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It will be another couple of years until I get a second dog, but I like to start my research early and it seems I have a problem.
I look at breeders’ pages and their dogs. I research their pedigrees. And it seems some dogs keep appearing every now and then. The thing is, I might know how the dog looks or what titles it has, but I know absolutely nothing about their temperaments. For example, I can look up Quardes von der Staatsmacht, see his titles, but only after a brief chat with one GSD breeder I found out that he is a very intense dog who can be handler aggressive at times. On social media I can read stuff like “My dog is exactly what his pedigree predicts” referring to said dog being sharp/civil. Or “this dog produces dogs that can be nervy and reactive”
My question: how does one find out about temperaments and traits of a certain dog/line without meeting those dogs in person? How do I find out if when a breeder advertises a litter out of X and Y I should consider buying a puppy from said parents? I do NOT want a dog that will potentially climb the leash or be overly on the sharp side of the breed temperament.
 

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I've been very lucky reading breed standards, and thinking if by chance I end up with a breed representative that is very strong in certain characteristics that could be a liability for my lifestyle. Would I be ok with that? Then you talk to the breeders and ask questions of why they love their dogs, why they love the breed and that tells you a lot of what a breeder is choosing to breed for.

Case in point is looking for a Clydesdale and not or never being a horse person. The breed standard is a smaller size then other breed of drafts, they are docile, and happy willing workers. perfect for a first time owner.

talking to breeders, the first words out of their mouth was OH I got a wonderful colt that is going to be tall and very flashy good horse for showing.. His parents are tall and flashy, lot of spunk in them Thank you very much but don't feel hell be the right one for me. When I found my breeder it was we breed for standard size, very laid back, steady nerves, love working with their people very easy to handle even when your a beginner you will be fine. Sold... And Johnny has been a dream horse.

Was the same for my first GSD, I went and saw so many litters and spoke with so many different breeders or litter owners. And it was more listening to them talk about why they loved the breed, and why they loved their dogs. why they put the two dogs together as to what they thought the litter would be. By the time I did find my breeder I had so much more experience in the breed from talking and meeting in person individual dogs to know what I wanted and what I wanted to stay away from in the breed and in the breeders that bred them. Did end up with exactly what had hope to have in getting the breed.
 

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You talk to people. A LOT of people. If you want a working like GSD, you talk to people breeding those lines. If you want a show line GSD, you talk to people breeding them.
 

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added note,, not only breeding dogs that are bought already titled or have a history of titles generations, of working in one way or the other... but talk to people who are training and have titled their own dogs that they are breeding from titled lines.
 

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you can research a breed to death and get a good idea of there temperament but it comes down to how their raised if their not properly socialized and given boundary's it doesn't matter what line they come from. Remember breeders are in it to sell puppy's their not going to advertise this is the worst behaved puppy we ever had give me $1500.00 for him
 

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you can research a breed to death and get a good idea of there temperament but it comes down to how their raised if their not properly socialized and given boundary's it doesn't matter what line they come from. Remember breeders are in it to sell puppy's their not going to advertise this is the worst behaved puppy we ever had give me $1500.00 for him
Exactly.

Since I am only interested in obedience/agility/rally/scentwork and other sports where All Americans can compete, I personally care a lot less about purebred or which breed than I do about how the puppies are raised.

Laurel may or may not be some sort of a rescue or a resell, but she was always treated with love and it shows in her temperament even if "puppy mill breeding stock" eventually becomes obvious from my vet bills. :)

Everybody who meets her loves her and wants another dog just like her---including myself, lol. I've needed some help in answering the ever-present "What breed is she?" question and now answer honestly and proudly that she is a little yellow dog and the shelters are full of them.
 

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While nurture (how a dog is raised) certainly can, and does, influence a dog's temperament, you CANNOT forget nature (genetics). One of the sweetest, friendliest dogs I've ever known was a Chow Chow who had been abused as a puppy before being taken in by the owners she had when I knew her. One of the nastiest "I will try to bite you just for being in the same room with me" dogs I ever knew was her daughter, who had never known anything but love and affection from her owners.
 

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My experience with rescue dogs has now led me to believe that the temperament a dog is born with is all important. A dog who has been made fearful, aggressive and hyper by bad management can be retrained and turned around if his temperament was basically sound. If he was born nervy, easily overwhelmed and prone to over reacting, I would cut my losses nowadays, but it is very difficult to tell what the basic temperament of a dog is by the time you are looking at a scared aggressive adult unless you have loads of experience and are half dog yourself. I admit I have just been plain lucky with the one I have. She wants to work with me, she wants to trust, she wants to fit in, she responded amazingly quickly to retraining by a specialist behaviourist to cure her fear biting (humans) and never regressed. She has learnt to be steady in exciting scenarios. Without the right temperament, I would have had to have her euthanised, no question.
 

