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My boyfriend and I are looking into getting a German Shepherd in the next couple of years. We are probably going to adopt form a German Shepherd Rescue, but I would also like to know some other information incase we want to buy a pup. What would be better for two first time GSD owners who want mainly a famly pet, may be doing some bite work, German Line (not import) show, performance or working line? Or American Line show, performance or working line?

I am really curious as to what the differences really are between them. I have heard that they american bred dogs are very different then the German lined dogs, but I was wondering if anyone has any first hand knowledge about that.


Some information that might help determine what would be best for us:
  • we have a fenced in back yard (about 1/8 of an acre) and an unfences front yard that will most likely be fenced in by the time we decide on another dog (about another 1/8 of an acre)
  • I will be the primary care giver and am the more dominate person, which honestly scares me a little becasue my bf does not seem to grasp the fact that GSD's are a dominate breed and are not Goldens:mad:. He thinks (or at least he constanly says) that a GSD will be a push over like our Golden (and even our Golden doesn't listen to him like he listens to me)
  • Considering I will be out of school by the time we get another dog, I will be able to do the necessary trining classes for as long as the dog needs
  • I would like to do soem sort of activity with the dog (besides and hour walk in the morning and at night) like bite work or agility. Possibly even SAR.
Don't really know what other information to provide that is relevent, but if I left something out please ask.
 

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I am biased, I have a German working line dog. But I have no experience with show lines. If you go with rescue, you may not be able to know the mom and dad. See their lines and hopefully have ofa of hips and elbows.


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I am biased, I have a German working line dog. But I have no experience with show lines. If you go with rescue, you may not be able to know the mom and dad. See their lines and hopefully have ofa of hips and elbows.
Yea I kinda figured if we adopted we wouldn't really know the linage, but hopefully like you said we would at least get the important health info. This is just mainly for if we do decide to get a puppy.

What's the working line like? I know each dog is different, but what are their energy levels like, etc.
 

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Yea I kinda figured if we adopted we wouldn't really know the linage, but hopefully like you said we would at least get the important health info. This is just mainly for if we do decide to get a puppy.

What's the working line like? I know each dog is different, but what are their energy levels like, etc.
My last GSD was a DDR (Technically would be East German working line) and I have to say I am biased toward any type of working line GSD like WGWL (West German Working Line) or even Czech Lines. If you get a Working line (WL) GSD expect it to have higher drive and more energy and I find (this is JMHO) that they are healthier than show lines (SL)(someone correct me if Im wrong in saying that but I believe its correct)... There are also physical difference in the breed most noticeable is the back end, WLs have straight backs their back end does not sag giving the exaggerated "gsd stance" compared to the SLs (IMHO they look so mutated and walk funny it just doesnt seem right to me, but some SL GSD's do not show it that much and those dogs would not be found in the show ring and if they are I think its a fault?)

Anyway do research about the differences in the drives/temperament and energy as well as the physical appearance and see what one floats your boat so to speak.
 

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I would also consider a SL/WL cross. :) My dog is half West German showline and half West German/east German working line. He is a FANTASTIC dog... He can go go go when I want him to but he also settles marvelously in the house and does not go crazy during bad weather if we can't get out of the house(though admittedly that doesn't happen often in SoCal).

I'm assuming by bite work you mean doing Shutzhund? Well I think a SL/WL cross can certainly do it but they may not have the drive to excel at it, though that is a general statement, individual dogs will vary! We are currently doing herding training and he LOVES it and sometimes it's hard to get him to stop. I think he would also love agilty... He's not as large as the full WGSL's, he is 9 months and 63lbs and I'm guessing he'll end up between 70-75lbs.

Anyways, just another option to consider. I wouldn't trade my dog for anything... His temperament has been phenomenal too and so far health wise he's been perfect. You just want to make sure the breeder knows what they're doing when it comes to mixing the lines.
 

