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Im going to be getting my first dog and always wanted a GSD. However as I looked into the breed I realized what I really wanted wasn't a standard gsd, well sort of. What I really wanted was a flat backed long coated oversized "gsd", but still had athletic ability and protectiveness. Ill be the first to tell you what I had in my head as a gsd and what the standard is, is vastly different.

Ive been planning on getting a Shiloh shepard for the past few years because it looks exactly like what I want. With the shilohs I like the flat back, I like the sable long hair, I like the oversized look. Unbeknownst to me though shilohs and other different shepherd variations have massive differences in temperament and drives. Call me a dog noob, but I just thought "hey all gsd type dogs will protect your home and chase animals" etc. Obviously this isn't the case. I realized from what ive read and was told by a Shiloh breeder that shilohs aren't protection dogs and are mostly calm and easy going. I like the calm and easy going except I also want the dog to protect my family, be trainable, and be high energy to go for runs. These traits seem more like a GSD than a Shiloh or king shepard which both have the size I want but apparently not the drive/energy. On the other hand with a GSD something i worry about is will a gsd be more likely to not get along with(or kill) my 2 cats compared to a calm Shiloh or am I totally wrong on that?

So basically im wondering are there gsd's that look like a Shiloh but have the gsd "personality"? what do you guys think I should do? Are there gsd out there that fill what im looking for or is a Shiloh my only real option here? My big problem is the Shiloh breeders I have talked too said their dogs aren't for protection at all, and any big long coat gsd breeders ive found most comments say their dogs are not very athletic or energetic or trainable.. so im in a bit of a pickle


A few of the breeders I am looking into if I decide on a german shepherd are 1. shepherds of the mount gsd(raised with cats!) 2. schlossfelsen gsd 3. pioneer gsd(which apparently has a bad rap so im not so sure about them) and for shilohs im looking into 1. highland hills shilohs and 2. ridgewood shilohs
 

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Hello, and welcome to the forum!

I am always very curious about newer "breeds" like the shiloh, and sometimes I am attracted to their appearance, but I tend to shy away from them because I'm not sure how standardized the temperaments and abilities can be in a newer "breed". I've never met a shiloh, so I can't really say anything positive or negative about them.

If you can't find everything you want in one breed, then you have to decide what is most important to you: size, longhair, and appearance or temperament, athleticism and protectiveness?

You didn't mention what kind of life you had to offer the dog, which could help us guide you in the right direction. It's great that you want to run with your dog, but are you prepared to commit to training, signing up for obedience classes, and/or hiring a private trainer? If you want a dog (as a first-time dog owner) with protective instincts, then it's important that you know how to work and live with such a dog, especially if you are planning to take it into public spaces.

Any GSD will probably bark at strangers and noises around your house and be a deterrent.

If you're looking for a high drive working dog capable of protection (i.e. actual trained protection work) then you probably want to look into working line GSDs--these lines also tend to have less angulation (which is what I think you mean when you say straight-backed). A good breeder should be able to find you a puppy suitable for a beginner with an "off-switch" while in the house, provided it has a suitable outlet to burn off some energy.

If you're looking for easy going and calm --- eh, maybe you don't want a GSD. You could, perhaps, call American or German showlines calmer than a high-drive working line...but I wouldn't exactly call mine calm. GSDs are a working breed (even the showlines) and they need mental and physical activities.

I would most likely not recommend a breeder that only focuses on long coats. They pop up in regular litters quite frequently. My dog's breeder (West German Showlines) has longhairs every now and then. I don't know how often they show up in working line litters, but they do.

As for size, I'm sorry, I can only point you to the standard. I would avoid breeders that advertise giant or oversize dogs, especially ones that use it as a selling point. Sometimes oversize dogs crop up in a regular litter, however. At the very minimum if you go this route, please make sure that the breeder has OFA certification for their dogs hips and elbows.

I would look for a breeder, temperament is the most important thing. You have to live with this dog. He could be the most stunning dog in the world, but how much can you enjoy him if he's a spaz in public, has crippling genetic health problems, or has unpredictable aggression towards non-threats, other people, or even family members?

