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I've conducted a search on the forum to find some good working line breeders in the Northern Virginia/DMV area and I've narrowed the list down to 7 potential breeders. I'm hoping to continue to narrow it down.

This will be our first dog (I've been waiting a long time for this) and we are looking for an active companion, protection dog and potential IPO titling.

Curious to know if anyone has any other experiences with these breeders and if anyone has any additional insight to offer. Once I narrow down the list a bit more, I'll be contacting the few I'm interested in and going out to meet the dogs. Thanks for reading!


1. Blackthorn: Pedigree looks pretty good – A decent amount of IPO 2/3 & SCHH2/3 in the bloodlines. Seems to be highly regarded around this forum

2. Johnson Haus: Really pretty black sables. Good amount of SCHH3 in the bloodlines in the sire’s and dam’s. Free puppy training until 6 months of age is pretty sweet too.

3. Vom Pegasus: Very strong IPO 3/SCHH3 pedigree.

4. Fox Hollow GSDs: Publicly available info is limited; would need to reach out and to get the pedigree. I know two people with dogs from there, very attractive and the one is just starting out titling in IPO.

5. Vom Evolution: Good amount of IPO 2/3 and SCHH2/3 pedigree.

6. Great Original German Shepherd: This is our local breeder. She’s makes sure all her dogs have been Penn hip testing. Not necessarily working line, but she’s really into the “old school straight back GSD.” We’ve met a couple of the dogs, very sweet, but didn’t really get a sense of what their drives were. Also, she doesn't test elbows, which I haven't yet asked her why.

7. Haus Juris: A good amount of SCHH titles. There seems to be a lot of dogs? Haven’t really seen that before. Pedigree’s include a fair amount of SCHH titles as well; however, the dogs look like WGSL, right? Also, there’s some pretty bad reviews online, so that’s a little strange.
 

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some of these are way way above your level of experience and interest....serious aggression and nerve potential....

some are show lines - not working lines, and if you want to do any training, you are going to be rather frustrated if you get interested in sport....

some are people I would not recommend that anyone do business with - they do not have a good reputation and


sorry - proximity should not be your primary criteria for buying a puppy



Lee
 
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If it were me I would take your local breeder off your list. I'm sure she is a nice person but I have serious doubts that her dogs will provide what you are looking for.
Yeah, you're probably right. We've developed a rapport with her so far and the pups will born in a couple of weeks. It's hard to take her off the list knowing that we can bring one home in the next couple of months after having waited a very long time..logically I know it's better to hold off for the right dog, but I now we are going to love whatever we end up with anyways...so i keep going back and forth trying to justify it. In my head, I know you're right haha.
 

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some of these are way way above your level of experience and interest....serious aggression and nerve potential....

some are show lines - not working lines, and if you want to do any training, you are going to be rather frustrated if you get interested in sport....

some are people I would not recommend that anyone do business with - they do not have a good reputation and


sorry - proximity should not be your primary criteria for buying a puppy



Lee
Much appreciated. Thank you for the candor. So, are there any that I listed that you would recommend? Or are you saying I need to expand my search?
 

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Blackthorne. Christine is awesome and really knows and understands her dogs.

She has a very active FB page. Lots of discussion from buyers and a total community.

Highly recommend. Depending on what you want.
 

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How important is health to you? You may have to sacrifice health if you want a dog soon or within a certain distance from you. I would also cross your local breeder off your list, though I do understand how hard it will be to wait. I have been waiting since April of last year. I will likely be waiting until next summer to get my puppy. That's just what happens when you want to get a dog from a good breeder.
 

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Blackthorne. Christine is awesome and really knows and understands her dogs.

She has a very active FB page. Lots of discussion from buyers and a total community.

Highly recommend. Depending on what you want.
I requested to be added to that group, just waiting on approval.

How important is health to you? You may have to sacrifice health if you want a dog soon or within a certain distance from you. I would also cross your local breeder off your list, though I do understand how hard it will be to wait. I have been waiting since April of last year. I will likely be waiting until next summer to get my puppy. That's just what happens when you want to get a dog from a good breeder.
Health is pretty important, I'm not really willing to sacrifice health for anything.

