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German Shepherd Dog

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Grey   

I grew up with my grandparents raving about the gsd's they used to own, my friends raved about the shepherds they owned.

My girl is 18 months old now, and, as the first dog i have owned by myself and having to go through an extremely steep learning curve regarding training, dealing with prey drive, exercise and consistency, i could never ask for another breed of dog - i am officially in love with shepherds.

I will never breed, i will never show her (unless maybe local agility shows etc) and i will only ever expect her to work in our training sessions or maybe in the house and personal protection she provides naturally, but she is content. I know this, not from how many snuggles we share, how often i move my foot to feel her by my feet or how often she pops into a room to see what i am up to if she has just woken up, but from her demeanor. There are posts in this thread however that do more than infer a gsd should not be owned as a pet, that as a breed, they should simply be working dogs.

I could not, off the top of my head name a breed that is not owned as a pet these days and to continue to argue that such a use is not what the breed is for can almost be described as naive - they ARE being owned as pets, and despite this lack of traditional work, many (not all, i am not that naive lol) are content and bring joy to the lives they enrich. The point of this thread is to advise potential owners, not jump on the soapbox and give an almighty and powerful opinion.

I would like to thank those that responded in a relevant and fitting way to this thread :laugh: , however, as with Raz, if anyone i ever know asks about shepherds (and seeing my girl and how happy i am, a few do) i would never direct them here. Unfortunately, most threads where a question is asked regarding shepherds (anyone remember that almost informative thread re back slope months ago?) becomes a mud slinging match where those that are genuinely after information feel unwelcome and walk away with a bad taste in their mouth.

maybe we can cut and paste the helpful parts of this thread and lock it?

meh. *dons flame suit*

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elsa   

First time in these forums. I have had shepherds all my life, and have recently bred them for health and temperament. For anyone wanting a stable, loyal and intelligent breed, the Shepherd is for you. They train easily, love to be with you and are simply great to be around. Whether you decide to do showing, obedience, or Schuzhund the choice is yours. I have done obedience and agility and am a qualified instructor. Every dog of every breed has its strengths and weaknesses. Some are more capable than others to follow a certain path. The bottom line, is what YOU want out of the dog, how much time you put in, and what time you have available to follow that path. All this squabble about the breed is not doing it any favours, and goodness knows they get enough bad press as it is, with irresponsible owners. They are a fantastic versatile dog to have around.

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Akayla   

I also just wanted to add that the breed has always been described to me as the "great all rounder" not a this or that. GSDs are often out done by breeds that are specifically breed for just one particular job. But can that dog that excells at x also compete to a high level of y and z? My understanding is that the GSDs biggest assett is that it wants to work with and please it owner and has little fear to try these new things and can do just about anything! Not many breeds can boast that.

I would recommend the breed to lots of people but people looking for a versatile dog that can sit and be climbed all over by two year olds, defend it master, excel in obedience, Sch and tracking as well as stop by the old folks home on the way back - not to mention their ability as actors :).

ETA: So long as they are willing to put in the work of course :rofl: Some training is always required :) but the more you want to do - the more they can do.

Edited by Shadow walker

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Pockets   
QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

Own 4 beautiful German Shepherds, show 3 of them and do Obedience.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

3. How common is it in Australia?

One of the most popular breeds today.

4. What is the average lifespan?

I would say average lifespan for a German Shepherd is 12-14 years

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

German Shepherds are very loyal, sound and lively. They are very intelligent, curious and love a challenge. German Shepherds are fun loving, cheeky and always up for a game or happy and content to lay at the feet of their owner.

