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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!
We are a family of 4 and have been looking for the right addition to our family for a very long time.
We already own a dog who is a Cavalier King Charles of 9 1/2 years old. He is well trained and is very well behaved, we do not allow any kind of bad behaviour and he has boundaries like hes not allowed going up on the sofa without asking (and even then its not every time), no snatching food etc. I thought id mention this as people get the wrong impression about owning a smaller dog thinking that we have one because it looks cute and is small but that isnt that case :lol: . We bought our Cav because we had never had a dog prior to him and we wanted something we knew would be bomb proof and bomb proof he is!

We have a decent amount of experience with dogs in general as we have fostered over 5 dogs in our time (One collie, one Cavalier King Charles cross, one German Pointer, Labrador and 2 greyhounds! Not all at the same time ;) ) and all got along great with us and have all since moved onto new homes. I myself also do the occasional bits of work for a greyhound rescue local to me where I walk a few Greyhounds.

So as far as experience, thats about as much as we have currently. Would this be enough to handle a GSD? We arent shy of training or anything like that, we are happy to learn as we did with our Cavalier.

As for being around during the day, I my self am home educated (I'm 17 and currently training to become a web developer so Im always around at home with time for plenty of walks and such like) and my Mom is also around for the whole day. We will be able to take it out for several walks during the day just fine, that doesnt worry us as we have lots of great parks local to us and a decent walk we can do from the door.

This is the only issue I can personally spot from my POV. What I am worried about is our current dogs conditions... Im not sure if any of you are aware of a neurological condition called: Syringomyelia? Its a condition where the brain is too big for the skull and it leaks fluids onto the spinal chord causing false signals of pain. He has late onset SM/CM and was only diagnosed in December of 2013 and he is now on medication which has made him back to normal and comfortable (Obviously when this is no longer the case we will do the kindest thing as that wouldnt be fair any other way). We were told by the neurologist who diagnosed him that it probably wouldnt be the SM/CM that would carry him off, rather another health condition that would be more likely to but because SM/CM is so unpredictable we really cant be sure.

As of right now, hes perfectly comfortable and has a 100% normal life. His condition doesnt get in his way in any way and I think it might be a new lease of life for him to have a new family member as the last time we fostered (which was a Greyhound) it went very well. So im not sure what your POV is on that? Like said, he has got on fine with his condition and another dog before.

Do you think a GSD would be a suitable decision providing we train it right and socialise it enough? We plan on giving it plenty of activity, as much as it needs.

Any input would be most welcome :)
 

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I would suggest reading through the posts on the Puppy Place here. There are several aggravating stages they go through just as with other breeds. As far as your older dog, the time may come when you have to separate the pup from her as she will not be able to handle the activity a puppy creates. Be prepared to gate, crate, and rotate if that becomes an issue. Other than that, be sure to train early and often and never stop training. I personally believe that German Shepherds are the most intelligent, beautiful, willing to work for you breed there is, but I may be a bit prejudiced! LOL! Good luck on making your choice.
 

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Just wanted to mention a couple of things.

Can you deal with a lot of hair and a dog that sheds heavily, because that is a GSD.

Can you deal with a dog that will want to always be with you, follow you around and act like velcro, because that is a GSD.

Can you handle a dog that will be in the range of 60-90 pounds, because that is a GSD.

Can you handle a dog that has medium energy, sometimes high energy and will require a good deal amount of exercise and mental stimulation a day, because that is a GSD.

GSDs are wonderful dogs when they are with owners that take the time to train them, bond with them, give them proper mental and physical exercise and love them. This breed is smart, easy to train, loving, loyal and versatile.
 

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You sound very thoughtful. I don't know if you'll be living at home until you are 30 yrs old, you may need or want to move for work and finding a place that will allow a dog is always uncertain, so is your family OK with caring for a GSD while you are gone?

Getting a new puppy could make your Cavalier feel like younger again and he may want to play, or it could go the other way where he is annoyed with a puppy.

If you read through here, you'll see there is not just one type of German Shepherd. There are Showlines and Working lines. The Showlines generally have a milder temperament, the working lines may be a bit of a challenge for the first 2 years.

