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I am a first-time GSD owner and I can say that a working line is a good family dog. There are challenges though and you will have to devote some time for them as they are a bundle of energy.

When I was choosing the type of dog I will get, my brother who cared for pitbull until its 14th year, told me to just choose a dog that will fit my character. I am active, playful and fond of doing things with nature. So I got a GSD. His activeness, playfulness and his love for nature fits mine. We both enjoy our times together.
 

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My 7 month-old is all working line and so far has been an absolutely wonderful family pet. We have a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old boy, and while they all need supervision around the pup, everything has been fine and there haven’t been any serious incidents whatsoever.
Our puppy loves to play, a lot, talks back and can be pushy, but I don’t think him being of working line stock makes him any more difficult around the house than any other kind of dog. On the contrary, he’s remarkably well behaved and obedient, and we haven’t had any trouble with him at all so far. Knock on wood! He’s never even tried to chew on any of our leather or wood furniture, and potty and crate training was effortless. Everyone who meets him comments about how well behaved and calm he is.
 

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That is harder to do than say. Good breeders also ask a lot for pups because they put a lot into them. We are going through that problem right now. The breedings that look good cost an arm and two legs.
Say a poor breeding done by an inexperienced byb costs a $1000 and a great breeding done by a very experienced/reputable breeder cost $2000.

You own the dog for 12-13 years. This is a difference of less than $100/year or a couple of bags of dog food, to get a dog that is well bred and having the confidence in advance that the breeder is competent - and trustworthy - enough to select the correct pup for your needs. This is a no brainer in IMO.
 

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Hi there. I'm by no means an expert on GSDs, but we've had 3. Our current female is a long hair GSD. Her disposition is so different from our previous 2 short haired GSDs. She's now only 15 months, but she is super sweet with everyone and any other furry members of our family. I spoke with a breeder about this and was told that the long haired GSD are usually are less intense. This is mostly because the working line GSD are usually short coats so when they are longer coats it generally means the bloodline has been tempered with a lower drive line allowing for the sweetness. If it had known this when our kids were younger, I definitely would have gone for a long hair pup. She's still very protective, but without the intensity and aloofness of our previous two pups.
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Hi there. I'm by no means an expert on GSDs, but we've had 3. Our current female is a long hair GSD. Her disposition is so different from our previous 2 short haired GSDs. She's now only 15 months, but she is super sweet with everyone and any other furry members of our family. I spoke with a breeder about this and was told that the long haired GSD are usually are less intense. This is mostly because the working line GSD are usually short coats so when they are longer coats it generally means the bloodline has been tempered with a lower drive line allowing for the sweetness. If it had known this when our kids were younger, I definitely would have gone for a long hair pup. She's still very protective, but without the intensity and aloofness of our previous two pups. View attachment 559740

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Sounds like a poor breeder who has no clue what they are talking about.
 

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There are many very knowledgeable people on this forum and I am sure you will be well served heeding their advice. I do not pretend to have any great knowledge of the breed. I can only relate my personal experience. I have had four pure bred GSDs as family pets over the years. The first was 5 years old when our only child was born. She was a rescue, 1 yr old when we adopted her. Our second rescue GSD was 9 months old when we adopted him (our son was 7 then). The next was a puppy we purchased from a breeder when he was 4 months old. And our fourth, we adopted from a rescue a year ago. Each has been an only dog living with two cats and a growing boy (who is now 17). The only one of those four GSDs we could not live with was the puppy we purchased, a working line GSD with a very impressive pedigree. He was way too intense, energetic, and had a very high prey drive. We ended up returning him to the breeder. Now, he was a puppy, and may have settled over time, but he so stressed out our household that after we returned him, my husband and I broke out a bottle of wine to celebrate his departure! I've never been so stressed by a dog in my life. To say he was not a good fit for our household would be an understatement. Whether or not this was due to his working line pedigree, I can't say for sure. Since our three rescues were strays, I know nothing of their pedigrees, but feel fairly confident they were show line. The first two, and our current one, were all super sweet and mostly laid back. I think one thing that helped, as a previous commenter mentioned, is that being around a year old when they came into our lives allowed us to see their "grown up" personalities. The rescues were great about matching temperament to our family situation. This has been my experience for what it's worth. Just take your time and do your research and I'm sure you'll find a great dog. Admittedly, we did not do enough research in our puppy search to our deep regret.
 

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Perhaps she put it in layman’s terms for me. They have been breeding GSD for 25 years and are AKC club members. Our pup was a rescue GSD so they had no reason to misinform.
 