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

For an average adult GSD, I think 2 walks a day, but this needs to involve a good off lead run and plenty of games.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

I think yes it is a dog that a first time owner could cope with, although like any dog time is needed in training and care for any dog to become a well behaved adult and enjoyable dog to own.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

Yes, GSD's can occupy themselfs if given stimulation/challenges and regular exercise

9. How much grooming is required?

German Shepherds coat does a coat drop 2 times a year, when a good strip of all the dead coat is needed to keep your dog looking in good condition. Other than that not a lot of grooming except for an occassional brush.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

Puppy's can be boistrous and silly as most puppies can, but if brought up around young children andboth are taught the correct manners then a child will have a friend for life.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

The most common hereditary problems seen in GSD's would be hip and elbow displaysia. Puppy buyers should be aware of these conditions and make sure their puppy comes from a good registered breeder. However in some circumstances Hip and Elbow displaysia can be a result of environmental impact, from a puppy/dpg carrying excess weight on growing joints, be subject to strenuous exercise or activities at a young age or through silly behaviour not discouraged by owners i.e jumping up and down out of utes, barralling up and down stairs. Proper care must be taken with growing babies.

The German Shepherd is a versatile, all round dog that can fit in as a valued member of the family or be put to work as seen in the police force, prison work, farm etc. A German Shepherd is a loyal dog that needs to be included as part of the family, if left alone for long periods without any interaction, stimulation or socialisation it may quickly become a destuctive, ill mannered and not very enjoyable dog.

If you are thinking of adding a dog into your household and are after a fun loving, loyal dog with an eager to please temprement and you are willing to put the time in then you wont be disappointed with a beautiful German Shepherd.

Edited by Pockets

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Akayla   

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

I had a family member that was a major part of the GSD world I have always had them in my life and at least had my ear talked off about them before I ever owned one. Soon as I moved out of home the GSD was the first dog I wanted and still today remains my passion. I now have a prefix and breed quality German Shepherds though I am taking a small break at the moment.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

Germany as an all rounder dog that could perform what ever task the owner needed. That very simplified but since so many others have answered before me Ill just keep these brief.

3. How common is it in Australia?

Very.

4. What is the average lifespan?

Id say 10 -14 depending on the line.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

Well I think this is a difficult question to answer. They are very smart, loyal, loving, steady and strong.

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

I think a long walk and a offlead type exercise with as much mental stimulation during the day. Not the kind of dog you can take for a couple of bug runs and leave at home they need stimulation aswell.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

It would depend on the first timer and how much they loved the breed and wanted to work with the dog.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

They would need stimulation when alone and they really are in love with their owner and need to spend time with them eack day. However they can survive while you are at work if they must so long as you give them something to do!

9. How much grooming is required?

It would depend on the coat. There is a wide variety of coat and this alters the amount of grooming. But generally they drop coat about twice a year and unless you want fur tundras every where you would want to remove it :thumbsup:

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

As an adult they shouldnt be but I imagine with no work at all they would be possibly to dnagerous to have around. Puppies always get carried away a little just like little kids. I have a toddler and have never had problems with her or any of my 10 nieces and nephews or friends that visit.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Yes there is and potential owners should make sure that all of the necissary tests have been done (as listed already) and actually look to see that the breeder possess the required certificates.

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

Health tests, if their dogs have been breed surveyed and if not why, why they breed, view at least the mother, view any certificates claimed, what they do with their dogs work wise, what is the line like in temperament and health, what age ect I think they get the idea. Ask lots of questions. If you want the pup for a particular purpose ask if this line suits that need. Ask around other people as well dont stop at the first breeder.

Good luck :laugh:

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Troy   

Please keep this topic on track with information helpful to potential GSD owners.

The following is not to be discussed here (as it will take the topic off it's intended purpose).

* SV requirements etc

* Schutzhund

* Working vs Show lines etc

Thanks :angeldevil:

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angelsun   

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

My GSD was a purebred sable female purchased back in June 1980. This dog was a great companion and watch dog and ended up to my surprise to be a lovely protection dog. I now am surrounded by (at today's count) 10 Sheppies in partnership with my OH who has been very active in the breed for about 30 years.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed? I'm currently trying to get a copy of the book by Von Stephaniz where it discusses the formation of the breed and why it was developed the way it was. Snips from a friend have quoted such things as a dog designed to not be kenneled and must have human companionship. Websites also state such things as this breed being designed as a great all round, multi purpose breed. Country of origin is Germany.