GSDs are very loyal and would love to have someone home all day. You may want to ask your vet if he/she thinks the activity of having a new dog would be OK. I'm just curious as why you want a GSD? We have a very active Greyhound rescue in our area, they seem so sweet and nice, I almost took one home, but we are at our pet limit. So just curious why a GSD and not one of the other nice breeds you've fostered?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
You sound very thoughtful. I don't know if you'll be living at home until you are 30 yrs old, you may need or want to move for work and finding a place that will allow a dog is always uncertain, so is your family OK with caring for a GSD while you are gone?

Getting a new puppy could make your Cavalier feel like younger again and he may want to play, or it could go the other way where he is annoyed with a puppy.

If you read through here, you'll see there is not just one type of German Shepherd. There are Showlines and Working lines. The Showlines generally have a milder temperament, the working lines may be a bit of a challenge for the first 2 years.

GSDs are very loyal and would love to have someone home all day. You may want to ask your vet if he/she thinks the activity of having a new dog would be OK. I'm just curious as why you want a GSD? We have a very active Greyhound rescue in our area, they seem so sweet and nice, I almost took one home, but we are at our pet limit. So just curious why a GSD and not one of the other nice breeds you've fostered?
My Mom will be putting in around the same amount of input as me as it will be a son/daughter (although im hoping for it to be more my dog) effort so from that POV it wont be too bad if I need to spend a small amount of time away from home. (although there is my brother and father but they tend to take a back seat and we do all the work which we dont mind)

If I ever do move out, it will be more my dog than anyone elses as I will be the one taking to training, walking it, etc so Id move out with it assuming I could afford to provide for it (which I will do anything to be able as my chosen career path is my absolute passion so Il hopefully find a way to provide from it one way or another) although moving out really isnt looking plausible with the house price and financial situation of the UK in general! (Which is just as well as Im very close to my family)

As to others concern about them being attached to you, I couldnt love that more! I love fuss pots so its all good in that department.
Theres absolutely no shortage of interaction and fuss for dogs in our house ;) . I am very close to our current Cav and absolutely love him to bits. Theres nothing quite like a bond between yourself and a dog.

Also, the other breeds! We would have fail fostered most of them! At the time though, I was recovering from a breakdown and it was too much for me at the time to handle. (thats when I started home education, school was just terrible so I was home educated and have been so much better for it since. Both educationally and mentally)
Those particular breeds still arent off the list, same goes for Greyhounds. Always good to weigh up our options! I think we are more curious about GSDs because we have never owned one before and we know a lot of people around us who have who cant praise them enough (providing you give them the right training of corse) so we are quite curious.

The Labrador we fostered was a puppy (although he was a bit of a freak like that, he was totally not puppy like... Pretty calm as far as puppies go! Having said that he was a slightly older pup) and our cav got on ok with it. But if the puppy does get too much for him, he usually follows my mom and hopefully the GSD will be more my dog as mentioned above so Il hopefully be able to get him some peace if need be.

We have been looking at a few breeders and we have seen one that is KC registered (although I dont particularly agree with the KC due to their policies with cavalier health... So as far as KC goes, I dont care whether or not its KC registered) which has a good hip and shoulder score? I assume this means they are less likely to get hip problems which is the most common (?) health issue for a GSD? We wouldnt consider this particular breeder though as its come from a working dog background so that probably wouldnt be a good idea as we would prefer a show one. (which has a milder temperament like you mentioned) We have seen a few show ones which would be suitable as well. This isnt something we are planning on rushing into especially as its a new family member, we need to make sure we get it right and make sure its the right thing for our family.

Querying the vet would be a great idea as to how ours will cope. Lots of thinking to be done!
PS:
I used to keep fancy rats, and havent had any since my last one died because I was unsure of which breed we were going for next if we do. What are they like with smaller animals? Doesnt bother me either way but just curious
 

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Your comments sound like this is a very well thought out plan, especially knowing you prefer the showlines and which shows you've done some research.

Whatever breed you decide will be very lucky to have a loving and caring home to grow up in.
 

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All I want to add is you sound like the most mature 17 year old in the world, I comend you for looking around and doing your research. I think others have warned you about the work you have to put in, it's a long process to get the puppy to become the adult dog you've dreamt about. But if your willing and able, it always more than worth the effort.
 

