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Hello everyone! I’ve been a lurker on this forum for about four years now and have learned so much from this community. My husband and I are considering adding a puppy to our family in the next couple of years and I would really love some input from all of you on 1. If a GSD is a good fit for us and 2. Breeder recommendations. Problem is, I’m not sure where to post. Should it be in “Finding the Right Puppy”? Should I do two separate posts?

Also, we have two cats that mean the world to us that I just have to share with you all! I know you guys love pics of German Shepherds, but there has to be some cat lovers here as well, right? The black one is named Jack-Jack, he is full of curiosity and loves the whole wide world! He loves cuddles and is such a sweet boy. The fluffy orange and white one is Rigby, he is more timid than Jack, but is an absolute sweetheart. He loves to give kisses and has quite the big mouth! He is always meowing at us for something. They both just turned a year old in March.

Hopefully the photos load, fingers crossed.

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I moved you to finding the right puppy. I think this forum will work for what you are asking.



ADMIN Lisa
 

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Such cute cats! :smile2:
 

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Cute cats.

As far as is a GSD right for you? I think they are right for anyone who truly wants a dog. Not an ornament, or a toy, or a status symbol but a dog. I think that people who are willing to work and learn and listen do just fine with them. I have seen people work 10 hours a day, live in city apartments on limited budgets raise them to be happy, healthy, well behaved companions, I have seen people on farms, with tons of money who work from home raise disasters that end up abandoned or surrendered or worse.
These dogs need dedicated owners who are willing to sacrifice sleeping in, staying out of the weather, wearing hair free clothes, bathing alone and being lazy. Puppies bite and chase and attack and chew. They pee on rugs, puke in your lap and steal your underwear. They take a long time to grow up and they required a sense of humor.
 

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I love cats too, we had a 17 year old one that just died in Dec 2017, but I think you have to be aware that GSD's are typically not cuddly. I know there are exceptions, but I'm on my 4th and it holds true for every one I've had. They'll come up to you, and want to be petted or have their scratched, but then they're done and they go back to doing their job which is watching out for the humans they love and the house and property they live in. So if you're looking for a real dog that you can be very active with and that will protect you and your family, GSD is a good fit. If you go ahead with it, I think the first thing I'd work on with a puppy is leaving the cats alone. They grow fast and very big and very big teeth and it can get out of hand very quickly if not worked on from day one. Good luck with your decision :)
 

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Hello there!
I read your post and have been thinking about it, and after some thought I decided the answer is, if you think a German Shepherd is a fit for you, then a German Shepherd is a fit for you.

Given the fact that you have been reading the forum for years, I am sure you know everything that is involved, and that you don’t really have a wonderful dog for the first couple of years. First you have a land shark, then you have a Butthead teenager, then you have a young dog who needs to figure out that he does not rule the house. After that, you might still not have a wonderful dog, if you did not put in all the training and shape his behavior to what you want, not to mention that you have to get a dog with the right temperament in the first place.

As a fellow cat owner, I have to say that my first cat, who was 14 when I brought eight-week-old Hans home, never liked him, never accepted him, even though the poor dog whined and cried because he really wanted to be friends with the cat! I did ask the breeder for a dog who would not chase the cat and may eventually befriend him, and she did grant my request, however, that cat had other ideas. Disliked Hans until the day he died.

So, if you already have two cats that you adore and who are the center of your universe, do keep in mind that the dynamic in the house will change, and sometimes not for the better. Dogs are highly attention seeking animals, and the cats may just decide to stay away from the dog, and from you, since the German Shepherd will always be exactly where you are, literally.
If you do decide you have to have a GSD in your life, don’t just go to any old backyard breeder and get one, no matter how tempting. Do your research, ask the breeder questions, and introduce extremely carefully, making sure to never, ever, let the puppy chase or harass the cats.

Knowing nothing else about you, that is all I can address, for now.
Good luck in your pursuit.
 

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Another cat lover here, WAVES. Yours are both too precious.

You don't say if you or your husband have ever had dogs before or understand how to shape and mold their behavior

but that may be something you want to learn.

GSD's are without a doubt the smartest dog on 4 legs. If you enjoy teaching and learning how to train and getting a

relationship with a highly intelligent critter, you will adore a GSD. Extra points for you if you like to hike or are

athletic. GSD's will open up a whole new world for you.

As far as the cats, my 2 rescues came home w/ me at 1-2 yrs. old. Both needed training on leaving the cats alone.

It's natural for the dog to want to play or chase small animals or even large animals also. My horses were an attraction

to my recent rescue and we trained daily what was and was not allowed. Same w/ kitties. We did leash work in the

house with the kitties and dog for appx. a week before the dogs were 'safe' around the kitties. Hopefully your kitties

still have their claws as sometimes my oldster kitty may slap my shepherd if she rushed too close or acts too rough.

Don't get your puppy til someone in your household can plan to have lots of time to work with the puppy. I didn't

want a puppy for many reasons, but a youngish dog suited me better.

It's a major commitment to get a puppy or a young one and only you can tell when you're ready.
 

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@Sabis mom
Thank you for the reply. You've outlined exactly what I am looking for, a dog that can be my partner. Not an ornament, or a couch potato or status symbol or what have you. For the longest time I've wanted a dog that is excited to learn and work, one that is driven and bonded closely to me. I've researched many other breeds and after stumbling upon this forum, quickly realized a GSD is exactly what I wanted. I'm not new to the antics of a puppy, so I know what you are saying is absolutely true!
 

