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Posters regularly tell others to stack the health and temperament of a dog in their favor by buying from "reputable breeders".

Is it true?

I don't know. I have had about a dozen dogs in my life. Three from "reputable breeders". All the rest were from animal shelters or individuals re-homing dogs and one rescue.

I had major temperament problems with the BC from the rescue, he was a fear biter.

Out of all the others I had no major medical or temperament problems. I consider myself very fortunate in that regard.

I had one with HD that had almost no affect on her life and one with epilepsy who was treated easily and lived to a ripe old age.

I do not consider those major medical problems.

For the purpose of this thread I would consider major med or temperament problems to be those that significantly affect either the dog or owners life.
Or if it cost a small fortune to treat.

There is not agreement on what constitutes a "reputable breeder" but usually people seem to think any breeder who charges less than 800 dollars is not reputable but a BYB.

My BC rescue is not an indictment of rescues. It was a one time situation.

How have others experiences been with regard to this topic?
 

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honestly, while some do not agree with it, I think ANY dog, is a crap shoot.

I've had a couple of rescues, a gsd who had an amazing temperament, but ended up with OCD (knee issue), otherwise healthy, I got her for nothing at 12 weeks of age,,then there is the rescue aussie, a few minor health issues nothing I couldn't deal with, an 'iffy' temperament, tho he's never nailed anyone, he's just a little off kilter in the temperament box:)

Then I've had a fear biter gsd that I paid a good amount of money for, which was my stupidity at the time, came from a good breeder..I've had gsd's that came from good breeders that were cheap (years ago cheap), and not so cheap, no real earth shattering issues..

I only remember when I was a kid, my parents in charge of our dogs care, they ate crap grocery store food, they roamed the neighborhood, they slept in our beds, never went to the vets, and lived to ripe old ages..

For me , NOW, I pretty much know what I like and want, I know what red flags to look for, I know who I would buy dogs from and who I wouldn't, but in the end, I still don't expect perfection in all areas, price isn't in the equation,
 

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Crap shoot to a certain extent. Except you notice trends when you are really involved with dogs in a concentrated area. When I was doing a bunch of evals for rescue I swear every other desperate call about a crazy weak nerved dog was from a couple bybs in the area. Funny. ... i never received a call aboutsome friends of mine who have produced many dogs but are definitely not bybs. And I happen to know every dog they've gotten back the last several years. And none of the reasons came close to anything like I dealt with from the other breeders.
 

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Genetics will always make any breeding a bit of a crap shoot.

So it's more about where I choose to spend my $$$$ at this point. If I didn't have any then I'd go rescue/shelter and take my chances with that. In my opinion my chance of having a great dog (or not) is EXACTLY the same as if I went with 2 people with GSD's that live in the same area and just got their dogs together and now are selling in the newspaper. But I'm NOT going to give my $$$ to those people who have no breeding goals or skill or care about those pups and their lives/health/temperment once the $500 check clears at the bank.

So IF I'm going to spend money, it's with someone who I respect that has a breeding program I support. Who is trying to do the best they can, keeping track of all their dogs forever, constantly adjusting and learning with each and every litter. So while I may get a puppy from them with a health of temperment problem, I have every expectation of the support of that breeder and the KNOWLEDGE there will be no repeat breedings and more puppies with issues at least from those dogs.

The breeders I support have Puppy Warranties stating they always have 1st dibs on any dog/pup that a owner of their dogs may not be able to keep. These breeders sell most of their pups with limited registries so they can't be bred to add to the overpopulation. So these breeders are doing everything they can to assure none of THEIR puppies/dog end up in a kill shelter.
 

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Maggie you said it so much better than I :)
 

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I only remember when I was a kid, my parents in charge of our dogs care, they ate crap grocery store food, they roamed the neighborhood, they slept in our beds, never went to the vets, and lived to ripe old ages..
I agree with you Diane!
30 yrs ago dogs were fairly healthy and usually seemed to be of good temperament, not over reactive and quite social.

