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So, I really hope that I can post this without anyone chopping my head off. In 5-10 more years I hope to have upgraded my house and have bought more land with the house and I also hope to be well on my way to becoming a very notable and respected breeder of German Shepherds. I am absolutely in love with the breed, but I want to be sure that I can get a quality education about what it takes to be a very responsible and very respectable breeder. But, as most of you may already know, Kentucky isn't exactly a state well known for producing quality puppies and is more known for being a state for horrible animal abusers. I'm not going to be breeding anything or even thinking about it until I have titled many dogs and have worked with a knowledgeable breeder and learned everything that I can possibly learn within a 5-10 year time frame. I also want to be sure that I am properly and adequately set up for a breeding operation. I have contacted a few of the better breeders in the state, but so far none are willing to work with me. Would it be an option for me to work with and talk with a breeder that is out of state? Any advice?
 

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Do you know what lines you want? There are at least three distinct bloodlines (or more, depending on who you talk to).

How many GSDs have you owned?

How old are you?

What do you do for a living? I hope you don't plan to make a living breeding dogs, because breeders rarely come out ahead, most have to work to support their dog habit.

I'm not a breeder, just nosy. :) And maybe with this information, we can help point you in the right direction.
 

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Do you know what lines you want? There are at least three distinct bloodlines (or more, depending on who you talk to). I'm unfamiliar with the different bloodlines, etc. but I would want to maybe offer some working and some show? I don't know if that's frowned upon to cross the two or not, which is why this is another area that I would need to talk with an experienced breeder with stock that I really like and admire.

How many GSDs have you owned? I currently have two right now. One is my unregistered bi-color female Sheba and the other is my obedience prospect, Nyx. I never had any intentions on showing Sheba, so I never registered her. She could have been registered, I just didn't. I now have bought Nyx already registered, so of course she's my first "papered" dog. Also, my family had three while I was in my teenager years.

How old are you? I am 31 right now.

What do you do for a living? I hope you don't plan to make a living breeding dogs, because breeders rarely come out ahead, most have to work to support their dog habit. I am an insurance agent for a privately owned company here in Ky. I have read an article that breaks down the cost of doing breeding the correct way and I have realized that breeders rarely ever come out ahead and I am completely prepared for that. I'm in a financially stable place in my life right now and I'm putting back money a little at a time in order to always have a reserve built up.

I'm not a breeder, just nosy. :) And maybe with this information, we can help point you in the right direction.
I hope my answers helped in possibly pointing me in the right direction.
 

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There is nothing wrong with wanting to have your own respected bloodline of German Shepherds... It is a rewarding hobby born of hard, hard work. You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders and want to learn.

You'll learn. Research, talk to the experienced members here, ask questions, read the informative threads, join community, own dogs, train dogs, test dogs, learn how to select correct temperament, conformation, etc. There are a lot of resources.

Take your time... don't rush. Train your current dogs, test their temperaments, drives, etc to learn how to distinguish them and understand them. Go to clubs, go to shows, research, learn, test...

Talk, visit, compete, etc. LEARN! Learn about genetics, issues with the GSD, etc.

Elem. of Temperament

(Types of German Shepherds, by Wildhaus Kennels )

German Shepherd Dog abbreviations, Definitions, and German terms | How to read German pedigree

To start...
 

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The first thing you have to do is study pedigrees and dogs, decide which bloodline you are interested in: German show, German working, or American show, then you find a breeder that understands that bloodline.

Most reputable breeders do stick mainly with one line; some cross German working and German show lines, and some American show breeders bring in German show lines, but crossing must be done only by those who are very knowledgable and experienced with both lines, IMO.

Is there a SchH club in your area?
 

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KY does STINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when it comes to animals. TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. That doesn't mean someone can't breed the best of the breed in that state. And there are many others just tossing dogs together willy nilly and taking them to the shelter when they are done with them - so good to read of someone who has that awareness of what surrounds you and wants to try to learn to do things in a better way. Thank you - it is important for a breed to have real breeders. I think there could be way less puppy producers but that's another story!

I have met MANY great GSDs from KY that came up through rescue - they will euth any dog quickly that is not nice so we get excellent dogs from there. :( I have also met a dog from gbchottu's one breeder - used to be in her signature so I am going from memory on the spelling - Drache Field - and while it was only one dog so not representative of everything the kennel does, she was outstanding. Clear headed, not extreme in structure, nice drive, just perfect.

In the meantime since you gave yourself a nice timeline, in addition to learning tons about bloodlines and pedigrees, and participating in activities to see all the things your dogs can do, perhaps volunteering at your local shelter with the GSDs (because it is hard to find people who will work with the larger dogs and we have 1 person whose evals we trust in the whole state) will also give you some insights on behaviors and structure you do and don't want to see. You will also get some ideas on why screening your buyers is important, and maybe even some tips on that.
 

