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Hey.
I'm looking to get a puppy that would then be trained as an assistance dog with the help of a disability organisation. I've been considering German Shepherds and I've found a breeder that I like. My only concern is that she breeds working line GSDs. I've been trying to read up on the differences but maybe I'm not looking in the right places because I can't seem to find enough information (or at least not enough information to satisfy me!).

I'm willing to put the effort in to be a good owner but I want to know what I'm getting into and whether I have the capability to be a good owner to a working line GSD.
They require more exercise yes? About how much to keep it happy? Apart from the slow walks as we travel around during the day, I'm currently looking to do 45min x2 walk/run, plus time playing together and visits to the dog park 2-4 times a week. Is this too little?
They also seem to require a bit more mental stimulation? I assume it'll be interested by all the people and places we visit while they're working, and training would be continual through out it's life. But apart from that it's just games and maybe some dog sports like tracking and herding right?
I realise the working lines also usually have higher prey drives. I'm a little (though not overly) concerned that this may be a problem as I have a cat, however the breeder I'm looking at does raise her pups alongside cats. Should this be an issue I should be concerned about?

What have been your experiences with Workling Line dogs?

Thank you!
 

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I, personally, would not be worried so much about lines as I would about whether or not the breeder has experience with service dogs and choosing puppies/dogs for this area of work. Working line puppies can vary a lot in their drive levels and needs for mental stimulation.



Exercise is not always what is needed (though obviously they do need exercise to stay fit), but a level of mental stimulation that works and thus tires their minds. Games, simple things like trick training, search games, etc can be done in addition to the training you will need for the SD work and to maintain their SD work.
 

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I used a working line GSD as a service dog. She was fantastic. Her work was not enough to satisfy her and she did go for offleash walks daily and played outside daily. I made sure she got this even though we lived in an apartment then.

She never went to dog parks but had some experiences at dog friendly hiking areas that put her job in jeopardy. If I were you I would not consider a dog park as a means of exercise or outlet for any sd, they are way way too valuable to go to such a dangerous place. Be prepared to find ways to exercise your dog other than that.

Mine was mentally satisfied for the first few years while she was learning everything and later we played at obedience and other stuff as hobbies to keep her happy.

My #1 criteria in picking a breeder would be how many dogs of their breeding are out there working as service dogs. That will tell you a lot. And make sure they are real service dogs.
 

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Definitely agree with Thecowboysgirl. No dog parks.
 
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Picking the right pup is more important than the line the dog is from. My working line girl has a great off switch, and is happy to chill in the house when nothing is happening. She settles much better in new locations than my show line female.
 

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None are service dogs, but we have 4 gsds and it’s our working line that generally leaves our cat alone. He doesn’t appear to have the same level of prey drive as our others.
 
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