My first GSD(1980) was from a newspaper ad, a dairy farm had a litter. He was healthy, no allergies and was what the breed standard describes for temperament. Stomper lived to 11/ died of bloat. He was from 'pet lines' pure black, mom was black and tan, no angulation.
My step dad had two GSD's in the 70s, one white and one black and tan, both were healthy dogs with good temperaments, though they were used as watchdogs for his towing service station so socializing was controlled. When they were out with people they knew, they were normal dogs. Behind the fence they were all business(he had an impound lot)

I personally think some of the micromanagement and environmental influences are causing the health and temperament to be stressed and weakened. Allergies seem to be cropping up everywhere, and I don't blame the pedigree, but the environment. Immune systems seem to be weaker too.

The breeder I got my current male from has a decent track record~ beating the odds~ dogs are healthy and have great temperaments...though they are careful in planning their breedings.
 

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Genetics will always make any breeding a bit of a crap shoot.

So it's more about where I choose to spend my $$$$ at this point. If I didn't have any then I'd go rescue/shelter and take my chances with that. In my opinion my chance of having a great dog (or not) is EXACTLY the same as if I went with 2 people with GSD's that live in the same area and just got their dogs together and now are selling in the newspaper. But I'm NOT going to give my $$$ to those people who have no breeding goals or skill or care about those pups and their lives/health/temperment once the $500 check clears at the bank.

So IF I'm going to spend money, it's with someone who I respect that has a breeding program I support. Who is trying to do the best they can, keeping track of all their dogs forever, constantly adjusting and learning with each and every litter. So while I may get a puppy from them with a health of temperment problem, I have every expectation of the support of that breeder and the KNOWLEDGE there will be no repeat breedings and more puppies with issues at least from those dogs.

The breeders I support have Puppy Warranties stating they always have 1st dibs on any dog/pup that a owner of their dogs may not be able to keep. These breeders sell most of their pups with limited registries so they can't be bred to add to the overpopulation. So these breeders are doing everything they can to assure none of THEIR puppies/dog end up in a kill shelter.
This pretty much sums it up.


So I guess I will get personal for am minute. Some of you may have noticed that I haven't wrote about Recon for a while. Recon ended up having a genetic issue, and after going to three vets and a specialist, lets just say I don't have him anymore. I'm actually in tears as I'm writing this. He came from a good breeder who checks for all this stuff. So how could it be? Genetics are a crap shoot! The reasons to go to a responsible breeder are because, within 5 minutes of emailing her about the situation, she was on the phone in tears discussing OUR options of what to do. Even though she was 2,000 miles away it felt like she was in the room with me. The breeder spayed Recons Dam and put her up for sale within a week. The breeder and her family have been doing everything they can to help me through this. Recons temperament and drives were everything I had asked for. So do I think going to a reputable breeder guarantees that you're going to get a perfect dog? No, but it does guarantee that you will have life time support. That makes all the difference in the world to me. Recons breeder told me she looks at it like this. Every dog her family produces, is their dog. They only rent them out to people.
 

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Well, I think the rest have said it best. I think the chances of having a more balanced dog may be with reputable breeders. A dog that is not balanced, which one, my last GSD was one of the best dogs I've had. He was scared of the oddest things, but never mean in any way or fear aggressive. While my newest installment, is in a class by himself. Both from BYB's. The jury is still out on Cruz as he's only 8 months. I paid $450 for him.

But I think there are good BYB's out there if you look for them. But I see nothing wrong with buying from a reputable breeder either. But I think if you buy 10 dogs from each, I think your percentages are better for a balanced dog with the reputable breeders than BYB's. Reputable breeders place and match pups to thier owners, they also do other things that BYB's do not do in the way of sensitizing pups. It's not a situation where you show up, dish out the cash and drive off with the pup of your choice. So I think reputable breeders have that over BYB's. Not to mention being more careful in selection of breedings.

