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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just received the 2010 September/November of Dog Fancy and I just read something that really touched me. It was about adopting dogs.

I've known for some time now that a shelter or adopted dog can give the love of a pure bred dog, but it was reinforced today and what the woman said really touched me and has me once again considering adoption.

However, the reason why I've been sticking with getting a pure bred from a breeder is because of health concerns. If I get a purebred from a breeder, I have less concerns about the dog's health. If I get a dog from a shelter, they will give just as much love and be just as good companion, but the health concerns are there.

There are two sides, the right and wrong. One is whispering in my ear: Breeder, which will result in less health problems but will cost a lot more. One whispers in my ear: Adopt. I can get the same amount of love for a much less price while at the same time giving a just as good dog a good home, but the health concerns are much bigger.

I don't know which one is right and which one is wrong. I'm trapped in the middle.
 

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we adopted our pure bred GSD from a rescue organization. We also Adopted our pure bred Border Collie in 95 when he was a year and a half old.
 

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Ive got one of each, a rescue, a BYB and a dog from a great breeder. Go with the breeder, then adopt from a rescue or vice versa...balance out your guilt. Actually the rescue can be just as healthy or healthier than a dog from a breeder, they all come from somewhere!
Thats not why I have the above, though...
I first got the byb(by surprise)she has health and temperament issues, then fell in love with the rescue with no health or temp issues.
But because neither one were SchH material, I decided to go with a reputable breeder(got a wonderful dog with excellent health and temperament) and am very happy with my pack!
 

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I am in the very same predicament. I had used the same breeder twice within a twenty year period, and I was extremely happy with our pups. I am now looking into a rescue. It isn't a GSD Rescue, but they handle all breeds. I suggest you check the "Rescue General Information Forum" as I did you will find a wealth of information there.
 

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I had the same problem when I was looking for a dog, I was torn between a breeder or a rescue for the same reasons, I have experienced health issues with my previous dogs including joint problems so on one hand I wanted to get a dog from a breeder to help increase the odds they'd be health, but on the other hand I believe in adoption...

I eventually ended up sort of splitting the difference. I got Bianca as an adult from her previous owners who needed to find a home for her. She was already OFA'd and her parents had all the health testing and titles and etc from a breeder. So I adopted Bianca but I also know her health history and parentage.

I totally agree that an adopted dog can give the same love and devotion. I've found that to be very true of all my pets. My Golden Retriever was my heart dog, she was the most amazing dog (not just in my eyes--everyone who met her said the same!) and we had an incredible connection. She was a stray I found when she was about a year and a half old.
 

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Ive got one of each, a rescue, a BYB and a dog from a great breeder. Go with the breeder, then adopt from a rescue or vice versa...balance out your guilt. Actually the rescue can be just as healthy or healthier than a dog from a breeder, they all come from somewhere!
Thats not why I have the above, though...
I first got the byb(by surprise)she has health and temperament issues, then fell in love with the rescue with no health or temp issues.
But because neither one were SchH material, I decided to go with a reputable breeder(got a wonderful dog with excellent health and temperament) and am very happy with my pack!
I agree!

I got my GSD from a BYB, I got my GSD/Husky mix free off of craigslist, in a couple years when I am ready to get my 3rd GSD I am either going to go through a rescue or I'm going to go with a reputable breeder.

If you know your going to eventually have 2 dogs then you should adopt one from a rescue and get the other one from a reputable breeder. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I think I'm going to stick with a breeder for my very first German Shepherd. Then, I'll rescue the second.

Thanks you guys!
 

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My first dog was a rescue -- although we're still unsure who rescued who. He walked in our garage as a baby and we ended up keeping him. He's had his fair share of health problems, but nothing too major; and he has GREAT temperament.

Minna is from a breeder -- not a super, high-quality breeder, but a decent one.

The next shepherd I get will be from a great breeder though because I want to do SchH with him.
 

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If you're worried about genetic, congenital, or long-term health issues, keep in mind that you can do lots and lots of health testing on a rescue dog before you get close to what you'd be spending for a dog from a reputable breeder. You can take a rescue dog and have his hips,elbows, eyes, and pretty much anything else you want checked before you commit to adopting the dog. You can have him tested for skin or seasonal allergies.

If you're worried about diseases of old age like arthritis or something more random like cancer, getting a dog from a breeder won't make much difference.
 