Misery loves company, haha i've been waiting since...August of 2003? I'm dying inside! I feel like i'm so close, yet so far away...
 

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Take it from me, be very careful. I got a shepherd puppy that came from what seemed like a great breeder on paper and in person, and she just so happened to have a male pup that would be a great fit for what I needed that I could get within a month. I got him and... He died at 8 months old. Turns out she wasn't so great, but I had no way of knowing until it was too late. Maybe if I had passed on that puppy and waited, did more research, I could have saved myself thousands of dollars and a lot of heartbreak. You cannot afford to take a puppy from someone that doesn't at least do all the necessary health tests on the parents.
 
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Take it from me, be very careful. I got a shepherd puppy that came from what seemed like a great breeder on paper and in person, and she just so happened to have a male pup that would be a great fit for what I needed that I could get within a month. I got him and... He died at 8 months old. Turns out she wasn't so great, but I had no way of knowing until it was too late. Maybe if I had passed on that puppy and waited, did more research, I could have saved myself thousands of dollars and a lot of heartbreak. You cannot afford to take a puppy from someone that doesn't at least do all the necessary health tests on the parents.
Oh man, I'm so sorry to hear that. Can't even imagine going through that.
 

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If you are looking for a dog to do IPO with that can also be a super family companion, contact Alexis at Feuergarten. She’s in TN, not too terribly far from you. She has a litter on the ground right now and has males available. I have a half sibling to the litter and she has handled every sport I’ve thrown at her. She was doing great with IPO training until I decided the time commitment was too much for me, so now we are pursuing titles in other venues instead. She can also go anywhere. She is neutral to strangers and dogs, nothing bothers her. She has appropriate aggression for the breed. She has an exceptional off switch. She’s healthy as well. There are dogs from the A and B litters that are doing IPO, other bite sports, herding, agility, AKC obedience, nosework, and a few in active pet homes. Alexis is @GatorDog on this forum, or you can contact her through facebook. https://www.facebook.com/feuergartengsd/
 

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If you are looking for a dog to do IPO with that can also be a super family companion, contact Alexis at Feuergarten. She’s in TN, not too terribly far from you. She has a litter on the ground right now and has males available. I have a half sibling to the litter and she has handled every sport I’ve thrown at her. She was doing great with IPO training until I decided the time commitment was too much for me, so now we are pursuing titles in other venues instead. She can also go anywhere. She is neutral to strangers and dogs, nothing bothers her. She has appropriate aggression for the breed. She has an exceptional off switch. She’s healthy as well. There are dogs from the A and B litters that are doing IPO, other bite sports, herding, agility, AKC obedience, nosework, and a few in active pet homes. Alexis is @GatorDog on this forum, or you can contact her through facebook. https://www.facebook.com/feuergartengsd/
These dogs look absolutely stunning. Do you happen to know how much for a pup from there? Also, is there something else I should be looking out for when i'm researching breeders? I'm not exactly sure how to differentiate Feuergarten German Shepherds from either Blackthorn or Johnson Haus. Is it just something I will learn as I get in contact with more and more breeders? I'm not sure how to winnow the chaff here.
 

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I think vom evolution has a puppy left from a litter. It's a repeat and I really liked the previous litter.

Hochland in northern VA. Carolyn is super. She's near Leesburg.

Warkonhaus in State College PA.

I think Marty Segretto has a breeding planned. He's near Leesburg.
 

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These dogs look absolutely stunning. Do you happen to know how much for a pup from there? Also, is there something else I should be looking out for when i'm researching breeders? I'm not exactly sure how to differentiate Feuergarten German Shepherds from either Blackthorn or Johnson Haus. Is it just something I will learn as I get in contact with more and more breeders? I'm not sure how to winnow the chaff here.
Alexis is VERY responsive to inquiries. I would think your best bet would be to contact her directly with any questions you may have about the particulars of this litter. I can tell you that I was fortunate enough to train with Alexis for years and she knows her stuff. Her girl Carma (the dam of this litter as well as my girl’s dam) is super. She’s high drive, but settles well in the house. She lives to engage with her handler. I’ve loved what I have seen from the first two litters, and would be all over her current litter if I was in the market for another puppy right now.
 

