Finding a true working GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Finding a true working GSD

Good morning everyone

I've decided to sign up for this forum in hopes for some sound, solid assistance and advice.

My husband and I are sheep farmers and we always have working dogs to herd our sheep. For the past 20 years we've used border collies, australian sheepdogs. However, we found out that we need to cull out that line of working dogs for our farm for various reasons not pertinent to my question/concern.

We discussed very seriously which line of breed we'll examine for working on our farm. Both my father and grandfather (who owned the farm before me) resoundingly said GSD. I grew up with working GSD's on the farm so that appealed to us as well. We decided that we'd look at rescues first and see what we can get.

Wow. That is where I'm in shock. I'm not wishing to offend anyone by my next comments but it is my true observation and the reason I'm here. My observations: none of the dogs I have looked at had a work drive. Nearly all of them were simply...huge. Nothing like the lean, smaller looking GSD when I was a child. Since I've been looking since last May 2011 in that time, I had my father and grandfather join me on a few stops at rescues they're observations were the same as mine. Simply poor quality in regards to work, stamina, balance of temperment and drive, zilch. They're beauty? Hands down goregous...but that's it. Further we've been discouraged by how this rescue is really...well, a rescue. It seemed that the one we went to exclusively (due to distance) is ...a liar. They will say whatever they must to get them out the door.

These dogs we want are going to be an part of our livestock expenditures, to keep them safe as well as the lambs when out on the field. My feeling is in the near year that we've look at rescues gives me more and more less hope that the GSD that my grandfather, father specifically worked with is extinct. We've looked into going so far as importing from Germany but my question is why when all we saw were tons of rescues? Albiet, none fit our needs. Being that it is a very serious part of our business we may just need to import but am I right or wrong that the GSD of "old" no longer exsists? If I'm wrong I'd be thrilled to be wrong.

Thank you kindly for your time.
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 03:55 AM
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Many dogs that wind up in rescues are GSDs from backyard breeders, and, unfortunately (as you said), are bred to be pets and nothing more.

I'm sure someone will come along that will be able to help you out more, but I think you'd pretty much have to go the breeder route if you want a working GSD. I can't think of any off of the top of my head, but I know there are breeders who work their dogs in herding.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 04:03 AM
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Your best bet is to look into a quality breeder. Like Konatashi said: Odds are that these dogs you are looking at aren't the best representation of the breed. Why? Because most quality breeders would never allow their dogs to end up in a rescue for one. I'm not saying it's impossible but that's just my observation.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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I'm feeling a bit sheepish (pun intended ) as you're right. Frankly until right now we never considered that they'd be poorly bred, and used as pets which isn't bad at all--but what a loss to the breed! You both have no idea the floodgates of light that came into my weary head knowing this. I can have hope.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 07:16 AM
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You have me intrigued
What type of sheep work do you want the GSD to do?
My understanding is that GSD "herd" sheep in an entirely different way to border collies or is that the intention.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 07:25 AM
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1>>>> you have to get rid of good working dogs
for different working dogs, umm??

2>>>> when you were a child i'm sure the standard
was written for the GSD. between then and now i doubt
the standard has changed much. show lines and working lines will
herd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepgirl View Post

1>>>> For the past 20 years we've used border collies, australian sheepdogs. However, we found out that we need to cull out that line of working dogs for our farm for various reasons not pertinent to my question/concern.



2>>>> That is where I'm in shock. I'm not wishing to offend anyone by my next comments but it is my true observation and the reason I'm here. My observations: none of the dogs I have looked at had a work drive. Nearly all of them were simply...huge. Nothing like the lean, smaller looking GSD when I was a child.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 07:54 AM
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Even in Germany, many of hte dogs who have HGH (large flock herding titles) are "show dogs" not true working daily dogs....most of the dogs who truly work daily, and win the national herding championship are still the working line dogs. I attended a show this past summer where Herr Wilfred Scheld officiated, and he presented a slideshow and short talk about herding, the dogs who were sucessful and what was needed to herd genetically...it was very interesting. We have one member here who herds the HGH style actively (phgsd) and she may be able to help you understand what is entailed. My one female line has been worked/tested on sheep and there is just very little opportunity for most to engage in this type training.


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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 08:11 AM
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You can get lucky and find a good sheep herding dog in rescue (like I did...My Sam loved sheep herding and was really good at it) but it will be hard and for sure take a long time.

As others have said, most GSDs in rescue are poorly bred by BYBs. Your best route will be to find a good reputable breeder. Where are you located? Maybe we can suggest good breeders in your area.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 09:25 AM
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Sheepgirl, Welcome to the forum!! Trying to find a good working dog in rescue may take a while. I would spend sometime researching breeders who breed for herding. One person I would really spend some quality time learning from would be Carmen on this forum (carmspack). She seems to have a very deep knowledge of bloodlines and mentions genetic herding instincts often in her posts.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 01-25-2012, 09:31 AM
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Ellen Nickelsberg, Boundry Instinct by Ellen Nickelsberg - Nickelsberg's Farm
or Kleine Weise, Kleinen Wiese German Shepherds

may be good resources
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