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Discussion Starter #1
I have gone from perpetually waiting for a puppy, to now being faced with actually bringing one home soon. This eventuality has been a catalyst for some thinking on what I really want in my working line GSD?

In absolute terms here is what I can say about the GSD I desire;
1.) A working line GSD
2.) Solid nerve
3.) Stock Coat (a dog within standard)

Here is what I think I can say;
1.) I thought I'd prefer a male, although fate has me second guessing that......
2.) I prefer a real dog to a sport dog

Which leads me to my question......what is a sport dog vs. a real dog? I think I know.
 

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To me a "sport dog" is a dog who has not only the ability to work (structure, nerve, temperament, etc..) but has the drive to want to work.

Stark is a great dog, excellent nerve, great temperament, okay structure (prelims looks good) but he does not have the drive to work. It is getting better with age and training/finding his "thing" he will work for but it still take me a lot of energy to motivate him.

To me a "sport dog" is a dog that was bred to be enthusiastic to work for the handler, a yearning to please and to work.

They are all "real dogs" but I think a "sport dog" just has that extra 'zing' for life. I think this can be found in a lot of working lines, not ones just deemed for sport.
 

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I too prefer a REAL dog. Luckly we own two of those...Dorian and Arko. These 2 dogs have solid nerves, nothing phases them and they both have a ton of drive but when they go on the field, they are serious about their job, not a game. They don't care if there is a sleeve present or not.
I know some people prefer sport dogs, but I like the serious ones. :D
 

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Interesting. Don't think I've ever heard Elisabeth's definitions of "sport" or "real" before. Guess that really shows that when using terminology it's important to make sure the terms mean the same to the people talking!

My experience with these is that the common definitions of them tend to focus mainly on the way the dog approaches protection work. To the "sport" dog it is very much a game. A big, rough and tumble game, but still mainly a game with the dog working primarily (and often exclusively) out of prey drive. Whereas to a "real" dog protection is more about protection and fighting with the dog working out of a more balanced set of drives, one of them being aggression. I prefer a "real" dog in that sense. A dog who approaches protection as a fight, and views the helper as someone to be dominated and beat into the dirt, not as a playmate.

Of course, then there are those who use "real" dog to describe dogs who are nutcases. Overly sharp dogs working out of pure defense. Dogs who are civil not because they want to beat the daylights out of someone, but who are civil because they are unstable. The dog can't be made sleeve sure, or who immediately spits out the sleeve and lunges at the neutral helper to some is impressive and "real". To me that sort of behavior shows imbalance, either in temperament, training or both. Certainly I would not want a "real" dog based on that definition.
 

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Does that mean that a "real" dog isn't having fun or enjoying himself in the protection phase?
No, he's still having fun. But the enjoyment comes from beating an opponent, dominating them, pushing them around, controlling them, and basically showing that he is "top dog" moreso than getting a toy.
 

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To me a "real" dog is a thinking dog that possesses aggression, power, and courage from the right place and does not work from being neurotically overloaded with prey drive and/or being overly reactive/sharp.
 

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I think my definition of a "sport dog" is off compared to some because I have yet to have that dog that will work for me "just cause". I think the closes definition of Stark would be considered a "real dog" in terms of working ability, he's a very serious boy, even as a puppy. He's not one to see the sleeve and go nuts, he wants the guy wearing the sleeve. Now, I wouldn't consider him a sport dog for those two reasons by my definition or yours. I don't think I would consider him a "real dog either though because he is lacking qualities that I see as important in terms of a well balanced working dog. Not sure if that makes sense or not? It did in my head.. lol.

I think I perfer a "real dog" going off of Chris and Carolina's definition. I like the fact that they are not there to "play games" that they know there is a job to be done and they take that seriously. I also think that being a newbie that this type of dog may be too much for some not only in training but in the real world as well. Not sure how acurrate that is, but with what I think a 'real dog" is, I have a feeling that it is a lot of dog. I also think that a "real dog" may be easier to mess up, espeically if you don't know what your doing - which I really don't at this point. I'm learning but I am not there yet.

I think a real dog would show confidence, maybe a little cocky even. They would be a little harder and I agree, would be of balanced drives.
 

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Can't a well bred "sport dog" turn into a "real dog" ??? With proper training of course.
 

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Of course, then there are those who use "real" dog to describe dogs who are nutcases. Overly sharp dogs working out of pure defense. Dogs who are civil not because they want to beat the daylights out of someone, but who are civil because they are unstable. The dog can't be made sleeve sure, or who immediately spits out the sleeve and lunges at the neutral helper to some is impressive and "real". To me that sort of behavior shows imbalance, either in temperament, training or both. Certainly I would not want a "real" dog based on that definition.
As long as we are not talking about "real" dog in that sense. Too often you hear people talking about how their dogs are too "real" for Schutzhund and that's why they stopped training, or never started training, or the dog chewed up the helper, or chewed up the handler, or is now a PPD, etc. etc. etc. :whistle:
 

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Looking in from outside the sport, my definition of a "sport" dog is one that scores high at trials, but can't settle well so lives in a kennel all of the time. A "real" dog may not score as high, but can live in the house, etc. I would rather have a REAL dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Interesting. Don't think I've ever heard Elisabeth's definitions of "sport" or "real" before. Guess that really shows that when using terminology it's important to make sure the terms mean the same to the people talking!
Therein lies the essence of this thread, and I think I know what those expressions mean....I'll let you know after this thread runs it's course.
 

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I wonder if a dog can do well at sport, very well, and still not be the package that one might desire for police type work?

When I was considering the Hogan baby, I asked the breeder if he had worked the sire and if he was "for real". I probably didn't really understood all that might be meant by that. But he replied yes. the sire is for real and that his goal is to produce police service animals.

I think of it as a dog who has very strong nerves, nice aggression and a strong desire to fight with the opponent.

The dogs that I have thought of as "real" were very solid dogs. They were great in home and kennel. There was no hyperactivity in them. Their solidity did not make them so flashy in obedience and thus they might not score super by today's standards. In protection there were several nice scoring dogs that many helpers were willing to catch. The "real" dogs.... not so many volunteers. These dogs were convincing, powerful and exuded an aura that you could not mistake. Sometimes these dogs did not look so super in the sport work often because of the nature of the helper work. But, work them in a manner where could show their power under control... very nice and convincingly "real".
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Say it ain't true?! :)
A driving variable is stock vs. long coat.......long coat is not an option for me...regardless of how much in love I am with the idea of a particular pup. I'd prefer a male this time, but really, I am very flexible on male vs. female (dogs only)!!:D
 

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I'm curious about this idea that "real dog = don't score as well" because this brings up a question: so all these dogs that are scoring high right now at the national/international level, what are they? When you see a nice 270, 280ish score at the high level, does that make you think: "Oh, can't be a real dog. He scored too high!"
 

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"Real" obedience means that the dog will obey in the real world when you call him off the deer, or down him before he gets to your old friend that he never met. As opposed to "Sport" obedience which means that which is required by the routine, even if the dog wouldn't even acknowledge you if there was something more fun...

So, "real" protection must mean that the dog will engage under real world conditions. No sleeve, no suit, no muzzle, not play.
 
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