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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey there,

So, we've decided that once Zoey is adopted (we're fostering her) that we'd like to get a second dog, similar to our first, Otto. This time we want to go the breeder route which I'm not overly familiar with.

I'm looking to adopt a male German Shepherd, not for show but for a companion. All I can seem to find are breeders who breed for show (i.e. sloped back on the GSD's).

Does anyone know of a reputable breeder in NJ/PA that breeds dogs based on health and such, for pets, rather than show dogs?

I started looking all over the place. Found Greenfield puppies which lists multiple breeders, but this kind of worried me more than anything else because many are Amish and while I have nothing against Amish people, the more I read the more I hear they tend to be puppy mills and that the dogs are kept in cages and such, rather than socialized and living indoors with the family (i.e. livestock).

So... just wondering if anyone has any experience in this area with a good breeder.

Thanks!

I should mention that I have one breeder that I like, but after contacting her I learned that she doesn't breed her GSD's very often, so I'm not sure I'd have a very good chance at adopting one of those.
 

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Buying, not adopting :).

GSDs are a tough breed because of all the different types and lines, etc. But some of the show or working lines make great pets and do not have extreme conformation. Try PMing Equinox--her GSD Trent makes me drool. I can't remember what lines he's from but if I got a GSD that's what I would want.

ETA: Also PM Xeph. She knows a lot about GSDs and can explain a lot of stuff and steer you to what you want.

A lot of the "slanted back" thing is how they make them stand for pictures. They don't really look like that when they're doing normal things.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Willowy! I meant buying not adopting. :p I'm so used to rescuing all my animals, quite frankly I'd probably be doing the same this time, which is how I got Otto but my husband really wants a 'well-bred' dog. I find nothing wrong with it, personally, all dogs need homes regardless of how they come to you. My mother on the other hand would skin me alive if she knew I bought rather than adopted.

I will definitely PM the both of them and see what information I can gather. And I'll try to locate a picture of Trent. ^^

As far as the slanted back thing goes. My husband said that while he knows they often position them to stand like that for the show pictures, he said that apparently the sloped back and shorter legs are something we'd like to avoid. So we're not really looking for an "American GSD".

Thanks again!
 

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I know what you mean lol, I adore GSD's but finding one that doesnt make me cringe is a difficult task! I dont like the the banana back of the german showline dogs, or the slope with weak pasterns and weaks hocks of the american show lines

here is a breeder with some of my fav. GSD's, but they are working bred, and very high drive...
http://www.necanineacademy.com/empire_zwinger.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll admit to knowing next to nothing, except general things I've read about breeders/breeding. My husband usually is the one to research things heavily while I'm just kind of a 'go with the flow person'.

That being said, we've been looking around the net today at stuff we can find close to us and people who seem to be like-minded in their breeding as to what we're looking for.

This is what we've found so far: http://www.goodmansshepherd.com/

I do not like how people make their GSD's stand for pictures, but I'm coming to accept that that's just how it must be done. I don't find it attractive, kind of off putting to be honest because it's hard to see how they really stand. But if this is the way they do it, then... well that's life, lol.
 

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First of all, I don't know how long you've been fostering Zoey, but if it's been under 6 months, I'd wait on adding another dog. I personally like to have my dogs trained the way I like them before adding another dog because when you add another dog, your focus isn't so much on the old dog, it's not on the new dog. If you have a good solid base with training, a little slack isn't going to harm your older dog.

That being said, getting a GSD is HARD from a GOOD breeder. The GSD has a LOT of health issues including Hip Diysplasia which is almost rampant in the breed. Also a HUGE HUGE HUGE issue in the breed is temperament and stability. The breed is becoming more and more nervy. A good breeder is breeding away from it, but just because a dog has a lot of titles on it, doesn't mean that it's a good choice for you. Do your research on the breed very carefully and go out to dog shows and check those breeders out if they are local.

Personally though, I do think adoption is a good way to go if your not interested in showing or a lot of sports. I support buying from good breeders by all means, Stop out at your local AKC and UKC shows and see who is showing, but if you just want a pet and not a working dog, then check out your local rescues and look at some breed specific rescues and see what they have.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First of all, I don't know how long you've been fostering Zoey, but if it's been under 6 months, I'd wait on adding another dog. I personally like to have my dogs trained the way I like them before adding another dog because when you add another dog, your focus isn't so much on the old dog, it's not on the new dog. If you have a good solid base with training, a little slack isn't going to harm your older dog.

That being said, getting a GSD is HARD from a GOOD breeder. The GSD has a LOT of health issues including Hip Diysplasia which is almost rampant in the breed. Also a HUGE HUGE HUGE issue in the breed is temperament and stability. The breed is becoming more and more nervy. A good breeder is breeding away from it, but just because a dog has a lot of titles on it, doesn't mean that it's a good choice for you. Do your research on the breed very carefully and go out to dog shows and check those breeders out if they are local.

