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Is a GSD Right for me?

3776 Views 61 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Kuklasmom

My name is John, and my Fiancé and I have decided we would like to add another member to the family.

We are looking into several different breeds, but a GSD is on the top of our list, for a few reasons. For the most part, we would like an indoor companion, with a lot of energy. (Vigorous Walks in the Morning and at night, along with training and play, agility courses, and other activities). Most of all, we just want a furry friend to give a happy home and lots of love to =)

We own a house, and have a medium sized yard with six-foot block fence. Our house also came with a Doggie door, and we have several greenbelts all around us. We do not have any children yet, but would like the dog to be child friendly, as well as do well with cats. (We have one older cat).

My Fiancé and I both work, I work M-F 8-5, and my Fiancé works 3 days a week. She works a few weekends a month, so the dog would occasionally be alone 1-2 days a week at the most, and on those days I would plan on coming home for lunch, or making sure someone came over and walked the dog sometime around noon. (Like I said, I plan on giving the dog plenty of exercise in the morning before work, and when I get home)

I am also looking for a young adult or adult dog, so that the personality of the dog is known, as well as if they are good with children and cats.

So now that you know a bit more about me, do you think a GSD is right for me?

Will the dog do alright being alone for 8 hours those couple days? (With a walk in between)

Is Getting the dog from a rescue the way to go?

Thank you for your input!
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I think a GSD would be great for you as long as you stay committed to your plans of regular walks and training. With a break in between the dog would be okay in a crate for that long a few days of the week as long as you keep up vigorous exercise and can get him or her out for a break in the middle like you said you could arrange.

And I think getting the dog from a rescue would also be a great idea, they usually advertise child/dog/cat friendliness and you could save a life!
I'm glad to hear that!

I've really been thinking this over for the past few months, and I'm not taking the decision to get a dog (especially a GSD) lightly.

Thank you for your input. The thing that is most important thing to me is that my little guy is happy =)
Welcome to the forum! I think a German showline or working line GSD would work well for you, especially if you want to do agility! You can sure do rescue, you can sure go with a breeder (they often have young adults or older adults), that middle break is fantastic. Sounds like you know what you want and have some goals in mind so yes, I do think you would make a good home for a GSD. I am very glad you are considering rescue; if this board is any indication, there are way too many GSDs needing homes and not enough homes to go around.

What other breeds were you looking into, just from curiosity?
The other breeds I was considering would be Siberian Husky, Shiba Inu, Or even a Lab.

From what I read, Siberian's may be too lonely without any other dogs around, I've heard Shiba's aren't super affectionate, and don't do well with kids, And a Lab could have major Seperation Anxiety issues (in my opinion).

Thanks again for the encouraging words. Now I just have to convince my Fiance GSD is the way to go. (I'm sure once she is with the dog for more then a day, she will fall in love with it)

I will let you guys know!
Welcome John! That is great you are doing your homework before committing to any breed!

It sounds like you can handle a GS, as long you are willing to commit to the training and activities.

As to whether to buy from a breeder or a rescue, you have to factor in some issues:

If you get a GS from a rescue, it is a great way to give a dog a loving home, however, keep in mind, you may be also getting a dog with issues. You may have to work through these issues which would take time and dedication.

If you get a puppy from a breeder, remember, you are bringing home a baby. You have late night potty, the training, exercise, feeding, it will be tiresome at first.

This board has great information about breeders and rescue. It's also great place to learn more about the breed.It requires a lot of dedication to have a well rounded GS, but when they look at you with their big brown eyes with nothing but love, it is very much worth it!

Good luck in your decision!
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based on your replies the German Shepherd might be great. I have three and on the minus side they do require a lot of care, for example mine shed like crazy so I brush them 3X weekly.

The GSD may also become very protective of you and your family, and in general I think that is the difference between the typical lab and the GSD.

I am retired, but as for being gone a few days for 8 hours that is not a significant issue.
Thanks again guys!

I just had a few additional questions.

I am still wrestling with getting a puppy or rescue, and Liljah made some good points about the risks involved, both with a puppy, and a rescue dog.

If I were to get a puppy, how do I find a good breeder? There are so many out there, how do you separate the Bad ones from the good ones?
(My biggest concern is temperament and Hip issues with a puppy from a poor breeder)

Also, I know there are several different lines of Shepherds,American Show, Working, German Show....What should I be looking for?

Thanks again for all the help!
Ask here on the forum in the Choosing a Breeder section for advice. Make sure to post your location and whether you're willing to ship. Based on what you've written, if you do want to do agility I would look to the German showlines and the Euro working lines. These are the ones, especially the latter, that you'll see more in performance work. Both have great energy and drive and intelligence but typically the working lines are bred for temperament and health before all else because the dog would be useless if it's not stable and healthy.

Disclaimer- the above are generalizations. You are likely to find your perfect match in all lines but you may have better luck with those. Of course, if you prefer the looks and temperament of American lines, concentrate there! Likewise if you want to have a powerfully built, strong, and smarter-than-everyone GSD, check the working lines out.
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John, first of all welcome to the boards, and from what you have described, you will do fine with a GSD. Regardless of if you will rescue or get from a breeder, best of luck with that. Your fiance will completely fall in love with a GSD, they are fantastic, they really are!
Your family would be perfect for a GSD. Personally, I think that when bred properly a GSD is the best that the canine species has to offer. If it were me, I would get a puppy from a good breeder and socialize the pup around children of all ages while doing everything else you have mentioned. That way you end up with a companion that is "family ready" when you have children.