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I do have to say that the more time I spend working with dogs the more respect I develop for the innate tendencies relating to anxiety, confidence, social drives, etc, that a dog is born with. As a trainer, I'm all for the progress that can be made in building confidence, eradicating fears, adjusting social relationships, etc, but at the end of the day every dog's genetic predispositions exist on a scale, and you can only train them so far to the "better" side of the scale before you hit the limit of the progress that dog may be able to make. The myth of "training can save/"fix"" every dog is very much a myth, and part of it is the genetic behavioral predispositions that a dog is born with.

Also, while "reputable breeder" is a term that has a different meaning for every person who uses it, I think we can all agree that reputable breeders are not breeding primarily to sell puppies. Some breeding programs may have be commercial in scale, especially as you get in to working dogs, which I can say would personally be a turn off to *me* if I were looking to buy a dog, but a commercial kennel operation does not by default mean that breedings are producing dogs with temperament and health issues. A reputable breeder is always going to be able and willing to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of their dogs.

My younger dog is the first dog I really got with purpose in mind (sport ability and service work). I learned a lot through that experience.

My biggest suggestion is to get involved in the sport(s)/work you're interested in doing NOW. Keep a notebook of dogs you meet that are the breed you're looking for, where they're from, their age, any notations on their temperament and ability. Network. Facebook can be a good tool for finding information, though you'll get as much second hand "my friend met this dog once" as actual personal experience. There are sport specific groups as well as breed specific groups you can find and join. Basically, continue with what you're doing. Ask people you talk to if they have suggestions for dogs or breeding programs to look into.
 

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It will be another couple of years until I get a second dog, but I like to start my research early and it seems I have a problem.
I look at breeders’ pages and their dogs. I research their pedigrees. And it seems some dogs keep appearing every now and then. The thing is, I might know how the dog looks or what titles it has, but I know absolutely nothing about their temperaments. For example, I can look up Quardes von der Staatsmacht, see his titles, but only after a brief chat with one GSD breeder I found out that he is a very intense dog who can be handler aggressive at times. On social media I can read stuff like “My dog is exactly what his pedigree predicts” referring to said dog being sharp/civil. Or “this dog produces dogs that can be nervy and reactive”
My question: how does one find out about temperaments and traits of a certain dog/line without meeting those dogs in person? How do I find out if when a breeder advertises a litter out of X and Y I should consider buying a puppy from said parents? I do NOT want a dog that will potentially climb the leash or be overly on the sharp side of the breed temperament.
We have a Staatsmacht dog in our club (not a Quardes son but Stefan breeds quality working dogs). He is AWESOME but not a "pet" and PERFECT for his handler. Quardes is a serious dog and I like his progeny. We also have dogs that are very balanced and I know of a breeder who produces NICE litters and BALANCED dogs that would work well in an active pet home.

If you are planning to do IPO now IPG you want a nice balanced dog for your first dog. It is like driving a car.. you learn on the family sedan NOT a Porsche!

What do you WANT to do with this dog? Pet? Agility? IPO/IPG? AKC Obedience? What are your goals?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What do you WANT to do with this dog? Pet? Agility? IPO/IPG? AKC Obedience? What are your goals?
Ideally, IGP. But as you said, not a Porsche but rather something that could get me in the sport but still be a well rounded active companion. Somewhere on the bit softer side of breed standard, but not a Golden retriever kind of dog.
 

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Ethical breeders for the benefit of the breed do not breed to sell puppies for the general public.
My point exactly. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is a subject for debate, but it is definitely a fact. All Americans make excellent pets, they're just........sometimes much more expensive to care for than purebreds.
 

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My comment applies to our particular breed. I can not speak to this being a general rule. [Try not to completely trash my response, okay?]

The short answer: (so you can skip everything below) is know the person you're doing business with. Avoid out of state and internet purchasing. Try for reasonable access. Visiting the site. Watching the dogs interact, respond to the breeder. A few visits. You want excellent – very consistent - word of mouth. Check out references! Breeders know their stock well enough to match a buyer with what will suit them best. You may think you want one thing, but after explaining your real situation, a breeder can pick out the right pup. Most won’t let you pick the puppy from the whole litter. Some might give you a choice between two, because they know their dogs best.
__ __ __

The long answer:

Do start early, it will take time if you really care. Good you're clear about what you want. But to anyone else who is reading this, that is most important. Decide between a “high” or “low” energy dog. Figure out what types of dog (within the breeder's program) are being bred for what traits!