3. How common is it in Australia?

Unfortunately good ethical breeders are overrun by BYB's that are mixing this breed with other working dogs such as kelpies and border collies, all for the sake of a dollar or two. It's common to see this with a popular breed.

4. What is the average lifespan?

Although it seems the average is about 10 years, unfortunately there are many cases of dogs dying very young (5-8 years of age) and wonderfully many more cases of dogs living well into their teens.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

A bit aloof but warms up when figures the situation is not a threat or concern. Protective and attentive. Quick to learn both good and bad things!! Wants to please generally but isn't afraid to work things out on their own if human intervention isn't around. Can be a great family companion as they seem to have the ability to switch on and off as the situation is needed to be a happy goofball to a stern deterrent to a threat. Will bark but generally aren't yappy. I always said if they bark, there is usually good cause for it.

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult? Like any breed, each dog is an individual. Some love a good run everyday and others are pure couch potatoes! I believe this breed adapts to the family it lives with in this regard.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with? Yes I believe as long as the breeder is there for support and guidance and the owner is willing to put a bit of time into the basics. They are a large dog that must be taught manners. Most basic obedience classes can offer what this breed needs.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods? Yes I beleive they can but like many other breeds, another for company is also a good thing. They tend to do pretty good in pairs I have found (of opposite genders)

9. How much grooming is required?

Very little....infrequent baths unless they get out and roll in something disgusting and a good rake through every week to keep the undercoat from flowing across the floor is usually enough in most cases unless you have a long coat and a daily brush is my recommendation to keep matts at bay.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?I don't beleive so, see above regarding first time owners.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Hips/elbows and in some lines epilepsy.

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

build trust with your breeder and don't be afraid to ask questions and check up on their past activities in the breed and as a breeder. It is your right to be sure they are honest and ethical and you must be comfortable with them.

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Astese   

I totally love my breed GSDs hence my DOL name .

I support the GSDL in their efforts to protect the breed and try to implement programmes to improve the breeding of GSDs in Australia.

Nothing more heartbreaking than buying a lovely little puppy., bonding with it, becoming part of the family until the puppy reaches the age of 18 months and by the Vet recommends to have it put to sleep - hips so bad that the poor little baby is in constant pain . Operations can be done but no 100% success rate especially at such a young age.

Any way if anyone out there is interested I have a wonderful DVD of the working GSDs - doing what they were trained for herding sheep. This DVD was taken in Germany at the GSD Herding Titles. Also lots of DVDs on conformation, training for the Show Ring and Tracking. I am willing to copy and help anyone interested.

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Glad to see there are many here who support the work of the GSDC - often on topics here it seems people are quick to dismiss their work. The breed would not be where it is today without the schemes that the GSDC introduced.

In 1979 I got my first shepherd thru the breed survey system - and it was the days not long after the ban was lifted where you could go to all breed shows and see pale gold shepherds that would be lovely coffee tables with big wide soft backs and yet go to a specialist show and find a totally different dog.

They were the first breed association to introduce a breed survey system as well as tattoo id and temperament testing. They were the only breed club( in victoria at least) that provided a base for training in obedience, showing and demo. Whether you agree with them or not they are the ones who have set the way and many other breeds have followed their example.

Back in the 80's it was common to see gsd's with HD now it is rare. In 30 years I have owned/trained and bred dogs and always thru the Survey System - (lucky to never have a dog with Hip Displasia or OCD). I have watched the breed club in vic grow and change over the years, always with the intention of improving the breed.

Anyone who wishes to start out with the breed should join and work within the club as the help and advice is always there. Certainly the best place to start.

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angelsun   

I want to add that there are still and have been many in the past that did hips/elbows long before it became mandatory to do so through the implementation of GSD Clubs and the ANKC.

I personally do not find that the breed has come ahead in 30 years, but that is just my opinion. After watching the breed in North America morph into something that to many is unrecognizable as a GSD, and seeing the same thing here in this country, I find it discouraging that so much favour has been placed on a system that has allowed the breed to go from a straight backed, strong dog of such versatility, to a dog with a roach and hocks that hit as it moves. From dogs that could walk on their feet, to dogs that can't walk without doing so on their hocks.

