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Breeders: More Research and More Confusion!

Hi everyone, (I am so sorry it got LONG!)
I've been reading the forum for awhile and have posted a couple of times. (BTW, apologies for not knowing about the "no negative comments" re. breeders. Lesson learned, and I will always pm anything like that if I need to again.)
I lost my GSD, Kongur, several months ago to DM. I have an 11 y.o. female, Kira, who is a rescue GSD mix I adopted when she 2 months old. I am trying to be a more educated buyer as I research breeders this time around. I have printed out articles on interpreting pedigrees, am scouring the national and local GSD organization websites, emailing and talking with people. If anything I am more confused. Here is what I am looking for in a dog: A male GSD puppy who will be a great companion to me, has some verified health screens, including testing for DM (and I live near Colorado State University, which has a nationally recognized animal research hospital and vet school, and they insist the testing is now extremely accurate). I'm hoping for a fairly mellow GSD, who enjoys walks, playing ball, etc. and is a good 'alert dog' if a stranger shows up at the house.
OK, so it's very clear that everyone, including the genuine experts, has his/her own opinions, beliefs, etc. as to what constitutes a good GSD for my purposes, and how to find one. This line is great; no, avoid that one; never pick this lineage, etc. etc.
Just...please help me sort this out! Someone also told me that all a state license to breed means is that the breeder has enough dogs onsite that the license is required. Is that right?? How important is it that the breeder signs the "Breeder's Code of Ethics?" Some dubious looking breeders have signed them. I have looked at the GSD Club of America website, as well the as regional one for Colorado. Most of the regional breeders listed have dead links associated with them, etc. Well, if you have read this far, thank you so much, and also for any thoughts, advice, etc. you can offer. Please PM with any less than positive thoughts on breeders. I am especially interested in your thoughts on Schlossfelsenkennels.com Rue's mom on this forum has already offered an endorsement for that one and I thank you again.
 

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Are you interested in a line in particular (working, American show, German show)? Do you have a max price? Where are you located and are you willing to travel and/or ship?

Yes, the licenses are *no* indication of a breeder's ethics or how knowledgeable they are about the breed, it's for larger kennels that either house or breed certain numbers of animals each year.

I personally don't care about the Code of Ethics, I find most breeders that do this are GSDCA members and breed American show lines which I have no interest in. If you like that line, it may be more important. I guess I sort of have my own Code of Ethics, lol, and won't buy from someone who doesn't meet it.
 

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Thanks for the response, Liesje. (I grew up in Kalamazoo, btw, but now live in Greeley, CO, 50 miles N or Denver.) A dog with a very strong drive would probably not be right for me. I have heard so much conflicting info about the various lines, that I am almost thinking they could all produce "good" or "not so good" pups, depending on breeding philosophy, practices, etc. I do know that I do not like the overly angulated, sharply sloping back end as far as appearance goes. Hoping not to go over $1200 by too much, and have to save for that. Willing to travel someplace I could get to and back in a day. I feel iffy about shipping, but would consider it.
 

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Terre Norte in Colorado breeds American Show Lines that work sheep on a daily basis. She may have what you are looking for.
 

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I agree with Liesje that I don't put too much weight on the Breeder's Code of Ethics pledge. It's nice to see, but it doesn't rate as a major factor to me. And I would avoid any kennel that has a USDA license; that's indicative of a big commercial operation and I'd prefer to get a dog from someone who knows their dogs and puppies as individuals.

As a starting point, I would look for breeders who only produce a few litters a year and who are doing something with their dogs. If you're looking for a pet puppy and are not seeking a competition dog for any specific sport, then it doesn't matter too much what the breeder's dogs are doing, but I would still look for them to have something, even if it's just a CGC or RN or CD. I'd also check for hip scores and other health screening.

re: Schlossfelsen, I am not familiar with this breeder at all, so here are my thoughts based purely on the website:

+ it looks like they health test the dogs
+ it sounds like they put some thought into puppy raising
+ the website indicates some concern about/awareness of health issues (vaccines, nutrition, etc.)
+ they list a foster dog on the "available dogs" page

+/- they're intentionally breeding longcoats, which I view as a wash but other people may not like

- I don't see any indication that the breeding females are being worked or shown anywhere
- they produce a lot of litters (one or two litters are hitting the ground each month)
- they're looking for co-breeders to "split profits"
- they're using the in-house stud to breed most of their females

The dogs are very pretty, and if I had my heart set on a red and black longcoat I might be seriously tempted, but... overall this kennel would not be for me.

But, again, I have never met any of their dogs and I know absolutely nothing about what the kennel is actually like on the ground, so take that with a hefty grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, Merciel, that is really helpful. The positive/negative list on Schlossfelsen is just the kind of stuff I need to know.
 

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Just a suggestion. Do not confuse drive with energy. It is possible to have a high drive dog with not so much energy and the opposite with a lower drive dog that has tons of energy.:)
 
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