Need guidance on finding a GSD breeder - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by lrwerewolf on 27 December 2019 - 05:12

I am looking to acquire a GSD as I'm finally ready to come out of mourning from the loss of Zephyr vom Adel Haus (call: Ulric) back in October. However, between my two previous shepherds (the other being Urban's AMATVS SVM, call: Ahroun), I have some specific traits that I'm not sure the best way to find. My targets include sire & dam's Schutzhund titles, coat lengths, hip status, weight, and (related to weight) 'stockiness'.  Unfortunately, some of these are rarely listed on breeder websites I find.

Does anyone have some guidance/advice on how one might efficiently target such a list without necessarily needing to do a ton of emails or phone calls?

by apple on 27 December 2019 - 06:12

IMO, I would reconsider the traits and criteria you are set on in looking for a pup. IGP titles don't tell you much. What level were they obtained at? German show line dogs have IGP titles and I would not have such a dog. There is little to no heritability based on titles per se. Coat length and size are not that important is looking for a certain type of dog other than superficial structural and coat type. While I think it is important to go with pedigrees with favorable hips, it is no guarantee, but you might increase your odds. I would focus more on what your goals are for your next dog and then focus on what temperament traits you would like to see such as prey drive, aggression, nerves, sociability, aloofness, health issues, etc. Then you can hope to find less important traits like coat length, size, etc. You also should try to find out how the dogs in the pedigree have produced, especially the parents.

by astrovan2487 on 27 December 2019 - 10:12

I think you might need to be a little more specific. By coat length do you mean long coat, stock, plush coat? And by stockiness do you mean you are looking for a slim agile built dog or one of these thick blocky "DDR" type everyone is hyping about now? At a minimum its going to take numerous phone calls and emails, that is the easy part. To really find what you're looking for you'll need to narrow down through phone calls and emails then actually go out and see the dogs in person. Titles and hip/elbow scores are a great start but I'd also want to know about any history of DM/spinal problems and how the dogs behave outside of the home or training field, like in new crowded areas, and just new situations in general.

I've noticed a lot of the better breeders won't even return emails or phone calls when potential buyers ask really broad questions. Good luck I hope you find the type of dog you are looking for.


by Koots on 27 December 2019 - 14:12

Also indicate the general geographic area that you would be willing to look. Are you wanting to see the parents and pups or are you OK with trusting a breeder to select a pup for you and ship? If the latter, then you should be very specific stating the qualities you seek once you have chosen a breeder.

Doing diligence in your research will help you find the type of dog you seek. If I were you, I would not be looking for short cuts when selecting a pup that will be with you for years.  You can get recommendations from people on here based on your criteria, but that is just the start of your research.   Good luck, hope you find what you're looking for.

by Rik on 27 December 2019 - 14:12

I really do think you can get a ton of good advice here.

thinking you will need to be much more specific on your criteria. like above poster said, titles may or may not be an indicator, but I would not ignore them.

you will undoubtedly start getting a lot of PM's from people who have just what you are looking for. sift through them and research carefully.



by lrwerewolf on 27 December 2019 - 15:12

apple, the reason for the titles is that they tend to point to temperment, which does have a heritable component.  Guarantee, no -- and even then, in the ol' Nature vs Nurture debate, both play a role, and environment, early experiences and training, all play a part, I'm aware.  As far as temperment, I'd be targetting 1.5 - 2.5 on Volhard (and between 13 years SAR training, AKC to Intermediate, working with MWDs, and other experience, yes, I'm qualified for such a dominant K9).  Both Ahroun and Ulric were in this range (Ulric was in fact slightly lower -- I recall his being a 1.3), and in both cases the temperment had a definite "It is together time, yay!  Okay, we had bond time, you do your thing dad and I'll do mine," aspect to it.

astrovan2487, regarding coat, the shorter the better.  Build, very stocky -- I'm not familiar with the DDR term (unless someone has trained a dog to play Dance Dance Revolution at least... in which case let me know 'cause I own an arcade pad and me and Saðrulf can play together *g*).  Ahroun was 140lbs and his vet considered him underweight (second floating rib was slightly visible), and built like the proverbial brick house.  I would favor such a build again.  In no way does it diminish the love I have for Ulric, but his being 85lbs and slightly on the thin side always made him feel so small after having shared the journey with Ahroun.  With Ulric I went on-site to do Volhard myself, so I'm familiar with the need to evaluate a pup before the pup comes home with me, but good advice I wish more people considered -- it disturbs me how many people I know looking for pups who don't even know of Volhard.  Health history is definitely a good call too, Ulric had a lifelong bladder issue that the vets were never able to figure out though we did manage to get it mostly controlled.  I'm not averse to emails or phone calls, it's simply that I'd like to optimize the process.

