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Hi,

My mom recently got a (mainly) SL GSD puppy and I've been helping her raise the pup (I'm still at home until I finish university). She wanted a low-medium energy dog that had a more submissive temperament. She hoped to eventually have her certified as a therapy dog and possibly work towards obedience titles.

The puppy's mom and dad have german working and american showline backgrounds and they both have have competition titles (obedience and herding if I recall) as well as show titles. The dad is also a certified therapy dog.

I don't have experience (other than with Isis) raising puppies but have a limited amount with older dogs...so perhaps that's what is influencing my opinion...but I find Isis to be a generally sweet dog but rather low energy, has a limited interest in wanting to "figure things out" (ie. "solving puzzles") and...for a GSD...it would seem a low to medium interest in wanting to work with us (we use mainly positive methods)...even the breeder noted she was a bit independent (ie not as pack oriented as her littermates) and that "she will try to get out of doing things by being submissive". This makes training her a bit challenging although this has been improving over time.

Eventually, when I'm done university and financially ready for a dog...I would like to get my own GSD. However, I'm not sure if what I'm looking for would be more likely to be found in a lower energy working or higher energy show line. I would like a dog that has a medium energy level (I enjoy hiking..but not so much running however my boyfriend runs several times a week) and I am interested in doing competition tracking. While I realize that it does come down in part to good socialization, I am concerned a working line dog would have A LOT of difficulty being socialized to be calm around cats (he has one) or children (we don't want any but we have young relatives that may visit). I also realize that temperament, energy level, etc. will vary between dogs (even in a litter) but overall I'm not sure if I should even consider a working line. Any advice/experience you could share would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I am concerned a working line dog would have A LOT of difficulty being socialized to be calm around cats
They can learn not to bother cats :) I have one WL that I've had since a puppy, and while he will sometimes pester the cat, he does not harm him. I have another WL that I brought in as an older dog, and he has no interest in my cat at all.
 

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I have always had working lines and a mix of asl / working line dogs.

Honestly they never have bothered my cats. They love the cats and interact nicely all the time.

I have to say, the BEST dog I had was an ASL/Working line mix, I would get one again in a new york second :)

If your interested in doing some versatile stuff, and you like the asl's, but are interested in the working line to.

I highly recommend contacting Daphne (Andaka here ) on the board, she has the 'mix', does herding/her dogs do therapy work for her, obed titled/conformation titled.

I know she doesn't breed often, but I think could give you some great info on where to look/who to contact or answer questions for you..
 

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So much depends on the individual dog. My working-line female was great with the cats, never bothered them, they would even cuddle and play with her. If you choose a pup with good pack drive and moderate prey drive/energy level, it shouldn't be a big issue, provided you introduce the pup to the cats properly. I had another working-line pup who did like to harass the cats, but I blame myself (and the cats) for being too permissive with her as a pup. I had one cat who played with the pup and allowed herself to be mauled... so the pup expected that all cats wanted to play like that, and became frustrated when they did not. She never hurt them, though, just bugged them.
 

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My dog is a German working and showline cross, he is not aggressive to my cats but its a constant struggle to get him to leave them alone and not chase them and my small dogs. I'm not sure if its his strong herding drive or prey drive as to why he's doing it but showlines aren't nessecarily going to have less prey drive and not bother cats.

You can occasionally have a dog that simply cannot coexist with cats but that can happen in any line... Getting a puppy, introducing them properly and teaching them that cats are not fun interactive toys is your best bet. :) It can be tricky, my male Siamese likes to tease my dog and run away from him... That has not been helpful in our training, lol. :rolleyes:
 

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I have a pure SHOWLINE who makes it his job to keep tabs on the cats 24/7, if I let him. His prey drive for actual prey is ridiculous, and he has a very low threshold, so just a bird hopping around sets him off. He critters constantly while we are out in the world, birds, rabbits, chipmunks, bugs etc. So, no, getting a showline doesnt prevent you from having problems with the cats. If he could, he would live for chasing the cats. And I can honestly say I did everything right with raising him with them, some dogs just cant get along with them. (though, its part the cats fault too, they are young and dont stand their ground - they run, he chases) He was even exposed to cats while at the breeders!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info everyone, I'm glad to hear it won't matter which line could (or might not) be able to be socialized to not chase the cat.

