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Old 09/10/13, 09:44 PM
bluemoonluck's Avatar
Crazy Dog Lady
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Virginia
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Do calm, sane, German Shepherd Dogs exist?

So we had to rehome our Rottweiler - he was not happy in our home since we had moved from our farm in Utah to suburbia, and after he (without provocation - I was there and saw the whole thing ) went after my 12-year old and bit her that was absolutely the last straw. He went to an experienced Rottie home without kids where he'll be doing protection work, so it's a good placement for him.

But this leaves me without a "big dog" - I love my Mini Bulls but guard dogs they are not, and my DH is a cop who works 2nd shift.... I want a large dog to provide a "visual deterrent" to those who may not have the best of intentions.

I also have an anxiety disorder and I feel much more secure in a home with a big dog that I know will have my back and help me defend my family if needed. I had an AmStaff for 12 years who was awesome, he set the bar pretty high for a dog that was a psudo-service dog for my anxiety and a top-notch family pet too.

I've always wanted a German Shepherd, but I've met very few with stable temperaments. I need something that's not a ball of energy and not nervous, good with kids, and equally happy to go on long walks with me or sit next to me on the couch. I don't want a puppy - puppies are a PITA. I'd like a young adult, under 3 years of age but old enough to be done with the puppy foolishness and settled into his/her adult temperament. I do NOT want a poorly bred rescue dog, and because I have intact dogs (my show dogs) and I breed I know that no rescue is going to deal with me anyway .

Those of you who know GSD's, what are the odds of me finding a sane one that would be a good fit in my crazy home (kids from 9 weeks on up, little Mini Bulls, etc)? I want fully health tested parents/lines and sane temperaments.
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Old 09/10/13, 10:40 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Northeast, Florida
Posts: 1,033
Check for dogs that fail out of assistance dog programs or police dog programs. They might not be good enough for those strict programs but be perfect for what you want. Or contact a schulzhund person.

When my dogs have passed, I will be getting a GSD most likely. And like you, I'm not keen on puppy, nor on just any old rescue.
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Old 09/10/13, 10:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 146
I spent several years as a K9 officer training and working Shepards on a daily basis and spending 8-16 hours per day with them on patrol. They are wonderful dogs. There are bad apples anywhere but in all my experience and exposure to them you will be hard pressed to find a better companion and protector. Some of the things I've seen those dogs do is incredible.
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Old 09/10/13, 11:13 PM
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We have 2 GSD that are very calm. I'm really impressed by these girls. They are very watchful of our little ones.
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Old 09/11/13, 01:47 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,448
Ask around, maybe one of your breeder friends has one to retire from showing/breeding that would fit the bill. One of my friends "adopted" a 4 yr old shepherd from a breeder, she was a wonderful dog, great pet, well mannered, etc. If you get one that is age 2 or up, you can have the health tests run on the dog you get and know its all good too.
~ Carol
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Old 09/11/13, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New Alexandria PA
Posts: 423
Yes you can get them.
Understand they shed bad (blow their coat) twice a year.
For health reasons I would stay away for the sloped back, hock walking, ring rats, that have degenerated many lines. That leads to crippling dhd, spinal troubles and a miserable existence.
There are several good working line programs in the US. that meet the working standard. Watching them with the hock walkers, they almost look like 2 different breeds.
(They are herding dogs and should be able to run all day)
If you are serious, on sunday the Western PA GSD Club, is holding their specialty at
Delmont North Industrial Park
16 Potters Road (Rt. 66 at Italy Road)
Delmont, PA 15626
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Old 09/11/13, 07:39 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 24,108
My Boris is very mello. He is a mix though. 1/2 German Shepherd and we don't know the other half. I got him from the humane society for protection and for a friend for Rocky. He is always laying at my feet or nearby unless he is checking the perimeter of the property. He follows me everywhere and never leaves the property. He is VERY laid back especially compared to Rocky (Aussie). I am alone at home a lot and feel safe. Just this past Monday a stranger (to him) parked on the road and went through the gate and was walking up the driveway. Boris went right at him and bit him. Didn't break the skin but ripped his pants. If I wouldn't have been there as quick as I was to call him off I am sure he would have taken him down. good boy!
Do calm, sane, German Shepherd Dogs exist? - Working and Companion Animals
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Old 09/11/13, 09:39 AM
bluemoonluck's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Virginia
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Originally Posted by GrannyCarol View Post
Ask around, maybe one of your breeder friends has one to retire from showing/breeding that would fit the bill. One of my friends "adopted" a 4 yr old shepherd from a breeder, she was a wonderful dog, great pet, well mannered, etc. If you get one that is age 2 or up, you can have the health tests run on the dog you get and know its all good too.
I don't have any contacts in GSD's Most my dog friends are terrier people, although my handler has Shelties and handles a Collie, so maybe he knows someone.... I'm leery of the Conformation GSD's in this country, as has been pointed out here that slope-back look they prefer does not appeal to me at all!
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Old 09/11/13, 10:06 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 2,032
Are you on facebook? If so, consider joining this group. There are many GREAT breeders there, some of whom are breeding quality GSDs. I also think you will have better success getting a UKC bred dog and not AKC. AKC breeders are concentrating on extreme rear angulation which has resulted in dogs with such strange gaits that their practically walking on their hocks. I hate that.
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Old 09/11/13, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: KS
Posts: 1,839
We had an amazing GS/yellow lab mix when I was a kid. He was an angel with us kids, was my 4-H dog project, and he was an amazing protector.

