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by 2Cats on 16 April 2018 - 22:04

Hi jenni 78, Yes I agree, when we looked for a Shepherd the first time, everyone told us that show lines are the only ones for a family pet...and that we should stay away from working lines as they are to hyper and need a job, WELL, I have words for all those people, they know absolutely nothing.

Show lines are a 24 hour job for someone who just wants a companion, constantly restless, non stop training as they don't seem to retain anything unless repeated 1 million times, and then you have to hope and pray that the dog will actually do what is asked when necessary.

I trained my "Buddy" myself from a book I found at our library, very old book, minimal pictures, I think it was called "Police dog training", I was just a kid but she listened and payed attention first time, never had to bribe her to do anything, she was so eager to learn, I was 9 when my dad showed up with her one afternoon coming home from work...she ran straight to me and well, that was that.

With the show lines it is more of how much you can bribe them with, We also noticed that there is a constant battle for hierarchy between owners and dog or dog with other pets, as if they lost the natural ability to know hierarchy and accept it.

If I knew that working lines was what I was looking for, we would never have looked at show lines.

I know you can never replace the dog you first had, You can't, that dog does not exist, but you can look for a dog that is the same in how she was overall as a dog...I suppose that is why some people spent so much money on cloning their pets. Yes, it will not be the same dog, but it will be the same mold and clay and that is what makes the difference.



by susie on 16 April 2018 - 22:04

In case showlines are " too much " for you you should stay away from the GSD breed as a whole.
And no, showlines are not more stupid than workinglines.

Every dog needs socialisation and education, no matter the genetics.

Right now you are talking about the reincarnation of Rintintin-won't happen- sorry...

by Sunsilver on 16 April 2018 - 23:04

LOL, Jenni! I wasn't saying Cliff was old, just that he's older than a lot of people on this board!

And both Cliff and I have been around long enough to know the GSD breed HAS changed a lot in the last 30 years, and not for the better. Show line breeders are focusing on appearance at the expense of temperament and nerve, and working line breeders on extreme drives to get those extra points in IPO. 


The good news is the dogs like the ones you remember can still be found. It's just harder than it used to be to find that sort of balance.

by joanro on 16 April 2018 - 23:04

Sunni, he's not older than me !! Sad but true, lol.


by Sunsilver on 16 April 2018 - 23:04

We're in the same age bracket, then. Regular Smile

by joanro on 17 April 2018 - 00:04


by Jenni78 on 17 April 2018 - 00:04

Susie, I don't know how recently you have spent time in the USA and with show lines- while I totally agree with your premise, it's true what 2Cats is saying. MANY are neurotic and hyper, although they lack focused drive. It is not uncommon for me to get requests from buyers who were told they could only handle a show line dog and their show line dog is far far far more high maintenance and neurotic than my working lines (of course there are neurotic working lines, too!!!). I think in the effort to "increase drive" in show lines, many accidentally increased energy, and not drive...at least not easily directable drive. I have also seen A LOT of animal aggression and child aggression. Lots of fearful and reactive behavior. People seem shocked that my "working dogs" are so much "less aggressive" than their pet or show bred GSD. And it's not that my dogs are "less aggressive." They just aren't afraid of children or small dogs and don't need to kill every small animal that crosses its path. You don't *see* the aggression in day to day interactions in public, walking down the street, etc. I think this is what 2cats and others are saying. I totally agree with your overall belief, however, at least in this country, breeders are so misguided...and remember, in the USA nobody needs to work the dogs in order to breed, so of course standards can be even looser.

I really don't understand this idea that show lines are less aggressive than working lines. Sure, some are, but a lot are just inappropriately aggressive and not aggressive in the right situations. I see so many offered for sale or rescue that say "No dogs, cats, or children." That says a lot about their character. I have NEVER sold a working line dog with those directives necessary. Sure, maybe no same sex dogs (duh), but no children???!

My dog Drago (http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/galleries.html?gallery=93476) is a good example of my preference (not saying this should be everyone's). He is NOT a dog for an inexperienced handler. I needed to be "on my game" for the first several weeks. He is dominant, can be somewhat "rank" driven, and has no issue correcting someone if he feels they're out of line. He isn't afraid to bite. He is what some would call a "real" dog although I actually kind of hate those discussions. He is not a dog that can be handled by strangers easily. However, he is not remotely reactive in an unpredictable way. A buyer told me about a dog who attacked her elderly mother for losing her balance and stepping on his tail. I accidentally shut Drago's tail in the door with guests here. A little yelp was all that happened although he looked at me. He is kind with children. He is too superior to bother fighting with other dogs. He is very calm. He *appears* to be just your normal pet dog when out in public...meaning, he's not all wound up and looking for a fight as so many are. If I didn't choose to tell guests or passersby what he is, they would not know he was anything but my normal pet dog. He is relaxed and normal in public. Nothing terrible is going to happen if a child runs up to him or a small dog slips their collar. His aggression, while strong, is appropriately channeled. He maintains clarity of mind when directing it.

