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Many shepherds don't mature until around 2 - 3 yrs old. Some hit mental maturity at 1 to 1 1/2 yrs, but in my experience most 8 month olds are still pretty puppish.

Some dogs will always be easy going with groups of other dogs, but I would not expect him to retain that "long fuse" with strange dogs indefinitely. I'd say it'll probably be past 8 months, but it's different for each dog. By around 1 1/2 yrs though most shepherds aren't big social butterflies with large groups of dogs.
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