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Discussion Starter #1
When choosing a dog/dog breed what are the most important traits you think you should look into or think others should consider?

Human friendliness
Human aggression
Dog friendliness
Dog aggression
Softness (sensitivity to corrections etc.)
Sensitivity (to sounds etc )
Trainability (More than 1 category?)
Energy levels
Noise level
Roaming/Escaping propensity
Prey drive level
Physical Traits
-Erect/floppy ears
-Grooming requirements
-Size
-Coat type
Separation Anxiety
Sports/working ie. agility, dog diving, herding
 

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I only like working breeds, in general. Not the group, but hounds, herders, retrievers, etc. I like dogs that do stuff.
Are you talking specific or general?
Temperament, intelligence and work ability in general.
Specifically? Not sure. But I can tell you that I seem to like the ones no one else does and I'm fine with aggression as long as it's appropriate.
I guess if I think about Sabs, I like loyalty, work ethic, courage, intelligence, adaptability and attitude.
Done rambling now. Show me your list!
Looked at your list.
Like dogs big enough to not trip over, don't care about looks, don't do grooming beyond brushing. Beyond that I'm easy to please. Could live with lower prey drive since I don't kill things, but not a deal breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No. 1: Non human aggressive.
Is that something you look for in individual dogs or as a breed trait?


I only like working breeds, in general. Not the group, but hounds, herders, retrievers, etc. I like dogs that do stuff.
Are you talking specific or general?
Temperament, intelligence and work ability in general.
Specifically? Not sure. But I can tell you that I seem to like the ones no one else does and I'm fine with aggression as long as it's appropriate.
I guess if I think about Sabs, I like loyalty, work ethic, courage, intelligence, adaptability and attitude.
Done rambling now. Show me your list!
Looked at your list.
Like dogs big enough to not trip over, don't care about looks, don't do grooming beyond brushing. Beyond that I'm easy to please. Could live with lower prey drive since I don't kill things, but not a deal breaker.

I think both specific and general is good. General as in like the overall traits you would consider when choosing a breed for yourself and specific as in what you look for in specific pairings or dogs. Since it can definitely get a lot more specific then.

Also liking dogs big enough not to trip over, I've tripped over my dad's english mastiff. The jerk likes to lay down in the way and lift his head when you step over him. Also he ran into me once going full speed when he was younger. Not tripping but I still ended up on the ground. 😂
 

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I think one trait that is not particularly selected for because of the focus on drive for the working lines and structure for the show lines, is native intelligence. There was a video online of a GSD running down a neighborhood road after his owners house caught on fire at night. He found a driver who happened to have a dash cam and the dog went up to the vehicle clearly barking in a distressed manner and the driver realized the dog was seeking help. The dog frantically ran back to his owners home which was at least a half a mile away and the camera showed the dog racing back to his house and the helper was able to help get the people out. You could see the house ablaze. I have had some pretty smart GSDs over the years and my current dog is very smart, but I have never had a GSD that I think was capable of that type of reasoning.
 

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Is that something you look for in individual dogs or as a breed trait?





I think both specific and general is good. General as in like the overall traits you would consider when choosing a breed for yourself and specific as in what you look for in specific pairings or dogs. Since it can definitely get a lot more specific then.

Also liking dogs big enough not to trip over, I've tripped over my dad's english mastiff. The jerk likes to lay down in the way and lift his head when you step over him. Also he ran into me once going full speed when he was younger. Not tripping but I still ended up on the ground. 😂
Well, I've owned all sorts of messed up crosses over the years. And the pack that I lived with as a child were very diverse.
Wrong Dog was probably the weirdest dog I have ever seen. One ear pricked, one straight down, cream and tan patches on a white coat, some wire hair and some long, one blue eye and one brown, built like a setter with a terrier head and legs like a lab. Lol. But smart, loyal, quiet and very willing. Protective and fearless, with a great sense of humor.
Dog always looked to me like a cross between an Elkhound and a GSD. size and shape and coat of an Elkhound with a sabley color, sort of dark brown and black, loved that dog. Wicked smart, tracked like a genius and absolutely determined to stay with me.
Intelligence is my only real want in a dog. And minimal grooming. And big enough to not die if I fall on it. And mostly all weather. And energetic enough to get off the couch. And courageous. And not yappy.
Ok I'm pickier then I thought.
And I empathize with getting knocked down. My Dane took me out a few times.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think one trait that is not particularly selected for because of the focus on drive for the working lines and structure for the show lines, is native intelligence. There was a video online of a GSD running down a neighborhood road after his owners house caught on fire at night. He found a driver who happened to have a dash cam and the dog went up to the vehicle clearly barking in a distressed manner and the driver realized the dog was seeking help. The dog frantically ran back to his owners home which was at least a half a mile away and the camera showed the dog racing back to his house and the helper was able to help get the people out. You could see the house ablaze. I have had some pretty smart GSDs over the years and my current dog is very smart, but I have never had a GSD that I think was capable of that type of reasoning.
How do you think you could select for native intelligence like that? It seems like it would be hard to create scenarios to observe that trait and is it even something that could be bred for? Or are some dogs just a little more special than the rest?