Just a couple more questions about working lines...

Is it true GSD from working lines tend to be more "bitey" than other GSD?

Do you find WL dogs more excitable than SL dogs (even with good socialization during puppyhood)?

How much exercise does an average (again I realize there are differences) WL dog need? We are reasonably active (and I am used to giving our SL dog a couple of short walks everyday...too short for me haha) but a mile or two run (or more) every day might not be right for us.

I saw a few breeders in Canada that I'm interested in but with the photos of Schutzhund training (personally not my thing) common to several of the website...it made me a bit nervous. I guess I'm not sure if it's the temperament of the particular puppy we have that I have a few issues with or if it's the line she comes from that is more the factor...I don't want "too much dog" either but not the GSD version of a couch potato we seem to have lol (for the record my mom is okay with her being that way).

Thanks again..
 

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Is it true GSD from working lines tend to be more "bitey" than other GSD?
I've never seen a GSD, from any bloodline, that wasn't bitey as a pup. But once they grow out of that, I don't think they're any more or less likely to be mouthy or bitey, assuming that training, socialization, and bite inhibition has been achieved and the dog is of proper temperament.

How much exercise does an average (again I realize there are differences) WL dog need?
If you get a pup selected for lower energy level, you shouldn't have to run the dog four miles every day (though he could surely keep up with you if that's what you wanted to do). Sufficient exercise is important, for both show and working lines, but I don't think one needs more exercise than the other...I think it's dependent more on the individual dog's energy level. Keeping their mind occupied helps wear them out even more than physical exercise does, so training, interactive play, puzzle toys, and mental stimulation are important too.

I saw a few breeders in Canada that I'm interested in but with the photos of Schutzhund training (personally not my thing) common to several of the website...it made me a bit nervous.
Don't let photos of a dog doing IPO training scare you. It's all a game to them.
 

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I have 2 pet line/show line female litter mates and a working line Czech male. He is pretty laid back, but will "go" when you want him to. He liked to bite, but he is 10 months old and its no longer an issue. Tuke is very laid back, happy on the couch, loves playing fetch and walks are ok with her, but she doesn't get too excited. Her biting as a pup was equal to his. Zoey her sister can hardly contain herself when the word ball or walk is mentioned. She spazzes out and clacks her teeth together. She requires more outlets for her energy than the other 2, however she never went through a biting stage. She does have a pretty good off switch. So I guess imop, it doesn't matter which line you go with, just research breeders and they will help you find the right dog. A good breeder will steer you in the right direction if they don't have what you are looking for.

Also, with cats, my male, Ranger and Tuke will mouth our cat from time to time, get spit on her, but that's about it, Zoey will ignore the cat.
 

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if i just wanted pets i would get a nice resuce sooo cute and beutiful and jealous of all the peoples rescues i SEE!!!! A lot of the rescues just look really nice and are very nice tempered and jaw dropping beauty.

but if you really want a non rescue yeah for you probably best. Working line I see at least are very intense, mine is not aggressive to my cat but shes so intense she can scare my cat by mistake when she goes into her "protection" If i get up? my dog will spring to her feet like a springbok/impala/

Shes handler biddable but not submissive. Most other working lines i see are like this also.

American show line seem very laid back but still smart enough to do anything.
 

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I was at my friends house for canada day everyone was having a great time and my dog thought she was one of the "people" at the party i guess. Anyways at one point she thought she saw somethign strange outside. My dog was sitting beside a table she fliped the table and threw it out of her way with her body and ran to the window with her eyes looking so wild. Thats how mine is lol shes never allowed to be like that in my house but omg i was so embarrassed. Then she came back like she telling people oh dont worry its all cool.

I only took her cause it was my good friends new place and i knew them all well.
 
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