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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
^^ Hello again, to those who've responded to my previous threads (I've got plenty more questions were those came from!), I'm back with something that I have very little understanding of. Working Lines and Show Lines, also it seems as though German Shepherds from DDR (East German), differ from Czechoslovakian Lines (Czech) German Shepherds.

What I want to know is what they are, (I have found a link that explains it, but its still a bit fuzzy) and how can I possibly choose which one would be best for me and my family?

List of loose requirements for my GSD as of September 25th, 2010:

*Suitable for Personal Protection Work
*Suitable for Schultzhund Competitions (trials?)
*Makes a good family pet

What type of German Shepherd should I be looking for? Will I have to sacrifice one of the three in favor of the PP work or Schultzhund Competitions? If it's absolutely necessary, then I'm fine with that.

Ah, here's the link I found explaining a little of it.
Quality Breeders of Large German Shepherds
 

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Any GSD will be good for personal protection of your family without a doubt and most would chose a working line dog for Schutzhund, but your average working line dog takes awhile to become a great family pet. All that drive makes for a hyper nippy puppy who will need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation from you. Schutzhund is like having a part time job on top of your full time job and is pretty expensive. If you have the time and money go for it, but even a great working pup is not exactly born to be a schutzhund dog. That is going to take a lot of determination and training on your part. Why not visit a few clubs in your area and get a feel for the sport and the dogs. Thats really going to be the best way to decide what kind of dog your looking for and for what purposes you really want the dog:)
 

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I would get a working line. If you are really interested in Schutzhund and being competitive, that should be your focus. It is more stylized than other types of training and requires the right genetics and foundation (how you raise, socialize, and initially train). Once you get on your way in SchH you will know enough about your particular dog to branch out into other protection work. Keep in mind that there are liabilities that come with having a real, trained personal protection dog.

I don't think that raising a good SchH prospect has to be different or more difficult than any other type. Drive is not the same as hectic behaviors or hyper activity. I've seen some really nice, well bred working line puppies that had great manners and were not difficult puppies.
 

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Like Liesje said, go with the working line. I have had both working and just your average pet line and I love the working line. To me they seem to be fast learners and willing to learn.
 

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i would definitely say go with working line if those are your goals. I have a showline girl and she is not even close to suited for anything except a family pet. She's a little slow on the learning too. She's not high drive for anything except food and attention. She doesnt like to play fetch or chase anything. She's the first of my dogs to hide and she's VERY friendly with everyone and everything. She's my chicken dog. Zena is my working line girl, she has the protection instinct down pat and the drive to learn readily. Riley is a mix and if i had to guess i would say his GSD side is from working lines given his temperment. Shasta's dad is from germany but i would say he was more showlines. I'm anxiously waiting for the day i can bring home my working line male. I have a few breeders in mind too but until i'm able, i'm not seriously looking. Okay now i'm babbling. Go with working line. I know there are tons of people on this board that prefer the DDR lines over the Czech lines. To my knowledge you can even find working lines with both DDR and Czech lines in there.
 

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You have to prioritize and understand what you mean when you say "Personal Protection Dog" as well as family pet.

Can you get all 3? Yes. But you probably won't know it until the dog is older. It is very difficult to get a puppy and know that it will be good for Personal Protection Work. Understand what you are asking for there. A Personal Protection Dog generally has a high level of suspicion and will engage a stranger without equipment. The purpose of a true Personal Protection Dog is to buy you time to get a gun or call for help. If all you really want is a dog that barks and looks the part most any dog will do. However...those kind of protection drives do not really emerge until the dog is mature (after 2 years of age).

If you want a SchH dog, your best bet is a working line. You should go visit some clubs and see the dogs so you understand what goes into that.

Family pet. Did you see this thread? http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...nd-trainging-pet-trainging-4.html#post1912378 I think it does a nice job of pointing out the differences in rearing a working puppy versus the average family pet. I stand by what I said there... SchH puppies are terrible family pets. SchH dogs are the best. So after a year or so of training your dog will probably be excellent in the home...it's getting there that's will be the hard part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To Zoey's Mom: Just to be clear, working line dogs CAN become good family pets while still having a job or doing Shutzhund, right? o.o

To Liesje: Thank you for the advice! I've already located several Shutzhund clubs in my area (though they're all about an hour away from where I currently live), and I'll give them each a call tomorrow, to see if I can drop by for a visit. =)

KZoppa: =D Chicken dog! Awww. She sounds like a wonderful girl nonetheless! I love the name Zena. A strong, powerful, mentally sound dog automatically comes to mind...

