Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Northwest United States
Know of any breeders?
So kind of an unclear topic title I know but I couldn't think of a better one. I'm gonna post some background and my considerations.
So to start off I love German shepherds as a breed and always have. I been around and had the pleasure to own some amazing dogs. That said now that I'm grown and have more knowledge I'm kind of having some trouble.
First off, I'm leaning towards purchasing a working line simply because I want a dog to do things with and I have a fondness for sables which are more common in working lines. Along with liking the soundness of the body type. I do not like the curve of the WGSL or the weakness in the hocks I've seen in ASL. (Although I do have a WGSL/byb mix and while I may not know much about confirmation I can watch her move all day. I personally think she's more moderate in structure and can maintain a fast paced trot all day and doesn't need to eat a lot to have energy to burn. In fact it can be a struggle to excercise her enough to get her to eat. )
Anyway the thing with working lines is I don't want a dog with high prey drive which seems to be common, and I'm interested in getting into herding. I'm lucky enough to live rural so I have access to sheep, cattle, goats etc. but working lines seemed geared toward serious le type dogs, bite sport dogs(high prey drive), and tracking. I certainly think tracking could be a lot of fun and am currently attempting to work my lab/GSD in shed hunting and maybe tracking if I can figure out how to train her to use her nose.
But I don't know about herding ability in working lines, high prey drive could cause issues and I don't know how much natural instinct they're known have. I've been told byb and ASL seem to show more herding traits and I've certainly noticed it in my female. (Who is living with my dad. He needs somebody to keep him motivated so I just have my lab/GSD mix.) Along with the prey drive issue I do like cats and plan to have cats and don't want a dog that is driven to kill them or livestock. It's also very likely I'll be around chickens and such. I fully understand dogs like to chase things which I can easily work with, but I think most of us can agree there are vast levels of prey drive and I want to avoid some of those.
Another thought that's coming to mind is I absolutely do not want a dog that would come up the leash or comes from dog aggressive lines. While they don't have to be social butterflies I don't want to manage a dog aggressive dog. I have in the past and I did not enjoy it. I'd also like a dog I don't have to worry about taking in public. As is normal with the breed standard I don't need a dog that runs up to every person and I don't want that. But I also don't want a dog that I can't trust to not bite a kid that walks up wanting to pet the doggy. (I realize that training has a role to play with this but so does genetics.)
So does anybody know of breeders that actively do herding or produce dogs with natural herding instinct? Preferably working or moderate ASL. I'd be fine with mixed lines as well, that doesn't bother me one bit. I know there isn't a market for herding GSDs really so I'm not expecting to find dogs that only do herding. I'm just looking for breeders producing dogs that have the right temperament, health, and urge to do so along with not having the things I'm trying to avoid.
I've been looking at other breeds in case I can't find what I want in GSDs but I'm really hoping I can. So far looked in to English shepherds and I need to do more research on them but they don't have the call for me that GSDs do.
I'm also really going to drive home the natural instinct part. There's a huge difference between a dog biddable enough to learn what to do and a dog that it's in its blood or even a dog that it's in its blood but can't be shaped to do it successfully. (It's pretty sad to see herding breed dogs that want to herd but just can't get the hang of it. Part of that may be the handlers but some just aren't quite right for the job even though they want to be.)
I should add I'm in Montana but I'm fully expecting to have to search around to find a breeder. I'd prefer somebody at least on the western side of the US.
I am interested in breeding some day but I have a long way to go until then, and certainly not until I own my own house which is a ways out there. (I'm looking at 3-6 more years of schooling maybe more so a long time coming yet!) I do know I could find good owners here in Montana who would be interested in GSDs for herding, tracking or even just to do things with. The quality of GSDs I see every day here is kind of heartbreaking. Constant byb breeders with, don't get me wrong still good dogs, but so many health and temperament issues and lots of 'rare' color breeders.
Sorry if I seem to be doing stereotypes of any lines but it's just what I'm constantly seeing and hearing about. I know there are good moderate dogs of all lines I just seem to have little luck finding them.