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Hey there,

I’ve been lurking on the board for a while now…. Reading posts and generally trying to gain as much information as possible. But I’ve only just taken the plunge and signed up!

I am conscious I will be asking questions that have been asked before but we have decided on a German Shepherd as our next dog and would like to get as much advice as possible before we decide on a breeder. So that we get both our timings right and also the right dog for us.

So a little background… we’re a family of 4 with 2 children (well sort of) one is 12 and the other is 20. We’re an active family and my wife and I both work from home. Now is where it gets a little more complicated - we already have two dogs and an elderly cat (but don’t tell him). Our cat is 17 but very dog friendly and “savvy”! Having been brought up as a kitten with a puppy he is more dog than cat. As for our doggies we have a female Staffie who is still very active but is 10 and a male Shih tzu who is 3. Both are dog friendly and get on well with our friends and family dogs. My wife and I have had dogs since we got together 18 years ago and we have done obedience and agility with our Staffies - something we would love to do with our GSD. My wife also grew up with two GSD crosses. It was her memories of them that first made us consider the breed.

Here are my thoughts/question and would be grateful for any feedback or recommendations you may have.


Already having a dog and a bitch we would like to get a female GSD. I am aware that two bitches can be more of a handful than two males but feel that the age difference makes this the sensible choice. Additionally our female is very laid back and has no possessive tendancies (food or toy guarding).
I am leaning towards a show line due to the fact that we don’t need a dog with much edge. She will be a family pet. However, we would like to have a dog that is capable of agility and obedience to a decent level and worry about some of the health issues I have read about in certain show lines.
We are also looking for a dog with strong nerve (not sure if I’m using the term correctly) - the type of dog that isn’t too reactive and has a relaxed attitude. Any tips on how to pick breeder and pup based on our requirements.

I have many more questions but think this is enough for now… otherwise no one will reply lol

Many thanks in advance,

Steve
 

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There are members here who can likely suggest some breeders but they'll want to know what area of the world/country you're located in---I'm assuming you'd like to meet the breeder and pups parents *a bump for the thread
 

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Thanks Shanes Dad - it looks like my post was missing some vital details lol

I am from the UK in Devon. However, happy to travel for the right breeder/puppy.
 

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I am concerned about two females living in the house especially one of them a bully breed. Not a good idea. And GSD bitches especially do not like other females. Maybe you might consider another breed or wait a few years until your female American Stafordshire Terrier passes on. Yes they seem gentle and laid back but it is a breed bred from fighting dogs that fight other dogs.
 
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Hi Nurse Bishop, thank you for your message. This was one of my reasons for mentioning two females. I have read on this forum about gsd bitches not being the best with other females and wanted as much advice on this as possible.

I was hoping that this could be overcome by selecting the correct breeder and pup for our requirements - maybe this isn't possible.

The only thing I'd like to point out is that Bella is a Staffordshire bull terrier and not an American Staffordshire terrier. Not sure if that makes difference to your thoughts (I know they share a common ancestry).
 

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Excuse me please, I was thinking of the Amstaff. After looking up Staffordshire Terrier, I found this rather alarming description-
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, short-coated breed of dog of English lineage and may be considered to be within the pit bull type. Wikipedia.

But welcome to the forum and you can find all kind of useful advice here for any dog :)
 

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Hank you for the welcome and that's ok... I realised you were talking about a different breed. However, you are correct in the US they are classed as pit bull type. But in the UK they are not classed as a pit bull under the dangerous dogs act.

There are a lot of generalisations made about breeds and before I got my first staffie 18 years ago I was probably guilty of making assumptions about them. However, I can safely say that Bella and my first staffie Teddy changed my opinion on the breed. That's not saying that they are all angels - obviously there are those that the dislike of other dogs is still there but most are far removed from what they used to be.

However, that doesn't change the fact that if gsd bitches are generally funny with other females then I obviously wouldn't want my old and gentle staffie to get attacked.
 

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Excuse me please, I was thinking of the Amstaff. After looking up Staffordshire Terrier, I found this rather alarming description-
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, short-coated breed of dog of English lineage and may be considered to be within the pit bull type. Wikipedia.

But welcome to the forum and you can find all kind of useful advice here for any dog :)

Neither a Staffordshire Terrier nor a Staffordshire Bull Terrier are a "Pit Bull". I owned several Amstaffs over the years and have long admired the Staffies as well.