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Second what Emoore said.
Regarding the risk of premature health issues, you can minimize the risk by adopting from a reputable rescue, just as you would buy only from a reputable breeder.

Both require research:

You already did enough research to know that a reputable breeder breeds only OFA certified and temperamentally sound parent dogs, keeps less than ten adult dogs so they can know their dogs and can work with them, and breeds only one or two litters a year so they can raise and socialize the litter in the home. You also have a good idea of what you want to do with your GSD, choose your breeder accordingly, and ask them to pick a puppy that would likely fit your lifestyle. You looked around, asked questions, observed dogs, visited breeders. In turn, the breeder will ask you a few questions to see whether you will meet their requirements.

You can do the same due diligence with rescue organizations. I've put together a list of question to ask a rescue organization before adopting:
Questions to ask a rescue before adopting - GermanShepherdHome.net

You can adopt from the city pound which likely knows very lttle about the dog. You CAN get a great and healthy dog there but it’s more risky. You can go to a shelter that has its dogs fully vetted. Or you can go to a rescue organization that keeps its dogs in a foster home and thus knows them quite well.

A reputable rescue has each dog fully examined and vetted at a full service veterinary clinic (not just taken to a low cost s/n clinic for s/n and shots). You can request to see the vet records before adopting. A full exam includes an examination of range of motion that will show orthopedic issues. It does not include a hip x-ray which rescues do only if the vet exam shows a concern. You may, however, offer to pay for a hip x-ray (or other diagnostics beyond a full exam) at a vet of your choice that is close to the foster home. It means additional work for the volunteer foster home, is most likely unnecessary, and I would not do it, but it is an option. The foster home may or may not agree to do that.

Other things you can do:
Get health insurance for the dog. I don't - I personally prefer to put aside 50 $ a month for each dog in a savings account.
Foster for a reputable rescue organization to get an understanding of how rescue works, and maybe one of your foster dogs will ‘stick’.
If you are concerned about premature orthopedic issues, learn how to read the structure of a dog. Suzanne Clothier has a book and video “Your Athletic Dog”, intended for dog sports, that I found very helpful when I evaluate shelter dogs for rescue organizations.

You can rely on your own knowledge, evaluate and adopt a dog from the local pound or take in a stray – that’s what I’ve done most of the time. I had one puppy from the pound, one stray from the park, one foster to adopt from a rescue, one emaciated and with a broken leg that I evaluated and pulled for a rescue and then kept. And I had many foster dogs that were adopted out with full disclosure of everything I knew behaviorally and medically. I got updates from all of them, they are all healthy and doing well.

Please keep in mind that the adoption fee of usually around 250 $ does not cover the costs of a dog from a reputable rescue organization. The fee is heavily subsidized by donations. The all breed rescue organization that I volunteered for spent on average 700 to 800 $ of vetting on each dog. Full exam, vax, s/n w/ preop blood panel, ear infections, dental cleanings and sometimes extractions, x-rays and other diagnostics on dogs with health concerns, taking in good dogs with treatable injuries and paying for their surgeries, HW treatment, etc., is all paid by the rescue organization which has to raise the funds to be able to vet the dogs.IT all has to come from somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm glad I created this thread. I'll go to the rescue section or look around to see if I can find a GSD rescue nearby. I'll also do a bit of research. Once again, thank you guys!
 

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In other words, foster home based rescue organizations are a response to the concerns the OP and many others who are looking into adopting a rescued dog have.

These organizations spread the risk of pulling an unknown shelter dog among the members of the organization, they apply for tax exempt status so that they can solicit donations to cover vet costs, and they train their volunteers. It is a great idea, and has saved thousands of dogs lives, and gave thousands of people a great dog!

But still, if you have the knowledge and some flexibility in your life, please consider adopting a shelter dog, too. The foster home based rescue organizations can take only as many dogs as they have foster homes, and as they can raise funds for. Most good, adoptable dogs are still left behind in shelters.

A dog that you adopt from a reputable rescue has undergone several procedures before being made available to the public for adoption:

1) A thorough behavioral evaluation in the shelter by a trained volunteer 'temperament tester'. This person also looks for any medical issues that an experienced not vet lay person can see. Only dogs that present safe behaviorally in these evaluations are taken by the rescue organization.

2) The dog is taken to a full service vet hospital for a thorough examination. All health issues are taken care of and paid for by the rescue organization. Both routine vet care as well as any condition that needs treatment.

