GSD owner pros and cons - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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GSD owner pros and cons

I am not in the market for an immediate dog, but I am looking towards the far future. I grew up with farm dogs and was in the 4-H dog project from ages 8-18, showmanship, obedience, and agility. I currently have 3 wonderful kids, oops, I mean dogs. A 10 year old aussie mix, a 10 year old lab mix and my show dog (conformation/obedience), and a 4 year old rhodesian ridgeback.

I love my boys and we have an awesome dynamic at home! But I have never thought of myself as a one breed person and am considering a GSD. I have been doing lots of reading and looking at tons of websites, but I thought I would ask the owners of GSD what the pros and cons are of owning a shepherd! I'd love to hear what you have to say!

I would like to do obedience and agility, and of course the dog would be involved with my life activities; walking, hiking, camping, and such.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 07:12 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

Super question.

Pro's, very loyal and easy to train. So loyal that with you the dogs, despite being described as aloof, are big babies when it comes to you and your family. A tremendous variety of interests, more so then any breed I have known.

Con's, German Shepherds are also known as German Shedders, and we have tons of hair around. You must control the dog, especially if a European GSD. Some, like mine, will decide the number 1 job is to protect you. And yes, I am working on that with my GSD.

Personally, I would never own another breed. Why, because for whatever reason I think the German Shepherd bionds more closely with humans then any other breed.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 07:14 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

I have had 3 different large breed dogs and IMHO the shepherd is so tuned into their human companions, I love it that the GSD's are always watching me and seeing what I'm doing. It has made it very easy to train them. I'm happy that I rescued the boy that I have now, I had forgotten what wonderful companions they are.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 07:54 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

It sounds like you have lots of experience with raising dogs and are very involved with them, so it sounds like a GSD would be a great fit! Keep up your research (I wish I had the knowledge I have now about GSDs when I got my GSD... and I'm still learning!) and feel free to post more questions on this board. I'd say this message board and the member's responses to my questions have helped me the most with raising my dog, training, etc.

Some of the cons of the GSD are, like stated above, the amount of shedding!! Also GSDs, like most large breeds, are prone to hip and joint problems. GSDs are VERY active and need lots of exercise, mentally and physically. If they aren't challenged and exercised regularly, they can become destructive, because they need something to do with their energy. It sounds like you wouldn't have a problem with that, since you would like to take them on hikes, walks and work with them in obedience and agility. And with your 3 other dogs, the GSD would have other companions to play with and wear eachother out. If you have the time and energy to dedicate to the new GSD, as far as socialization with strangers, kids, other dogs, new situations (camping, friend's houses, etc), then it sounds like the GSD would be a perfect fit for you!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 08:46 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

I absolutely love them but keep telling myself I'm not getting another one because they have tons of health problems. I rescue so I'm not spending $2000 on a dog (at least not at the beginning!) but the last pb gsd I adopted had a very nice pedigree and still had all of the same health problems.

Other than that I think they're wonderful companions.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 09:17 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

I have had 5 German Shepherds and really have not had any serious health problems. Reggie had pannus but only for about the last 6 months of his life as he died of old age.
Your dogs are beautiful. I think the positives of owning a shepherd are that they are so intelligent, and so in tune to there owners. They love being with you, and don't really care about roaming because they want to be with you (the pack leader). They want to please you and they get there feelings hurt easily. You have to be kind and gentle and if you are they will love you and do everything they can to make you happy.
The cons are that yes, they shed. But nothing that the vacuum can't pick up and the brush can brush off. You also have to be a firm leader. You have to be the alpha and they will respect it. YOU cannot be a wimpy leader or they will take control as the leader and this could be a problem.
I see you have a Rodesian Ridgeback. From what I have read and correct me if I am wrong, but they are more of a dominate breed so you are used to leadership. You will do fine.
Keep reading all the posts as there are very, very, knowledgeable people here that know so much more than me and will answer any question you have. Thank you for looking into this breed.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 09:47 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

I have not ever had other breeds so I don't know if this is unique to GSDs or is part of people who bond strongly with their dogs.

I "think" about moving and Samson (our rescued GSD) is standing, looking at me. It is as if he is psychic, even telepathic. He seems to know where I am going before I even start moving.

When my Allie was still alive, I would wake up an decide mentally if we were going for a walk or going to play ball. Frighteningly, if I thought about playing ball, she jumped off the bed and ran and got it. It was unreal. I never bothered telling the story too much - who would believe me?

Mine have been incredibly demonstrative. I hear LOUD SNORTS and know immediately that Samson is unhappy. Both had soulful, searching eyes - I know almost exactly how they are feeling by looking at them. Can very odiferous. And proud of it. Samson just walked by, snorted mildly and put himself to bed in the crate. He is irritated that we aren't going to bed in the bedroom.

Cons? They shed. We joke to our Samson (and did with Allie) that I can't figure out how he isn't a naked with all that shedding. My Allie suffered horrific allergies and we spent a good penny on her. But no complaints. I wouldn't have another kind. They feel like my kind - like I belong with them and they with me.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 10:57 PM
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Re: GSD owner pros and cons

the only con I can think of is the reputation shepherds have and the prejudice that comes with owning a large breed dog. Also they are a bit aloof with strangers (most anyway) and don't take immediately to anyone. After four months of living with my brother, Chase still barks at him and Chopper won't go near him. Some people just have a fear of them.

Otherwise, a well socialized gsd is a joy.

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