Considering a GSD

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by teedub, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. teedub

    teedub New Member

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    It's been a couple of weeks since I lost my best bud of 11 years. I'd like to fill that void.

    Loyalty is the biggest thing for me. My pup was my dog and mine only. Friendly with other people but was always by my side.

    Are there any special considerations with this breed? We have two medium female dogs in the house that we'll have to find a compatible friend for.

    I will be adopting from one of the local organizations.
     
  2. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Sometimes same-sex aggression can be found in German Shepherds, particularly working-bred ones, so you may want to choose a male, or if you're getting an adult, a female who has been fostered with other dogs by someone who can tell you what her temperament with them is like.

    Will this be your first german shepherd? What breeds are your other dogs?

    There are quite a few health problems prevalent in the breed, so rescuing a shepherd mix (may be healthier) or at least getting a vet's opinion on the dog you're interested in might be a good option.
     
  3. porchpotty

    porchpotty New Member

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    You can get a male GSD but be sure you have them fixed. With proper training, they could behave well.
     
  4. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

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    Healthy because it's a mix - that would really only happen if the parents had all the health testing done and passed and the pedigree was carefully looked at before breeding. Or, if the dogs were left to fend for themselves for generations and the best of the best were the ones that made it to reproduce and raise young. Doesn't tend to happen so much in most cases.

    Look at different dogs in rescue, try to meet them in a new situation to the dog and see how they do. A male would work better with your females, but in any case introduce them away from the house and then keep an eye on things and rotate the dogs for a few days depending till they settle down. My guys don't usually care for 'new' dogs but once the dog has been here a few hours they're fine.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    Milos mommy, what are the "many" health issues?

    Cause they have no more health issues than any other breed when gotten from a good breeder and.lines.

    Do your research and look hard. Some say same sex aggression runs heavy in the breed, I've yet to experience it to the point others have. Sure some lines are less dog friendly.
     
  6. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I became involved with GSDs in the mid-90s and my last GSD passed away about a year ago at 14 years old. I had 3 GSDs, one German showline girl, an American line girl and an American line boy. I had and still have many friends who are involved in GSDs of various lines. Out of the GSDs I had, two were same sex aggressive (SSA), the GSL girl and the Amline boy. The Amline girl was not really SSA but was very willing to seriously fight if things went that way. Most, if not all of the GSD people I have known have had experience with SSA regardless of lines. So IMO and IME same sex aggression is something to keep in mind with the breed for sure if you are someone who enjoys having multiple dogs. SSA is the reason I don't have GSDs any more. Since you have two females already, I would strongly suggest that you do not get a female GSD. A male would be a much better/easier fit for your current dogs :)

    Another thing to keep in mind is that they can be very serious guard dogs. By that I mean, many owners have issues with their GSDs being too protective of their house, yard and/or car. The breed needs a lot of proper early socialization, training and on going proper management so that their protective instincts do not get out of control or cause them (and you) problems.

    GSD can be great dogs though, they are a breed that you have to really know to fully appreciate because most are so owner-focused that they don't always seem that interesting to people just seeing them out and about. They are intensely devoted to their owners and very "task oriented" in that they really want to do stuff for and with you. IME they tend to be very intuitive in training once they are bonded and understand the training system, they sometimes seem like they are thinking in the same direction you are when teaching them new tasks. They can do well at tasks which require them to be intensely driven and powerful then turn around and be just as good at tasks which require they problem solve and work carefully. Just really smart and willing dogs. At least, that's how a good GSD is. You will see a lot of examples of not so good GSDs too though and even among good GSDs, there can be a lot of variation. Research, research and research lines/breeders/work/sports/etc and so you can find the right breeder for you and your needs.

    ETA: I just saw you were interested in adopting. I'd suggest going with a GSD knowledgeable source and getting a dog who's been in a foster home so you have the best idea of the dog's temperament and if they will be a good fit for you.

    As for health, I don't think a random GSD mix is going to be any more or less healthy than the average pet-bred GSD that ends up in rescue.
     