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All I want to add is you sound like the most mature 17 year old in the world, I comend you for looking around and doing your research. I think others have warned you about the work you have to put in, it's a long process to get the puppy to become the adult dog you've dreamt about. But if your willing and able, it always more than worth the effort.
Thanks both for your kind words! Yeah, bringing one up is a lot of work, more than people realise.

One question about the KC registration though... Is it worth paying extra for KC? Im not looking at from a "Oh, look at me and my KC registered dog!" POV, rather from a health point of view.
Would I be shooting my self in the foot by paying for a KC registered puppy? What I mean by that, KC registered dogs have standards and im wondering if those standards could be that dogs downfall... Like how they might require the legs to be a certain way in order to get a KC registration and this way of the legs might cause them to become a problem later in life kind of a thing. Or maybe it would work in my favour because they were (apparently) reforming their standards to ensure healthy breeding?
Unsure of what to think to be honest.
Any insight will be most welcome :D
 

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I also want to say you sound very mature and responsible for a 17 year old..Kudos to you!

When you say KC, are you talking AKC??? other registry?? not sure what "KC" your referring to.

I agree with alot thats been already posted.

I'm not sure I'd worry to much about your cav, he sounds like a stable dog that wouldn't have a problem accepting a new one.

However, gsd's can be biting machines, a puppy may torment your older dog just wanting to 'play', and they can be real tough players..Just something to think about.

If your not 'set' on a puppy, maybe you can find a little bit older puppy that would fit in..and not be so "pestering".

I can't lump ALL gsd's into one thing, because there is such a difference, in behaviors/temperament/activity level..

Maybe if you post your general location, someone can point you in the direction of a breeder, meet them, meet their dogs..
 

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I think he's referring to the ukc, no? I would say look for dogs that could be registered, but actually registering the dog you get will be totally up to you. To me it's more important to find a breeder breeding for the standards than anything else. You want a sound dog in temperament and form and that does proper health testing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I also want to say you sound very mature and responsible for a 17 year old..Kudos to you!

When you say KC, are you talking AKC??? other registry?? not sure what "KC" your referring to.

I agree with alot thats been already posted.

I'm not sure I'd worry to much about your cav, he sounds like a stable dog that wouldn't have a problem accepting a new one.

However, gsd's can be biting machines, a puppy may torment your older dog just wanting to 'play', and they can be real tough players..Just something to think about.

If your not 'set' on a puppy, maybe you can find a little bit older puppy that would fit in..and not be so "pestering".

I can't lump ALL gsd's into one thing, because there is such a difference, in behaviors/temperament/activity level..

Maybe if you post your general location, someone can point you in the direction of a breeder, meet them, meet their dogs..
Thanks!

Yeah I can see the standpoint of the rough puppy play... Im not sure itd be a problem or not as our cav doesnt play anymore due to his age/condition so atleast it wouldnt be a two way street if such a situation did occur. (meaning the GSD would hopefully get that he isnt gonna play and go solo) Theres hiding places he goes when things get a bit hectic like he has a crate or in the living room he goes under the sideboard which would offer him some refuge which is a start if the GSD trys to play with him. Although if Im honest, its not often hes out of our sight and if we ever have a new resident dog in the house or if we ever have a GSD we will be making sure nothing like that is going on (although this obviously isnt possible 100% of the time) but it is a possibility to consider and something to think about for sure.

As for Kennel Club I do mean Kennel Club UK (Should have mentioned that) which seems slightly dodgy from the documentaries I have watched on it over the years (See Pedigree Dogs Exposed to find out more if you want to see the one with GSDs in it, look for Pedigree Dogs Exposed: 3 Years on. It features a Cavalier with SM/CM, ours is no where near that bad and youd never know to look at him and he does lead a normal life thanks to medication. Make sure its the english one made by the BBC. It used to be on Youtube but it has conveniently disappeared since... Please note though, it does contain some disturbing footage but some very interesting info) and im wondering if their standards might not have the dogs health interests at heart.. Unsure of whether or not to trust their judgement or not if Im honest. (Our cavalier isnt KC registered but I know a few that are KC registered and have the condition. I wouldnt mind but this was uncovered in 2008 and not much has changed from what I can make out...)