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Go to training classes, go to shows, join a schutzhund club, join an AKC German Shepherd Dog Club. Go to meetings, volunteer at shows. Learn the ins and the outs of both types, and try to figure out who you fit best with.

Down the line when you have learned a ton about the different lines, and training, and shows, etc, then start talking to the best breeders in your are that are within the lines you like best.

I started going to classes, and there was a woman in my classes that I really did not know. After two or three separate sets of classes with this lady in the class, we had a brief conversation about who my dog was related to, and I felt she pretty much dismissed the breeding because she did not care for Fanto. Ok then. Maybe a year and a half later, after I had shown in rally with about 5 of my dogs, we were still going to classes and she invited me to go to a shepherd club meeting. I think it was then that I realized that she had nearly 50 years of experience, etc.

But I think she had to decide that I was serious or committed. There are a bajillion people out there that get a purebred dog and have visions of making puppies. Of course we like puppies. There really aren't that many that are willing to go the whole nine yards. And even those who will go 4-6 yards and follow through seem few and far between.

Breeders are busy people. Yes they should try and help people who are thinking about starting out. I also think it makes sense to get out there, get training, work with your dogs, and get noticed by breeders who are doing the kinds of things you are doing, Show them you have what it takes.

Kentucky has a reputation, so does Ohio, and PA and Missouri, and probably 47 other states. There are still good breeders. To find them, you got to go where they hang out. You got to go to shows or trials and clubs. You have to get involved.
 

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But I think she had to decide that I was serious or committed. There are a bajillion people out there that get a purebred dog and have visions of making puppies. Of course we like puppies. There really aren't that many that are willing to go the whole nine yards. And even those who will go 4-6 yards and follow through seem few and far between.

Breeders are busy people. Yes they should try and help people who are thinking about starting out. I also think it makes sense to get out there, get training, work with your dogs, and get noticed by breeders who are doing the kinds of things you are doing, Show them you have what it takes.
Selzer is correct. It's not enough to just ask around for a mentor. You have to make THEM notice YOU, by getting out there, training and showing, joining clubs, learning, asking questions, listening, studying, reading... really prove yourself dedicated. You can't do all that on the internet (although it does help).

Many wannabe-breeders start out looking great, and then their interest fizzles, or they decide taking shortcuts is easier. Seasoned breeders and dog-people have seen it happen too many times to be overly enthusiastic about helping newbies, so be prepared for that. Don't expect people to fall head over heels for you right away--you really have to prove yourself, and it takes years.

None of this is meant to discourage you, in fact, we NEED more responsible, ethical people breeding dogs the RIGHT way, and everyone has to start somewhere. You are saying all the right things so far, and if you stand by your principles, you'll be miles ahead of most.

One thing I can honestly recommend is... stay on this forum and read, read, read. Ask questions. Be prepared for differing opinions and arguments which may confuse you at first. The more you learn, and the more you actually work with dogs, the more things will make sense.

Breeding dogs is an ethical quagmire. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to breed GSDs too...but the more I learned, the more I realized that I just don't have the temperament for it. Be prepared to ponder a lot of philosophical concerns as well as the nuts and bolts of it all.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Selzer is correct. It's not enough to just ask around for a mentor. You have to make THEM notice YOU, by getting out there, training and showing, joining clubs, learning, asking questions, listening, studying, reading... really prove yourself dedicated. You can't do all that on the internet (although it does help).

Many wannabe-breeders start out looking great, and then their interest fizzles, or they decide taking shortcuts is easier. Seasoned breeders and dog-people have seen it happen too many times to be overly enthusiastic about helping newbies, so be prepared for that. Don't expect people to fall head over heels for you right away--you really have to prove yourself, and it takes years.

None of this is meant to discourage you, in fact, we NEED more responsible, ethical people breeding dogs the RIGHT way, and everyone has to start somewhere. You are saying all the right things so far, and if you stand by your principles, you'll be miles ahead of most.

One thing I can honestly recommend is... stay on this forum and read, read, read. Ask questions. Be prepared for differing opinions and arguments which may confuse you at first. The more you learn, and the more you actually work with dogs, the more things will make sense.

Breeding dogs is an ethical quagmire. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to breed GSDs too...but the more I learned, the more I realized that I just don't have the temperament for it. Be prepared to ponder a lot of philosophical concerns as well as the nuts and bolts of it all. I do this almost on a daily basis. I'm a big question asker and like to know why things work the way they do. I guess I just naturally have a very inquisitive nature.
I am a bit confused as to why Shutzhund is the end all be all in the German Shepherd breed. I know that the breed is so versatile and can do anything that they put their mind to pretty much. If you guys can go and look at my pictures that I've posted before of Sheba, her conformation is something that I would love to continue to reproduce, but I can't with her. She's spayed and already four years old so I wouldn't breed her anyway. Plus she isn't registered. I've been made aware of all of the health testing that is pretty much required to produce healthy and genetically excellent puppies. So, what I want to ask now is why is Shutzhund so highly prized in the German Shepherd and what are some of the better bloodlines for the sport?
 