  7. BlackPuppy

    BlackPuppy Owned by Belgians

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    I sometimes read the GSD forum. If you are interested in a GSD, you should also.

    Some of the health problems I've read about there include, hip dysplasia, DM (degenerative myelopathy), and mega-esophagus.

    Since mixes are usually not health tested, there's the huge risk of hip dysplasia. I wouldn't even adopt a rescue GSD without first having the hips rated and a good temperament evaluation.
     
  8. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    I didn't say "they have many health problems compared to other breeds", but personally, I'd consider hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, eye problems, panosteitis, pancreatic problems, deafness, von willebrand's, and then some to be a lot of health issues.

    That's certainly not to say you can't find a healthy GSD in rescue, and unless you're looking for a very, very specific dog for a specific job and are planning to go to a breeder that performs extensive health testing, I think rescuing is a great option! But you should be aware of the health issues prevalent in any breed before you rescue a purebred or a dog that is largely a certain breed.

    Now, I'm not exactly super-knowledgable about the genetics of health issues common in specific breeds, but I'm fairly certain that generally a mixed breed dog (I'm talking about a dog with multiple breeds in it's lineage, or one who's comprised of two breeds that don't typically see the same genetic health issues, not) has a lower incidence in hereditary health problems.
     
  9. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    I've not had bad luck with health issues. I also do not believe that eye problems, deafness, von willebrands are very big in the breed. Panosteneitis is not a health issue, it is growing pains and not detriment to the dog. I also have not heard of a lot of epilepsy.

    Also, mixed breeds are just as much at risk if not more than purebreds. Due to the fact that they have more than one breed so they can have health issues from each breed.
     
  10. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Perhaps in circles of "dog people" who are largely working with well health-tested and carefully bred dogs, these things aren't problems, but among "BYB" and mass-produced kennel dogs, they are big issues. I can actually say I know more (IRL, not "well-bred") GSDs with epilepsy than without :(

    I'm going to start a new thread on this so we're not hardcore hijacking this one...Mixed breed VS purebred is a complex argument when you're talking health, and German Shepherds are a breed with many prevalent issues, so my advice to anyone rescuing is to be aware of those issues, pick a shelter or rescue that is open about them, consider get a vet's evaluation, and unless you have a reason for wanting a purebred, there are a lot of good reasons to consider a mix, including, in my VERY humble and non-professional opinion, health reasons.
     
  11. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Some of these issues aren't what I would call widespread in the breed but yes, they can occur and yes, some lines are overly prone to them. Pano is something dogs outgrow, although it can be bad while they have it. DM generally affects older dogs.

    The most widespread health issues I have seen tend to be bloat, allergies and joint issues (some HD/ED but even more so, near crippling arthritis in elderly dogs). I do think epilepsy is probably more common in the breed than many people realize. Still given all that, plenty of GSDs are healthy too. I wouldn't consider them a "heartbreak breed" like the breeds in which many dogs tend to get cancer at young ages or in which the majority of the breed is affected with one or more serious, life threatening health issues. Most GSDs, I have known for their lifespans (both pet and show/working bred) lived to be old dogs and were relatively healthy.

    There is a risk that any dog you get might end up with health problems or have far too short of a life. There's increased known health risks in different breeds but I have known mixed breeds who died young due to uncontrollable seizures, heart problems, cancer or who's quality of life was seriously affected by genetic issues such as hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, addison's, cushings or severe allergies. As living creatures, there is a risk that any dog might inherit the wrong combination of genes that led to life changing or life threatening disease. And sad to say, a certain percentage of dogs will die before their time due to accidents. And dogs sometimes get lost never to be found again. I have known far too many well loved and well cared for dogs who were hit by cars during a one time escape, died due to some freak accident or who got out accidentally and were never seen again. You just can't spend your time obsessing over what might happen if you choose any given dog or puppy. Certainly make an educated guess and hope for the best but with any dog there is a huge list of "what if's", some you know and some you don't.
     

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