We do have a GSD rescue near to us (I think... I searched in Google to see what was there and saw a few around my area which look like they might be good) which is something we could definitely consider! Wel weigh all our options up and see what conclusion we can come to.

Also, am I worrying too much about one existing health condition, are there others I should be considering aswell? Hip Dysplasia seems to be the main big issue from what I can make out because most GSDs I have known have ended up with it.. I know most big dogs probably will get it at some point (or is that just general hip issues in normal dogs?) but I assume in GSDs its worse?

What does this mean for insurance too? Our cav is *really* expensive for insurance but then again he is one of the worst breeds to insure as you can imagine. I suppose aswell the treatments for Cavaliers are more expensive because you have to get an MRI scan and then they have to go on (9 times out of 10) Gabapentin and a steroid or NSAIDs which are rather expensive. Not that I know that much about how much a GSDs health costs if Im honest, just comparing the two from what I know.

I think if we do get a GSD and if we think that health problems (Although hopefully a KC registered puppy or decent breeder would help this not be the case) could be a problem in the future we might reinsure with M&S insurance. We could have gone with Pet Plan for our current dog but the amount of people that have tried to get their dog to see a neurologist and get treatment + MRI scan under a claim has been very little. At least with M&S we have paid a lot all his life but it has paid off as his condition is dreadfully expensive. (Thank god they did pay up as he was diagnosed 5 days before Xmas!)

I hope I dont look like some sort of dog hypercondriact! :lol: Just making sure we know what potential health issues the breed might have and to make sure we are prepared for what the future may hold so we can help quicker.

As to my where abouts, I live in Birmingham in the UK.
 

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unfortunately there can be ALOT of health issues with gsd's..allergies/ibd/sibo/pannus/ as well as structural, hd/ed/dm. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

No one can predict the future, the best you can do is find a good breeder who's got some healthy/sound dogs behind them, and hope for the best..

Certainly not saying all gsd's end up with health issues, but there are many that do.
 

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unfortunately there can be ALOT of health issues with gsd's..allergies/ibd/sibo/pannus/ as well as structural, hd/ed/dm. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

No one can predict the future, the best you can do is find a good breeder who's got some healthy/sound dogs behind them, and hope for the best..

Certainly not saying all gsd's end up with health issues, but there are many that do.
that's my thoughts exactly after thinking it over a bit more. We searching for a good breeder (just seeing what's out there as of now) , there seem to be a few around us from what we can make out. Should be interesting!
 

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I rescued a 1 year old white GSD, poor dog was not even at my house 24 hours before I took him to the vet and him x-rayed, blood work done, exam, etc. (My dog before him had died of Cancer and it was one of the worst dog experiences of my life). I am so glad I got an older dog, we went through a couple of months of terror while he figured out that people are not for chewing on (not aggressive, just puppy) but now that he has matured a bit he is wonderful, friendly, a great dog to be around. You sound like you know your mind, maybe go to a rescue, if they are good, they will ask you all sorts of questions about your lifestyle...offer to foster, see if a GSD is right for you and then you can have a foster fail plan in place!
 

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I rescued a 1 year old white GSD, poor dog was not even at my house 24 hours before I took him to the vet and him x-rayed, blood work done, exam, etc. (My dog before him had died of Cancer and it was one of the worst dog experiences of my life). I am so glad I got an older dog, we went through a couple of months of terror while he figured out that people are not for chewing on (not aggressive, just puppy) but now that he has matured a bit he is wonderful, friendly, a great dog to be around. You sound like you know your mind, maybe go to a rescue, if they are good, they will ask you all sorts of questions about your lifestyle...offer to foster, see if a GSD is right for you and then you can have a foster fail plan in place!
Ahhh yes, the puppy play stages! Fostering is something we have had in mind and am looking for rescues here and there and discussing it with family to see where we can go from here. From a male/female point of view, do you think we should favour males over females? Our Cav is male and gets on with all genders but having said that, female dogs that we have had in the house we have noticed have been more bossy toward our cav (although im wondering after the settling in period this might calm down? Its also something we could correct with training but we have never had any of our fosters longer then 2 weeks or so to actually end up working out what happens) . Its nothing we cant handle either way though, just wondering more than anything. Thanks so much for all the info, folks! Great to have clarification with everything.
 
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