If you get a GSD, I would highly recommend going to a professional, reputable breeder that trains, works, titles (and possibly shows) their dogs. This should be verifiable in some way. Go to events where you can meet breeders and their dogs and see them at work/show/training, if possible. I know this is easier in some location than others. Yes, such dogs may be more expensive. But it reduces the chances that you'll end up with a genetic or behavioral disaster.

If you are interested in giant breeds, have you considered the Newfoundland and the malamute?

Good luck in your search. I hope you find the pup/dog that is perfect for you.
 

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I would look for a reputable breeder of actual German Shepherds. Look for a breeder that has temperaments that you like, and keep in mind that how you socialize can matter.

I've got a very calm, mellow GSD who was socialized to be a bit friendlier (we live in the middle of a large city and I needed her to come across as a little less intimidating when we're just out and about). Her adult personality is more open and friendly than many would like. On the other hand, she does reserve the right to size you up and will do so before deciding you're an actual friend (vs someone she will be pleased to greet), and she has stepped between me and perceived threats. She's social with people and dogs while handling herself calmly on leash around them, and will still bark the house down if someone uninvited is at the door (I have her trained to act like she wants to kill them and then stand down on my command, other people prefer the reverse, this worked for my particular situation). In my experience, just her appearance is enough to deter a lot. Even if she's calmly heeling, I still have people cross the street to avoid passing the German Shepherd.

She was easy and fun to train, and I can take her just about anywhere. As an adult, she's calm in the house but will switch on as soon as I ask, "Hey, do you want to." She has at least tried everything I've asked of her. She came from a show breeder who cares very much about health and stable temperament. I can see things about her conformation and temperament that aren't technically perfect, but she was exactly what I wanted. To each his own, but I do not think I'd have gotten what I wanted from a King or Shiloh.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Op here

I just found out about the ddr working line.. would they be good for me or too aggressive?

How protective are the German showline? Can I train them somewhat? I don’t plan on competing or anything but trying to train my dog would be fun and I want a dog who is protective of home

Someone asked what my lifestyle is for the dog and my family and I get tons of exercise and go to parks and hiking a lot so burning the dog out isn’t a problem. The only thing I worry about is a high drive dog killing or chasing my cats. They’re already somewhat timid as most cats are.

I’m very committed to training my dog every day if need be, I’m also willing to pay for training as long as it’s not an arm and a leg!
 

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Op here

I just found out about the ddr working line.. would they be good for me or too aggressive?

How protective are the German showline? Can I train them somewhat? I don’t plan on competing or anything but trying to train my dog would be fun and I want a dog who is protective of home

Someone asked what my lifestyle is for the dog and my family and I get tons of exercise and go to parks and hiking a lot so burning the dog out isn’t a problem. The only thing I worry about is a high drive dog killing or chasing my cats. They’re already somewhat timid as most cats are.

I’m very committed to training my dog every day if need be, I’m also willing to pay for training as long as it’s not an arm and a leg!
I think if you set boundaries early and train the puppy, you stand a much better chance of having a dog who is safe with cats. I would imagine that there are those dogs who are just not safe with cats regardless, but I know multiple GSD people who have different line types living with cats just fine. My dog (ASL/WGSL cross) has never been anything but curious. She isn't aggressive or rough with them, and she's never tried to chase them down or eat them. Sniff, yes. See what they're up to, yes. Try to bring toys to share with them, yes. Harm them, no. keep an eye on things, train the puppy consistently, and provide the cats with escape routes, and you will be set up much better.
 

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Before choosing your dog I would first find a trainer (visit several) who makes sense to you and have him/her help you find the right dog and who can help you train form day 1. I have done this myself as a trainer and it has been very helpful for people. Some even switched breeds as a result which has worked well also. These were all successful adoptions.
 

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Op here

I just found out about the ddr working line.. would they be good for me or too aggressive?

How protective are the German showline? Can I train them somewhat? I don’t plan on competing or anything but trying to train my dog would be fun and I want a dog who is protective of home

Someone asked what my lifestyle is for the dog and my family and I get tons of exercise and go to parks and hiking a lot so burning the dog out isn’t a problem. The only thing I worry about is a high drive dog killing or chasing my cats. They’re already somewhat timid as most cats are.