Castlemaid: A big THANK YOU for the articles! I've just finished the one explaining the working and show/American and german lines, and it's cleared things right up. I'm definitely searching for a Working Line GSD if I want to do the Shutzhund/Personal Protection Training. On to the next article!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A Personal Protection Dog generally has a high level of suspicion and will engage a stranger without equipment. The purpose of a true Personal Protection Dog is to buy you time to get a gun or call for help. If all you really want is a dog that barks and looks the part most any dog will do. However...those kind of protection drives do not really emerge until the dog is mature (after 2 years of age).
I know what you're saying, but yes, my family and I honestly want a TRUE Personal Protection Dog. It would be great to never have a NEED for one, the knowledge that my dog will be able to protect me when my life and wellbeing is threatened no matter where we are, is something I'm willing to go to any lengths to achieve. Even if it takes a year+, that's fine. Thanks for the link, checking out that thread now!
 

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KZoppa: =D Chicken dog! Awww. She sounds like a wonderful girl nonetheless! I love the name Zena. A strong, powerful, mentally sound dog automatically comes to mind...

lol yeah Shelby is my chicken girl. Zena is my (well my inlaws now but hopefully mine again soon!) protector girl. She's my perfect dog. Excellent with kids, cats, most other dogs with proper introductions. Long as other dogs dont start any trouble she's cool with them. She's a pretty good dog. Shelby is a good girl but would rather hide than face anything... including the big fierce 7 lb cat that was raised by Zena lol!!! Shelby never met Zena so i'm curious to see how my girls would do when they do meet in february.

this is my Zena dog. her attitude and build tell me she is from working lines though probably a BYB case as her hips arent soo good but she gets the job done very nicely!



and this is my chicken dog Shelby. She's my showline girl. I was told she was from a local breeder, whom i can safely assume was a BYB because they told her previous owners that if they didnt take her, Shelby would be drowned as she was "useless" to the BYB. Shelby is a very sweet girl. Only issue we have with her is she suffers from seperation anxiety but we're working on it.



the cat in the picture is the 7lb terror cat. lol. She's a sweet cat but doesnt take ANYTHING from the dogs. She'll love on them and accept kisses from them but will smack them around if they get too nosey with her too. She's the cat Zena raised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
To KZoppa: Awww! Such cutie pies! (the little girl and the dog) I love the little pink tongue poking out of Zena's mouth! A 7lb terror! LOL! (actually made me laugh out loud) Oh that must be a sight to see! A 7lb cat putting two big dogs in their places! I can only imagine what that must look like. Such pretty girls. Gosh I'm loving this breed more and more every time I see them. =P
And that 7lb terror has such long, wonderful whiskers! (Oh yes, I am a cat-lover as well as a dog-lover)
 

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To KZoppa: Awww! Such cutie pies! (the little girl and the dog) I love the little pink tongue poking out of Zena's mouth! A 7lb terror! LOL! (actually made me laugh out loud) Oh that must be a sight to see! A 7lb cat putting two big dogs in their places! I can only imagine what that must look like. Such pretty girls. Gosh I'm loving this breed more and more every time I see them. =P
And that 7lb terror has such long, wonderful whiskers! (Oh yes, I am a cat-lover as well as a dog-lover)

Faith being raised by Zena, i think she understands dogs better than she understands cats. She puts out other cat directly in his place. Kicks his furry butt all over the house!!! I'm a dog and cat lover myself. Grew up with cats my entire life. Moved out after high school and we got Riley. No pictures of him up as he's camera shy (more angry than shy lol). Here's a better picture of Zena. You can see what i mean by her build resembling working lines more than showlines. Compare her with Shelby and i'm sure you'll see and obvious difference.





Zena weighs roughly 85 lbs and Shelby wont ever top 70 and thats a fat weight for her at 70 lbs. She's roughly 65 lbs but i'd lean more towards her being 60. She's a pretty light weight girl compared to Zena.
 

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I just wanted to add this little note: German Shepherds will protect you no matter what.Its one of the many reasons why we people(here on this board and off this board) love this breed so much.

May I ask why you are so persistent that the dog needs to be a or rather become a Personal Protection Dog?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
To Jessiewessie99: I suppose partially because I want the reassurance that my dog will be able to assess the situation and act accordingly if they need to. If I can be absolutely sure that my dog will protect me if I'm honestly in any danger, then I guess I don't have to go the extra ten miles to train them for protection work (which sounds like a heck of a lot of work, from what I've been reading). I suppose what I'm looking for is more of a guarantee that I'll have someone to trust/rely on in any kind of dangerous situation I might be thrown into.

Nothing is set in stone as of yet though, even the breed of dog I could be getting (Dad keeps pushing for a Malinois or a Dutch Shepherd). However, I'll keep talking with my family to discuss if it's TRULY necessary for me to get a protection dog/train a dog for personal protection, and I will get back to you all. =) I appreciate everyone's input and advice nonetheless. It's really been helpful to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To KZoppa: Oh YES. I can definitely tell! In personality I'm quite fond of Zena, but in overall appearance, I think I'm favoring the smaller, lighter Shelby. They're both so pretty though.
 

