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Good afternoon to all. I am new to the forum and interested in adding a GSD to our family. I’m a novice on the breed and have not owned a dog in over 15 years. Our previous pet was from the animal shelter and lived with us for 8+ years until he became ill. All members of the family have wanted another puppy since then; however, there were many things going on in the family and I would not make the jump until I knew I had the time to dedicate to raising a companion and new family member.

From what I have learned during research, I am interested in a working line assertive male puppy to become the next member of our growing family. I have three grown children, with 4 grandchildren to date, with more to come. All my children live within 10 miles of my house, which is the family’s gathering place most of the time. My grandchildren also spend numerous weekends with me and will have frequent interaction with the puppy.

The entire family super excited about the new addition and can’t wait until I find a suitable puppy to join the family.

The main part in finding the right puppy, for me, is first finding the right breeder. I have been doing a lot of research on my own for the past several months and believe to have found that person. My grown children wanted me to get second opinions and possibly contact other breeders as well. I have discussed this with the breeder I contacted, she is on board with the additional research. The more I interact with her, the more I like her!

We anticipate taking obedience classes with the puppy so we can learn how to train him properly, he learns to socialize with other dogs and get additional exercise. I would also appreciate recommendations for a puppy kindergarten class in Miami, Florida.

I am looking for a companion and family dog that my children and grandchildren will enjoy as much as I do. I am not looking for a protection dog, but protecting the family will be among the dog’s duty. While I am not interested in formal competition, we do wish to have the puppy attend CGC training and test. Minor class competition related to the training, that are fun for the GSD and us may be contemplated as well.

Is there additional information you would need to recommend breeders that breed the right puppy for our family? I am willing to take a few vacation days to go pick up the puppy so it doesn’t travel as cargo or suffers during the trip, so distance is not a deal breaker.

For the puppy kindergarten class I do need someone local in Miami as I will attend every training class the GSD attends so I can properly reinforce at home what was learned in class.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

I definitely do not recommend working line. I think from what you’ve said I would look at a west German show Line. Check out Theishof German Shepherds in Idaho. She ships and has amazing steady dogs. I too have grandchildren etc and was a first time GSD owner and my boy is 9 mos old and fantastic. I do not recommend a high drive one. I can’t even imagine how much work they become. Mine was considered low drive as a puppy but away from his litter I would say he has grown to a medium drive dog. Very confident and can be a handful. Training isn’t just classes. It every minute of every day and every single interaction with him. In my opinion GSDs should be their own breed. Completely different than any dog I have ever trained. They keep you on your toes and are lots and lots of work. I’m not trying to discourage you. Just being honest.
 

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I definitely do not recommend working line. I think from what you’ve said I would look at a west German show Line. Check out Theishof German Shepherds in Idaho. She ships and has amazing steady dogs. I too have grandchildren etc and was a first time GSD owner and my boy is 9 mos old and fantastic. I do not recommend a high drive one. I can’t even imagine how much work they become. Mine was considered low drive as a puppy but away from his litter I would say he has grown to a medium drive dog. Very confident and can be a handful. Training isn’t just classes. It every minute of every day and every single interaction with him. In my opinion GSDs should be their own breed. Completely different than any dog I have ever trained. They keep you on your toes and are lots and lots of work. I’m not trying to discourage you. Just being honest.
Oh she also has working lines too, I believe.
 

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I second a West German showline. If you aren’t planning on working a working line GSD DAILY (mentally AND physically), then be prepared for a bored, potentially destructive nightmare. Working lines are not usually good candidates for family pets, because their drive is off the charts. West German show lines and good breeders of them are the epitome of the Golden Middle- good structure, health, and FANTASTIC temperaments.
I had excellent luck with Haus Juris in Virginia. I’m on my second GSD from there.
 

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I'm not going to encourage you to get a puppy from any particular line. I have west german working line, my close friend has american showlines, and my other close friend has west german show lines. We all belong to the local German Shepherd Dog Club. All our dogs are health tested and titled in something before breeding. Dogs are socialized at club and puppies get the benefit of club members handling. We follow Puppy Culture for raising our litters (to the best of our ability). I work full time and am on my own most of the time, so I do what puppy culture I can. The three of us are currently taking herding lessons with our dogs (both of mine), the others just one or two of their dogs.