3) The dog is taken to a volunteer foster home that is a suitable match for the dog. Match in terms of level of handling experience, life style, location, human and animal family members, and ability to handle home care for any veterinary issues should the dog need treatment. If a suitable foster home isn't available, the dog will be temporarily boarded at the rescue organization's expense.

4) An experienced volunteer brings the dog to the foster home, sets up safe introductions, and with the foster family sets up the best ways of starting the dog so that the dog doesn't get overwhelmed and everyone is safe.

5) The dog is further evaluated in the foster home to see how she/he does in a home situation. The foster family gets guidelines on when (slowly!) and how to expose the dog to new situations. The rescue is available at all times for any questions and concerns the foster home has. Foster families have only one foster GSD at a time.

6) The length of time a dog is in foster care varies. Ideally with a protective breed such as a GSD it would be at least two months. That time frame allows most dogs to settle in enough to see whether s/he will show behaviors that you see only in a home setting such as protectiveness towards home and family as well as status related dog aggression (trying to climb the ladder in the pack - foster dogs start at the bottom). These are important to know when selecting the most suitable home for the dog.

Hope this makes the process more transparent, and encourages you to adopt!
 

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I'm glad I created this thread. I'll go to the rescue section or look around to see if I can find a GSD rescue nearby. I'll also do a bit of research. Once again, thank you guys!
I agree - thank you for creating this thread and asking an important question!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I actually found a puppy that I want! He's a border collie/german shepherd. I wish there were someway I could get them to keep him until I'm situated. I guess I shouldn't have looked.
 

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I think you've made a good decision since it's your first gsd, you may have a more stable dog and predictable outcome...limits some of the variables that come along with a rescue. Additionally, you might have a harder time adopting without having had a gsd in the past. Obviously those are generalities. I wanted to adopt but found it so difficult that I almost gave up on getting a dog at all, so I went with a breeder. Doesn't mean I won't ever adopt though
 

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Maybe I should add that adopting a dog directly from a shelter as opposed to one already vetted and known from a rescue is not only a question of risking the unknown but also of enjoying to watch the dog come into his/her own emotionally and physically. I've taken matted and stinking shelter dogs to a groomer and looked forward to seeing their colors for the first time after a bath. And I've watched how they relax as they begin to understand that they are safe, well fed, their bodies feel good, and they are treated with kindness and consistency. It's a beautiful experience. It's what foster 'parents' and people who adopt directly from the pound get to see.

I chose none of my dogs for their looks, they all looked scrawny, underweight to emaciated, some had treatable parasites, and they had varying to degrees of coat mess when I teamed up with them. I was drawn to them, that's all, and they seemed like a good fit. All of them actually became stunningly beautiful with show stopping good looks. It's not what I had in mind when I chose them, it was just an additional gift. I guess a happy creature is a beautiful creature.
 

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I think we like to think we have more control over things than we really do. I researched and researched before finding the breeder of my Jasmine. I wanted to ensure that I was getting a very well-bred GSD with no health/hip problems.

Jasmine had hip dysplasia, spondylosis and bone spurs at the age of 4. Sure, she came with a guarantee, but what was I going to do? Return her after 4 years? Ask for my money back?

Luckily, a change in lifestyle (no steps, for one) and some home remedies (and, later, pain meds) kept her pretty pain-free and fairly active through the years. She died at 9 of cancer.

Years and years ago I purchased for $25 a mixed breed (GSD/Lab) pup born in the backyard of a nasty neighborhood. She was the most even-tempered wonderful intelligent (and healthy) animal in the world. She died at the age of 14.

Do what your gut tells you.
 

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When you adopt from a reputable rescue...the dogs have been living in foster homes...so they know everything about the dog...and will work to match you appropriately.

My first GSD...I had zero exerience...small children...cats...parrot...and I was matched perfectly! She was so wonderful...I went on to add two more rescued GSD's over the years and never regretted it for a second! They were all matched to my situation perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I hate the fact that I keep switching back in forth so I'll just state that I'm learning toward rescue instead of a breeder. The breeder is asking for $1800. If it were $1000, that would be in my reach, but it would take me too long to save up for $1500 (Reserve is $300) with me making payments and saving up for other things. I wish I could find a breeder who, doesn't have to match the quality, but was ethical and sold in the range of $600 to a $1000. :(
 
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