I would also add that, for people in the United States (I don't know about other countries), there is no official registry for service dogs. If you order a "certificate" and vest online, it is a scam. There is NO official registration. You need a letter from your doctor dated within a year (and updated every year since) to use as your "proof", such as getting housing that does not allow dogs or your specific breed. If someone demands that you have them registered to allow them to stay, something is off. I ran into this issue when I was renting, and with enough fighting back, management backed off.
German shepherds are very often not allowed in apartments, so this information will be relevant to anyone renting with a GSD service animal. Read the ADA and know it well. If you have any questions, find a lawyer or organization that can help you understand it better. This is critical to having a service dog of any breed.
Edited to add:
I spoke with someone who had a service dog and had had one for years, and she said that she sometimes will order the fake registry online to appease people who don't know better. She had issues with renting as well, and she provided the online certificate as well as a doctor's letter, and they accepted it. You just never know.
I almost feel like this is a big enough issue to deserve its own thread. I *believe* ADA trumps BSL or breed restrictions in housing but I am not 100% sure.
My two main reasons for wanting to start this thread were:
#1 Is a GSD really the right fit for you (whoever you are out there) to be your SD
#2 If the answer to #1 is yes, then where do you find a suitable dog, because a lot of people seem to be coming on here with unsuitable dogs, many from questionable breeders.
But I'd agree that part of question #1 is, living with a SD is hard, access with a SD is hard. And anything other than a fluffy bunny type dog does make it harder. I think it is easy to say that there are plenty of instances where a lab, golden, or poodle would pass without further questioning or issue when a GSD will not. This was true for me, in one apartment building that I moved into. At first they said I could not live there with her because she was a GSD and it was on their insurance policy's list of dangerous breeds. Had I been less vocal I might have not gotten that apartment. It wouldn't have happened with one of those other 3 breeds I listed. But I disputed that they could turn me away over that, and I had all her credentials ready to roll and we got in.
As this person stated, there is no registry, only the legal definition according to the ADA. The fact that I was able to show proof of long term professional training, support of a known program, team certification through that program, Canine Good Citizen, and the dog herself is very convincing in person and she did go and meet the building manager, all contributed to us getting that apartment.
I passionately love this breed and want them to be successful as SDs and not go the way of the buffalo but I also think that being really educated and realistic about it is part of the deal.