I guess my point is, look for a breeder that is health testing the breeding stock, doing something with them (obedience, tracking, agility, SAR, IGP, herding, nose work), takes an interest in the betterment of the breed (breeding goals). My foundation bitch came from Austerlitz German Shepherd Dogs. First German Shepherd for me, spent 6 months looking, researching lines, emailing two different breeders, settled on them. I wanted a solid black bitch. I just had to put her down at 13 yrs 4 mos of age. She gave me a few wonderful litters. The one daughter I have from her last litter doesnt have the best conformation. She is built more like a Mal than a GSD. Her coat is very short, but it is full. Her front toes out a bit. She has crazy drive, is social, great with other dogs, full grip, biddable, agile. So I did some experimenting with her breedings. Bred her to a west german showline male, very nice puppies, great drives, although I would have liked to see better conformation. Next breeding, bred to an American Showline male. Kept a bitch puppy back from that litter. At 6 months of age she had taken a Best In Show in a UKC show, has since earned her UKC Champion and has been in herding training since 6 months of age. She is a go anywhere, do anything puppy (11 mos now). We also dabble in AKC shows, but has only been in a few.

I dont think you have to get a dog from working lines. I dont think you have to stay away from American Showlines. Find the best fit for you. There are West German Lines out there doing IGP, and there are working lines that couldnt do it at all. Titles are NOT everything, but they are something. Right now I would want you to get out and meet some different dogs (adults). AKC shows, trials, events. UKC shows, trials, events. USCA trials, GSDCA has a list of events.

The terminology used is subjective to the person using it. Boots on the ground is the best way to figure out what is going to best meet your needs. I did have prior exposure to German Shepherds before getting my very first (to call my own), so I had some knowledge of owning them already.
 

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I have had WGSLs with so much energy they were bouncing off the the walls. My first female came from strong herding lines and never slowed down much even at age 13. My WL has high drive in that he goes from 0 to 100 in a second, but he has medium energy and if given good daily exercise is a bit of a couch potato. Generalizations don’t help anyone and they are usually wrong. I didn’t expect some of the WL behaviors but once I got used to him, he is possibly the smartest and best trained purebred GSD I’ve ever owned.
 

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As far as the breeder you choose, many on this forum would hope for better titles. The schutzhund sport was invented as a breed test for GSDs so many would want at least an IGP1 on the breeding pair. I would think for your wishes, there would at least be obedience titles like BH or CD.

As far as drive is concerned, it is just as you believe. Even very sporty breeders don’t produce 100% sport dogs. Several of the dogs go to strictly pet homes.

That being said, the pet home dog will be no couch potato. My puppy was slated for the pet/service category. He is from one of these more sporty breeders and he was even called the calmest puppy she ever produced. He still requires a job (which he has at home). He is worked several times a day and we do classes and schutzhund club together. He’s my first GSD and I love him.

I think low/medium drive (for a GSD) is totally possible. One thing I don’t think you mentioned was threshold. My puppy has a very high threshold which basically means it takes a bit to get a rise out of him. So when my five year old acts like a nut, screaming and running through the house for some unknown reason, he’s relatively unaffected.

Good luck!
As far as the breeder you choose, many on this forum would hope for better titles. The schutzhund sport was invented as a breed test for GSDs so many would want at least an IGP1 on the breeding pair. I would think for your wishes, there would at least be obedience titles like BH or CD.

As far as drive is concerned, it is just as you believe. Even very sporty breeders don’t produce 100% sport dogs. Several of the dogs go to strictly pet homes.

That being said, the pet home dog will be no couch potato. My puppy was slated for the pet/service category. He is from one of these more sporty breeders and he was even called the calmest puppy she ever produced. He still requires a job (which he has at home). He is worked several times a day and we do classes and schutzhund club together. He’s my first GSD and I love him.

