Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Duckchick2011, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2011

    So I have been wanting to get a German Shepard for years, and I mean YEARS...Yesterday I saw some one walking a big beautiful German in the park and it got me thinking that its finally time to start saving up the money to get one from a really good bloodline but I thought I would post on here to get info on people's personal experiences with the breed...

    Is there really a big loyalty factor with them? Are they really as smart as I have heard, can they be trained to accept other animals(like cats) into their lives, etc...

    I would appreciate any input, tell me the good and the negative please, as inviting another dog into my life is something I want to think about from both sides of the story [​IMG]
  2. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    I've had them almost all my life. I have had American Show and Pet lines, and German/Czech Working lines. The breed has a lot of health issues associated with it including: hip and elbow dysplasia, cancers, heart problems, and fistulas. There are more...

    My best advice is first to start thinking about what energy level you want your dog to have. That right there will help you determine what lines (genetics) you want your dog from. A dog from working genetics will generally be more demanding of exercise and training, but not always. Second think of the training involved, which is extensive. GSD's have to be trained. They can be wonderful with other animals and dogs, but it takes (as with any dog really) a good amount of considerate and consisten socialization.

    I had to put my four year old GSD to sleep recently. I don't think I'll get another GSD, not because I don't love them as a breed, but because I can't really stand the thought of the health issues. I have had GSD's that lived to be 13 years old.

    I will say, they are a high maintinance breed over all. But I really think they are worth it.

    If you have any questions on Kennels please feel free to PM me, I can help you decipher some of the lingo and/or titles.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  3. melodie_a

    melodie_a Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2010
    Sanford, NC
    How do you feel about hair... everywhere? Be prepared for major shedding! [​IMG] Great personality though, and sooo smart. Ours can recognize his name written on a card. That just amazes people. He is so driven. He loves to work and he just has a lot of personality.

    We had a golden retriever for 14 years before we got Riot. She was a great dog, sweet, sweet, sweet... but not real bright. I never realized that until we had a dog that we had to spell in front of... and then even that stopped working. Now he knows how to SPELL daycare, ball, out, treat... too many to mention. [​IMG]
  4. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    hmmm. We've had GSDs since the early 80s (1980s, that is) and all of our dogs have been schutzhund from imported lines. I do not find them to be especially high energy (not like our rat terrier who only stops when he's asleep and not always then!) although they DO relish daily exercise and thrive on individual attention. They are good with other dogs IF there are others in the household when they arrive. They are not good about accepting new dogs IF they were the sole dog in the household before the newcomer arrives. It seems to work the same way for cats, too.

    As to health issues, we have had very few. However, all our dogs over the years have come from working lines that have been x-rayed/tested for the various breed issues. We've had way more health issues with our Dobies. GSDs are a double-coated breed, so they do shed tons each spring and fall. There are times I would swear I've brushed an entire other dog out of that coat when they are seriously shedding.

    Mine were always good with my kids and now they are good with my grandkids. (I cannot say this about our Dobies, however. They do NOT like noisy, wiggling little ones who run through their house and they don't hesitate to tell me so!)

    They are easily trained and want to please. However, they ARE personal dogs, ie they generally pick someone in the household that they consider their own person, and are with them constantly, watching their every move and trying to anticipate their every want/need/request. They are not the lay-on-the-couch-and-watch-the-world-go-by kind of dog. They are aware of every single move anyone makes--including every car that drives by or plane that flies overhead. They want a job and if you don't give them one, they will find their own--like protecting your briefcase or your shoes or your jacket from everyone else in the entire world.

    They are loving and affectionate and will often choose the spot beside your bed for their own sleeping spot. (Whereas the Dobies, god love 'em, will sleep on the bed with you from the moment they are big enough to get up there. And if you have 3 or 4--you may find yourself shoved on the floor more often than not!)

    They are big, powerful dogs who can knock you over without ever meaning to, so obedience work of some kind is an absolute necessity. But once they understand what you want, they will do anything to please you. They can be exuberant in the extreme without basic training, however.

    Hope this answers a few of your questions.

    1 person likes this.
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    what Jamie said..... there are a lot of varieties of GSD. My oldest boy is a mix of Czech working and Amer. show. My baby is a 100% Czech dog. The difference between their energy levels is night and day. Of course, each dog is an individual. You can get a working line dog with a lower drive and a show line dog with over the top energy. That is where the right breeder makes all the difference. They can match you with the right dog for you. Look at all the different types - can give you some idea of what most interests you has some good info on finding a good breeder.

    For your specific questions:

    are they loyal? GSDs are people dogs. They have been bred since the beginning to work with people. They will bond strongly with their whole family, but usually have a "favorite" My Rayden will be 8 in Aug. I don't think that I've gone to the bathroom by myself since he came home at 8 weeks. He really would lay down his life to protect his family. Socialize socialize socialize.

    accept other animals? it really depends on the individual dog, of course, but yes they can get along. Rayden's only problem was accepting my pet rat. I think it was the whole "rat" thing because he's never had any problem with other animals. His compromise was to completely ignore her. He is also trustworthy around the bunnies and chickens. Though wild bunnies and birds are his mortal enemies.
    Some dogs, though, esp if they are really high drive, are harder to introduce to new animals. Some can never be trusted unsupervised. Again, a good breeder and a good start in life/training can make a world of difference.

    Health problems - yes, they do have a lot of inherited problems, both physical and mental. again, a reputable breeder can be all the difference. They should work their dogs in some way - either on their own farm, showing, obedience, Schutzhund, agility, working police/protection dogs - again, it will depend on the lines you are most interested in what work the breeder will use to evaluate their stock. They should do health testing - OFA (or PennHip) at the BARE minimum. Health-testing won't give you a 100% guarantee of a healthy dog, but it does stack the odds in your favor.