Pit Bull is a type and encompasses many different crosses as well as the APBT. Although they were initially lumped together the Amstaff and the APBT are two distinct breeds and neither are a Staffie. Just to start with they are smaller. And much more square. They are also intelligent, loyal and eager to please, easy to train and pretty low maintenance. Very popular in the UK.
 

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I think it is possible to have two bitches co-exisiting if you are careful. You know your current female best. How does she handle other female dogs? Is she dominant or more submissive? I do agree that both breeds likely have a tendency to have same sex aggression (though I have not looked into Staffordshire terriers), but I think if you are careful and mindful, you can have them both. Is there a reason you really want another female?
 
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I have a white shepherd who grew up with a senior toy breed dog. It was never difficult, he was basically innately gentle with her. I helped but it honestly wasn't that hard, it was mostly him.

I had a total of 3 shepherds who lived with that toy breed and he was by far the easiest. My female shepherd had some issues with the female toy and I had to be very vigilant and manage them strictly and well.
 

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MOD HAT: Lets keep this about finding this poster good information in regards to adding another dog and NOT get hung up on breeds.

Mod hat off-

Getting a female is really going to depend on the GSD. Talk to the breeders and see if female-female aggression is common in the lines.

I would still not do it. Though I have had 2 females and they were best friends, so it can work. I put it down to being lucky.

Is there a reason you would prefer a female?
 
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My two dogs are very similar in age to the OP's two dogs. I have a 3 y/o male and a 11 year old female. I'd like to add a third dog and I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out which sex would be better to add.

I agree that talking to the prospective breeder about what their dogs are like is important. My white dog is a three year old intact male and regularly interacts with male dogs and he's fine. I do select the dogs he plays with based on the following criteria-- basically aggression isn't going to come from him so if I know it isn't going to come from the other dog either, there won't be a problem. I don't let him interact with unknown males or males with any questionable history or questionable behavior that I see. I've seen him interact with a fairly large number of dogs and I've never seen him flip that switch into "now you must pay"...for whatever infraction...

my girl--I have seen her flip that switch. It's absolutely in her. Now I didn't know that when she was young and I suppose he could have something up his sleeve yet that I don't know about but I don't think so. I'd like to think I raised him better than her when it comes to other dogs. She was bullied and frightened when she was young, he never was. If I am totally honest she turned into a bully toward her own dog family and I should have sat on her way harder than I did when that started. He has a lot of respect for me and responds very well when I ask him to change how he is acting toward another dog.

I think the most important things to consider are what you know about your individual dogs--a strong social history on a dog goes a long way for me--this dog has interacted with x amount of other dogs with this outcome, and how old is that dog. For instance my 3 year old has a strong social history but he's only 3. My old male when he passed had 7 years with me being an absolute zen master, I KNEW what that dog would and would not do. And yeah, I know what my girl will and won't do and I handle her accordingly. She isn't too old still to open up a can of you know what.

And then also as was mentioned what does the breeder say about their dogs. My white dog's breeder said dog aggression was not a problem and her intact males never had issues with other dogs but she did choose wisely who they had contact with. I've so far had the same result--I choose wisely and he has done great.

And lastly, how well you manage your dogs. I don't allow potential conflicts to brew. I don't put the dogs in situations where conflicts are likely to occur---they are separated to eat. They are typically separated when they are alone. I don't tolerate for a second any dog being unfair to another dog.
 

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Thank you all for replying to my questions.

Sabris Mom - You're right SBT are extremely popular in the UK! On the whole they are extremely friendly and not many have retained dog agression. Although, there are ones that do but as with all breeds it comes down to the owner and how they manage their dog. Sadly for Staffies they sometimes attract the wrong type of owner :frown2: Did you ever have a GSD with your Amstaffs?

Pyethis - It's great to hear that you think it's possible. My bitch is more submissive than dominant. She is happy to share her toys food etc... with our our Shihtzu and cat. She is also good at sharing with my Mums two dogs (both males though) and cat and my in-laws bitch. As for meeting strange females she seems to treat them no differently to the males. This is to say that she is not overly interested in dogs outside the family - she will give them a quick greeting sniff and then moves on. She has always saved playing for dogs in the extended family. Before I sound like i'm looking through rose tinted my last male was much more dominant and was a harder to handle around strange strange dominant dogs. As for my reasoning behind wanting a female... the age difference - I was thinking of a pup next summer (giving me time to research and find the right breeder) that means that my bitch will be nearly 12. Then by the time the GSD bitch reaches full maturity my bitch will be nearly 14. Hopefully, that in itself would prevent any issues. However, if it didn't the management of two dogs that might have an issue wouldn't be as long as if I had gone with a male GSD that didn't get on with my shihtzu (who would be 5 by this time). Additionally, I have read that a GSD bitch is often better for first time GSD owners.