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I am a bit confused as to why Shutzhund is the end all be all in the German Shepherd breed. I know that the breed is so versatile and can do anything that they put their mind to pretty much. If you guys can go and look at my pictures that I've posted before of Sheba, her conformation is something that I would love to continue to reproduce, but I can't with her. She's spayed and already four years old so I wouldn't breed her anyway. Plus she isn't registered. I've been made aware of all of the health testing that is pretty much required to produce healthy and genetically excellent puppies. So, what I want to ask now is why is Shutzhund so highly prized in the German Shepherd and what are some of the better bloodlines for the sport?
Schutzhund was developed for the breed, but IMHO herding/HGH is just as meaningful. Schutzhund is a great way to test for correct workability, drive, temperament, etc. American and Canadian showlines rarely do well in Schutzhund from my experience. Working lines and German Show are typical in sport.
 

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Schutzhund was developed for the breed, but IMHO herding/HGH is just as meaningful. Schutzhund is a great way to test for correct workability, drive, temperament, etc.
:thumbup:

Schutzhund was developed as one of 2 tests recognized by the SV as a dog's worthiness to be bred and to get papers on the progeny.
In their home country a GSD breeder cannot get pups registered with the SV if the parents don't have certain criteria met, a Schutzhund title or HGH title.

So it is the be-all, end-all test for the GSD because the founding powers that be deemed it so.
 

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Conformation is just one aspect of the breed. Herding, agility and Schutzhund(IPO) show the versatile working ability, but IPO is the true test as far as breed worthiness goes(if done truthfully)as it is according to the SV standards which is managed by the FCI
United Schutzhund Clubs of America - Breed Standard
 

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Schutzhund was developed as a test of breedworthiness. A "temperament test", if you will. Something that proved the dog's working ability. These days it is not just a breed test, but a sport in and of itself. There are many other venues in which GSDs can prove their working ability, but SchH (or HGH, a herding test) is the test that, in Germany, every GSD MUST pass before they can be bred.

Here in the US, there is NO temperament or breedworthiness test required for breeding, which some argue has caused the downfall of the breed. But many US breeders still follow the German tradition and title their dogs as part of a selection process.

It's generally agreed that working lines score higher at SchH than show lines, but in Germany, ALL GSDs must pass at least a SchH1 regardless of bloodline. So technically all of them should be capable of it. However, American show lines have not been participating in SchH for many decades, and to date I am not aware of any American show line GSDs attaining a title. I am sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Actually, I think there is one titled dog who is half American and half German show line.
 

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bethany ! hello. How would you like several year's worth of German Shepherd Dog Reviews , going back to the 1970's for the cost of shipping . There are good breeder and judge and handler interviews , articles , example Carmen Battaglia http://breedingbetterdogs.com/pdfFiles/articles/early_neurological_stimulation_en.pdf

who also writes about genetics and other issues. The magazines are rich in pictures , one or two per page almost every page . This is a visual documentation of the changes of the breed in North America making trends and fads and changes in conformation evident .
 

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From 1970 to mid 1980's my German Shepherd review was the most highly read and prized literature in my house....lol Take Carmen up on the offer for the historical content and perspective of the American lines.....if you're really sharp you will be able to see some interesting trend develop.
 

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bethany: You need to do a lot more legwork in terms of reading and learning theoretical knowledge. There is no short cut to this and a breeder does not want to spend the significant time it takes to teach you the basics. This can easily be done over the internet, and with DVDs/videos. There are lots of sources where you can gain info on lines and pedigrees. Once you decide which line is right for you, then start narrowing down to a particular venue and then look for a mentor. Use this forum, other sources like pedigreedatabase, online links about different lines etc. Like others said, visit different dog related events and figure out which line is right for you. By the way, you cannot "decide" to be a breeder. You go out, do the leg work, learn learn learn, if you do it the right way, it takes a long time, you won't make any money and it will be a lot of work. If you will be any good at it...only time and your progeny will tell!

Where are you located? There are several schh clubs, agility, obedience, AKC clubs in the state and some good ones in neighboring states. You will need to travel, but that is pretty much a given in dog related activities - you will spend a good majority of your time traveling!
 

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Tho I obviously can not speak for her, and I have no idea how close in KY to her you are, but Wanda aka Kleinen Hain German Shepherds - Home may be able to direct you or help you out re: mentoring.

She has working lines but does it all with her dogs. My girl Masi came from wanda and I am very happy with her.
 
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