Sorry to hear about the DM, she sounds awesome. On the up side, she was obviously a diverse dog! I have an aging female Collie that has an arthitic condition in both back knees. Once she's up she runs across the yard, still loves walks, but there may be a day soon where she goes south. Just 12 years old but has dealt with this the last two years. Cosamine/asprin have had little influence. You'll have to let us know how you come out with the next pup.I spent a decade or more running a GSD rescue. I have very little experience with well bred shepherds, most of it being with one line selected by my former employer for their work ability.
My most amazing Sabi was in fact a BYB dog and was everything a good German Shepherd should be, except healthy.
She could do it all. She served as my patrol partner for many years, trained for personal protection, building searches, narcotics detection and crowd control. She swung effortlessly between jobs and was a full time pet as well. Easily the most discerning dog I have ever met with amazing protective instincts and not a mean bone in her body. She saved my life at least twice. She was intelligent beyond measure, adored children and baby animals and was always up for a good time. She was also clearly convinced I was an idiot and in need of much help.
She was over sized, and thick boned. She also had awful hips, was sterile before I got her spayed and I ultimately lost her to DM.
I currently have my little genetic nightmare, Shadow who is getting older. I will be purchasing a pup in the future and I know exactly what I am looking for.