Being that you're looking for an adult, though, I'd definitely be cautious and take time to assess temperament for yourself in many situations before you bring the dog home. We have fostered a few dogs who seemed okay and kid-friendly at first, then we bring them home and realize they have serious people or barrier aggression issues. With kids in the house, those issues are too big a risk, even if the dog may have the potential to be rehabbed.
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Old 09/11/13, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Michigan's thumb
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There are rescue organizations that would not have a problem with your set up, especially since you are a "reputable" breeder. They would, of course, only adopt out neutered dogs. You can find Rin Tin Tins, but they are few and far between. For your needs, a laid back dog is what you want. A Bouvier des Flanders may fit your bill. They shed, but not like a GSD. Their style is to warn, then stare down, then knock the person down, then if they still don't get the hint, to bite. They have incredibly strong jaws. They are smart, trainable, obedient, and family oriented. Intimidating by size and stare down.

My second choice for you would be a Dobermann. They usually are energetic dogs, but just exercise them like your bullies. They have stronger jaws than a GSD and a faster bite. Smart, trainable, obedient, family oriented. Intimidating by size and bark.

Then there is the standard poodle. They guarded the kings of France. Happy, trainable, obedient, family oriented. Intimidating by size and bark.

The Bouvier, Dobermann, or St Poodle can be walked by your school age child if properly trained. They are not roamers, they get along with other dogs, they appear to be teddy bears but will come between the family and any threat.
Nothing is as strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength - St. Francis de Sales
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Old 09/11/13, 01:03 PM
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Location: South Carolina
Posts: 165
I can put you in contact with the breeder I got my dogs from. Her dogs are excellent and have all been safe around all of my children. They were not for my livestock though

She breeds and trains for the local police.
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Old 09/11/13, 01:30 PM
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Location: NY
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Yes, they exist, but you're not going to find them in the show crowd, sadly. As someone said, UKC is good.
And don't be so hard on rescue dogs. I've known some good, sensible rescues and truly exemplary rescued GSDs. I've also known more that a few from "fully health tested parents/lines" that were .... let's be kind and say not what you're hoping for.

Especially as you want an adult I'd go to rescues. But since you're dead set against, then start with the UKC and then go to backyard breeders, who in this breed, are far more likely to have the temperment you want, even if their dogs are white, or the coats are too long, etc.
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Old 09/11/13, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Calm German Shepherds are a crime against nature. I'm sure there are some that exist and everyone knew someone whose dog just sat on the couch all day, but true GSDs are bred with energy and high drive (the higher the better).
You're best off maybe contacting a breeder and asking if they know of any older "wash-ups" that are looking for a home. If you're willing to spend the money, you could also talk to an importer who could find you a good dog.
I'm kind of in the same boat as you, and our dog was kind of on the expensive side, but he was worth every penny. He's such a great dog, I don't know what I'm ever going to do without him. No one dares to set foot on our property, let alone come in the house uninvited. When he's with our family he is the biggest, cuddliest baby but anyone who doesn't know him is completely unwilling to believe that
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Old 09/11/13, 06:11 PM
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Location: The Ozarks
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We've always had GSD's. We've had them for herding our sheep, and for pets. None of them were laid back. Our last girl died last summer, and I began researching breeders. This spring we brough home Cosmo from Tidmore's Rising Stars in Oklahoma, and this sweet boy is the most awesome GSD we've ever owned, and we've had some premium ones. He's only 7 months old, so I don't know yet what type of worker he'll be, but I just can't say enough about his personality. He's sweet and good natured with strangers as soon as I make it known that they're okay, and protective if I appear cautious.

He's not laid back however, like being a couch potato. We run him several times every day to keep him tired out. But he has the most stable personality, and is super smart. You might Google Tidmore's Rising Stars, I know Cynthia has a 4 month old girl for sale, she's his half sister.
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Old 09/11/13, 06:32 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,226
We have a GSD we got from the local county animal shelter, turned in by local people who found her running and no response to ads for a lost dog. Probably 4 or 5 years old, looks purebred but not 'show' purebred ... a bit more substantial and the head isn't as refined ... but her disposition in wonderful. She was leash and crate trained, has some obediance, housebroken and absolutely wonderful manners. She is absolutely not hyper or high-energy even ... great with people, other dogs, cats, rabbits, woodchucks ... anything except horses, which she refuses to believe actually exist!

I'm sure she's not necessarily typical, but quiet ones do obviously exist.
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Old 09/11/13, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: 2400 ft up in the CA sierra mt foothills
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We have 3 german shepherd rescues in our area and they grade their dogs' activity level(1,2,3)-- they seem to usually have some quiet low key ones available-- and age ranges are pups to older, with most being in the 2 year old range....
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Old 09/12/13, 10:07 AM
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Location: Coastal Georgia
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I would contact the German Shepherd rescue in your state.
We have had German Shepherds for a long time til our Bandit died 2 years ago.
There is nothing like curling up with a big old fluffy German Shepherd. Just tell them the requirements about being good with the children. German Shepherds are so smart I almost think that they can read minds. We had to spell so many words when we had Bandit especially if we were getting ready to travel somewhere.
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Old 09/12/13, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: South Carolina
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Bouvier Des Flanders are AMAZING dogs, if you don't mind the coat and beard. They are awesome watch dogs and fantastic with children. Inside, they are very calm and laid back. Outside, their energy levels are higher and they are excellent problem solvers. They are very trainable. One of the best dogs I ever owned was a Bouvier, when my kids were small. Man I miss her. But if this is a house dog, be forewarned....they don't seem to know how to drink water as a normal dog does. They have this huge hairy beard and they immerse their entire beard and mouth in the water bowl so as to soak up as much water as possible....then the parade around the house dripping water everywhere. Yep. It's true. But what awesome dogs they are besides that little issue.
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Old 09/12/13, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Coastal Georgia
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After having 2 German Shepherds one with dysplasia and one with spinal problems, he died from a spinal stroke at age 8, I would not advise buying a GSD from a backyard breeder. Surgery is expensive and not easy recoveries.
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