German vs. Australian Shepherds

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German vs. Australian Shepherds

This is a discussion on German vs. Australian Shepherds within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Hey guys! I'm looking into getting another dog for obedience, perhaps agility and I've narrowed it down to two breeds. I'm curious as to how ...

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Old 11-01-2016, 11:02 AM
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German vs. Australian Shepherds

Hey guys! I'm looking into getting another dog for obedience, perhaps agility and I've narrowed it down to two breeds. I'm curious as to how they work with their handlers, and anyone's experience with them in the obedience and agility ring, as well as what type of weather they thrive in or if they can handle seasonal weather. Any advice or knowledge is welcome!! Thank you in advanced~

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Old 11-01-2016, 11:46 AM
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They are very different.

I actually grew up with GSDs (my dad loves them). I love them, but they definitely aren't for everyone. Our GSDs were pretty "pet/show" line growing up, so they were a little calmer than your average GSD. My parents now have a 5 month old working line GSD and she is crazy. I found them pretty easy to train, and I was training them tricks when I was like...13 or 14? My Dad raised dogs with a heavy hand, and the dogs did okay. We lived in Ontario which gets cold, snowy winters and hot humid summers. The dogs did fine.

I would be very careful about choosing a GSD breeder. There are a lot of lines out there with very crappy temperaments and poor health. @DriveDog and @Artdog would be good resources for GSDs.

Aussies, my current love, are awesome. Extremely handler focused, very easy to train, quick, and pretty common on the agility scene. They do NOT do well with any sort of heavy hand/corrections. They shut down almost immediately. I live in Southern Ontario now, and we have milder winters, and VERY hot and humid summers. He does alright in the summer, but we try to keep exercise to the early mornings and evenings, and we keep the AC on. He loves the snow. @jclark343 @ThatYellowDog @Sabina88 @PoppyKenna
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:57 AM
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@Shandula With the Shepherds, would you say they were handler-focused or more independent minded?

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Old 11-01-2016, 11:59 AM
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I would say they are very handler focused. There is a reason you can do IPO Schutzhund or Mondioring with them. When they are on, they are ON.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:08 PM
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Eh, those are two completely different breeds. I have an Australian Shepherd that I do agility with. I really enjoy him and his breed. He is quirky, smart, in tune, and a thinker. He is stand off ish when meeting new people, but once he has warmed up he is very friendly (part because of his breed, part because of his first year of life). Also, I live in South Florida and Forbes is a Show line Aussie, so he has a FULL coat. I brush him and try to not spend too much time in the heat of the day and always provide water. He doesn't have a problem.

Now having trained for a few years, I grew to resent German Shepherds. Seriously, every one I worked with ended up being an untrained mess. I grew to dread every GS that came through my classes. They aren't a breed I see very often at trials so I wouldn't even know how they do at agility.

Is there a reason you are between these 2 breeds?
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jclark343 View Post
Is there a reason you are between these 2 breeds?
Great question... I was wondering the same

What are you looking for in a dog? What other dogs have you owned/trained? What is your lifestyle like- couch potato? Hiking everyday? Or somewhere in between?

Sorry! Didn't mean to sound like a job interview!

I don't have either but I am looking to bring an Aussie into my life soon- FWIW.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:36 PM
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@jclark343 , I'm between them because I like the versatility and drive. On one hand, I like the intimidation factor of a GSD (Let's be real. A GSD will ward off more intruders/attackers than a chihuahua.) But I love the happy-go-lucky nature of the Aussie.
@Aspen726 Please, more questions! The better you know my lifestyle the better you'll be able to identify what I'm looking for! I've trained a high energy pit bull (They came to me when the puppy tugging at the leash was a 95 LBS monster ready to rip your arm socket out.) A show line Aussie (of poor breeding) with SEVERE seperation anxiety, a runaway Lab (she, really loved the nearby lake.) And now, my hardheaded corgi mix. Currently, I'm not too active because I'm scared to go out alone in this crazy society and my corgi mix can't keep up. So I'm definitely looking for a dog with the go, but can settle in the house on a rainy day.

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Old 11-01-2016, 03:23 PM
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@Shandula thanks for giving me an excuse to reminisce.
I haven't had that many GSD, but now having a non-gsd (bc mix) I can see they are VERY different. GSD are like living with a mature adult human being, or young adult, 18-24. I know that's a fuzzy statement, but that's how they feel to me--they just seem mature.
In science terms, they display far less neotony in both looks and behaviour than your average domestic dog. Neotony--domestic dogs look and act like immature wolves/puppies, short faces, biddable, etc...
Working lines are a whole lotta dog. They are bred to be high in Fight vs Flight. That doesn't mean they want to eat your neighbour, it means that when pressed or threatened, a good dog will stand it's ground rather than flee. That means that when things go wrong in terms of socialization, you may end up with an aggressive dog.
A good wl dog should have solid nerves, which means nothing much scares them, so if well socialized, that 'fight' drive shouldn't be a problem, but if someone makes them nervous, you'll need to have solid control.
A good gsd is a dream to train, fun, fun, fun, they want their toy, they want you, they want ACTION. But they make good couch potatoes too at the end of the day. They want to be with their people, and they want all their people in one place (so separating off the group will BUG them).
My wl gsd (Dynamo) LOVED agility. She wanted to get things right, just because. She never 'cheated' jumps, etc. working with her was like having an equal partner...but, if not otherwise directed, she would make a game of intimidating other dogs, she could be bossy (I did a lot of obedience and tug with her while waiting during class so she wouldn't have a chance to amuse herself).
GSD's can also be deliberately wilfull. That means, disobey just to see what happens, like running experiments on you. A trait I loved, fun. But now that I have a non-gsd I see why some people don't believe it's possible. My current dog would not dream of deliberately disobeying, he's just not going there. If he disobeys, it's due to something else being more compelling.
I can see how some folks would find a gsd like that challenging, but it was like having an adult partner with a keen mind. Not an easy dog to own and train, and at that size and capability, a huge responsibility.
I don't think the extreme show-lines would be built for agility. Working lines are built for agility, will have a lot of drive, will be very willing to work for you, but keep you on your toes.
A responsible breeder should be able to place you with the right dog. If you do go for a gsd, avoid any that show fear, or nervousness, and be sure to socialize, a lot. They don't need to be friendly, but you really want them to be neutral to strangers. If they treat strangers like rocks and trees, all good.
Given your dog owning history, I think you'd be fine, so it's a matter of what you want.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:25 PM
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Honestly, I am so weary of the breeding of German Shepherds right now. On top of a laundry list of medical problems that they are prone to, the also seem to come with issues right out of the gate. It is extremely difficult to find a good breeder now a days, and even the ones that present themselves as good breeders still tend to have bad breeding practice. If I was looking for a breed similar to the German shepherd I would probably be more apt to choose a Dutch Shepherd over a German.

Also, don't underestimate the fear a snarling Australian Shepherd can cause. Seriously, mine is not a fan of new people in my house and I would not be shocked if he went after someone who approached me wrong. He is bonded with his family and I am sure he would protect us if he felt he needed to. My lab on the other hand would just rub her butt on them looking for a scratch.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:30 PM
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@jclark343 - That's a good point. Levi has a very deep, booming bark (I don't know how, he's so happy) that has scared people away on multiple occasions. I really think he just wants to say hi. :P
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