GSDsar - Thank you! It's great to hear that you had two that were best friends. However, I also note your comments that you wouldn't advise it. I think a lot more thought needs to go into it from my end. Hopefully, you will have read my reasoning for a female GSD above. However, I would like to add that I need to think long and hard as I would also hate to make the last few years of my Staffies life miserable.

TheCowBoysGirl - Wow it sounds like you are going through a very similar choice. Luckily Bella our bitch isn't a bully to any dogs in the family and as you say she has a long social history of being good with other dogs. I agree with selecting who your dogs play with - I always find it frustrating when owners let a dog with no "doggy" manners run straight up and annoy/harass other dogs. However, management is something I will need to give some thought to as I currently don't have to do any. My two currently eat together, have treats together and play with their toys together but I take on board what you are saying and realise this may not be the case with a new additions.

Once again thank you to all for taking the time to reply to my post!

Steve
 

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Lots of GSD's are dog aggressive and same sex aggression is really common in some lines, especially with the females.
When I had Amstaffs I was averaging somewhere around 5-6 dogs at a time in my house. Off the top of my head I only recall one GSD, a female, that was with me during that time and if I am not mistaken there was some posturing that made me separate her when I was not present. As you know the Amstaffs would be more prone to dog aggression then the Staffies. None of my dogs showed any particular signs and I had 4 of my own plus various rescues through the years that may have been really any combo of bully breeds.

I would be asking the breeders about dog aggression in general and same sex aggression in particular. And I would always exercise caution with them since both breeds will definitely transfer aggression when excited.
 

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Hi Sabis Mom, are you saying that GSD's are typically dog aggressive? My assumption was that they were less so than bull breeds which is why I felt that by choosing the right breeder/line I could almost certainly avoid an issue. I'm now wondering if my "logic" was wrong.

How lovely that you had 5 or 6 Amstaffs around at one time - just goes to show people can't judge a book by it's cover! We regularly used to have 3 Staffies around when we looked after my mums (2 boys and Bella) without issue.

I will speak to some breeders and gain a bit more information on their particular lines. There is one breeder who is only 1 1/2 hours from us and from reading through her website I got the feeling she was very picky as to who allows her pups to go to. Which is great in terms of feeling you will get a honest appraisal rather than sales patter!
 

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Hi Sabis Mom, are you saying that GSD's are typically dog aggressive? My assumption was that they were less so than bull breeds which is why I felt that by choosing the right breeder/line I could almost certainly avoid an issue. I'm now wondering if my "logic" was wrong.

How lovely that you had 5 or 6 Amstaffs around at one time - just goes to show people can't judge a book by it's cover! We regularly used to have 3 Staffies around when we looked after my mums (2 boys and Bella) without issue.

I will speak to some breeders and gain a bit more information on their particular lines. There is one breeder who is only 1 1/2 hours from us and from reading through her website I got the feeling she was very picky as to who allows her pups to go to. Which is great in terms of feeling you will get a honest appraisal rather than sales patter!
GSD's are not typically dog aggressive, but neither are they social butterflies. It is common for them to not wish to associate with dogs outside their pack. And they are a breed that has no issues with standing their ground and enforcing their desires. My one female loved all dogs, and all people. Her sister would climb fences to attack another female. My male was pretty good with strange dogs, not at all with strange people. My Sabi girl was great with pups, not great with rude or random dogs and had an intense dislike of random male dogs. They really run the spectrum which would be why it is important to get real feedback from the breeder.
As far as the Amstaffs, love those square head dogs. I make it a rule to judge the dog in front of me, not the breed. There are bad dogs in any breed just as there are bad people from everywhere.
 

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It’s almost impossible to give you honest feedback since we can’t talk about your other breed, so I will talk around it. Given your situation with two dogs who are already comfortable I would wait until the older one passes. A puppy is going to bring in high energy and will stress the elderly dog. There is no way to avoid it unless you keep them separated at all times. I brought in a 4 month old with an 8-9 year old rescue. He loved her but she was often two much for him. When she was almost 6, I brought in a puppy after the older one passed. She was very active for 5-6 and still is, but the puppy aggravated her a lot. Even now he is 2 and I often separate them to give her a break. I know people here have done it all the time, but given the set up you have now, I could not recommend a puppy.
 
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