what line should i get (working vs. us show vs. german show)

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Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 9:41am PST 
I am looking for a gsd to train as a service dog and I have some questions about the lines that would make the best dog for me. I am working with an experianced trainer - but Im trying to gain as much knowledge about the breed from as many sources as possible.

I think it's best if I describe the qualities I would like:
- has energy, but can differenciate play time vs. work time vs. relaxing time
- enthusiastic about life
- very affection driven, loves cuddles and being petted
- extreamly loyal, but who will be tolerant of strangers
- low agression, has to be dependable in all public situations
- more of a velcro dog vs. being independant
- can handle my emotional needs (wont panic when i have an anxiety attacks and such - will calmly perform the tasks taught of him)
- very trainable

I am going to be looking at rescues as well as breeder dogs - sujestions of breeders in ontario would also be very helpful. Ideally I want a dog between 6 and 18 months but may look at puppies too. Im hoping to have a male dog as I get along with males better altogether, who is between 24" and 30" and obviously extensivly health tested (or his parents have been).

Thank you very much for any help, I really apreciate it and look forward to replies =)

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 12:47pm PST 
I would cross post this in the Choosing the Right Dog forum, as the breed specific forums don't get a lot of traffic.

I'd also recommend reading through the German Shepherd threads listed in Mulder's Dog Breed Directory thread for a lot of information on the various lines.

To answer your question, I would suggest looking into American show line dogs. The Am. GSDs sometimes get a bad rap, but many would fit your requirements perfectly. Not that there aren't working GSDs that could also do the job, but many of the working lines are very high in prey and/or fight and/or defense drive, which could cause problems in service work.

I don't know many American GSD breeders, but ideally, look for a breeder who has successfully placed service dog candidates before. If you look in shelters for an older puppy/young adult, I wouldn't worry as much about lines since you'll be looking at individuals, most with unknown pedigrees. Many of the dogs will be from American lines, although various working lines and mixes of show and working lines are becoming more common in rescue. If you can, look for a rescue that fosters so they can give you a general idea of their dogs' temperaments, and see if you can foster to adopt.

Edited by author Sun Jan 20, '13 1:02pm PST


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 2:46pm PST 
There are tons of breeders in Ontario, and I agree with Onyx. Am. show lines is probably your best bet. There are also several GSD rescues in Ontario that would probably be able to help you and they all do courtesy listings as well for owners who are needing to rehome. If you are willing to look further away check out Bullinger in BC. She is amazing and although she breeds working dogs I know several of her pups have been placed in service homes. Good luck.


His highness!
Barked: Wed Oct 7, '15 5:47am PST 
Many American breeders have virtually ruined the GSD. It was bred as a working dog and starting in the 20's numerous breeders bred for looks. The "look" they wanted was extreme angulation, or a very slopy rear end. This has led to hip problems and is not conducive to working or even a long healthy life. The best working GSD's today come from two different lines. One is the old East German (DDR) border patrol dogs and the second is the legendary Pohranicni straze (Czech border patrol)dogs. They are somewhat expensive but you get what you pay for. Patriot K-9 Services