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Are GSDs a breed of concern?

  • No! They're wonderful, sweet babies. So loyal and awesome!

    Votes: 19 13.3%
  • The vast majority are just fine! A few bad apples, just like Goldens or any breed.

    Votes: 99 69.2%
  • I would only trust or own one of stable working lines- not show lines or American lines

    Votes: 2 1.4%
  • I'd only trust one of any lines that has proven himself to be reliable

    Votes: 13 9.1%
  • I don't trust this breed, and I would not have one ever

    Votes: 10 7.0%

Do you think GSDs are mean/untrustworthy?

10981 Views 159 Replies 65 Participants Last post by  HoldensMom
Curious what the Golden owning and (mostly) non-GSD owning dog forum population thinks about Shepherds. They are often lumped with pit bulls as aggressive dogs, bad with kids, etc. Would love to hear thoughts, experiences, and whether you think GSDs are untrustworthy pets.

Poll included
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I think they are wonderful, sweet babies, and I love them! Loyalty second to none! Very one person, devoted, intelligent dog. However, I have seen many nervous, insane American show lines ones, so it would only be on a case by case basis that I would consider one of those lines. I would always select working lines and German lines, and preferably long haired (just because they seem even more cushy! Maybe because they are soft and cuddly ;) )
I haven't met a ton of them in my lifetime but the majority of the ones that I have met are really sweet. I think they are beautiful looking dogs. As with any breed though, part of the temperament comes from the way they were trained by their owners or bred by their breeders.
I love them. My best friends mom had one who was so sweet and would protect me to the death if she had to.
I love GSD's , have had two in my life (as a child) and would love to have one again but don't think I still have the energy. I think they require more exercise than goldens.

There is an excellent breeder in western Nebraska who has excellent German lines and what I think so far is a great breeding program. I haven't looked into them thoroughly as I don't know if it will ever happen. I just dream. But their dogs are gorgeous wonderful family dogs, with wonderful stories from their "families". : )
We have a half gsd/husky and he is a sweety and the biggest whimp that you have ever seen :)
My puppy is SO mellow. He is a lot less active than my Goldens (except for Brooklyn).
I had GSD's. I've never heard them lumped in with Pit Bulls. I'm surprised that you would make a blanket statement about "insane, American show lines." Frankly, the Germans don't export their best dogs to the US, which is true of most foreign breeders of nearly any breed.
I love the breed, but am not naive to their idiosyncracies and would not recommend them for everyone.
We have had our GSD since she was 8 weeks old (she's almost 11) and she has never shown one ounce of aggression towards anyone. She has had a lot of training from a young age, so that has a lot to do with it, but they are a very loyal and loving breed when raised properly. They're not the dog for everyone and I would never recommend the breed to an inexperienced or frist-time dog owner because they are a huge handful and require an enormous amount of training. I always feel very safe with Kodi around!

This is our Kodiak:
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Well of course you wouldn't like anything I had to say about any topic. I have seen MANY nerve-bag Am-lines dogs, and some nerve-bag West German Show Lines dogs too. I am allowed to share MY observations, am I not?

They are often lumped with pit bulls in breed ban proposals, banned breeds for rental housing, etc.
I have seen many nervous, insane American show lines ones, so it would only be on a case by case basis that I would consider one of those lines.
Not sure how that can be seen as a blanket statement that "all" Am-lines are nuts.
I think that part of the "problem" with GSDs is that they are so family loyal. If they are not raised by someone who believes in super socializing them, then there can be some problems.

My mom's dog is a GSD mix (high mix) that I pulled from a shelter when he was a pup. He is extremely intelligent and overall well trained. But he has only had real socialization with my dogs and up until he was 6 month old he went to daycare. So he can get really snarky with other dogs. He has also snapped at my nephew (who was allowed to climb on him). I am not the least bit afraid of him (though he is 110 lbs giant) and if something were to happen to my parents, he would come live with us. He likes people, but he is also quite standoffish. He sleeps in the livingroom when he stays with us, while all of my dogs sleep in our bedroom. I realize that he is not the good will ambassador of the breed, but I have also been exposed to many GSDs througout my life and most of them have had a lot of very similar traits to Obi.

I guess I would say that I don't think a GSD is a good dog for a novice owner. I am positive that there are exceptions to the rule, just like not all goldens make a good first dog regardless of what people say.
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Not sure how that can be seen as a blanket statement that "all" Am-lines are nuts.
Pretty close. I didn't see the choice "Poorly bred German lines that are exported by Germans who don't want them in their gene pool so off them on American's or other foreign countries for big bucks".

