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German Shepherd?

(7 Posts)
airforsharon Wed 19-Aug-15 12:08:23

Would a German Shepherd be a good choice? I have a Sprocker, also 2 cats and 3 dcs. All getting along well, Sprocker still young (19 months) but training beautifully (save walking to heel! but we'll get there).

I've been thinking seriously about getting another dog and GS are a breed I've always liked. If there are any owners on here who could tell me their experiences of having a GS, i'd be grateful for any advice/thoughts.

I'm at home full time, and live within spitting distance of a common so exercising isn't an issue. House is a typical semi, garden middling in size.

BloodyDogHairs Thu 20-Aug-15 14:07:42

I own 2 who are both from the same breeder (not same litter or bitch). They are both 6 and are like chalk and cheese, one is the perfect family dog, laid back etc while the other has many many issue's. The one with issues needs to be shut away when people come to the door as she hates strangers, she barks at the slightest thing and a few other little things....she's not all bad but it's put me off getting another gsd.

My 2nd one is mainly perfect.

Greyhorses Thu 20-Aug-15 21:22:10

I have had 4 shepherds now and all have been different. I love the breed and wouldn't have anything else now but they are not for the faint hearted and can be difficult. They do have a lot of bad points so I would research carefully. I work alongside a Gsd rescue and have seen so many come through the system as people underestimate them compared to some of the 'easier' breeds.

All of mine have generally been aloof and not interested in making friends with anyone but immediate family, they tend to ignore everyone but us which I don't mind but they are not the type to run up to unknown people for a cuddle. I have found them very different in temprement to say a Labrador or spaniel, much more challenging as they are not a naturally outgoing breed with people outside the immediate family. Obviously there are exceptions to every dog and I have met some very friendly ones but I would be aware that you could get a more difficult one! Every GSD I have known has been obsessed with the owner and I think they are prone to seperation anxiety as a result.

Mine are great with other pets/children/family etc but I have met lots of shepherds with nervous aggression so I would check out the parents carefully as ive heard it runs in some lines. They also need lots and lots of socialisation as puppies, my behaviouralists said more so than other breeds as they can easily slip into guarding/nervous behaviour. I have one nervous aggressive one caused by a bad experience as a puppy. It only took one bad experience to trigger it as she is that sensitive to things.
Every one of mine has been vocal/barked at people near the house despite my trying to train this out of them! Be prepared for dog walkers to grab their dogs or turn in the opposite direction, some people believe the aggressive shepherd reputation which is a shame.

Health wise they are prone to lots of problems. The usual hip and dysplasia, CDRM, allergies etc etc. I also have one with a congenital defect (rescued not bought!) They are big and expensive to keep. Health testing and good insurance is worth its weight in gold.

Oh and the hair shedding...invest in some good cleaning equipment!

I do love the breed though. They are very loyal, protective and great family dogs. I love being able to walk mine in the pitch black without worrying. I have found them very intelligent and easy to train to a point but they do need careful management (I have done obedience and agility with mine) and I wouldn't consider any other breed now. I hope I haven't put you off too much, but I would rather people were aware of what they are taking on if it avoids another in rescue. For what it's worth your set up sounds great if you have the time and experience to put the work in! smile

PeanutsOnTheFloor Fri 21-Aug-15 11:44:26

We had soppy ones as children but was surprised to hear recently that their socialisation period is pretty much finished by the time they leave their mum.

airforsharon Fri 21-Aug-15 14:29:56

Thank you so much for your replies, really useful! Not put off Greyhorses but giving it very careful thought now.

One of my main worries that a home environment would be dull for a GSD, and so they might become bored/aggressive/noisy.....it sounds like the barking/guarding habits could be an issue (current Daft Dog is completely chilled and rarely barks) and generally in temperament they would be quite different to Daft Dog - more than I was anticipating. It's interesting to learn about the breed's specific tics. They still sound fantastic dogs, but i'm pondering now if I'm the right owner (and possibly not the right household) for a GSD.

Thanks again!

Chattymummyhere Fri 21-Aug-15 14:32:03

We have 4 Gs's.

Each dog is different, 1 of ours doesn't likes cats but the other 3 are fine with cats. We have children and the dogs are all good with the children. They need to be kept active. They of course have certain health issues within the breed as mentioned above. We wouldn't be without ours.

We health test and work ours but we are also breed, there are certain lines to be avoided due to the higher likelihood of health issues. Check out the inbreeding score of any pups as well. Our last litter was 0.4% which is very good for the breed.

They should be hip scored, elbow scored, males hemaphila tested and eye tests carried out.

Don't be fooled by the kc accredited breeder scheme a member on there is not anymore likely to be a better breeder in fact some of the best breeders I know have removed thenselfs from the scheme due to how relaxed the rules are and that in many years of being a member the kc had still never actually inspected them like the kc claim too. Join the breed club and find good breeders and apply to join their waiting lists.

airforsharon Fri 21-Aug-15 16:29:07

Chatty thanks for that info, really useful

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