I haven't owned a golden (yet) and have never personally owned a German Shepherd, but my whole family has german shepherds, reason unknown to me. When my mom was young, she was bitten in the face by the family dog who was a german, so was her sister, a different dog but still a german. Then, my older brother was bitten in the face by a third german and had to have plastic surgery. All were generally nice dogs, just got upset and bit. While I was growing up and currently, my aunt has owned germans (even after she got bit). All but one have been very nice. Her current dog is probably the best german shepherd I've ever come across. He's super playful and very very sweet and cuddly. He likes to sit on our laps and I had the privilege of sharing a bed with him during my last visit
He took up the whole bed, and when I told him to get out, he wouldn't and played dead. Try coaxing a 90 pound german shepherd to get out of the bed at 3am...I kept pulling on his collar and he was dead weight. I finally gave up and didn't sleep that night
My aunt's dog also has hip dysplasia...but I know hip dysplasia is common in goldens too.
Anyways though, although I like her dog, I am still nervous around German Shepherds. I don't think I would ever want to own one, especially if I had children. However, my last dog was a Rottweiler and I hated when people would lump him into the mean category, because he was anything but, so I don't want to speak in generalities and every dog is different, depending on their genetics and how they are raised. If you do get a german I think it would be important to meet both parents so you know their personality. Anyways, just my 2 cents...