*And, in previous discussions I have commented on the same detestable practice done by American breeders selling to Asia, etc etc...
sadly, i don't trust them. it's probably just the dogs i meet around here, but all of them are sketchy and nervous and just plain "off"
My ex (who was a police officer) and I got a GSD from a breeder who bred and trained her pups for rescue, search, and attack dogs. She became very ill and had to get rid of the litter before she could train so we picked on up. We use to train with his officer buddy's attack dog and our fire department's search dog. She was a VERY smart dog and thankfully was VERY loyal to both of us.

My ex was slightly a moron who thought since I didn't have the bite sleeve on the dog wouldn't attack me when he gave her the que.... She ran right to me in full attack mode and grabed my arm but it looked like she realised who I was RIGHT before chomping down. She had a soft hold on my arm and let go and just started to wag her tail and look at me. I could have KILLED my **** ex that day but was VERY VERY glad the DOG was smarter than my ex.

ONE issue with the GSD was when she was a pup and in her teething stage she didn't understand how **** strong and sharp her bite was. She was trying to play with me and sunk her teeth right into my shoulder. That sucked. I know she didn't mean it in a mean way but from then on I had to limit rough play BIG TIME.

At least the golden has a very soft mouth. I always tell her no when she gets mouthy but i'm still glad it's a soft touch.
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I really did not know how to answer your poll. I voted:
I'd only trust one of any lines that has proven himself to be reliable

I have owned two GSD's.

One had bad fear agression, we worked it out with a behaviorists, but he did bite before that. He was excellent with his family and those who were not afraid of him. He was afraid of his own shadow. Not sure if we did not socialize him enough as a puppy or if it was just the way he was.

The other I rescued at 1 year, she had a lot of insecurities we had to deal with. She ended up being an excellent dog. Did not have to train her, she just knew English, she just always knew what I wanted from her.

Both dogs, even though they had issues, were very loyal, perpetual toddlers, and I know they would have risked their lives to protect us. I always felt safe, but I had to be very careful when I had guests.

If I were to get a GSD again, I would very much research the lines he came from, and make sure the lines were very stable. Plus I now know so much more about raising puppies.
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I voted for only one who had proved himself reliable. As with any breed, I view them on a case by case basis. Maybe it's because I had a dog phobia as a child, but I try not to make assumptions about any dog. I've met some GSD's who are as sweet as honey and a couple who were just plain scary.
Any dog can be mean.

My Mom had a Lhaso Ahpso that was, bar none, the meanest dog I had ever met.

It bit her and sent her to the emergency room several times, and all she was doing was setting it's food down so it could eat!
I wouldn't lump them with pitbulls. For one Pits should never show aggression towards humans - even when provoked. Like any bushel of apples you have good ones and bad ones - but the bulk of my experience with GSDs as a breed is that you just never know what they're likely to do. If a rott or a pit intends to take a piece out of you - you know it - you can see it coming 500' away. GSDs don't seem to have that warning and seem to go from zero to aggressive without warning or any signs that they're going into a bad place. I've also seen more than my fair share of fear based reactivity in GSDs - more so than in any other breeds - even from lines and breeders that are supposed to be (and should be) stable and even in the hands of very experienced dog (and shepherd) owners. I think there's a trend right now that is putting way more "german lines" high drive dogs in homes that shouldn't have a dog - let alone a GSD.

Should they be banned? No. Should people do more research before buying a GSD? Yes - absolutely - any breed. Are there bad breeders out there really screwing up the breed? Yeah - and just as many golden breeders screwing up the breed too. Would I ever own a GSD or a GSD mix? Never. Would I cross the street to avoid one if I saw one walking with their owner on a sidewalk? Probably yes and especially if I had my dogs with me. And I've pulled my so-far qualifying dog from stays next to a GSD too.
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I think everyone knows how I feel about them. :D They're incredible dogs and I can't imagine not having at least one in my life.

There are a few bad apples, though. That's how I voted.
I completely agree with Fostermom, that part of the "problem" is that they are so incredibly loyal. And fiercely protective. I think that makes them probably not the best choice for everyone.

And I agree about the working lines versus show lines with regard to temperament. (I just agreed with someone else here today who had mentioned that.) From what I've seen and from everything I've learned, the working lines DO tend to be more stable. Not that there aren't wonderful show line GSDs. There are. But it seems that the working line breeders tend to focus more on temperament and are "better" all-around breeders from square one. The American/American show lines are far more common with the BYB, which (I think) is a huge part of the problem.
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