Working vs Sport German Shepherds - Page 1

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Dawn G. Bonome

by Dawn G. Bonome on 17 November 2019 - 09:11

I would like this settled without any snarkiness.
Can a Working Dog be a good family dog? I have one, so I know the answer.😁
And...please explain to newbies out there why a Sport dog is not a good match for families.
I think this would save a lot of heartbreak for families and dogs who could not handle a pup w/too much drive.


Baerenfangs Erbe

by Baerenfangs Erbe on 17 November 2019 - 09:11

A working/sport dog can be one and the same... it's not one versus the other. It's about Balance! And this discussion is really getting tiresome.

by Hired Dog on 17 November 2019 - 09:11

Dawn, define working dog for me. If you are calling a so called "working line" dog a working dog, we will disagree.
Next, what type of work are you speaking of? A guide dog for the blind is not the same as a police dog.
A sport dog is just that, a sport dog, any sport, IPO to Frisbee, its a sport dog.

Dawn G. Bonome

by Dawn G. Bonome on 17 November 2019 - 09:11

My mistake.
I always thought that there was a difference. Higher driving lines.SPORT-Going to the Worlds, Working- can fit into the family situation, not as intense.
Not trying to be a knowitall, because that’s why I put the post out.

by Hired Dog on 17 November 2019 - 10:11

Dawn, there are balanced dogs that can go to work daily and come home and be in the house just like any dog.
They understand the difference because they are balanced, not extreme. There are working dogs that cannot and have to live in a kennel outside.

Dawn G. Bonome

by Dawn G. Bonome on 17 November 2019 - 10:11

Hired Dog...
Thanks for the clarification. I was not trying to cause turmoil here.

by Rik on 17 November 2019 - 17:11

Dawn, I really don't think you ask a question to cause turmoil. I also think it is a very reasonable question to ask on a GSD board and may be of interest to many here.

So, just to stir up the pot a bit, here is an opinion from someone who spent most of my years with S/L, AKC/CKC,GSL etc.

(I did see the error of my ways a little later in life, but can't change the past)

1. there really is so many types "work" for the GSD that what the above poster said is absolutely true. (my praphase) seeing eye or service work is not the same as apprehension/pursuit or crowd control, detection work etc. and it takes a different skill set from the dog, though all can be classified as "work".

2. not so many years ago, serious working dogs, with maybe not so serious high drives would have training methods that today have been outlawed in some countries and certainly bring cruelty charges in a lot of others. do a little research on the string on the toe.

3. enter the high food drive, high prey drive, high score, easy train, and suddenly all these dogs are "sport" dogs.

not exactly true. some of them are still very capable of serious work and some are really just high score pets.

the pros recognize what drives are present with what characteristics they need in their work (or sport) and are able to bring out the best in the dog for their purpose.

so, hope I haven't been too boring, just trying to stir a little response.


by Nans gsd on 17 November 2019 - 19:11

It's about the dogs training. What JOB has the dog been trained to do??

by ValK on 17 November 2019 - 20:11

technically speaking, every dog can be trained for certain type of work but not every dog will comply to fulfill demand,
set by that work, even after training.
one can see at sporty trial picturesque execution by dog the nose work, obedience and protection but in reality i doubt
even 5% of those scenic dogs can provide efficient use in practical utilization of what they just have performed on trial field.


by Hundmutter on 18 November 2019 - 03:11

Agree with ValK, every dog - given the very design and nature of the GSD breed - should be capable of being trained for either a sporting life or a 'job of work' (and as Rik points out, there is a whole variety of what can be described as 'work', from competitions including bitework which fit the dog for military or LE service, to guiding the blind or being a physical or mental Assistance dog, which demands a whole other skill set. Just as there are widely differing Sports.).

The GSD is nothing if it is not adaptable. Sometimes the same dog can be trained for both. Sport AND work. Yes, strains of the breed are produced specifically to make them more suitable for one or the other. In that regard, dogs that have shown they have particularly suitable skill levels are deliberately bred from. But there is no 'magic' about it - just like us humans, dogs are individuals and some dogs are more inclined, try harder, have more success and reach higher levels than others. Otherwise there would be no podiums, no prizes, no higher gradings, no degrees of IPG (SchHund/IPO). Not every dog can be good at everything. Not every dog can be good at the one thing it is particularly trained for. Owners' expectations, knowledge and selection abilities have a part to play there.

Whether the dog is bred for, or trained into, Work or Sport, or deliberately bred, 'softer', to be 'just' a pet, there will still be variation in the temperament. Some very determined working or sports dogs can still be really excellent companions in the hands of the right owner; some however are too driven and not inclined to have that 'softer' side - which may be fine, in the right home where that is appreciated, but not so good where the owner wishes they had a more 'cuddly' animal. "Horses for courses" as they say. If you end up with the 'RIGHT' type of dog for you, you'll have a great experience of that dog (but we must not assume every later dog will be exactly alike); but this does depend to an extent on whether you are experienced enough to source from the best lines for your needs, and have an ability to pick potential in a small puppy; and to fortune.This is why newbies here are so often asked to state what they are actually looking for in a dog, what they want it to be able to do, when they post here for advice on what sort of dog to buy.

Where a 'Sport' dog does not fit a family, that is probably because the family is not high energy enough to keep up with their dog ! Ditto can be the case with a 'Working' type. Nothing to say SOME families cannot have a perfectly satisfactory relationship with their Sports-trained GSD.


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