I think alot of people still enjoy showing up and picking out thier dog. I think it's also the money as alot of people just won't pay alot for a dog either. I also think the biggest is they just don't take temperment into the equation when looking for a dog.

They know what they want, find one on craigslist or the local paper and go pick him/her out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Myco: I am really sorry to hear about Recon. That is awful to go through.

I get the concept of the ethical breeder, I'm just wondering if BYB. shelter, rescue dogs are really proportionately higher represented with health and temperament problems. Breeders miss the mark sometimes or are purposely aiming for what I believe to be the wrong traits.

So is your Heinz 57 multiple out cross really a significantly greater risk?
 

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I will also add, that I think the average pet owner could find their "perfect dog" at a shelter or rescue. Since they really are not expecting much out of their dogs. Those who are competing (in any venue) have a very different criteria they are looking for. That chances of finding that just anywhere seems slim.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will also add, that I think the average pet owner could find their "perfect dog" at a shelter or rescue. Since they really are not expecting much out of their dogs. Those who are competing (in any venue) have a very different criteria they are looking for. That chances of finding that just anywhere seems slim.
Completely agree with this. Those who are invested in particular venues usually know what they want and will search that out through breeders who produce what they are looking for. That's a little different than the general idea that I question.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear that, mycobraracr. :(

I don't have any experience with buying or raising a purebred puppy. I've never done it.

I've never had any problems with my assorted shelter mutts, either health or temperament (other than Pongu, whose craziness has been well documented on this board -- but I got him before I'd learned how to pick out nice dogs and avoid project dogs, so, whoops, my mistake). Really, if what I wanted were companion dogs, I'd have had no complaints with any of them. And I've seen a bunch of purebreds from responsible breeders (none of them GSD, so nobody on this forum) who were complete duds in the competition ring. Good breeding is no guarantee, particularly if the breeder's goals are not the same as yours.

But I'm still planning to go to a good breeder for my next pup. Partly because I just want to try it and see what that whole experience is about, and partly because I do think my odds are considerably better for finding what I want in that way.
 

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Thanks everyone.

Sorry Andy. Once I get in my head I cant stop haha.

My first GSD that I bought as an adult (Mina) was from a BYB. She is a fantastic dog as a pet. She couldn't handle the pressures of sport work. That being said, she is very stable and healthy. However talking to others from her litter, they are not having the same experience. Nothing but health issue one after another. So is it genetics or environment that creates a lot of the issues we see?
 

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Oh no..... :(

I'm so sorry about the loss of your Recon. It's good that your breeder was a good reputable breeder, but sounds like also a friend with a common love, for Recon.

You take care....

This pretty much sums it up.


So I guess I will get personal for am minute. Some of you may have noticed that I haven't wrote about Recon for a while. Recon ended up having a genetic issue, and after going to three vets and a specialist, lets just say I don't have him anymore. I'm actually in tears as I'm writing this. He came from a good breeder who checks for all this stuff. So how could it be? Genetics are a crap shoot! The reasons to go to a responsible breeder are because, within 5 minutes of emailing her about the situation, she was on the phone in tears discussing OUR options of what to do. Even though she was 2,000 miles away it felt like she was in the room with me. The breeder spayed Recons Dam and put her up for sale within a week. The breeder and her family have been doing everything they can to help me through this. Recons temperament and drives were everything I had asked for. So do I think going to a reputable breeder guarantees that you're going to get a perfect dog? No, but it does guarantee that you will have life time support. That makes all the difference in the world to me. Recons breeder told me she looks at it like this. Every dog her family produces, is their dog. They only rent them out to people.
 

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This pretty much sums it up.