I think low/medium drive (for a GSD) is totally possible. One thing I don’t think you mentioned was threshold. My puppy has a very high threshold which basically means it takes a bit to get a rise out of him. So when my five year old acts like a nut, screaming and running through the house for some unknown reason, he’s relatively unaffected.

Good luck!
Cera
There has been some good advice here and also some crazy talk. I dont want to pick on you but you said you "work" your dog "several times a day. Thats great if you do but several times a day is a little high. This woman is doing her research and being completely honest and you would think she is about to adopt a Unicorn stallion. Yes a GSD can be a challenge. If she is on this forum BEFORE she even puts a deposit on a puppy that is saying something. Lets not get snotty and think we are special because we already have some experience.
 

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Hi Misty. Just want to share. I am 67. I have 5 adult children all married and 14 grandchildren. I did the research also and wanted a GSD from when I was a teen. My husband was a collie man and we had 3. Now it was my turn to pick. He was quite worried about a "GSD" being around a baby. I just didn't want bags of hair all over everything as you have with a short coated shepherd. I found a breeder in CA that bred old fashioned, straight back, large GSDs before everyone tried to make them different or better. I won't go into opinions on anything other that the one I found. She bred for size and temperament. That and long haired were my main desire. She has a facebook page, She shows not just photos but videos of the dam, sire, puppies and she is delightful. I still email her about my baby Riley. Sadly, I'm not sure she has any more long haired genes in her dogs. Her FB page doesn't show them. I think when a certain line she was breeding retired she went to standard coat shepherds. I can't swear to that but I check her page now and then as I was a second pup and would want one from her.
I have to remember, the paragraph is not my enemy. That is a quote from my son.

Riley is low prey drive and big as a house. I'm in heaven. If someone is telling you that there isn't a low prey they are mistaken. I know most of the people on here are more than informed on this breed and you can take their comments to the bank, so to speak. They know what they are talking about.

But then there is Riley and many other of her puppies. Riley is so low prey drive that I let him out one summer evening and there was an Opossum in the yard. Now our collie would put that poor thing into a "possum" state and I would have to him off, put a close basket over the Opossum and call for backup. Poor thing had babies on her back.

This memory flew into my mind when I saw the Opossum before Riley did. I was ready to run. Riley, he walked right past the Opossum and peed and came right back to me. The Opossum stared at him and I stared at him. Low prey drive.

He is so gentle with the grands and our youngest is now 3. She calls him Riley dog. She loves him. He would rather play with the teenagers but lets her brush him with her little hair brush and kiss his nose and he takes it. He steps around the kids on the floor and there are always a bunch. Three of our five children live 10-15 minutes away. One is 2 hours away. One is in FL.

Don't get me wrong, he is faster than a speeding bullet and can grab a ball 30 feet away faster than you reaching down to pick it up. And he grins. I have to play ball with 2 balls. He is a tad ball possessive. I thought that was so cute as a puppy. Now he is just spoiled.

My other GSD was a working dog and we had horses. Her name was Cheyenne but we called her She She from a younger siblings baby talk. You could say "watch him" to anyone and she would lay down in front of them. If they began to move, she would begin a "lunge" at them and they would get back to their spot. She could chase off a raccoon or 2 teenage boys that shouldn't have been on the property of two teenage girls. She was fierce. But a gentle giant. I wouldn't have wanted her around my 12-14 grandchildren all here at once. God I loved her.

My point is, if you a low energy GSD there are breeders out there. Mine was not a back yard breeder and she didn't have a champion in every dam or sire. She bred only for family placement and kept the puppy/puppies she wanted to breed with other lines.

I'm not trying to tell you how to pick a breeder or what training you will need. GSDs need a strong handler that will keep even the low energy dogs in check. They are smart, sometimes large and you have to be in control of this beast that wants to lay at your feet and is in heaven there.

We have a huge yard of about 1/3 acre. I'm in a subdivision so that is a big yard. It's enough to run him ragged playing ball in. We have two dogs next-door and they love to "call" to each other to play. Sadly they are on an electric fence so no playing at will. I am in charge.