The real secret is finding an (ethically) honest breeder. Then ask about (meaning as in understanding) what their real purpose is. It’s a very expensive "hobby" and those doing it for the right reasons seldom make an assumed profit. One setback sometimes can’t be offset by the sale of a litter. Make sure somebody isn’t just trying to make up expenses.

Before the internet it took me 2 years to research. Did not know anyone on the “inside.” That was a real handicap. But I ended up w/ a large circle of names now, who've been great support over the years. And would be happy to recommend any of them! I started out by looking at rescues, adverts, pet stores, friends & acquaintances. If I liked the look and personality of a dog I met on the street, I’d ask for a reference.

The more I read on the subject (particularly the breed) made me realize I would want/need support after my acquisition. So I eventually turned to Dog Shows. One of ours is a benched show, which provides the opportunity to meet & greet personalities (people as well as dogs!). Through that experience I collected names (within my State) and when one didn’t (seem to) have what I thought I wanted, they referred me to others. I worked my list, unintentionally at first, but it turned out that’s what happened. Because breeders like to talk (okay, gossip!). My list was of established (professional) breeders. People can start with the AKC to find a breeder's list, also regional Breed Clubs and Fancier’s magazines. Look at which kennels are showing what kind of dogs. Mainly for conformation? Or for what purposes? Quality show dogs usually have a great temperament (outgoing, engaging), but you need to confirm the reputation of that breeder for health certifications to avoid minimal faults/defects. The breeder you select should be willing to give you references and (of course) health guarantees.

I discovered that the breeders who were comfortable enough to answer all my questions (to help me learn) were not only worth my time, but were equally interested in finding the right home for their dog. These kinds of breeders (are not just making a sale) but will get to know you. And then know how to find right puppy for your situation/preference. You won't be able to tell just from looking at a litter (without experience). The better breeders won’t place an inappropriate puppy with you (just for the sale) because they don’t want the dog returned. Knowing it’s not fair to the dog, or to the next home. Ethically breeders want their own puppies returned to them, not allowing them to be resold, or ending up in a shelter. They usually support their own breed rescue operation as well. They can make excellent matches from those candidates as well.

I went to Dog Shows to mingle and listen to conversations. So that I could ask intelligent questions. And observe personalities. Breeders/exhibitors usually bring along their own dogs to these events. Breeders know their lines well enough to find a dog that will suit your intentions (agility, obedience, working, etc..). And you may have to wait for a litter or two. But however you narrow down your list of contacts, be sure to talk with the contacts' competition (without it being too obvious). As in … “is it true "such and such" about the “name of the breeder” and what’s your opinion?” How they answer will tell you a lot … about both parties! Good breeders honor fair competitors in the ring, and will champion colleagues. But no breeder can always be perfect so there will almost always be some issues. It’s when the issues become a consistent problem, mentioned in several conversations, that you want to avoid. Honest breeders will also admit their own issues up front, and explain how they’ve overcome a problem. Usually by no longer breeding to that line. You want them to be knowledgeable about traditional faults known in the breed.

Also they shouldn’t have more than a (very) few litters per year. Meaning to be careful they aren’t puppy mills with a false front. Claiming all their dogs are "home raised" along with their little kids, when they actually have a "kennel" out back! The right breeder produces litters with the purpose of truly improving the line, by producing the best representation of what the breed stands for (meaning it’s expectation and performance objectives).

Show Dog breeders’ main purpose is to keep the best (most competitive) representation of their breed (in order to win) for themselves. You will not always be eligible for that “best” dog, so it’s important to understand the virtues of which ones are for sale. Sometimes it’s only a fine line between “best” and “next best.” And doesn't even matter to the pet owner.
 

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Nice work. I have a terrier myself. I just love dogs. I would get myself more if possible. Live in a small apartment so couldnt. I have anxiety and he really helps me improve so got him an esa letter from this website myesadoctor and its just been great. Anyways good luck on your research.
 

