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I'm a beginner and just starting a GSD search so excuse the potential ignorance of this question.

Is a working GSD different than a GSD bred to look a certain way? In other words if I'm looking for a working GSD then should I absolutely not consider a GSD from a breeder who is breeding for conformance?

I think I'm reading some posts that suggest that hips, drive, focus, intelligence, etc aren't quite good enough in a conformance dog to actually get working titles?

Any insight would be appreciated. If it's politically inappropriate to answer on the forum I'd still like to hear your opinions and I would appreciate a private message. It will be held in strict confidence.

Thanks! :)
 

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The term is conformation.

Show breeders often only show their dogs in conformation and some do a temperament test, TT. What these breeders are doing is striving for dogs that win in the show ring. The dogs are bred with consideration of bloodlines. Some are bred very tightly on significant dogs, like Dallas (kinsmets sight for sore eyes), others are inbred father daughter, siblings, mother son to get the best chance at another champion. Others are bred very carefully and responsibly. But mostly, if ski slopes are in this year, than that is what they will breed for. A breeder breeding for show dogs will not get far if he cannot finish his dogs.

Some showline breeders, American and German and probably every country, but these are the two lines, I know a little about, some of these breeders do breed for the total dog in their opinion. They have a dog working toward their herding titles and championship concurrently. In our club we have a dog that either is a champion or only needs a few points, and also hold many, many herding titles. I think he was top herding dog last year -- could be wrong in that though.

These breeders are trying to breed a dog that conforms to the standard and excels in some type of performance event.

The SV (German showline) requires schutzhund titles, breed survey, endurance test, hip and elbow ratings, to be entered in the sieger show. At the show they must also perform the many phases of the competition. For males, there is also a progeny group. To be the top dog, you have to prove that you can reproduce yourself.

This is not good enough for some people. They are convinced that in either of these venues, competition is not much of a test, and it is fueled by politics and money. Whatever.

The Working line dogs encompas, East and West German working lines, DDR, Czech, and probably many others. They are more likely to have sables, bi-colors, solid colors, etc., probably because black and tan/red saddle backs is what generally wins in the show lines that they have been bred mostly for that coloring. These dogs also often rate SG (very good) or V (excellent) in structure, etc. The generally will not go VA excellent select. They LOOK different than the showline dogs, though their breeders may be doing their best to stay within the size constraints and other requirements of the standard, their focus is on the dog's ability to work and to work all day and to work at a certain level of intensity.

All of them are concerned with temperament, the showline people do not want nervy dogs because the dog must be shown in the ring with other dogs and bells and whistles and must be able to be handled by the judge etc. Some showline people do not really care whether the dog would be likely to take a chunk out of someone if that was what the situation warrants. That is not where their focus is. Some would prefer a Golden retriever in black and tan. The German ring requires a passing protection performance which working people discount.

The working lines people want to test the dogs under pressure, and see that the dog goes in full throttle. They want dogs with high energy and high drive that will be highly trainable and will go in, but also out on command.

I think that it really depends on what you are looking for.

Ideally, you want to go for someone who is breeding dogs that are within the standard, and also breeding for dogs that can also have the temperament and drive to do whatever YOU intend to do with the dog.

Because, when it comes down to it. Going to a breeder of schutzhund competition champions, and subjecting these dogs to 8-16 hours of crate time, and a few hours of television each day, and maybe a walk in the evening, you will have a problem.

Your best bet is to sit down and figure out how much time and energy you want to spend working with the dog on a regular basis, look at what type of things you want to do with the dog, look at dogs that can do that, check out the variety of lines, both structure and temperament, well before you decide anything.
 

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If you're new to GSDs, I'd get to know some people with working lines and spend time with working line dogs before you get one so you know what you're getting yourself into. They are NOT for your average dog owner that will do a daily 30-minute walk and maybe an obedience class for manners.

My working line GSD requires an hour of HARD exercise per day and I have to constantly be teaching him new things to stimulate his brain or else he'll find things to keep him occupied--and definitely the WRONG stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks selzer and everyone for the information. Very helpful. I have someone who will help me find a GSD that's right for me.

Thanks.
 
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