Well, I've owned all sorts of messed up crosses over the years. And the pack that I lived with as a child were very diverse.
Wrong Dog was probably the weirdest dog I have ever seen. One ear pricked, one straight down, cream and tan patches on a white coat, some wire hair and some long, one blue eye and one brown, built like a setter with a terrier head and legs like a lab. Lol. But smart, loyal, quiet and very willing. Protective and fearless, with a great sense of humor.
Dog always looked to me like a cross between an Elkhound and a GSD. size and shape and coat of an Elkhound with a sabley color, sort of dark brown and black, loved that dog. Wicked smart, tracked like a genius and absolutely determined to stay with me.
Intelligence is my only real want in a dog. And minimal grooming. And big enough to not die if I fall on it. And mostly all weather. And energetic enough to get off the couch. And courageous. And not yappy.
Ok I'm pickier then I thought.
And I empathize with getting knocked down. My Dane took me out a few times.
Wrong Dog sounds like a hilarious and very good dog. It's awesome you were able to have him in his life. Also I'm not gonna call you picky, you just know exactly what you like and what you don't like in a dog. I think it's good to know and be aware of preferences instead of not understanding why some dogs just don't work.

I can't say I got knocked down by our great dane but I'm sure I got bruises from that whip they call a tail. Whenever I think I could potentially own one again I remember that. Love the blue merle on them.
 

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How do you think you could select for native intelligence like that? It seems like it would be hard to create scenarios to observe that trait and is it even something that could be bred for? Or are some dogs just a little more special than the rest?



Wrong Dog sounds like a hilarious and very good dog. It's awesome you were able to have him in his life. Also I'm not gonna call you picky, you just know exactly what you like and what you don't like in a dog. I think it's good to know and be aware of preferences instead of not understanding why some dogs just don't work.

I can't say I got knocked down by our great dane but I'm sure I got bruises from that whip they call a tail. Whenever I think I could potentially own one again I remember that. Love the blue merle on them.
That tail! OMG! I looked like an abuse victim, I had welts and bruises all over my legs. She dented my fridge!

Of all the dogs I had Sabi was the only one I saw display the type of intelligence that Chip is speaking of. She actually reasoned. She formulated plans. It was cool to watch and a pita to work with.
 

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I like a bold dog. Feisty. One that has a sense of humor, kind of silly. No nervous, skittery dogs for me. I show and groom dogs, so how a dog looks is important to me. I don’t want a dog that hurts my eyes, haha.

I think I’ve described Scarlet.
 

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A dog I can trust with my family and enjoy. Intelligence that do give you those lassie like moments - (not wanting to experience those overtly serious moments). Has to be mentally present when ball is away. I like nothing jittery or nervous and no hyperness. I can’t live with that. Boldness and Charm is very important and fun with a good brain nothing dangerously impulsive and just enough edge - not dull but -nothing to exhausting. Needs to settle a must. Versatile. I like a protective instinct nothing that can cause great harm but enough to get the point across. Affectionate a ham. Nice looking dog. Hmm I can see who I am describing.
 

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I think one trait that is not particularly selected for because of the focus on drive for the working lines and structure for the show lines, is native intelligence. There was a video online of a GSD running down a neighborhood road after his owners house caught on fire at night. He found a driver who happened to have a dash cam and the dog went up to the vehicle clearly barking in a distressed manner and the driver realized the dog was seeking help. The dog frantically ran back to his owners home which was at least a half a mile away and the camera showed the dog racing back to his house and the helper was able to help get the people out. You could see the house ablaze. I have had some pretty smart GSDs over the years and my current dog is very smart, but I have never had a GSD that I think was capable of that type of reasoning.
Do you think this may have something to do with breeding with little to no focus on herding while concentrating on traits to excel in sport or other work venues?
 

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For me, when I consider a breed or an individual dog, I look specifically for one that is not skittish, nervous, or overly soft. To be honest, soft dogs kind of drive me nuts. I like a dog that is ready to get up and go, not lazy but not so high energy that they’re hard to live with, and one that has a commanding presence. Another main thing I look for is a one-person dog. I have a golden retriever and I can’t tell you how much I hate dogs that love everyone as if they’re best friends. I truly despise it. Hence why I gravitated toward German shepherds!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Do you think this may have something to do with breeding with little to no focus on herding while concentrating on traits to excel in sport or other work venues?
This is something I have really considered! It's kind of why I wanted to try bringing back some herding traits but to be honest there's a real reason some of that is bred away from. At the same time GSDs still exhibit a lot of the issues herding dogs can have such as the weak nerved fear biting and controlling/intolerance of other dogs. might as well keep the benefits right?
When you aren't actually working the dogs in that way then it's pretty easy to lose those traits. The GSD back home does show some natural tending style herding instincts. She isn't what I'd call a good example of the breed though. Although she did protect one of our cats from a neighbors dog by pinning it to the ground which is highly unusual behavior for her as she's an obnoxiously friendly dog overall to people and other animals. Besides when her herding traits come out and she wants to control the game that's being played when there are 2 other dogs. Even then she isn't aggressive just tries to be bossy.
 