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Ideally, IGP. But as you said, not a Porsche but rather something that could get me in the sport but still be a well rounded active companion. Somewhere on the bit softer side of breed standard, but not a Golden retriever kind of dog.
If you want to do IPG you need to be serious about it to succeed. You absolutely need to join a club with a GOOD training helper (decoy). I would start looking at clubs NOW. Let them know you are a beginner. A dog that is successful at club level trials is not always successful at higher levels (Regional or National). IPG is a lifestyle. It means coming home at night and saying, "Can't have dinner yet. I have to track my dog and then go to the park and do some obedience." It means "Sorry I cannot make your wedding. I have to train." It means "No I cannot go XYZ because I have to train." Depending on what weekend day your club meets it means "Sorry. I am tied up at club every <Sunday/Saturday> all day and cannot go to <the game, the party, the whatever..>

My IPG working dog is not in the house as a pet. He has an outdoor kennel (5'X10') and an indoor kennel (5'x10') for inclement weather. He comes in the house most days for a little time, but I live alone. If I had another person living here I would NEVER let him live in the house. I don't need him exposed to rules or to spousal arguments or kids arguing or kids excitement or house rules. The more of that the less dog you have. This is ME and my experience. When your dog is 7 or so and retired from IPO it is the ideal time to make him the house pet (you probably will already have a 1 year old dog starting at that point).

You CAN be less dedicated but you will also have less results. Again, it depends on what you want. If you PM me I can suggest a couple of breeders that produce balanced dogs on a regular basis. If you join a club the members of the club and training director will also offer advice. The puppy will not be inexpensive.

Last, and not least there is a HUGE difference in nerve, temperament and working ability between German Show Line dogs, American Show Line dogs and German/Czech Working lines (most Czech lines were West German Working lines).

Good luck!
 

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I'd say the absolute most important thing, if you are looking for a sports puppy (from a breeder), is stick to repeat breedings and ask not only about the parents' temperaments and success, but how the puppies from the previous litter are doing.

If you want a dog with a known temperament, consider adopting an adult - from a shelter, rescue, or sometimes breeders get puppies returned (when young or when a bit older) and seek to place them in a home that's a better fit.

My shelter dog is my heart dog, but I adopted her to dabble in sports and she has anxiety so bad that she's only now, at the age of 4 and with anxiety medications on board, maybe possibly able to trial in rally in certain venues. And it has been a struggle that I am grateful for because it has made me a much better dog trainer and a kinder person, but it was also two years of near-constant heartbreak. I'm sure that my experience is an outlier - maybe even an extreme one. But I can't go through that again, so for baby puppies at leas, I'll be sticking with breeders.
 

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So well said. "Ethical Breeder" (in my mind) is the default. There should be no question of honesty and integrity, with honest dedication to the breed. Beyond that, good breeders support their puppy buyers. They understand what the buyer wants (more importantly, needs) for their circumstances (and often, experience). They know enough about their stock (meaning the breeding matches they make) of what to expect in temperament! They know from experience with several generations from the parents. With that foundation, gives the buyer the best start for opportunities in socialization, drive (and all the elements) that help shape a personality. Personality is really the thing! You want a puppy with an innate desire to please, but enough initiative to be "interesting" and exciting. "Ethical breeders" are in the sport (whether exhibition or working) for the long haul. And can read their lines exceptionally well.
 

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you can research a breed to death and get a good idea of there temperament but it comes down to how their raised if their not properly socialized and given boundary's it doesn't matter what line they come from. Remember breeders are in it to sell puppy's their not going to advertise this is the worst behaved puppy we ever had give me $1500.00 for him
It doesn't exactly work like that. How a dog is raised doesn't guarantee how it will turn out. I've seen dogs in horrid condition come bre great dogs. I've seen dogs raised with every chance to succeed wash because you can't create something that's not there. Dogs that are brought up with socialization that still become fearful and nervy.... ect.
Responsible breeders still exist who breed for purpose and specific temperament, health, ect rather than "to sell puppies". I've had some very nice dogs that I didn't pay anything with. I have a couple breeder friends that never sell puppies. Not every breeder is a byb or puppy mill. I also feel that in order to get a puppy in the most suited home the breeder would need to know what the person is looking for and obviously let that person know about differences in puppies if any.
 

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It doesn't exactly work like that. How a dog is raised doesn't guarantee how it will turn out. I've seen dogs in horrid condition come bre great dogs. I've seen dogs raised with every chance to succeed wash because you can't create something that's not there. Dogs that are brought up with socialization that still become fearful and nervy.... ect.
Responsible breeders still exist who breed for purpose and specific temperament, health, ect rather than "to sell puppies". I've had some very nice dogs that I didn't pay anything with. I have a couple breeder friends that never sell puppies. Not every breeder is a byb or puppy mill. I also feel that in order to get a puppy in the most suited home the breeder would need to know what the person is looking for and obviously let that person know about differences in puppies if any.
100%

I’ve seen too many dogs raised in deplorable conditions be completely solid companions. I think were learning more and more how important genetics are when it comes to temperament. There are so many dogs out there with an unflappable temperament
 
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