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There are many very knowledgeable people on this forum and I am sure you will be well served heeding their advice. I do not pretend to have any great knowledge of the breed. I can only relate my personal experience. I have had four pure bred GSDs as family pets over the years. The first was 5 years old when our only child was born. She was a rescue, 1 yr old when we adopted her. Our second rescue GSD was 9 months old when we adopted him (our son was 7 then). The next was a puppy we purchased from a breeder when he was 4 months old. And our fourth, we adopted from a rescue a year ago. Each has been an only dog living with two cats and a growing boy (who is now 17). The only one of those four GSDs we could not live with was the puppy we purchased, a working line GSD with a very impressive pedigree. He was way too intense, energetic, and had a very high prey drive. We ended up returning him to the breeder. Now, he was a puppy, and may have settled over time, but he so stressed out our household that after we returned him, my husband and I broke out a bottle of wine to celebrate his departure! I've never been so stressed by a dog in my life. To say he was not a good fit for our household would be an understatement. Whether or not this was due to his working line pedigree, I can't say for sure. Since our three rescues were strays, I know nothing of their pedigrees, but feel fairly confident they were show line. The first two, and our current one, were all super sweet and mostly laid back. I think one thing that helped, as a previous commenter mentioned, is that being around a year old when they came into our lives allowed us to see their "grown up" personalities. The rescues were great about matching temperament to our family situation. This has been my experience for what it's worth. Just take your time and do your research and I'm sure you'll find a great dog. Admittedly, we did not do enough research in our puppy search to our deep regret.
I'm confused. You have had 4 dogs in 21 years that did not overlap?
This sounds more like you want the looks of a GSD without the personality. And I am not being mean, just honest.
A well bred GSD is a good fit in any home, but you need to want one. To be fair a good breeder should be able to match a pup, and mistakes do get made. But that sounds really extreme.
 

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we have a 4 yr old dark sable female (our third sable in 30 years) Who is 100% working line with father a ScH3 and mother a ScH1. She can be very intense, but has a reliable off switch and is very affectionate. She is completely trustworthy off leash and is the best family pet we have ever had. like Most GSDs she is pretty verbal, has strong ball drive and is naturally good with small children. She didn’t become like this without work, but it is actually pretty easy. Aggression, in my opinion, is mainly a result of insecurity. Koko has never been mistreated, knows what is expected of her, and as a result she is very self confident, Which makes her easy to handle. In fairness I think we had a lot to work with, and that is why finding a great breeder is 50% of the battle.
 

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Sabi's Mom - Are you calling me a liar? As I said, we returned the puppy, so only had for a few months. First GSD lived to be 12, 2nd was 8 when passed from cancer, 4th is currently 2 yrs. So yes, 4 since 1998 with no overlap. All I can say to your honestly judgmental post is "to each their own." Maybe you're right. All three rescues past and current were and are generally laid back. I want a dog I can play with, pet, walk with, and just generally enjoy. That's not for you - fine. I have and do love all three and would not want any others. I don't want a dog I have to dominate.
 

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Sabi's Mom - Are you calling me a liar? As I said, we returned the puppy, so only had for a few months. First GSD lived to be 12, 2nd was 8 when passed from cancer, 4th is currently 2 yrs. So yes, 4 since 1998 with no overlap. All I can say to your honestly judgmental post is "to each their own." Maybe you're right. All three rescues past and current were and are generally laid back. I want a dog I can play with, pet, walk with, and just generally enjoy. That's not for you - fine. I have and do love all three and would not want any others. I don't want a dog I have to dominate.
Settle down. As I said, confused. You clarified. Relax.
As to the rest, right. To each their own. But again it sounds a lot like you want a German Shepherd that behaves like something else.
It's great that you love your dogs, but maybe not fair to judge the breed by them.
 

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I would also say this one last thing on the subject - there are a lot of GSDs that end up in rescues. These dogs can make wonderful family pets whether they have the GSD "personality" or not. These dogs deserve good homes. What would you propose we do with them - euthanize them all just because they are BYB?
 

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Hi everyone,

We are looking for a GSD and wanted to get some general advice. We've done lots of research – talked to several breeders, but it's hard to know who to trust given many might just be telling us we want to hear, and hard to know what will be best for us in the future. We are trying to make the best decision overall and could use some input.

About us: We are a family of four. We have two young kids and are both active in our day-to-day lives. We both have strong personalities and feel confident about our ability to train/manage and raise our GSD. We would like a dog that can play with us, take a hike once or twice a week, protect, but also relax with us and watch a movie/cuddle on the couch. A dog that we won't have to worry about biting us or others. A dog with a mild drive that is well suitable for a family vs training for an IPO.

