care for the "looks" of the Czech lines anyway.
That thought just popped into my head as I read your intro.
Therefore I guess my opinion would be, there's enough diversity in the breed already...and you're going to be sacrificing other important things to try to get some of the drive out of naturally "drivey" dogs.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There is a lot more of a difference between the working lines and American lines besides drive level though. They are really like different, though similar, breeds. A moderate drive working line GSD would still be a very different animal than a show-line American.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder these lines are so different that people would definitely take sides one way or the other. Beauty is at the bottom of my list, however, conformation to produce strong, agile, healthy animals is a top priority.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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High drive and good working dog does not have to mean hyper-active. Even a top working dog with high drive should also have an "off" switch and appropriate thresholds for drives. These aspects of temperament are not unique to lines/type and are not mutually exclusive either. Drives, energy, threshold, on/off switch...these are all different components of temperament that need to be balance based on the type of dog you are looking to breed and own (I won't say what *I* think is best because it frankly doesn't matter).

If you want to breed DDR and Czech type dogs then breed that type and look for dogs that have an off switch and higher thresholds/trigger for drive. You don't have to breed the drive out of the dog to get a dog that makes a nice pet while also being a good working prospect. JMHO
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The "off switch" is definitely a must with all dogs of working backgrounds for sure, but these dogs only have that off switch if their on switch is satisfied by intensive training and stimulation. When I talk about "moderate drive" I don't mean dogs that are uninterested, I just mean dogs that can concentrate when a ball is present and similar things.

All dogs need training, all dogs need energy and drive, but most of THESE dogs are bred to extremes. Their sole focus is to breed the best working and performance dog, and it leads to the same extremes as the show breeders that concentrate on extreme conformation.

edit: the last thing you said by the way is exactly what I am striving for lower intensity, stronger off-switch.

Last edited by Sarah NMT; 06-20-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't think it should be too difficult. Even among good working lines I don't really consider the majority to be the extreme drive type. The dogs I prefer for a highly active lifestyle and sport training (I do Schutzhund, SDA, flyball, agility, and dock diving at the moment) are what I consider medium to high drive, not crazy or extreme drive. Most of the dogs we train with in any of these venues are working line dogs that are also pets/house dogs. I can't say my experience with DDR or Czech dogs as a whole has been that they are extremely high intensity with no off switch. Some, yes, but not the vast majority but maybe I'm just lucky to be training with nicely bred, balanced dogs. In my opinion, a good GSD regardless of line should be ready and willing to work all day and remain clear-headed and also be OK lounging around the house for a few days when the weather is bad or the owner is sick.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Sarah,



Do you currently own a Czech or East German bred dog? I just wonder where you got the idea that they aren't already fully able to live as someone's active pet. My boy is our family dog and home protector first, and my schutzhund dog second. Yes he is active, but he has a rock solid temperament. I can take him everywhere. He has tons of drive when working. Most of the working line dogs I interact with, including those who are national level dogs, are house pets. Breeding for extremes causes issues no matter what you are breeding for, however I have not seen that working line dogs cannot live as active house pets. What you see on the field is completely different from what you get in the house. I am not saying your breeding goals are bad, but there are already lots of great breeders out there producing balanced working line dogs. :-)
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have to agree with the others. I do have one pure Czech out of zPS lines and he is a very liveable dog. The other is a puppy who is half Czech half West German Working and is a little monster but most pups are. And yes, both are high drive dogs but both have an off switch but I put a lot of time into excercising them but then they NEED the excercise to keep their bodies fit, if not their minds and that is any line.

I know nothing about Russian lines so my question would be are there any old lines that you would somehow be preserving? Lines not present in the other Eastern Bloc dogs? I know alternate stuff is out there (for example, my pup has a female tail line on DKK lines that go back to the 1920s before an SV dog is listed, but of course it is diluted with SV dogs.

Personally I feel the dog should ONLY be bred as a working dog, but others will be to differ and already do.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have owned a German imported DDR male and currently have a Czech line rescue. I have also been active in schutzhund clubs and have come across many of this type (which is why I know I love them so much). These dogs are wonderful housemates as long as they are well worked and stimulated. They make really good companion animals for avid trainers and people very active in sport and recreational work.

My goal is to have a consistent line of dogs that can absolutely participate in any sport you throw at them with gusto, but if that is not your thing, they are content with low intensity training (that ALL dogs should receive) and moderate physical activity. Both of my working-line dogs (and the belgian sheepdog I have, also very drivey) were perfect gentlemen with the work that we did, but if I had an off week and couldn't work them or if I went out of town, it wasn't awesome.

Edit - I'd also like to add that I am not trying to reinvent the wheel by any means! I love these dogs for what they are, I am purely trying to produce dogs consistent of this type. I do not want to make the Sarah line German Shepherds

Last edited by Sarah NMT; 06-20-2012 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Personally I feel the dog should ONLY be bred as a working dog, but others will be to differ and already do.
I agree with you - there's "pet quality" dogs in every litter of every breed.
To breed for "pet quality", whether in appearances or working ability isn't necessary.
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