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I think its important to distinguish between the different types of protection work. If you are interested in a dog that will bark when strangers walk by the house, then sure, all GSDs are great. The same can not be said for a dog that will go through protection training and be counted on to attack on command, etc.
 

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To KZoppa: Oh YES. I can definitely tell! In personality I'm quite fond of Zena, but in overall appearance, I think I'm favoring the smaller, lighter Shelby. They're both so pretty though.

you can find a GSD with Shelby's build and Zena's personality. Its harder to do but it is possible. I can tell you for a fact though that the food requirements for my girls is only different because Shelby isn't spayed therefore her metabolism is slighly higher. But Zena is a chow hound. when she's home with us she'll get about 2 cups a day. When she's with my inlaws like now, she's only getting about 1 cup a day. She's pretty lazy most of the time but boy when she wants to, she's got the energy of a puppy. Both Shelby and Zena are great with kids. Zena learned commands pretty quickly whereas Shelby has been a little slower but i attribute that to the fact she's a year old and therefore still a puppy so is kinda scatter brained. I would definitely suggest to talking with some of the workling line breeders on this site and see if they have any suggestions for you. Its very possible that they'll be able to help you find a dog with the lighter build but the working drive.


This is Zena when my daughter was about 7 or 8 months old. one of the previous pictures is my daughter with Zena when my daughter at 2 years old. Zena is about 6 or 7 years old. in that picture.
 

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To Jessiewessie99: I suppose partially because I want the reassurance that my dog will be able to assess the situation and act accordingly if they need to. If I can be absolutely sure that my dog will protect me if I'm honestly in any danger, then I guess I don't have to go the extra ten miles to train them for protection work (which sounds like a heck of a lot of work, from what I've been reading). I suppose what I'm looking for is more of a guarantee that I'll have someone to trust/rely on in any kind of dangerous situation I might be thrown into.

Nothing is set in stone as of yet though, even the breed of dog I could be getting (Dad keeps pushing for a Malinois or a Dutch Shepherd). However, I'll keep talking with my family to discuss if it's TRULY necessary for me to get a protection dog/train a dog for personal protection, and I will get back to you all. =) I appreciate everyone's input and advice nonetheless. It's really been helpful to me.
Your dad really needs to research these breeds. Mals and Dutchies are very, very high energy and not so easy for a newbie to train. They are even a handful for experienced handlers.
Any one of the breeds you are interested in will be a deterrent, but crazy criminals will take out a dog if they are determined. The dog should just be able to give you time to get out your gun if you are placed in such a situation. I would keep researching as much as possible, take your time look at different bloodlines.

Go to Schutzhund(not SchuLtshund) clubs around you. OH & PA have several, driving a couple hours to a club is the norm...
 

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I suppose partially because I want the reassurance that my dog will be able to assess the situation and act accordingly if they need to. If I can be absolutely sure that my dog will protect me if I'm honestly in any danger, then I guess I don't have to go the extra ten miles to train them for protection work (which sounds like a heck of a lot of work, from what I've been reading). I suppose what I'm looking for is more of a guarantee that I'll have someone to trust/rely on in any kind of dangerous situation I might be thrown into.
From the sounds of it you're looking for a dog that doubles as a bodyguard, is that right?

GSD's are naturally protective but not to the extent you might be thinking about unless they've been trained extensively.
Are you willing or in a position to wait out the time it takes to train your own dog or are you looking for one that's already trained?
 

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Currently we (my family) owns 7 German Shepherds. 4 from working lines and 3 from showlines. All are currently at some stage in Schutzhund training. (Our youngest is a 15week old bitch, the oldest is a 9yo male). The 3 showline dogs are our first non-working line dogs ever. Long story, but we imported a SchH1 female for some friends and they decided they wanted to breed her (she is Kkl 1). While looking into studs, it is hard to find a way to mix working and showlines so we ended up breeding her to a nice showline male here in town that had already been bred to a 3/4 sister of the female we had so we could get an idea of what we would get. The showline dogs are a bit less "hard" and are great dogs for a novice trainer (we gave one to our 13yo daughter who is working toward a SchH1). The working line dogs are a bit more to handle, but are more fun (for us) to work. I think the true secret to finding the right dog for your situation is to visit some SchH clubs, and get idea of what you are looking for. Get to know breeders, find one who understands and supports what you are looking for in a dog and then hope for the best. Sorry to say, but once the pup leaves the breeder, the rest is really up to you, your ability to raise the pup and your desire to put the work into it. I've seen pups from fabulous breedings become skittish idiots as well as pups from so-so parentage become great ambassadors for the breed. The handler and the training can absolutely make or break it.
Annette
 
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