There is no debate about the importance of German Shepherds in the lives of millions of people. They are powerful working dogs, both as herding animals and as partners to police officers and members of the military. They have entertained humans as movie stars like the "soldier" turned movie star, Rin Tin Tin. Shepherds have even been a groundbreaking force in the service animal industry. As intelligent, handsome, and talented as they may seem, it is vital that people research the breed before they bring a German Shepherd into their home. Understanding how to choose the best working dog, companion dog, or show dog will prevent disappointment and the risk of abandonment of the dog.
Choosing Family Dogs
Shepherds are loyal and protective towards their family. Their intelligence makes them endlessly trainable, but their desire to work and be active means that their ambition could become destructive if they are not given enough exercise and healthy stimulation. The best family to have a German Shepherd is one that can devote time to physical activity and training. Avoid purchasing puppies from a pet shop or backyard breeder. This could lead to health problems with the puppy and behavioral issues. A reputable breeder will help their clients to choose puppies that have come from parents that display desirable personality traits for a family dog. These dogs will also have been health screened and selectively bred to avoid passing on genetic health problems.
Selecting Show Dogs
For people inspired by Rumor, the German Shepard that won the 2017 Westminster Dog Show a year after coming in second at the same competition, choosing a dog perfect enough to show is the challenge. It is possible to get a show-quality dog from any breeder, but it is far more likely to occur when the dogs are bred for show and not for working. The standards are different. Show bred German Shepherds are still intelligent and active but are typically less driven. They are often larger examples of the breed but with a lighter bone structure. Their more relaxed nature and even temperament make them easier to work with during a show and helps them to be a loving family pet once their show career has ended.
Identifying Working Dogs
Working dogs are those in the breed that have a high level of energy and are intelligent and respond well to training. They can be like "Buddy" the first seeing eye dog, or be tagged to work as service animals or law enforcement professionals. Pups chosen for police or security training are typically selected because they are aggressive, fearless pups while still in their litters. Service dogs, trained to help humans with disabilities, are generally chosen because they are sociable and responsive to human interaction. Many German Shepherd working dogs are put through Schutzhund training to determine their abilities.
German Shepherds are wonderful companions and work partners if the owner is active, attentive, and willing to invest the time in choosing the right puppy. There is very little that a German Shepherd cannot accomplish if provided with the right level of training and time. Research is always necessary whether someone is looking for a dog to work or for companionship.
For more information, contact a breeder such as Von Anna German Shepherds, LLC.