We have spoken to several breeders – all breeders seem nice, knowledgable, but I wonder if they are telling us what we want to hear.....The reason I mention this is when in conversation with K9 trainers, showline breeders, they all seem shocked when we mention we are considering a workingline breed. I realize these may be political jabs because they don't like the particular breeder we are considering. But should we be concerned by this? Specifically, this happens when we mention breeders who's dogs are titled and train for IPO's

In short, can a workingline be a good family pet? Who is telling the truth? Based on what you know about us, what/who do you recommend for us? We are just a little confused and are wondering how we can determine who will be the best breeder for us....and how we can determine temperament/suitability over the phone or in person.

Also happily accepting referrals in California (North preferred but can travel as far as SD.

Thank you for your help
I’ve been breeding for 23 years and my husband was a K9 instructor in Germany. From your description of what you are looking for in a dog you’ll want to look for the show line German Shepherd. There are a sone good breeders out there who produce wonderful dogs. Shield Kennels is one in CO. von Wa-Bo is in California also
 

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Say a poor breeding done by an inexperienced byb costs a $1000 and a great breeding done by a very experienced/reputable breeder cost $2000.

You own the dog for 12-13 years. This is a difference of less than $100/year or a couple of bags of dog food, to get a dog that is well bred and having the confidence in advance that the breeder is competent - and trustworthy - enough to select the correct pup for your needs. This is a no brainer in IMO.
The good breedings I am seeing are starting out at about $5500 and I won't buy from a byb.
 

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Price for a working line averages around $2000. It's about what my free puppy cost in the first 3 weeks I had her.
I get that that it's not pocket change for most but I don't know that it's an arm and two legs.
The good breedings I am looking at are around $5500 and up.
 

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So do vet bills, behaviorists and lawsuits 😬
No breeder will guarantee you won't have vet bills - especially after so many years. Behaviorists (dog psychs) seem to treat the owners more than the dogs but if I had one that was in need of that, I would have never accepted the pup to start out with. Lawsuits are a possibility because of the size and breed you own - again no breeder will guarantee what a handler/owner will turn a pup into. What I have looked at are starting around $5500 and so far I have not found a pup that I like the breeding of that is lower cost. I'm sure that everyone responding paid more but at 71 that is a big chunk of money.
 

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I am a first-time GSD owner and I can say that a working line is a good family dog. There are challenges though and you will have to devote some time for them as they are a bundle of energy.

When I was choosing the type of dog I will get, my brother who cared for pitbull until its 14th year, told me to just choose a dog that will fit my character. I am active, playful and fond of doing things with nature. So I got a GSD. His activeness, playfulness and his love for nature fits mine. We both enjoy our times together.
True story: Rural Minnesota - Male GSD purchased as pup. 3 year old child, mother and dad in 30's. Socialized VERY WELL. Criminal broke into house while only mother and child was home. Police found criminal in hospital with 30 plus stitches and broken arm. Pup's age 8 1/2 months old. Sire SchH III and dam SchH II. Without good socialization and obedience training the pup could have been a monster instead of a protective angel.
 

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No breeder will guarantee you won't have vet bills - especially after so many years. Behaviorists (dog psychs) seem to treat the owners more than the dogs but if I had one that was in need of that, I would have never accepted the pup to start out with. Lawsuits are a possibility because of the size and breed you own - again no breeder will guarantee what a handler/owner will turn a pup into. What I have looked at are starting around $5500 and so far I have not found a pup that I like the breeding of that is lower cost. I'm sure that everyone responding paid more but at 71 that is a big chunk of money.
I don’t know what you’re looking for in a pedigree but I’m sure you’ll find that almost everyone responding paid less than $5500 for their dogs.

Also, you’re right... I wouldn’t hold a breeder responsible for any of those things, except to do their due diligence on the front end to stack the cards in everyone’s favor in producing healthy dogs of sound temperaments.
 

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I agree that what you seem to be looking for would be a nice WGSL GSD they have the milder drives that can make them active family pets. I currently have a DDR/WGWL 5 year old male and although he’s a great companion if I had known then when I was looking at this breed what I know now I would have opted for a WGSL. However,if you are set on a WL gsd be prepared to spend a good price for a good breeder that does all of the required health testing and preferably titles their dogs as well. Tell them what you’re looking for in a pup and let them match you up. Hope this helps and hope you find the pup you’re looking for!
 
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