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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

First: Can't believe I've been a member here since 2004; I graduated high school that year! And now I'm married? And starting a career? Man. All I can say is, I shudder to think of what-all posts I must have made almost a decade ago - ugh, teenagers. Glad that’s over.

So, my husband and I are looking to add a GSD pup in the next 2-3 years. We currently live in Houston, but will be returning to the Northeast in ~3-years time and are looking for a breeder from VA up. Like, all the way up. Maine would be totally fine.

Number-one criterion is physical health and fitness. I'm a hiker and need a dog who can handle a three-day trek through The Whites, scrambles and all, while carrying some of their own food/water. I have doubts about finding a GSD that can do this and not break down - please prove me wrong. And it’s why I’m wondering about SAR lines? Over-long or heavy dogs need not apply.

I also lost my last Shepherd to cancer at 5; I'd like to stack the odds against that repeating.

My number-two criterion is temperament. While future GSD will need to learn house obedience and trail rules, I will not be doing Schutzhund. Agility is possible, but don't bank on it. There will however be lots of games, silly dog tricks, good manners, and general involvement in the day-to-day. Plus aforementioned backpacking.

Also, not sure this needs to be said: solid nerve is paramount. Last Shepherd would bark for several minutes non-stop when people came to the door, even after they entered the house. It might have looked "protective," but it wasn't. It was just noise.

Settling indoors is important. There are days when our dogs do not get walks, and have to suffice with some obedience and mind games after work. We try to make up for this on weekends, but husband and I both work full-time and realistically cannot devote 1-2 hours a day to providing physical activity. Being honest here. This is speaking about an adult dog as well - I understand that youngsters don't come with a "settle" button.

For some more nuanced criteria: I like a thinking dog who considers before reacting. My first Shepherd was the opposite, and it took a ton of work to get him to start using his noggin before taking action (was still never 100%). Similarly, I'd like a dog who's interested in working with me - who wants to figure out what I'm thinking without too much cajoling. Earning respect? Sure. Having to go through acrobatics flinging a toy around, or constantly popping a prong? Not so much.

Protective instinct is swell, but again - thinking is key. I prefer judgement over reactivity.

Boiled down: physical health, solid temperament, handler involved, the grit to go 14 miles in one day, with an off switch. Am I asking too much?

Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to write suggestions. We are very dedicated to finding the right Shepherd for our situation, and if we can’t, that’s okay too. I’m not out to do anyone/dog a disservice. Raw truth welcomed.
 

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In Maine I suggest you check out Liberatore. A friend of mine trains with her and tells me her dogs are top notch.
 

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Hello,
We got our girl from a kennel in New Jersey called Amari. Our girl's father was out of Alkarah, also in New Jersey. She is five months old, she has beautiful structure a pretty face and I can't say enough about how great her temperament is. She barks if someone just walks in but immediately stops as soon as I say it's ok. She is friendly to everyone. She just graduated puppy class and is doing great with basic skills. I couldn't be happier with her. I think she is the smartest dog we have ever owned. She is our first shepherd and I can understand why every shepherd owner has commented that they would never own another breed. Best wishes in finding your next family member :) I have pictures of our girl Breeze... check her out when you get a minute... and check out Amari and Alkarah, you won't be disappointed. :)
 

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I know that a good many of Christine Kemper (VA) dogs wind up in SAR-Realize you are not looking FOR a SAR dog but from lines of similar endurance and robustness

It is sad but hiking 14 miles plus a day should be nothing for a dog! I know on a search we may cover 5-10, the dogs probably 30-50 based on how they range.

I met a number of her dogs at a SAR conference as several members on the ATSAR team had some of her dogs - very nice dogs. Good drives but not bonkers. Google Blackthorn GSD. I would consider buying from her.
 

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I also would say go to Christine if you want to stay in VA - I think she is doing a litter whose sire is also the sire of Nancy's Beau....

Lee
 

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I had a beautiful female about 30 years ago. She was linebred Winerau breeding with a touch of Romero breeding. The romero dog I THINK...not for sure know, gave her the added drive,but the other romero dogs I had seen had crazy type of brains...really high drive, and lacked self discipline. She was a perfect cross. I had her until she was 16 years old, I did search and rescue with her, and she was my trail dog (behind my horse) traveling 10-12 miles three times a week. She whelped several wonderful litters, all had great longevity, two living until 17 (and one scaled a 6 foot fence two weeks before he died!) . I found a guy on the West coast with similar lineage, and just bought my pup (Nacht Schatten) who is a spitting image of my old girl, in looks, personality, drive, and trainablilty. Good Luck with your search!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for your input so far. I'll look into Christine/Blackthorn - I'd considered her before and definitely will now. I've also heard of Liberatore, and am in Maine frequently enough that it would be worth investigating.

Nancy - 14 miles shouldn't be so hard, you're right! But many Shepherds I see would struggle with it, when combined with rough trail and substantial elevation gain. My parents' dog for instance is a Seeing Eye reject and while a good worker, lacks the athleticism for backpacking.

I'm also in the Phila region once a month - anyone in PA to look at?
 

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Giant thumbs up for Blackthorn :)
 

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Lee (wolfstraum) can tell you what / if she has planned.I know she has placed SAR dogs/dogs of that athleticism. I just have not physically met any of her dogs.

I did not include my breeder, Kathy Holbert of Chiodo kennels becaues I don't know of anything coming up ....... though she has contacts in the SAR world but I think there are several working line breeders who could meet your needs.

Deb Palman and Jennifer Fisk of MESARD (google them) may have good resources for finding dogs up there as well. Jennifer is probably more accessible and I have talked with her off and on over the years. Jennifer is also on FB.
 

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Thanks Nancy! Yes, both my female families have produced SAR dogs/LE dogs, flyball, agility, herding and IPO dogs....all are companion dogs too....

I am at the opposite end of the state from Philly tho.....Hopefully will have a litter this summer and this fall...but nothing bubbling right now :( :(

Lee
 

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Does Panther have a webpage yet Lee? Hint, hint.
 

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Hey - I finally got Photoshop - problem is when the Samsung laptop died, I thought I had backed it up and all my photos were lost....now I have to sift and sort through everythign....Panther really does need a webpage!!!!

Do you know anyone with photos I can have????

And Panther will hopefully have a litter next fall/winter...and make super flyball/geocaching/IPO pups too!


Lee
 

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How many panther pics have I taken? I lose track-hit and miss as to when I have my camera out there. Ill bring it out one nice weekend before I pop out a kid if you want some.....

Woah we've done a lot of thread hyjacking here....
 

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did you get any out in Columbus??? My camera setting was screwed up and all I got were black photos.....sigh....I better go take a class - other people with the same camera get fantastic photos - and I get.....smudges

Anything you have I would appreciate J....you can email them to me to put on a disc and give to Trish who can mail it!

THANKS

Lee
 

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I did not take any. The weather was too poopy to have the motivation to have it out!
 
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