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@PghLoveGSD
I am sorry about your cat. What you've described is actually exactly what I am looking for. I would prefer a dog that likes to be near me, preferably lying near my feet or in the same room, but is not always on top of me asking for attention. Asking for a some pets now and then is fine, but I like to have my own space. I appreciate how cuddly our cats are, but I even get overwhelmed with their affection sometimes! We definitely want a dog that likes his own space as well.
 

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@Sunflowers
Thank you for your input! You are right, I have a pretty good idea of what a young GSD is like for the first few years from following this forum. It was quite intimidating at first! I've thought about it for a long time, and I believe I am ready for the challenge. It will all be worth it in the end.

Your perspective about the change in dynamics with the cats after adding a dog is very helpful. That's actually a concern my husband has brought up during our discussions about adding a puppy. I realize adding a dog will potentially change some of that, but since our cats are only a year old, and we would hopefully be adding a puppy within the next two years, I am hoping the cats will be able to adjust. Our cats have been around my grandparents Australian Shepherd occasionally over the past 4 months, and they have adjusted to her very well, which gives me hope.

We are absolutely planning to go to a reputable breeder, getting a puppy that is healthy, that will fit with our lifestyle is very important to us. And we will definitely start training the puppy from day one to give the cats their space!
 

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@Orphan Heidi
Thank you very much! I didn't give very much information about our lifestyle or experience, I apologize. I was planning on starting a separate thread with that info, but I will be posting in within this thread instead. I think that will be easiest. I understand it is natural for a dog, especially a herding breed with good drive to want to chase other animals, or even children. It will definitely take a lot of work on our part to train the puppy to let the kitties be, but we are willing to put in the work! Both of our cats still have their claws, and I do a consistent job to keep them trimmed nicely so they do not accidentally hurt us during play (though they definitely still could if they wanted to! Feisty little guys).
 

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I apologize for not sharing more information about our experience or current situation when asking for input. I was going to open a new thread with that information, but perhaps it would be easiest just to continue posting it here. We are hoping to get a puppy with the next two years. I would appreciate some help deciding between a WL or WGSL.


These are the breeders I have been following:
1. Alta-Tollhaus
2. Von Wolfstraum
3. Von der Traumwolfen
4. Weberhaus
5. Theishof


A little about our current situation:

- We live in the Nashville, TN area

- My husband and I both just graduated from university in December and are working filler jobs (Target) until we can get our foot in at a career job in our field (Graphic Design)

- We are renting a 3 bedroom house with a fenced yard from my grandmother and have good reason to believe we will be here until we can buy our own home. My grandmother is in full support of us getting a puppy

- My grandmother lives 5 minutes away and would be able to come over to let the puppy out to potty while we work, if necessary

- I am planning on having our puppy earn his AKC Star puppy, CGC, CGCA (hopefully), and I am potentially interested in dock diving or agility, but we will most likely pursue those only for fun

- We are confident we can offer two hours of exercise a day, maybe more if necessary, along with plenty of mental stimulation. We have three parks very close to our home and a large lake less than thirty minutes away along with some hiking trails

- My husband has no experience training dogs. His family had an outside dog when he was young

- I have helped my grandparents potty train and go through basic obedience with their Australian Shepherd, but that is the only dog I have helped train

- My mother has 5 Malinois that I adore, two of which are trained for drug detection for the local police. Her boyfriend used to be a k9 handler and has plenty of experience with German Shepherds and IPO, so I plan to get plenty of advice from them during the training process

-I have Crohn's disease. I struggle with fatigue some days, but otherwise have been able to lead a normal life. In the occasion I get very sick, my husband would be mostly responsible for our dog. Because of that, we need a dog that will be okay with less exercise/mental stimulation if that happens. He would not be neglected by any means, but wouldn't get as much as usual. We've talked about getting a doggy treadmill as a last resort for such times if necessary

Again, thank you all so much for your replies! I hope this clarifies some question some of you had, and I would appreciate any guidance you could offer on which lines would be a good match for us.
 

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I can't give you advice on the breeders. Like sabies mom posted, I believe the right gsd is perfect for everyone. Be honest with the breeders, tell them exactly what you want to do with your gsd. Learn about drive, prey drive, nerves and other aspects as well. While you are researching, visit training sights and observe. The wrong gsd in the wrong environment is always a recipe for failure. Also become familiar with the term, German shedder. It is real.
 

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My breeders are Sitz von der Hose (Rochester NY) and Warkonhaus (State College PA). Super happy with both dogs in temperament and working ability.

I see you have a mix of working line breeders and show lines. De Rossi in NH has very nice show lines.

Since you are looking in the next couple of years, I suggest you take some trips to clubs to start watching dogs. You'll see big followings of certain breeders on line but you may not like the dogs in person.

As far as when you having a flair up, your dog will be just fine for a few days with less exercise. Many people with autoimmune diseases have dogs. They adapt. :)

Cats - one dog learned quickly to not chase the cat. The other is work in progress. lol
 

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]Thought you might get a smile out of this photo- Taken in our yard a couple summers ago. We have a cat that loves puppies
 

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