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I would also consider a SL/WL cross. :) My dog is half West German showline and half West German/east German working line. He is a FANTASTIC dog... He can go go go when I want him to but he also settles marvelously in the house and does not go crazy during bad weather if we can't get out of the house(though admittedly that doesn't happen often in SoCal).

I'm assuming by bite work you mean doing Shutzhund? Well I think a SL/WL cross can certainly do it but they may not have the drive to excel at it, though that is a general statement, individual dogs will vary! We are currently doing herding training and he LOVES it and sometimes it's hard to get him to stop. I think he would also love agilty... He's not as large as the full WGSL's, he is 9 months and 63lbs and I'm guessing he'll end up between 70-75lbs.

Anyways, just another option to consider. I wouldn't trade my dog for anything... His temperament has been phenomenal too and so far health wise he's been perfect. You just want to make sure the breeder knows what they're doing when it comes to mixing the lines.
Thanks I will look into a cross. Is yours an import or is it american bred with german lines? That's another thing I have been reading, German Imports are more....energetic? i guess is a good word than the German lines and American lines. Where did you get him from if you don't mind me asking?

And yes I meant Shutzhund when I said bite work. Sorry I should have been a little more clear. My bf is more addiment on having the dog do that than I am (though the more videos I watch on it the more my heart soars when I see it. It is amazing watching the dogs and how responsive they are).
 

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Thanks I will look into a cross. Is yours an import or is it american bred with german lines? That's another thing I have been reading, German Imports are more....energetic? i guess is a good word than the German lines and American lines. Where did you get him from if you don't mind me asking?

And yes I meant Shutzhund when I said bite work. Sorry I should have been a little more clear. My bf is more addiment on having the dog do that than I am (though the more videos I watch on it the more my heart soars when I see it. It is amazing watching the dogs and how responsive they are).

I'm not sure them being imported or not would make a difference as they are still the same lines but don't quote me on that. My pups sire(SL)was imported, I know his dam was not but her parents or grand parents may have been.

A lot of people recommend finding a Shutzhund club and seeing the dogs work first and seeing what you like. Shutzhund is a fantastic sport but it takes a lot of dedication and is a fairly big commitment if you actually want to trial. Training is generally at least one day a week and you will be at the club most of the day when you're training. It's one reason why I'm not doing it right now, I don't have the time to dedicate to it. If you really want to do it 'most' rescue dogs(though not always but in general) will not be able to do it... The dog needs a very solid temperament to do bite work. So a dog from a reputable breeder will be your best bet there.

I will PM you some info in my breeder :)
 

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I'm not sure them being imported or not would make a difference as they are still the same lines but don't quote me on that. My pups sire(SL)was imported, I know his dam was not but her parents or grand parents may have been.

A lot of people recommend finding a Shutzhund club and seeing the dogs work first and seeing what you like. Shutzhund is a fantastic sport but it takes a lot of dedication and is a fairly big commitment if you actually want to trial. Training is generally at least one day a week and you will be at the club most of the day when you're training. It's one reason why I'm not doing it right now, I don't have the time to dedicate to it. If you really want to do it 'most' rescue dogs(though not always but in general) will not be able to do it... The dog needs a very solid temperament to do bite work. So a dog from a reputable breeder will be your best bet there.

I will PM you some info in my breeder :)
Yea I knew with a rescue I probably would not be able to do bite work, not to mention that the rescues I was looking at specifically state that if you want to rescue from them the dogs cannot be used for it. Which like I said isn't a huge deal. Just something I would like to look into eventually like with doing SAR work. I still have to graduate college and find a good job before I make any decisions and see what kind of time I will have.
 

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I personally have fostered a working line pup and we placed quite a few dogs in working homes so there are definitely high drive dogs in rescue. In fact, many high drive dogs end up in rescue because their owners can't handle them and breeders don't want them back.

If you are willing to do some legwork you can find pretty much any kind of dog you want in rescue.
 
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