If they develop a problem in their reproductive parts, and the best solution at that point is to alter, that is when I believe in altering a dog.
When I acquire a dog, when I make the decision to get a dog, than I am making the decision to get an animal with hair and ears, a tail, and hormones, character/personality, and all of that. I buy/acquire the entire animal. I prefer to keep them that way. The beauty of a GSD is that to have them appear like the breed standard, you do not need to dock their tails or carve up their ears. I don't hack off testicles either.
If I choose to have a boy, then I want those testicles there. Because hormones are for more than growth. I think an intact dog develops a little different both in character and physically than his neutered brothers. I prefer the dog that makes it to sexual maturity with his nads on board. And, then why nick them? I can't think of a single reason to spay or neuter a critter that holds any water for me except if they have a physical problem with the plumbing. And even then, usually treating the infection or whatever the problem is, would be the first course of action.
I have never experienced mammary cancer or pyometra in my girls or testicular cancer in my boys. My first litter would have been 14 in August, and Babsy passed away in May. So she did not make it. She was intact. Jenna was almost 13, and intact. Heidi just turned 13 and is intact. Odessa I imported. She will be 12 in October and was spayed at almost 8 because she came up empty, and had never expelled any fluid prior to the C-section. So the fluid in her uterine horns might have become infected. I was not going to try for another litter, so I had her spayed. She looks great at this point. I hope she makes it to 14 or even older.
If others find having seasons difficult and want to spay for convenience, that's fine. I would hope they would wait until the bitch is at least 18 months, so that most of her growth is done and the growth plates are closed. I just see no reason to spay.
Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.