    Smart? OMG yes they are smart. However, don't confuse smart with obedient. Thankfully, GSDs are dogs that like to please their families, so they excel in obedience. If you don't give them a job and keep their minds engaged, they WILL find ways to amuse themselves. It might be by trying to herd all the kids in the neighborhood or "protecting" you from the mailman - both of which can get you a big fine from animal control. A job for your GSD can be as simple as some daily obedience or as complex as an agility title or herding.

    Since this is your first GSD, you might also look into rescuing an older GSD. A reputable rescue organization will have their dogs in foster homes. They can tell you if the dog is good with other animals, kids, already housebroken, etc etc
  6. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2011
    Thank you for all the responses,

    I think I want one even more now [​IMG]

    I want a dog that's about med. level energy, something that can handle relaxing for 5 mins. without losing its no working lines, this animal will become my companion and personal body guard for when I am ready to get my own place(which will be within the next 2 or 3 years). I will definitely train the dog, the intelligence level is what has me most attracted to the GSD's as well as the personal nature of the breed [​IMG]

    It is the health issues that has me most concerned which is why I want to save the money to get a good blood line...I am also a little concerned about getting a dog that is overly shy, My friend recently got an older puppy and it would not let me near it, would not let me touch it, pet it, or even look at it. Once we were left in the same room together and it started barking fearfully at me...I want a dog that is going to accept the other people in my life and not behave this way toward obviously accepted people in my house hold (I stayed in that house for a three day visit and it would only let me touch it on the third day when I offered some cheese to it and even then it was still afraid of me...this is not what I want [​IMG] ) How would I avoid picking such a shy puppy from a litter...
  7. animalpro24

    animalpro24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    I don't know any personal feelings to the breed but you should go to and go to Dogs 101 and watch the Gsd video.
  8. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Singe is working lines and he is fine chilling in the house. He is only 6 months old and gets a couple hours of exercising every day. Most of that is either long walk or running/playing in the back yard.
    As for the shyness issue, a reputable rescue organization or a good breeder will match you with the right dog. Again, every dog is an individual. Working line dogs are not all out, run run run 24/7. They should have an off switch and be happy chilling in the house with his family. If you're getting a puppy, they are all going to need a TON of exercise to start off, no matter what lines.

    I talked to my breeder for almost 2 YEARS before we got Singe. He knew our past dog experience, our vet references, what we planned to do with the dog. He met the whole family, met our older dog, talked some more about our plans. I still talk to my breeder almost every day.

    With both of my dogs, the breeder picked the right dog for me. I told them what I wanted, what I planned and they told me the puppy that was the best match for me. In one instance, there were 2 puppies that would have fit in nicely with our family, so we picked between the 2. The second time, there was really only one puppy that was the best match for us. I must say, they have been 100% right in both cases.
  9. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Everyone that's responded on this thread has given good tips and things to think about. When talking breeders it's important that you don't go for the hype on expensive websites. That will get you every time. What is important is developing a relationship with your breeder. If at any point in that relationship if you feel that something's not right, then trust your insticts. Bail. If the breeder won't return emails or phone calls (resonably though -- ten phone calls a week is excessive, as is multipul emails in a week. Any breeder who spends time with their dogs is going to give you a few decent phone calls and email you back but they don't have hours and hours in the week to just correspond with one client.). If the breeder won't respond to direct questions -- bail. If the breeder doesn't want to discuss their produced dogs in pet homes -- bail. If the breeder ignores what you are telling them you are looking for in a dog (tries to talk you into something you don't want) -- bail. If the breeder doesn't try to educate you in a respectful way -- bail. If the breeder doesn't uphold their own contract -- bail. If the breeder stops talking to you with interest after you've reserved a puppy -- bail. If the breeder doesn't "interview" you for a perspective puppy home -- bail. If the breeder can't produce proof either emailed or on a website of health testing on their breeding dogs -- big time bail.

    Here are some things as a consumer you can do to help you in your quest. Don't be that client that calls an irritating number of times or expects emails to be responded every single time 20 times a week. Be respectful of the breeders time and energy put into a litter and keep in mind you're not the only client the breeder is dealing with. Don't ignore the breeders tips on training your new puppy, and don't ignore health advice either. Be on time with payments and if you are picking your pup up in person, be on time. Call when you say you will. Don't hide the facts about your purchasing, tell them you have other kennels in mind if you do, don't try and get them to change the price of a pup based on another kennel. Don't bash other kennels to them or ask them to bash other kennels-- if they have something to say about another dog or kennel its should be done respectfully. Don't be afraid to be super honest with the breeder, if you start to develop a relationship with one breeder and have to change your mind for some reason, let them know it, don't just drop off the face of the earth. Take training classes with your puppy, take them frequently and ask the breeder what kind of training has worked best for their own dogs.

    A lot of the above information I gave came out of personal experiences, this is not just a random list of "do this - do that". [​IMG] I hope it helps you.
  10. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I've had and heard very contrasting experiences with German Shepherds. When I was a child, I was brutally attacked by my neighbors' GS, and the Sheriff actually came and shot him on site (he had a known history of attacking, so I guess this was the final straw). Throughout the rest of my life, I developed a distrust for GS, and have met several that were unpredictable. As with any dog, I imagine that *how* it is raised and trained is a big factor. On the other hand, I've heard several excellent stories about them. My ex had one as a child, and once when he was very small, he wandered down to the lake while his parents were preoccupied and started to drown in the lake. I guess the dog heard him, because he came running down and swam in, and dragged him to shore by the back of his pants. My personal verdict on the breed is very much out, as I have not had any good experiences with them, but others tell me wonderful stories.

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