Personally though, I do think adoption is a good way to go if your not interested in showing or a lot of sports. I support buying from good breeders by all means, Stop out at your local AKC and UKC shows and see who is showing, but if you just want a pet and not a working dog, then check out your local rescues and look at some breed specific rescues and see what they have.
Hello Darkmoon,

Zoey is a temporary dog. I am fostering her now, because she's just not the dog for me. It's not working out, it's unfortunate but that's the way the cookie crumbles. I didn't want her having to be moved to yet, another, person between me and hopefully, her forever home so I offered to foster her until the rescue she came from can find her a family she'll work out with.

That being said, I won't be adopting/purchasing another dog until she has found her way to her future home.

Thanks for the information on the breed. I'm pretty much aware of most of it's flaws. I have a GSD mix, who at about 6 months started showing signs of HD. So far the test results are inconclusive, but it's something I know we will have to watch on him for the remainder of his life, so, I'm pretty knowledgeable about it at this point.

I wasn't, however, aware of their temperament and stability issues. I guess we'll have to keep researching further.

Do you have any suggestions in terms of selecting a GSD? We were looking into finding a breeder who specializes in East German GSDs, specifically "working" dogs to avoid the health issues.
 

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Thanks Willowy for your comment on Trent! I'll share a few pictures first, and start on a more informative reply in a moment. Warning, it'll be a long post ;)

Here are a few relatively recent photos of my 3 year old German Shepherd. He is from West German working lines.









Here is what he does at home:



and his default activity?


Both breeders already linked are worth looking into, the Goodman's Shepherd website do not have especially flattering images of their dogs, but I like the overall look of some of them. The one linked by Miss Bugs have dogs that share some common ancestry with my own. Neither are East German working lines - the one you linked is German showlines, and the one in Miss Bugs' post is West German working lines (at least the few dogs I clicked on). What draws you to the East German dogs specifically, and what do you look for in a German Shepherd Dog in general? There are so many things to keep in mind when getting into the breed! For the record, with the nature of the current pet market, I would not say that the East German lines are healthier. You can stack the cards in your favor, but you'll find that avoiding health issues (ranging from small to severe) isn't really a matter of choosing working lines vs. show.

A member already mentioned, Xeph, is actually located in PA and recently got a puppy (a Service Dog In Training!) from Molly Graf of Eichenluft German Shepherds (http://workinggermanshepherd.com/). She breeds West German working lines with East German in the pedigree, most notably going to Alk vom Osterburg Quell. Working line dogs make excellent companions (my dog is "just" a pet) but bred right they have the drives, mind, and heart of a working animal. That's something to keep in mind, and why I asked what draws you to the breed.
 

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I do have to ask why shorter legs need to be avoided? That's certainly not something I've ever heard of.

I personally wouldn't call HD "Rampant" in GSDs, but it is a problem. If you don't want an American line GSD, that is quite alright. All I ever ask is that people do their research and not judge based on what they've heard, or their own assumptions. I have two American bitches here, both would good temperaments. One is just a baby, and has a long time before she comes into herself, and the other is just over 2 years of age, and is a highly active dog.

I show both girls in conformation, but the older of the two is also being trained in obedience, has her rally novice title, and is an absolute knock out on sheep. She is truly not a dog for lazy people. She really likes to be busy and do things with people.

She is a bit nervy, and reactive with dogs when she is on leash, though off leash she can be trusted to play with anybody safely.

It is hard to find a good GSD breeder, regardless of what lines you're looking at.

I would like to be clear that working lines are no healthier than show lines. They have just as many incidences as bloat, HD, pannus, spondylosis, DM, etc as American lines do.

I had a 3 year wait for my Eichenluft puppy, but he has been worth it.

What's your budget? A good GSD isn't an inexpensive purchase. The Eichenluft puppies tend to run from $2000-2500
 

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I know what you mean lol, I adore GSD's but finding one that doesnt make me cringe is a difficult task! I dont like the the banana back of the german showline dogs, or the slope with weak pasterns and weaks hocks of the american show lines

here is a breeder with some of my fav. GSD's, but they are working bred, and very high drive...
http://www.necanineacademy.com/empire_zwinger.html
This breeder is about 15min away from me!
 

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I would like to say that even if a breeder breeds for show, it does not mean that all the pups must be show dogs - usually there are one or two pups of each sex that are considered show potential and the rest are great pets. So don't avoid someone that shows. The 'pet only' breeders usually aren't the greatest as far as ethics and are usually glorified byb's that may or may not do clearances but just breed for the sake of puppy sales... as a rule anyhow.
 

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I got my GSD puppy when she was 3 months and she was a rescue of sorts. I only know a small amount of information as far as where she came from, but she has turned out to be a wonderful dog. She has finished 3 obediences classes and has received her CGC. She is wonderful with all people(even little people) and all animals. She is quiet and alert and a perfect dog. Maybe I got lucky, but you can always go to a GSD rescue and find a dog suited to you. Going to a breeder is a good thing too, but if you are looking to adopt/rescue, there are good GSD's out there, you just have to look..Good Luck in whatever decision you make, they are wonderful dogs and I will never be without one again;);) Attached are pictures of mine...the last picture is the most recent at 7.5 months!!

DSC_0563_2.jpg DSC_0796_3.jpg DSC_0655_2.jpg
 

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, but you can always go to a GSD rescue and find a dog suited to you
Absolutely!! There are many that needs homes and love waiting in rescue
 
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