Many will disagree with me..that is their right, however it is also my right to state my thoughts about the evolution of this breed which I do not beleive has been a good thing.

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Longcoat   
I want to add that there are still and have been many in the past that did hips/elbows long before it became mandatory to do so through the implementation of GSD Clubs and the ANKC.

I personally do not find that the breed has come ahead in 30 years, but that is just my opinion. After watching the breed in North America morph into something that to many is unrecognizable as a GSD, and seeing the same thing here in this country, I find it discouraging that so much favour has been placed on a system that has allowed the breed to go from a straight backed, strong dog of such versatility, to a dog with a roach and hocks that hit as it moves. From dogs that could walk on their feet, to dogs that can't walk without doing so on their hocks.

Many will disagree with me..that is their right, however it is also my right to state my thoughts about the evolution of this breed which I do not beleive has been a good thing.

Hi Angelsun,

I agree with your description of some American showlines, but I don't know of any reproducers in Australia or anyone using American showlines as breeding stock???. West German showlines are generally what is reproduced here in compliance with the SV conformation requirements. A German show judge would "never" place a good conformation rating on an American showline as you have described and dog's that walk on their hocks are not winning conformation shows or exhibit as a correct example of the breed.

Edited by Longcoat

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angelsun   

I beg to differ on both counts..I have seen entries with imported sire/dam that are American and Canadian (both have the same issues, both not good ones!)

I have not seen any German Conformation judges (here) so can not comment, however I have seen my share of 'specialty' dogs appear at some All Breed shows, and yes, they do have roached backs and sickle hocks.

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Longcoat   
I beg to differ on both counts..I have seen entries with imported sire/dam that are American and Canadian (both have the same issues, both not good ones!)

I have not seen any German Conformation judges (here) so can not comment, however I have seen my share of 'specialty' dogs appear at some All Breed shows, and yes, they do have roached backs and sickle hocks.

Do you recall how those particular dogs scored in the shows???. In SA, any of the extremely angulated dogs of American lines would not score well and are generally considered most undesirable examples. It's difficult to image why someone would import those lines :rofl:

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I beg to differ on both counts..I have seen entries with imported sire/dam that are American and Canadian (both have the same issues, both not good ones!)

What issues would they be Angelsun, I would be interested to know.

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I beg to differ on both counts..I have seen entries with imported sire/dam that are American and Canadian (both have the same issues, both not good ones!)

I have not seen any German Conformation judges (here) so can not comment, however I have seen my share of 'specialty' dogs appear at some All Breed shows, and yes, they do have roached backs and sickle hocks.

Do you recall how those particular dogs scored in the shows???. In SA, any of the extremely angulated dogs of American lines would not score well and are generally considered most undesirable examples. It's difficult to image why someone would import those lines ;)

More interesting and broad comments.

Some may say it is difficult to image why someone would own a Long Coat when it does not comply with the breed standard?

Each to their own I guess.

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angelsun   

Firstly, I think every region favours or penalizes certain looks of every breed depending on the amount of dogs being shown there. I've seen regions of Canada and the USA that favour a certain look more than others....most exhibitors know this and if they have a dog that isn't the 'flavour of the month" they save their entry fees and show somewhere else...

What issues would they be Angelsun, I would be interested to know.

As for what issues, I stated earlier...walking on hocks and roached backs...it's not uncommon to see dogs here with those traits and it's just as common in North America, hence why some imported dogs here, are familiar to me as I know the kennels and the dogs....As I have mentioned many times in the past, imported does not always mean better. (regardless where the import comes from and that applies to ANY breed, not just this one)

Upon examination of pedigrees, yes there are a lot of imported German lines as well as Scandinavian however there are North American dogs appearing more and more as well...