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I think vom evolution has a puppy left from a litter. It's a repeat and I really liked the previous litter.

Hochland in northern VA. Carolyn is super. She's near Leesburg.

Warkonhaus in State College PA.

I think Marty Segretto has a breeding planned. He's near Leesburg.
Why don't you contact some clubs and go watch training? You'll find what you like, learn more about the dogs and meet more people.
Sweeeeet. Those look like awesome recommendations. Thanks Jax. You're right. I think at this point we have to start going to clubs and meeting people to make connections. Thanks for that tip.

Alexis is VERY responsive to inquiries. I would think your best bet would be to contact her directly with any questions you may have about the particulars of this litter. I can tell you that I was fortunate enough to train with Alexis for years and she knows her stuff. Her girl Carma (the dam of this litter as well as my girl’s dam) is super. She’s high drive, but settles well in the house. She lives to engage with her handler. I’ve loved what I have seen from the first two litters, and would be all over her current litter if I was in the market for another puppy right now.
Will DEFINITELY be reaching out to Alexis. Thanks guys!
 

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I got my girl from Amy Morrisson of Haus Morrisson in Maryland, and I am thrilled! I know several other Haus Morrisson dogs and they are wonderful dogs. Here are a couple of links so you can research for yourself.

HAUS MORRISSON German Shepherd Puppies & Stud Service - Maryland
https://www.facebook.com/haus.morrisson/

Best wishes finding your pupper!

Edit: p.s. I know that doesn't help with you original question; just offering a suggestion if you decide not to go with any of your original choices.
 

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I’d recommend Blackthorn. I’m biased though. Christine is a very knowledgeable woman about her dogs and lines. She will not offer you a pup that she does not think would be a good fit for your home.

Fox Hollow’s current litter is actually from one of Christine’s sires (Hammer - Mjolir von Leibenburg (I may have misspelled his name)) and a Blackthorn bitch the owner purchased as a pup from Christine. I’ve met both puppies that were available from this first litter as the Blackthorn Bash this year - very sweet pups. I’d imagine if you took a pup from this kennel, you could not only get the support of that breeder but Christine as well.
 

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I think at this point we have to start going to clubs and meeting people to make connections. Thanks for that tip.
If you really want to do IPO, this is the best way. I

would still suggest you contact Alexis. I don't think you can go wrong there.

But if you aren't going to buy one right NOW, then take the time and go visit some clubs. You have several in your area. And contact Carolyn. They have training group but not n official club.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/v...61&hl=en&z=7&mid=16ZQxsD-mj939hJW9y82DrziNS5U

Click on a region and then go to the Club link
https://www.germanshepherddog.com/events-new/

I train at OG Keystone in Millerstown if you want to take that trip. I would say about 3 hours from Leesburg?
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Contact Howard County WDC in the Baltimore area. They have dogs from all over plus there are training groups associated with the club but not a part of the club. They have seminars with Beth Bradley and Ryan White.

And definitely Marty's club in Leesburg.
Alexandria Schutzhund Verein

USCA Regional Championship is in West Virginia next month. Another place to watch different dogs.

there is also an Alexandria Schutzhund Club in Leesburg. Different than the Verein club. They are having an RH trial in November. I would love to watch that. Not sure of their contact info.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all of your insight. It looks like we've narrowed it down to Feuergarten, Vom Hochland, and Warkonhaus. We are leaning towards Feuergarten and have reached out to Alexis and filled out an application. Getting pretty excited! Pedigree seems pretty solid, yeah?

Pedigree

Jax - Thanks for all the links! We're not sure if we will do IPO. Later down the line we will probably check out some clubs and so how it goes. I really appreciate it.
 
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