So I guess I will get personal for am minute. Some of you may have noticed that I haven't wrote about Recon for a while. Recon ended up having a genetic issue, and after going to three vets and a specialist, lets just say I don't have him anymore. I'm actually in tears as I'm writing this. He came from a good breeder who checks for all this stuff. So how could it be? Genetics are a crap shoot! The reasons to go to a responsible breeder are because, within 5 minutes of emailing her about the situation, she was on the phone in tears discussing OUR options of what to do. Even though she was 2,000 miles away it felt like she was in the room with me. The breeder spayed Recons Dam and put her up for sale within a week. The breeder and her family have been doing everything they can to help me through this. Recons temperament and drives were everything I had asked for. So do I think going to a reputable breeder guarantees that you're going to get a perfect dog? No, but it does guarantee that you will have life time support. That makes all the difference in the world to me. Recons breeder told me she looks at it like this. Every dog her family produces, is their dog. They only rent them out to people.

Wow, I missed this. I'm sorry for your loss. Really am. It's never easy when it comes to old age and health problems but when they are young, it has to be taxing to make a decision. I'm sorry you were put into that position.

It is a chance. But as you stated, you also have the breeder to fall back on in those times. Believe it or not my first BYB was like that. She was an incredibly nice to us when the first pup we bought from her died in the wire cage he was in. It was not a health or genetic issue but an idiot owner. That day still haunts me. It's been almost 16 yrs. now. But she was awesome and helped me replace him with another dog that had been returned due to a testicle issue. We got him fixed and she practicaly gave him to us. She was as heart broken as we were. Much like your breeder was with you. I feel ya.
 

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Interesting thread.

As I have alluded to in other threads, I believe that one need look no further than the breed fancy world to identify the source of the big health and temperament problems in the breed. I could be wrong on that as I am not an expert.

But, in doing some research, it seems that they have been the primary force in determining the direction of the breed. They are the source of the split between show and working lines. They are the ones who fell prey to “popular sire syndrome” and to prioritizing certain physical and temperamental traits over balance.

However, now that these genetic problems are so endemic, it really ups the ante for breeders to make smart pairing choices. And, I believe, there are far too few breeders - within or outside of the breed fancy world - who have the necessary knowledge, motivation and experience to do so.

I do admire those knowledgeable breeders who are trying very hard to produce sound GSDs. My research on this topic suggests that they are not necessarily representative of the majority of breeders within the breed fancy world. But, even with the most knowledgeable and ethical breeders, there are no guarantees. I actually worry for them sometimes because, by being knighted “reputable breeders” on this board, I feel like people may be given the impression that these puppies will be perfect from Day One… and that is not fair to the puppy or the breeder.

Now, to your question – do “BYBers” produce a disproportionate amount of dogs with health and temperament problems? I doubt it.

But, I would say the answer would depend on the type of BYBer we are talking about. Are we talking about the BYBer that has a great pet? The BYBer who needs to make some extra cash? The one that thinks this is a great long-term money making business? The one that has a fabulous working farm dog?

In addition, it depends on how we define a temperament problem. Is it a “problem” that the dog is a great all-around pet but doesn’t display civil aggression? Is it a “problem” that the dog has high prey drive and low threshold? Etc, etc, etc…

Health issues are easy to define but people will react to them in different ways. For me, it is not a factor that discourages me from adopting a dog from a shelter. I know that I will do whatever is needed to deal with any problems that may arise.

Although I am a never say never type of person, I would say that the likelihood of me ever purchasing a dog from any kind of breeder is slim to none. And, for the record, that does not mean that I don’t have any expectations of my dog. I live in a city and I need my dog to be able to be out-and-about in a lot of different situations without worry – loud noises, crowds, kids, strangers, traffic, etc… I enjoy having a well-mannered “go anywhere” dog and I have never been disappointed with the dogs I have adopted from shelters/rescues. I also like pursuing dog sports that my dog seems to enjoy, but unlike some others here, I can’t imagine a day where the sport would determine the dog I would seek out.... maybe that is just because I am not looking to compete, my motivation is to form an even stronger relationship with my dog.
 