On the flip side, I have seen many dogs with very low thresholds for aggression and it is triggered by things that really shouldn't trigger it- accidentally stepping on tail or paw, walking over the dog while sleeping, food aggression, killing cats or small dogs, growling at children, etc. WAY TOO COMMON. These are the same dogs who would tuck tail and run in the face of a real threat. I have little use for neurotic high energy and misdirected fearful, reactive aggression. Give me the nasty male, fiercely loyal to family, clearheaded and stable, confident enough to not be looking for a fight.

Anyway, I don't think all is lost. I really don't. I know lots of good people breeding good dogs.

by Sunsilver on 17 April 2018 - 01:04



Ummm...old enough to know better?? LOL!

by JonRob on 17 April 2018 - 02:04

"If I knew that working lines was what I was looking for, we would never have looked at show lines."

2Cats, you can thank your lucky stars you didn't get a so-called "working"-line GSD, unless you had gotten one of Joanro's dogs. Very few of them are like Joanro's dogs. So many of these dogs are bred not for any kind of real-world work--which they could not possibly handle--but for sport. Generation after generation has been kept in kennels, so the most basic house skills are not selected for and are often lost. I assume your showline GSDs, as difficult as they were, didn't crap in your house and then fingerpaint themselves and the house (or their crate) with the mess. The filfthiest GSDs I have ever seen have been working lines, and I've had groomers tell me the same thing. And too many working line GSDs are hysterical wrecks that make the worst showline GSDs look calm.

I'd steer clear of breeders who think that people are stupid if they expect a GSD to get along with dogs of the same sex. These breeders consistently churn out dogs that are horribly aggressive with dogs of the same sex. That is just a nightmare to deal with. There are GSD breeders with intact males who routinely run and play together, and ditto for their intact females.

Never mind the brags that breeders post, a short video like Joanro's is what is worth paying attention to--it says it all. If a breeder can't show you something like this in a video or in person with her dogs, go elsewhere.

"I know you can never replace the dog you first had, You can't, that dog does not exist, but you can look for a dog that is the same in how she was overall as a dog...I suppose that is why some people spent so much money on cloning their pets. Yes, it will not be the same dog, but it will be the same mold and clay and that is what makes the difference."

2Cats, that is extremely well said. I'm still looking for a GSD like the best dog I ever had, and I will never stop looking until I find one. If I'd had the money to clone him, I would have. I would give just about anything for the same mold and clay that he was.

As for Russian Terriers, my girlfriend and I looked into these some years ago. The consensus was that they tend to be real buttheads with a tendency to bite just because they're pissed off about something. So we never got one.

Mindhunt, my superdog was a lot like yours: "We could tell him to bite someone until the cows came home, if he did not think that person was a threat, he would laugh (I swear he laughed).  If he felt someone was a threat, he would slowly escalate from standing between me and the "threat" with his patented stare and then square up, then low growl, then show teeth, you get the picture.  He NEVER overreacted and never underreacted."

Refusal to bite unless there is a darn good reason for it is a sterling quality in a dog. It reflects good judgment, which has largely been bred out of GSDs in favor of insane prey drive.

2Cats, keep looking for your GSD. I get it and I wish you the best of luck.


by Sunsilver on 17 April 2018 - 03:04

Excellent post, JonRob, and what you said about the Russian terriers backs up my observations on our trainer's dog! Guess that dog WAS typical of the breed.

2Cats, when I first got into the breed, my dogs were rescues, so they had not been 'specially bred' for one particular job. They were not perfect (no dog is!) but they had most of the traits one would expect from a good GSD, if you went by the breed standard, and didn't worry too much about the conformation being worthy of the show ring.

Then, I decided to get my first registered dog. And as I began my search, my thoughts were 'what the heck have they DONE to this breed?' The American dogs had these really long backs and upper thighs, and their hind ends moved like they were beating eggs. German dogs had these weird humps in the middle of their backs. None of them looked like the dogs I'd owned, or the GSDs I remembered from my childhood. I really didn't know what to do.

It took me a couple of years to understand how the breed had split apart into three totally different. lines. When I finally did buy a registered pup, she wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, because I still didn't fully understand the depth of the split between the different lines. But she's been a great dog, with a solid temperament and good health, and I don't regret my choice.

I've learned an awful lot since then, and I can certainly understand your frustration. I want to assure you that the sort of dog you are looking for IS out there, and I wish you the best of luck in finding it.

I know of a litter that was just born that may have a suitable pup, but have to check with the breeder first before I can say more.

Where are you located, BTW? It would help to know.

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