Post where you are located and we can suggest breeders in your region that can help.

A rescue is also an option provided you are picky with your selection. You can find many diamonds in the rough that need the exercise you are willing to provide that other families were not.
Thank you guys so much for your help! I;m in Chandler, AZ, and made a thread about finding breeders in my area over in the breeder forum. Someone responded with a link to another thread with some breeder info. I will be looking into them!

Thanks again, I will let you know when we get our new guy! (or gal!)
Just wanted to say that not all GSDs in rescues have issues-they are more interesting if they do
but I've seen many with good temperaments and the ability to be great family dogs after learning what is expected-if in a good rescue and foster home that is all done before you even get them. I think it is a thought that a lot of people have-but if you look on those urgent boards and see the faces of some of those dogs-particularly a lot of the southern dogs-you can see the only issues they have are lack of food, good veterinary care, and human attention.

Libby-TN-issue: Too smart
Ivan-AR-issue: Too sweet

Katarina-TN-issue: Too pretty

Karlee-OH-issue: Too real GSD:

Rescue Puppy-issue: Too cute:

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Oh-and whichever way you go-I am glad to see you doing the research-either breeder or rescue, there are reputable and good and then...not so much!
The dog in my avatar is my Skye. She was from a rescue at 4 months old. She is my demo dog for obedience and is a certified therapy. She works with school children up to seniors in an alzheimers unit.

Don't rule out rescue dogs - they are so in need of homes.

When you decide what you want, contact a couple of rescues in your area and tell them your needs. They will do all they can to match you to a good dog.

Most will have had the dogs long enough to be knowledgeable about their temperament and physical abilities.

Whether you get a rescue or one from a great breeder, I wish you luck finding finding the perfect dog for your family.
Thanks again for all the input guys! You have been so helpful. Tiffany( my fiance) is still not 100% she wants GSD, but I am, so I'm doing my best to convince her =)

I'm still deciding on where to get the GSD. Tiffany wants a puppy, and I would rather have a young adult (from a rescue). I can understand why she wants puppy, they are very cute, but they are like little toddlers, and if we can just skip that phase, maybe I can save some of my shoes and furniture from the wrath of chewing, not to mention getting one from a shelter is saving a life. =)

Thanks again guys!

One other question, I saw in a catalog they had some agility course stuff, like rings to jump through, a slalom, high jump, a tube, etc. Is there anywhere I can get other ideas for agility obstacles/structures?

I have a pretty big area on the side of my house that has grass, and would be perfect for this sort of thing, since it is about 16 feet wide, and really long. Perfect for a course of some kind.
welcome to the board!

if you have little dog experience and no GSD experience i would strongly suggest a puppy over a older dog. you learn together as the puppy is growing and to my understanding most rescues dont allow folks with no powerful breed experience to adopt a mature GSD. so thats is something you may want to consider and/or look into further. also if your fiance is a bit intimidated by the idea of getting a GSD because of the power they have, that intimidation can be easily seen in the dogs eyes and can effect their relationship. if this is the case and why she isnt as excited about a GSD as you are i would also suggest a pup for this reason. my mom has always been intimidated by any large breed dog, but having forrest since he was a pup allowed her to get to know him as he grew and she is as wonderful and comfortable with him as she is with small dogs.

there is an agility section on this board that should be able to answer your questions about equipment so do check that section out.

best wishes to you on your journey to find your new family member! i do think you are a good home for a dog so i hope you continue to learn and research.
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You all make such good points. Now I have no idea what to do =(

The other downside to a puppy would be the cost. I'm aware that owning a dog will be expensive in the long run, but putting down $800-$1000 for a puppy would be really difficult at the moment. (a GSD Worth every penny of course)

Does that seem like a high price? These are the prices I'm seeing from the breeders I've contacted.

My biggest concern with a puppy is making sure it's getting the training an socializing it needs. Can anyone recommend a good book for GSD puppies?

Actually $800 to $1000 is on the cheap side. Most reputable breeders I know sell their puppies in the $1200 to $1500 range or more. (Those prices are for working lines, West German Showlines tend to be even more costly unless they are longcoats or just plain not "show quality". I know of people that have paid more than $1500 for a long coated W.G. show line puppy.)

Also, especially with puppies, it is generally "you get what you pay for". I'm not saying that a $7500 puppy is "better" than a $1200 puppy. But a $1200 puppy is usually a far better "investment" than one you find from a "breeder" for say $500 (or even less). Generally the cheap ones are "backyard" breeders, that just happen to have a male and a female, and let them reproduce so they can make a quick buck on the puppies. They aren't in it to "better the breed", generally do NO health checks on the parents, and offer no advise or "breeder support" once the puppy leaves their home.
GSD are something you have to invest in much like when you have a child, they need a structure much of the same. the price range is right as i paid right in that area for forrest. after the transition period of the new arriving puppy, puppy class and just bringing the pup everywhere you go is just whats needed for socializing. invite different friends and family of all ages over for the pup to also get use to people in more hands on contact situations.

go to the puppy section here and book recommendations for more info and/or others may chime in with more info for you.

another thought, dont exclude rescues looking for a puppy if you decide on a GSD pup, rare but sometimes you can find a young pup through them too.
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