Golden Retriever or German Shepherd? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Golden Retriever or German Shepherd?


As the question asks, I am debating whether to get a golden retriever puppy or a german shepherd puppy! I have always loved both breeds and am fully ready to take on the responsibilities a new puppy brings with it! However, I do not know which breed to get! German shepherds look so fierce and strong, while goldens look very friendly and gentle. However, my other family members do not like the golden retriever and want a fiercer looking dog. My main concern with the german shepherd is that I am afraid that I will not be the strong, confident leader the dog needs and end up being taught by the german shepherd instead. I am also worried that I will train and socialize the german shepherd wrong and make him/her aggressive towards others. If you guys could tell me about your experiences with both, or even one, that would help me a lot!

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 02:33 AM
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It mainly depends on your lifestyle, and also your wants and don't-wants and needs GS she's more then GR, but don't require as much grooming. Both, GS and GR are very smart and easily trained. If you start at a young age, the GS won't be any problem as far as walking and things go. You can find a very good trainer to train the GS, but also needs to be done at a young age. The GS requires more exercise then the GR, so if you have a busy lifestyle or don't have time to exercise/walk the GS and don't have a large yard, then you might want to reconsider. Both can be great with kids. GR are better for first time dog owners, though.
GR are genuinely for playful and friendly, whilst a GS is more protective and out going. However both are gentle, loyal and alert.
There is always the concern with those new to the GSD that they can be a little aggressive and difficult to handle. This comes from the fact that they are bred from military stock and often used in police and security roles. However, this doesn’t have to be the case with these dogs if they are trained well and placed in a loving home with good owners. A well-trained GSD can be a great watchdog, as well as a family dog, that will alert owners to the presence of intruders.
However, both can be pretty sensitive, there are issues with considerable mouthiness on both sides too, but this can be trained out from an early age.

One of the other behavioral concerns is with Golden retrievers and separation anxiety. They don’t like to be left alone too long and seek out company.
Both are very easily trained (as stated above) however the GS tends to be easier.

Some People decide to get a GR GS cross.

I personally prefer GS over GR, however I've never had a GR... No matter what though, if you're the care provider of the dog, it's your desicion. Not your family members, yours. In the end, it doesn't matter if everyone else hates GR or GS, whatever you choose, should be your choice.

As long as you find a reputable breeder, a good trainer and have the right requirements for either breed, and ability to pay vet bills ect. You'll find a life long companion, and friend, for which ever breed you choose.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:28 AM
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A few key differences (because these breeds are/should be very different)....

1. Mouthing. GSDs have a "hard" mouth, look up threads on puppy biting here - if you aren't used to it or expecting it, it can take some adjustment. Retrievers are bred and selected for "soft" mouths. Huge, huge difference.

2. What do you want to do with the dog when it grows up?

3. What is life like, in your house? Not all GSDs will be thrilled strangers and strange children coming and going often. Do you have other pets, or have visiting dogs over often?

4. There are some good threads on this forum and on blogs about socialization. While the raising of a puppy is important, there are deeply rooted underlying genetic traits and tendencies in each and every dog that will always be present. It's easier to choose a breed that aligns with your lifestyle and then finesse the behavior of your individual dog as you raise it, instead of pounding a square peg into a round hole.

Both are wonderful breeds but the history and selective breeding of these two types of dog is very different. Everyone here loves shepherds (else we probably wouldn't be here ), but there are some common issues and complaints that tend to surface, especially when someone is raising their first.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:38 AM
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I have had both breeds from puppy-hood. Personally, and I am very lucky I've heard, my German shepherd was better about potty training and biting. My GSD puppy bit the first few days, then stopped completely. My golden took a bit more time. My GSD was less destructive and potty trained faster.

I prefer German shepherds because of the aloofness and more serious nature. My golden retriever believes that every person in the world is her best friend, and she'll completely forget about me. I always say that she would be more than happy to jump into a stranger's car and go home with them. My German shepherd would rather die than leave me. Both dogs were very easy to train obedience-wise, and I did not notice a difference in ease between them. Neither was food motivated, so I had to use other rewards.

One thing that annoys me to no end about my golden... she will not stop obsessing over people. It's not an issue with obedience; she has been extensively trained by many trainers. It's just how she is. She can't control herself when it comes to people. She doesn't jump, but she will sit on your feet, nudge your hand with her nose, go in between your legs, lean on you, nonstop. It can go on for a good half hour, even if you ignore her. It's very frustrating, and we usually have to lock her in a different room. It's a nightmare.

Another thing I've noticed, which could be considered a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, is that my golden is unbelievably soft. If you so much as look at her wrong, her whole world falls apart. She can't stand to upset you, so it is very hard to correct her in any capacity. You might see that as a good thing, because it's easier to control her that way. She won't ignore you or challenge your authority at all. My shepherd definitely would.
I agree that goldens are better for first-time dog owners, or someone that tends to be on the passive side, but that does not mean that someone a little "softer" could not do well with a shepherd.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 01:19 PM
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You mentioned that your other family members don't want a golden "but a fiercer looking dog." Are you going to be the primary caregiver? What is your role in the family? I'm not sure that we have enough info to give you the best advice, but whatever you decide to do, don't base your decision to get a dog based primarily on appearance. If you do, you may be disappointed. Find out as much about the typical breed temperaments and make your decision from there. Perhaps you could visit shelters, rescues, or attend some dog events to get an idea of what the two breeds are like. If you think you might be intimidated by a GSD then perhaps a golden would be a wise choice... I've never had one but they look very playful and gentle. GSDs are my favorite and I don't really want to own another breed, but they're not for everyone. Whichever breed you choose, please pick a reputable breeder or rescue. Good luck!
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