I’m very committed to training my dog every day if need be, I’m also willing to pay for training as long as it’s not an arm and a leg!
I would look for a cat tested rescue or a low drive puppy, since you aren't interested in really titling the dog or doing IPO work I would also consider a show line. As far as the cats go... the cats set the stage in my experience. My mostly show line white shepherd loves cats, super gentle, not pushy... him and my calico usually get along pretty well. But everyonce in a while little kitty gets a mean streak and will show my shepherd who's boss. For instance I'll be working on my computer, she wants attention but I can't at that moment... so she will promptly sulk over to the shepherd sleeping on his bed and take out her fury on him. She can be down right idiotic and she's very lucky my shepherd is so gentle and tolerant of her nonsense! Have your cats ever been around dogs? Do they tend to have vengeful personalities? Do they run when scared or hold their ground? As far as protection goes my mostly show line shepherd has already proven he would defend me and he's only a year and a half old. I feel very safe when he tags along with me. I got my shepherd from a breeder who follows the standard and shows, my guy ended up being a long coat and impressive size... he looks like a giant wolf and I didn't have to pay any extra for him. Not that I wanted the big size, it's difficult to fit him in the car, on planes, and I know the day will come when he falls ill and I'll need to somehow transport him myself to the car to get him to the vet and I can no longer pick him up. Advantages and disadvantages...
 

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I would look for a cat tested rescue or a low drive puppy, since you aren't interested in really titling the dog or doing IPO work I would also consider a show line. As far as the cats go... the cats set the stage in my experience. My mostly show line white shepherd loves cats, super gentle, not pushy... him and my calico usually get along pretty well. But everyonce in a while little kitty gets a mean streak and will show my shepherd who's boss. For instance I'll be working on my computer, she wants attention but I can't at that moment... so she will promptly sulk over to the shepherd sleeping on his bed and take out her fury on him. She can be down right idiotic and she's very lucky my shepherd is so gentle and tolerant of her nonsense! Have your cats ever been around dogs? Do they tend to have vengeful personalities? Do they run when scared or hold their ground? As far as protection goes my mostly show line shepherd has already proven he would defend me and he's only a year and a half old. I feel very safe when he tags along with me.
I'd be pretty concerned about letting my cats do that. I have one who can be pretty aggressive with the dog, and we do not let her get away with that. My dog is like Gandalf - patient and tolerant - but I don't want her to be injured because the cat is terrible, and I don't want the jerk cat to catch the dog by surprise at the wrong moment and get hurt either.
 

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I'd be pretty concerned about letting my cats do that. I have one who can be pretty aggressive with the dog, and we do not let her get away with that. My dog is like Gandalf - patient and tolerant - but I don't want her to be injured because the cat is terrible, and I don't want the jerk cat to catch the dog by surprise at the wrong moment and get hurt either.
Oh we don't! Sweetest cat when she wants to be and other times crazy... your typical calico. She was doing well for years and just recently started acting out again, took her in for full bloodwork and everything came back normal. It really confuses Gandalf, he doesn't understand it and neither do we. She used to bully the other cats we lived with as well... I've got those feliaway plug ins in, tons of toys, cat posts, you name it. We play with her all the time and so does the dog. Heck she even has her own private outdoor enclosed patio with a yard of cat grass lol, I'm not sure why she's moody! She also eats wood furniture, she is border line if not neurotic. I've had to lock her in her room for a few minutes (yeah she even has her own bedroom) because she got out of control. Just another reason why I love dogs more... and the cat controls how things go down. It was easier to train all the dogs in my life I've owned put together than her. Although she's brilliant... If you shape your hand like a gun and pretend shoot her she does a great dramatic scene lol.
 

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what you are describing is what i thought a GSD was supposed to be. I have since learned a lot. I wanted , large , straight backed, old -fashioned Rin Tin Tin. There are many breeders who breed German Shepherds like you are looking for. One that i remember was Royalaire. Who ever you end up with make sure they provide the genetic testing for hips and elbows , DM, maybe even MDR1 and some others. Make sure they are breeding for the temperament and health and will Match your lifestyle. Meet the breeder and their dogs learn some of the reasons those dogs were bred , I.e. do they have titles or certifications. Hopefully the have more then just a AKC CGC. which isn't much and often used by some to show some credentials. Its hard to say that a breeder is "ethical" if they are breeding for over the standard size as by breeding outside of the standard can they be ethical? but if you remove the size factor there some some who breed larger then standard German shepherds that have great temperament and health.
 