As for how these dogs are doing, I've seen the roach backs and practically unable to walk with rubbing hocks go BOB (with no competition) and RUBIG.....do I agree? No....what made it worse in my opinion was seeing a breeder judge do the awarding. I watched a dog with North American lines (dog imported from Canada) win Breed at a large entry show that in my opinion shouldn't have won Challenge Dog and certainly not go over a lovely bitch that was there that day...but again..I wasn't the one standing in the ring doing the picking. I'm not sure where the judges head was to be honest as both his challenge dog and bitch were of two totally different types and styles....gotta love dog shows!!

I think in answer to the question why anyone would import over angulated American dogs....because it's an import to start...and it makes for good advertising and better puppy sales unfortunately....it's not uncommon to see in most puppy advertising done how the word "Import" gets used a LOT....even so much to imply that anyone that does not have said import, is breeding inferior puppies. We also have a few breeders that had imports 6-7 generations ago and are still promoting this current generation of pups as 'import lines' implying that the pups are more superior. Sure it's good marketing...but like any breed...prospective owners must sort out the sales pitch from the actual product. I think this is SO important when looking for ANY new family member and always encourage anyone in the search for a new dog, to really look hard at what is being said on websites and advertising. (this breed is not the only one with these issues)

In the end, the new buyer must take the time to figure out what look they choose to add to their home....this breed has many styles (some like to call it type, but that's actually incorrect terminology)

As for the final comment:

Some may say it is difficult to image why someone would own a Long Coat when it does not comply with the breed standard?

Each to their own I guess.

It is a shepherd...regardless of the coat type.....until there comes a time where all faults are removed...would you comment with as you say

More interesting and broad comments.
if this were a short coated dog that was too large? That doesn't conform to the standard either....but it is not bad to own one nor should that person with the oversize dog because they own a dog with a fault, not be permitted to comment on the breed or the standard. Boy if that were the case, none of us could comment on anything...unless perhaps someone out there has perfect dogs and never had one with a fault of any nature?

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Upon examination of pedigrees, yes there are a lot of imported German lines as well as Scandinavian however there are North American dogs appearing more and more as well...

Just where are these North American dogs in Australia. To my knowledge, there is only one kennel that springs to mind that has American/Canadian lines here?

As for how these dogs are doing, I've seen the roach backs and practically unable to walk with rubbing hocks go BOB (with no competition) and RUBIG.....do I agree?

Are these dogs with American or German lines you are talking about?

I watched a dog with North American lines (dog imported from Canada) win Breed at a large entry show that in my opinion shouldn't have won Challenge Dog and certainly not go over a lovely bitch that was there that day...but again..I wasn't the one standing in the ring doing the picking. I'm not sure where the judges head was to be honest as both his challenge dog and bitch were of two totally different types and styles....gotta love dog shows!!

Was this in Australia?

I think in answer to the question why anyone would import over angulated American dogs....because it's an import to start...and it makes for good advertising and better puppy sales unfortunately....

Did you ever consider that possibly people that import something just a little bit different to what is currently in this country actually like the style that they are bringing in? There may not be any sinister or ulterior motives for their decision? Not everyone plans their import purchases on future puppy sales.

It is a shepherd...regardless of the coat type.....

So I guess you could say a shepherd is a shepherd regardless of country of origin?

until there comes a time where all faults are removed...would you comment with as you say
More interesting and broad comments.
if this were a short coated dog that was too large? That doesn't conform to the standard either....but it is not bad to own one nor should that person with the oversize dog because they own a dog with a fault, not be permitted to comment on the breed or the standard. Boy if that were the case, none of us could comment on anything...unless perhaps someone out there has perfect dogs and never had one with a fault of any nature?

Never did I say it was wrong to own a dog that didn't conform to the standard! The original poster was apparantly amazed that people could own or import dogs of American origin and clearly (in his/her opinion) not adhering to the standard, yet could own a dog themselves that is unable to be shown here due to its coat fault. Again, each to their

own.

Regards.

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KitKat   

I thought the long coat (or long stock coat) was now allowed in the standard? at least in Germany? (or perhaps it was being considered?) I prefer the look of the long stock coat - and look forward to when they are showable here, even tho both mine are snipped. I love the GSD in all their forms and colours - but i'll only ever own longcoats.

Edited by KitKat

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