Koots, I'm located in Denver and willing to travel some number of hours in any direction for evaluation and (if things go well) take home.  I understand that I may make the journey to evaluate and find that the prospect isn't a good fit -- it's all part of the process.  On-site personal evaluation is very important to me, I may trust a breeder but I feel good fit can only be checked by meeting the prospect.  Also, I'm open to the 'he chose me' aspect -- with Ahroun, I was melting over one of his sisters and he just came over, bit her butt, shoved her out of my lap, and flopped right into it like it was his.  I didn't choose Ahroun, he chose me.  It's not so much short cuts that I'm seeking, just optimizations.  My initial search efforts have not been particularly fruitful so I'm hoping for some thoughts on how to make sure my efforts are fruitful and successful both in the short term effort to find what I need and long term in a long, mutally growth-filled relationship.

I appreciate the thoughts so far offered and hope the follow-up info I've provided is of value.


by Koots on 27 December 2019 - 15:12

Your dog Ahroun seems to be from AKC lines, not even sure if they are show lines or not as not much info is on his ped. Your other dog Ulric is from WGSL stock. Are you looking to get a WGSL, a WGWL, or AKC show line dog?


by lrwerewolf on 27 December 2019 - 16:12

Quick follow up, since it occurs to me most posts suggested posting specifics.  Note the following are the guidelines, not absolutes, for what I'm seeking.

  • Role
    • The puppy will be raised as a companion animal and as an emotional support animal.  Depending on specific temperment, may train as a psychological and neurological service animal.
  • Titles
    • Sire: Sch2+, PH a plus
    • Dam: Sch1+
  • Hips
    • At least A1+A2 (or equiv OFA/PennHIP).  A2+A2 tolerable if all else is good.
  • Medical History
    • Sire & Dam: No known heritable history
  • Weight
    • Sire: 80lbs / 37kg or above
    • Dam: 65lbs / 30kg or above
    • Line
      • Working Lines -- WGWL, EGWL, CWL
  • Build
    • Favoring a heavy, stocky build, the proverbial brick [ahem]house.
  • Temperment
    • Sire & Dam: To the dominant side, somewhat but not entirely aloof.  Good working dog candidates.  The type that grumbles at you when given a command, and seeks verification if the command seems out of place or unwise.  Responsive to both treat rewards and ball rewards (ie food drive and prey drive).
    • Puppy: Will perform Volhard on site, looking for a 1.5 - 2.5.  If an acceptable puppy is between 2.5 and 3.0, this would open the prospect of training for service animal as mentioned above.
  • Puppy Gender
    • Male
  • Contract terms
    • Neuter: Must not contain neuter clause, vasectomy requirement acceptable.  Prefer not to subject him to a purely elective surgery if the breeder is willing to forego any such requirement.
    • Breed: No breed agreement is expected and acceptable; there is no intention of breeding anyways.
  • Geographic Location
    • 3-4 hours drive from South-edge of Denver, CO metro as a maximum.  Anything beyond 1-2 hours drive will require some time to arrange to have a friend travel with due to neurological issues.

Given this level of specificity and the pointed aim at the dominant side temperements, I can make references available to the breeder of persons who can attest to my skill with dominant personality GSDs.


by lrwerewolf on 27 December 2019 - 16:12

Koots, I will have to research the lines. I was only familiar with a distinction between American and Euro lines. Based on a quick review, I think I'd be looking more to the WG*L lines, though astrovan2487's comment about DDR being 'thick, blocky' suggests that might be an option as well.


by Koots on 27 December 2019 - 17:12

The 'Euro' lines are roughly divided into two groups, the West German Show Lines type (no matter which country the breeder is from) and the West German Working Lines type. Also there is the Czech/Slovak working dogs and the [former] DDR type dogs that someone talked about. There is much discussion on the differences between the two types, and some consider them different enough to be considered separate breeds, but the 'Euro lines' GSD is roughly divided between the show and working lines. If you are looking for a dog that is able to do SAR, schutzhund, etc. then I would suggest looking at the 'working lines' of dogs.

Your stipulation for an over-sized dog (weight-wise) may limit your candidates in the working dog world, as the breeders who are concerned with titling, proving and health testing/xraying their stock mostly breed within standard:


Male dogs: Height at the withers: 60 cm to 65 cm /  Weight: 30 kg to 40 kg

Female dogs: Height at the withers: 55 cm to 60 cm  / Weight: 22 kg to 32 kg


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