Surprisingly, Riley prefers my company then fresh air. He is a house dog. Although, weather permitting, I'd rather be outside gardening than inside with the A/C.

If this breeder sounds like you would be interested, you can send me a message. As far as I know we aren't supposed to recommend breeders on the forum and they aren't allowed to "sell". I could be wrong. I'm more of a reader on this forum and asking for help than I advise.

It had been so long since I had a GSD that I forgot all about the "land shark" period of puppyhood. There was a lot I didn't remember about the puppy years. My husband says it takes 4 years to make a good dog. Riley is going to 6 in January. He is still a puppy.

556651
 

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Good afternoon to all. I am new to the forum and interested in adding a GSD to our family. I’m a novice on the breed and have not owned a dog in over 15 years. Our previous pet was from the animal shelter and lived with us for 8+ years until he became ill. All members of the family have wanted another puppy since then; however, there were many things going on in the family and I would not make the jump until I knew I had the time to dedicate to raising a companion and new family member.

From what I have learned during research, I am interested in a working line assertive male puppy to become the next member of our growing family. I have three grown children, with 4 grandchildren to date, with more to come. All my children live within 10 miles of my house, which is the family’s gathering place most of the time. My grandchildren also spend numerous weekends with me and will have frequent interaction with the puppy.

The entire family super excited about the new addition and can’t wait until I find a suitable puppy to join the family.

The main part in finding the right puppy, for me, is first finding the right breeder. I have been doing a lot of research on my own for the past several months and believe to have found that person. My grown children wanted me to get second opinions and possibly contact other breeders as well. I have discussed this with the breeder I contacted, she is on board with the additional research. The more I interact with her, the more I like her!

We anticipate taking obedience classes with the puppy so we can learn how to train him properly, he learns to socialize with other dogs and get additional exercise. I would also appreciate recommendations for a puppy kindergarten class in Miami, Florida.

I am looking for a companion and family dog that my children and grandchildren will enjoy as much as I do. I am not looking for a protection dog, but protecting the family will be among the dog’s duty. While I am not interested in formal competition, we do wish to have the puppy attend CGC training and test. Minor class competition related to the training, that are fun for the GSD and us may be contemplated as well.

Is there additional information you would need to recommend breeders that breed the right puppy for our family? I am willing to take a few vacation days to go pick up the puppy so it doesn’t travel as cargo or suffers during the trip, so distance is not a deal breaker.

For the puppy kindergarten class I do need someone local in Miami as I will attend every training class the GSD attends so I can properly reinforce at home what was learned in class.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.
Von Gildaf German Shepherd In Wisconsin ;
Melinda Clark. Reach out to her . She is also on Facebook. also check LONE RIDGE Farms,
Sure you can google and find them but they are also on Facebook and post photo of the puppies etc..
 

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Simply Stasi,
I am referring to American lines and any European show lines.
Big Ozzy,
If you watch any/all videos from the 2019 German Sieger Show of the bite work test, you would probably think differently. They are supposed to be the best of the German show lines and they all suck in the bite work test and the helper has to manipulate the dog to bite by jumping back before the strike to trigger prey and hopefully ensure the dog will engage and the stick never touches the dog on the drive because they know the vast majority would run. It is pitiful to watch. The show people sold out a portion of the breed for money. Same is happening at the sport end, but to a lesser extent and the genetics for work are still in some dogs/lines.
 

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Cera
There has been some good advice here and also some crazy talk. I dont want to pick on you but you said you "work" your dog "several times a day. Thats great if you do but several times a day is a little high. This woman is doing her research and being completely honest and you would think she is about to adopt a Unicorn stallion. Yes a GSD can be a challenge. If she is on this forum BEFORE she even puts a deposit on a puppy that is saying something. Lets not get snotty and think we are special because we already have some experience.
I think the OP is doing a great job researching! She’s getting great answers and able to witness the show verse working line debate. And if she finds that Unicorn Stallion, she’ll have to share the breeder because my daughter wants one now.