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I got my female when she was 12 weeks from an ad on craigslist, the people couldn't handle her. After I got through the puppy part, I realized what an amazing dog she is, a perfect temperament and good nerves. I then decided that I was getting a 2nd GSD. I picked the breeder, talked to the breeder and was all set to go. Then I found Midnite in a shelter and I took him home. I wasn't fond of his coloring/markings, but his temperament completely won me over. I quickly got used to his look and love it now, but it didn't matter then. I can't say anything about health issues because they are both young right now...1 and 2 years old. I refuse to jinx anything, so I'll leave it at that:)
 

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Genetics will always make any breeding a bit of a crap shoot.

So it's more about where I choose to spend my $$$$ at this point. If I didn't have any then I'd go rescue/shelter and take my chances with that. In my opinion my chance of having a great dog (or not) is EXACTLY the same as if I went with 2 people with GSD's that live in the same area and just got their dogs together and now are selling in the newspaper. But I'm NOT going to give my $$$ to those people who have no breeding goals or skill or care about those pups and their lives/health/temperment once the $500 check clears at the bank.

So IF I'm going to spend money, it's with someone who I respect that has a breeding program I support. Who is trying to do the best they can, keeping track of all their dogs forever, constantly adjusting and learning with each and every litter. So while I may get a puppy from them with a health of temperment problem, I have every expectation of the support of that breeder and the KNOWLEDGE there will be no repeat breedings and more puppies with issues at least from those dogs.

The breeders I support have Puppy Warranties stating they always have 1st dibs on any dog/pup that a owner of their dogs may not be able to keep. These breeders sell most of their pups with limited registries so they can't be bred to add to the overpopulation. So these breeders are doing everything they can to assure none of THEIR puppies/dog end up in a kill shelter.
I just want to add that I think this is an excellent post! If I ever were to purchase a dog, I would go into it with the same mindset expressed here.
 

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However, now that these genetic problems are so endemic, it really ups the ante for breeders to make smart pairing choices. And, I believe, there are far too few breeders - within or outside of the breed fancy world - who have the necessary knowledge, motivation and experience to do so.

Now, to your question – do “BYBers” produce a disproportionate amount of dogs with health and temperament problems? I doubt it.
I pretty much agree with everything you've written, I just want to pick out some of these points for further discussion. :)

It's been my experience that BYB GSDs do tend to have a lot of problems. Spooky/flighty or fear-aggressive temperaments, HD, and extremely sensitive stomachs/allergy issues are some of the things I often see. My guess, which is only a guess, is that this is because the breed overall is in such bad shape owing in large part to the influences you described in your post, and BYBs simply do not have the knowledge (or, probably, access to the better bloodlines) necessary to fix it.

I feel like with many/most BYB dogs, what you get out is pretty much what you put in (or very slightly worse), and since the input dogs are not great, the outcome dogs are not great either.

It has not been my personal experience that BYB dogs in other breeds have the same number or severity of problems. I've seen plenty of BYB dogs that were nice pets but didn't have whatever original instincts the breed was supposed to show -- i.e., Beagles who won't hunt, Labs who won't retrieve, that sort of thing -- but what I see in those dogs is not the same as what I've seen in GSDs who land in our rescue network.

But mostly I see the dogs who get dumped in shelters and thereby make their way into the adoption networks I volunteer with, so there may well be some sample skewing going on there. It may be that those dogs are getting dumped because they have issues, I don't know. Even if it is, though, the fact remains that as a group they have a lot more problems than the mutts or other breeds we see.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Merciel and Life of Riley.

Great posts and I agree that dogs are dumped who have problems so it would skew already difficult to come by statistics.

I mentioned on another thread and suggest it here.
Read The Fat Lady has begun to sing. It's a sticky in the Breed Standard forum. Very interesting. Want to see where some of the temperament problems are coming from. Not BYBs. Check it out.:)
 
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