As you can see from my profile, I originally made this account over three years ago with the intent of vicariously living through others, as it was going to be at least 4 years before I was in a position to keep a dog... and many years have passed! I am looking at a point in my life where I would be able to properly care for a companion in about 10 to 16 months, and am looking to start my search well in advance to secure myself the best friend I have always wanted.
Let me begin with what is most important: the kind of dog I am seeking. To begin, I suffer from both anxiety and depression, and I know that GSDs can actually be trained to tell when their owner is going to have an anxiety attack, and help calm them down. From what I understand, GSDs are trainable to be amazing emotional support animals - I am looking for a dog that will be my best friend and companion, will sleep on the bed, and wants to be a lapdog. Ideally, the dog would be able to tell when I'm feeling down or anxious and seek to comfort me like an emotional support animal intrinsically. I also really want my dog to prefer spending time with me to attention from other people or dogs.
I have done loads of research but cannot seem to come up with this is better suited to a "working-line" shepherd (which actually seem to be a fancy term for a sport dog here in the US), or a showline, which may suffer from a sloped back. From what I understand, working line usually is tied to physical work, such as herding or protection - I don't know if emotional support is the kind of "job" that would even satisfy it's drive. I am very athletic and tend to walk a lot, and don't anticipate a huge couch potato lifestyle, on the other hand.
I would like a puppy rather than a rescue because I have had a personal experience with a rescue that was not raised with humans - improper socialization is nearly impossible to reverse in adulthood. I am fully committed to training the puppy myself and understand the commitment a puppy is.
Lastly, this is sort of a cherry on top type thing, but I absolutely love the look of black german shepherds, and even the ones that are mostly black with tan markings around their eyes and feet. I'm not as much of a fan of the traditional "saddle" type sable, though I definitely wouldn't turn up my nose over coloration.
My search has mostly lead me to Black Paws Farm, where I was immediately impressed by their guarantee page: guarantee
While their graphic design certainly leaves something to be desired, the sheer amount of health guarantees alone is impressive - even some $2000-2500 top of the line kennels like Blackthorn and Mittelwest don't gurantee as much as they do - this breeder promises a MINIMUM of three wormings, along with the standard puppy shots, vet exam, written guarantee for hip dysplasia and congenital defects, and a full pedigree (4 generations minimum). They also seem to be really committed to the puppies given the "rebates" for things like obtaining a CGC certificate. I also really loved the temperment the breeder states they are breeding for - it seems very fitting for me. Her facebook is overwhelmingly positive, with 15 five-star reviews, and just one disgruntled lady who didn't seem to have a problem with a dog but rather the fact that she got a 2 word reply. Icing on the cake - they seem to have some black GSDs. However, I can find not much about this Kennel on here, and wanted to ask for opinions and personal experiences if you have any.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TELL ME ANYTHING "NEGATIVE" IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY A PUPPY MILL OR SOMETHING. SCREW THAT RULE, PUPPY MILLS ARE INHUMANE. I don't know how this forum is supposed to work if no one can warn you when you're going to a backyard breeder but I really want negative opinions if they're out there! Also, I am open to recommendations - any breeder that could possibly provide me with a GSD you think would be good as an emotional support animal is a welcome recommendation, and if they have black shepherds all the better
I am looking pretty much anywhere north of North Carolina and east of Iowa, though I am sort of based in both New York and Michigan, so have a very wide range.