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For me if i could find the right breeding i would take a good mali or dutchie. While still different from a gsd ive found that some of the best examples of those have been very similar to some of the best gsd I've seen at least on the training feild. Also there is a running joke that one of my favorite shepherds i train with is just a malinois trapped in a shepherd body. Im willing to bet that after a few generations of selective breeding you could get a very gsd like dog out of belgian and dutch dogs.
 

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I'd go with a Malinois or Dutch Shepherd. But, they are not GSD's and Dutch Shepherds can be a handful to work. I love my Dutch Shepherd most of the day. Then there are times when I just shake my head and wonder "what I was thinking?"

I'd like to raise a Dutch Shepherd from a pup and see what I get. I really like the GSD X Malinois X's, that might be the dog I'd go for if I couldn't get a GSD.
 

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For me, I'd probably say the following:

Belgian Malinois
Standard Poodle
Portugese Water Dog
Chesapeke Bay Retriever

And maybe, if I could tolerate a difficult obedience challenge, I might go back to the breed I had growing up: Great Pyrenes.
 
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