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· Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
6,677 Posts
The first thing a breeder needs to do is understand the breed. There is a lot more to correct GSD temperament than merely not being another bite statistic. Part of that is understanding the history and purpose of the breed, and why it is the way it is and why it's supposed to be the way it's supposed to be.

The best print resources for starting to learn this are:

The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture by Max v Stephanitz (founder of the breed)

German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History by Malcolm Willis

Both books can be difficult to find, especially the Willis one, and quite expensive when you do. But both are absolute requirements for any breeder's library.

The next thing you need to do is get out and meet dogs, interact with dogs, train dogs, and talk with other GSD people who can help teach you and mentor you. Developing a true understanding of dogs, and the breed in particular, absolutely cannot be done by a book or video or internet. You must spend time with the dogs. Lots and lots of time with lots and lots of dogs. This is not a quick process. It will take years.

Once you have a better fundamental understanding of the breed, get a dog and work it in something. Whatever is appropriate for that type of GSD and what you have come to view as correct. (In other words, don't go try to do SchH with an American line, or show in the AKC ring with a working line). And be aware that many GSD experts will not agree with your choice of type or vocation for your dog, and that is something you will need to deal with. Anyone seriously involved in dogs, and especially breeders, must have a very thick skin.

That dog you work yourself will be your best learning experience of all. But you will learn far more from that dog if you have a solid fundamental understanding of the breed through the other areas I mentioned first. Then get a second dog and do the same. And a third. And so on. Each dog will teach you more, and the most important characteristic in any breeder is knowledge.
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