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This is something I have really considered! It's kind of why I wanted to try bringing back some herding traits but to be honest there's a real reason some of that is bred away from. At the same time GSDs still exhibit a lot of the issues herding dogs can have such as the weak nerved fear biting and controlling/intolerance of other dogs. might as well keep the benefits right?
When you aren't actually working the dogs in that way then it's pretty easy to lose those traits. The GSD back home does show some natural tending style herding instincts. She isn't what I'd call a good example of the breed though. Although she did protect one of our cats from a neighbors dog by pinning it to the ground which is highly unusual behavior for her as she's an obnoxiously friendly dog overall to people and other animals. Besides when her herding traits come out and she wants to control the game that's being played when there are 2 other dogs. Even then she isn't aggressive just tries to be bossy.
I really disagree with dog aggression in herders vs workingline. Most of my research and experience in that area has pointed to breeders of herding dogs to be fierce in selecting away from dog aggression and exhibiting low tolerance for it, even female female. Their dogs MUST get along or tolerate working with or near other dogs where workingline for other venues view it as a nuisance tolerated to maintain other qualities or they give up those traits to achieve dog tolerance.
 

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I really disagree with dog aggression in herders vs workingline. Most of my research and experience in that area has pointed to breeders of herding dogs to be fierce in selecting away from dog aggression and exhibiting low tolerance for it, even female female. Their dogs MUST get along or tolerate working with or near other dogs where workingline for other venues view it as a nuisance tolerated to maintain other qualities or they give up those traits to achieve dog tolerance.
I know a lot of dogs that can work together but they aren't good together otherwise. The drive to herd overrides any squabbles they may have with each other. Aggression is apparently a larger issue than I thought in aussies. Keep in mind though I only said its an issue they can have as in you can see it a lot in herding dogs, you can't select against something if it isn't there. I fully agree it's something that should be worked against. But a lot of these dogs have strong personalities that can clash. When you get two dogs that won't back down from a fight/challenge you can have problems. I'm not talking about dog aggression as in the dog goes looking for fights though. Like they see another dog and they're going to go and try to kill it. Just that two herding dogs are more likely to fight than say two labs. I will say from what I've been hearing the working lines and poorly bred GSDs seem to be getting more into the realm of dog reactivity/ they will go try to attack another dog. Versus just being more likely to be a dog that ends up in a fight.

I've laso seen herding dog breeders excuse a lot of traits I don't like if the dog is capable of working. If you go out to ranches with a lot of dogs you're probably going to see kennels to kennel up at least some of them.
 

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#1 trait(s) for me, both in breed and individual dogs, is soundness & adaptability.

It isn’t possible to introduce and regularly expose a dog to everything it may encounter in its life... and where I have the patience and skill to work through any fear or reservations that come up, I do this enough at work and have no interest in making it a part of my routine with my personal dogs. [edit to add: at the very least, resilience]

Something I’ve enjoyed immensely with Keystone is his down for whatever attitude... we’ve gone on 20 mile hikes, we’ve stayed in the house with no walks for days at a time, he handles downtown San Francisco in the same manner as the rural desert or forest, camping, boating, surfaces, obstacles, kids, livestock, road trips, hotels, friends homes, etc etc - I don’t ever have to “think twice” about any situation I’m going to put him in outside of normal safety considerations and logistics.

I’d like to say it’s our bond, or the 12.5% cattle dog... whatever it is, it works!
 

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I think the true herding lines which the breed was selected for had great native intelligence and the trait of genetic obedience where the dogs had an instinctive ability to work with the Shepherd without a lot of training. Those lines are gone thanks to the SV. Same for the working lines when the SV split became prominent and dogs like Bernd and Bodo von Lierberg we rejected for stupid things that had to do with physical appearance. Then schutzhund changed from a breed worthiness test to an obedience sport that selected for prey drive and ignored native intelligence. Today’s sport are based largely on operant learning, which still requires native intelligence, but it has a shallow quality because competitors are looking for behaviors that are not natural. I always try to use phrases outside of training for sport to elicit a different type of learning. For example, my dog knows what “find it” means. I recently lost a slipper in my house and showed him the slipper I had and let him smell it. I was skeptical but kept encouraging to find it and he did. So I think there needs to be parallel training such as performance for a sport and challenging your dog and teaching him phrases beyond obedience commands and setting up scenarios to test that type of learning. But I don’t thinking breeding will be effected that much by that approach. You here about GSDs that are so driven their stupid handlers play with a ball on a high rise parking lot and the dog chases the ball off the parking lot falling to his death. There needs to be balance in breeding.
 
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