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I had an oversized silver and black rescue who looked like a Royalaire. He was nervy and had health problems. I don’t know how much was genetic and how much was extreme neglect with his first owner. He was a very good pet, but I was unable to train him to do much. A puppy from good lines is going to be trainable. WLs tend to be higher drive, but I’ve had WGSLs with high prey drive.
 

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Honestly, I think you're probably better looking into something like a King Shepherd (I know, I know - smack my wrist). Getting a DDR to knock of the boxes of "calmer", "larger", etc. sounds like a not so great situation, IMHO. My partner's uncle has always had Kings, and my next-door neighbour has one at the moment too. They're big, intimidating, but they tend to be pretty soft considering they're often mixed with Newfies. Doesn't mean they won't intimidate or work as a deterrent for your home though. His uncle had someone break into his house, and unfortunately the dogs were in the laundry room with the door closed as that was where they kept them when out. The dogs almost completely destroyed the door trying to get to the robber and in the end he didn't manage to get away with anything because of fear of them getting loose and attacking.

Just make sure to find a breeder who doesn't sell them for something they're not, and who also does health clearances, especially hips and elbows. Kings aren't going to come from "Champion Bloodlines" - they don't meet standard and wouldn't pass any "champion" show to be found. And depending on the genetics, most tend to be very loving, calm, and sociable. The one next door is large, long haired, and probably scares people who don't know better. She was sold to them by a breeder who claims they're from "protection lines"... I can stick my hand over the fence and be met with soft tongue licks, and the dog hardly knows me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
ok guys op here

after doing lots of research I realized I don't want an oversized gsd. I want standard size

I also realized I want a longcoat, that's a must for me

im looking for a dog with some energy for jogging and also for personal protection but not really k9 or any serious training so would a showline be okay for this? I think that's what im leaning towards right now especially as my first gsd maybe a ddr pure working line is over my head right now esp with my two cats. as long as I can train a german showline to be protective of strangers ill be happy. I can always get a ddr when im older and more experienced, im also having a hard time finding long coat ddr's anyways

if this is the case can anyone recommend me any breeders? right now the breeder im really thinking of going with is schlossfelsen kennels. they have gorgeous dogs and have good reviews on facebook. they look like they do testing on their dogs. I don't like that they require a supplement called nuvet I think, but I can live with that bc I like their dogs
 

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I'm a little conflicted on the choice of breeder. There's eight litters planned for spring thru fall. The sires and dams are not titled or working from the many photos I see, imports or not. They're producing a lot of "pets." For the price you can keep researching. But hey, if it makes you happy...
 

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ok guys op here

after doing lots of research I realized I don't want an oversized gsd. I want standard size

I also realized I want a longcoat, that's a must for me

im looking for a dog with some energy for jogging and also for personal protection but not really k9 or any serious training so would a showline be okay for this? I think that's what im leaning towards right now especially as my first gsd maybe a ddr pure working line is over my head right now esp with my two cats. as long as I can train a german showline to be protective of strangers ill be happy. I can always get a ddr when im older and more experienced, im also having a hard time finding long coat ddr's anyways

if this is the case can anyone recommend me any breeders? right now the breeder im really thinking of going with is schlossfelsen kennels. they have gorgeous dogs and have good reviews on facebook. they look like they do testing on their dogs. I don't like that they require a supplement called nuvet I think, but I can live with that bc I like their dogs
I can only speak here to what I know and have seen personally. I had an encounter the other day with a son of Cody from
schlossfelsen kennels, and I've got to say I was deeply impressed! Not only was he one of the most handsome dogs I've ever seen, but his temperment was exactly what anyone who is familiar with GSDs would expect or want! He was still an adolescent at 17 months, but appropriately aloof, yet tolerant, and totally focused on his people, in spite of other dogs and people being around. I don't know anything at all about the temperment of their SL dogs, but a Cody offspring would definitely be something I'd enjoy having! I was also a bit put off by their puppy contract, but go see their dogs if you can, it might well be worth considering.
Good luck in your search!
 
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