I’ll clarify what I mean by working my dog in case that comes off as ‘snotty’. I have a puppy, training sessions can’t be long yet and be productive so they typically last 5 minutes. So I do several, very short training sessions a day.
 

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I'll throw my two cents in here. I'm a first-time GSD owner with a two year old working line female from a reputable breeder (who came recommended to me from this forum). Our breeder has many years of experience in placing puppies in pet homes. We're considered a pet home, but we do a LOT more than the typical American pet owners with our dog. She needs it. Craves exercise and engagement with her brain. It's not just about throwing the ball around in the backyard enough - she needs her brain to be worked. We've been in training classes on and off since her puppy classes and we dedicate time throughout the week to train her. Not for anything specific, but take her out to a park for example and work on obedience.

We're in a CGC class now, but I'm not sure if we'll pass. Her obedience is excellent, but she is extremely distrustful of strangers and the stranger coming to greet me will be challenging for her. Her instinct is to bark in warning if strangers get too close. This is great if I'm walking her alone in a park, but not so great for CGC. That's okay with us though, having a protective dog. And we don't mind working on it with her to get her where we want her to be eventually. She's not a dog that can just be loose and free when guests come over, she must be managed so that both her and my guests are comfortable. Sometimes that means she's crated during my daughter's playdates.

She's very gentle with my young daughter, now. When she was a growing puppy we had some challenges. Kona (our dog) didn't mean to hurt my daughter ever, but she's a GSD and likes to bite EVERYTHING. It required a lot of training and patience to get through that stage. I still have some small scars on my hands from that stage of her life. Now she doesn't even play tug as hard with my daughter as she does my husband, for example, because she knows to be gentler with her. Still. There are only certain kids I would let her be around because I recognize that she is not a Labrador Retriever, and quite frankly, a lot of people are scared of her just because of the way she looks. She picks up on that for sure.

I've been around dogs my entire life, high drive hunting dogs. GSDs are not that. They are a whole other thing. They are beautiful and extremely intelligent and loyal and they will do anything to please their people. We knew what we were getting after extensive research and conversations with GSD people, so we were prepared. But even still, a working line GSD is quite literally a breed that has to be seen and experienced to really understand IMO. We love our Kona and have been successful with her and so can you. Just know, as much as possible, what you're really getting. Good luck!

If you're interested in a breeder anywhere in the country, ours is Vom Haus Weinbrand in Ohio. I know for a fact she won't place a dog in a home she doesn't think it's suited to, she's refused buyers before. She'll give you her honest opinion. I think she has a litter coming up soon, but you won't know until the puppies are older whether there might be one suited to you.
 

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I suggest to people posting here who are new to read many threads before making comments like “snotty” in regards to advice. Once you have a hundred or so helpful posts and people know your experience level, you are more credible. I don’t agree with everything every regular established member here says but at least I know who is posting and I understand why they say what they do.

@vomlittlehaus I just ran into the idea of Puppy Culture as a behavioral method recently. I got a bit turned off because it seems directed toward a different breed, but I’m also curious what results you get with German Shepherds using this methods VS dogs haven’t been raised with it. I think they offer feeding as well as behavior advice. It’s also hard to find a breeder who uses it and it must be started when pups are newborns. The breeders I looked at were all breeding different breeds than ours,
 

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Hi Misty,
Just wanted to let you know that I have met one of the Celhaus dogs and thought she was great. I, too, am looking at her as a possible breeder especially after meeting the initial meeting of this pup and then seeing how she was months later. It was her structure that caught my eye and her temperament, decent drive, and solid nerve that caused me to find out who the breeder was. She is this owners second Celhaus dog. The first one lived for 15 years.

I have yet to contact her, but that is due to how life for me is right now. I hope to take a trip to meet her and her dogs in the not too distant future.

Good luck in your hunt. Love my slightly nervy, but wiling to please GSD who decided to move in a few years ago and my baby girl (first purebred) who is solid nerved, has good drive, loves kids, and has succeeded in everything we have attempted to date.
 
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