|Barked: Thu Jun 28, '12 6:35pm PST |
|As with anything, it totally depends on the dogs, but in the case of GSDs, it also depends on the owner and what they're willing to do to keep the peace.
Is it a major concern in the breed? No, IMO not, at least not compared to breeds that one can TRULY consider SSA (dogs like bullies, Akitas, etc).
Part of that reason being that the aggression simply comes from a different place. Its not SSA for the SAKE of being SSA, its not so much genetic. These are very high drive, intense working dogs. I think where a lot of people get confused, is they put two high drive, intact, assertive males together and wonder GEE, WHAT HAPPENED when things go to hell and back, when in reality it probably had nothing at all to do with the dog ACTUALLY being SSA. Take those same two dogs, place them with other males who are lower in drive or who are not as assertive in nature, and watch them thrive and wonder what the hell just happened. Its not that they're inherently aggressive, its that they're too intense to be haphazardly thrown together with other animals who match them on that level.
Females I think are something of the exception to this rule for the breed. Inter-bitch aggression is more common, WITH noting that it TENDS to be more so with other Shepherds or dogs of similar type, or between intact bitches. You'd have a much more harmonious time, I'd say, trying with a female GSD and a female Golden (for instance), than you would two female GSDs, or a female GSD and female Belgian (so on and so forth).
With all that in mind, how the owner manages the dogs is also important. Some people, I have come to believe, see things like inter-dog aggression within the household and treat it like something that will just have to forever be managed- and with some dogs, that well could be the case. But I think a lot of it can also come down to just how much work the owner is willing to put into MAKING the relationship work. My agility instructor, who is big into GSDs, is a firm believer in the harmonious household- and she achieves this through 100% control of her dogs interactions. Until recently (she just lost a couple of her GSDs, sadly), she had 3 GSDs (2 males, 1 female), a female BC and another male mix all living in harmony under the same roof. No fighting, no crate and rotate, all were perfectly happy, and the REASON for that was her having conditioned them to so ABSOLUTELY focus only on HER, that what the other dogs in the house were doing was literally inconsequential. Her dogs don't play with each other or pal around or anything like that- and if that's what you WANT, well, then maybe it wouldn't work out as golden. But if your goal is simply to keep multiple dogs, all for your own personal purposes, know it CAN be done.
Maybe the showlines are in some kind of mystical void where this doesn't apply, but the above has been my experience. I certainly know of working breeders who house multiple dogs together in dog yards, with the key always being COMPATIBILITY. Which, as we all know, is highly individual and varies absolutely from dog to dog.
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