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Hi everyone,

First post here. But here is my predicament. I have owned dogs since 1st grade. I come from a dog loving family so I know a lot about dogs and have done a lot of research myself into behavior and such. Ive owned a golden retriever and a bichon frise. I am 19, and the bichon has been my girl for the past 9 years and I love her dearly. But now I have moved out of home and have my own place so I am looking to get a new dog within the next few months.My two choices that I have narrowed it down to are GSD or Rotty. Now, I am well aware these are powerful dominant dogs that NEED a stern owner and someone willing to fulfill the alpha position in the relationship. I have a background in schutzhund training (brother is a K9 officer for local police force) and have trained dogs several times in my life. So i am confident I would be able to handle one of these two breeds.

I want a dog that has size, power, athleticism, and a dog that will not bond instantly with everyone around him. I want a loyal dog, loyal to his family and loyal to me but wary of strangers. I loved my retriever but it was like everyone in sight was his best friend and thats something I wasn't a fan of. I would prefer a more reserved, cautious dog that isnt going to run up to every stranger and become their best friend. Because of this I have been leaning towards a rotty. Yet I consistently hear about their dominance and stubbornness, yet I know I would be able to raise one properly.

Now, the GSD. I am amazed by their beauty and intelligence. Their willingness to work and their athleticism and loyalty all make this dog one of the most perfect dogs to ever own. However my concerns are that I feel i like the build and look/style of the rotty better.

As far as exercise what i know is this. GSD much more active faster and more athletic, would need running/jogging daily ( I run everyday) and playtime and basically something to keep him entertained and on his feet as much as possible.
Rott i have heard would be ok with walk/jog but not as fast and agile as gsd, but much stronger. Ive heard this breed can be a bit lazier around the house so im guessing it wouldnt be sprinting with me like a shepherd might be able to do but Id be more than happy to provide multiple long walks daily.

So based on what I've said, what do you guys feel might be the best dog for me for my first "big dog"?

Thank you everyone
 

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(Since no one's commented yet) The "dominance" or "alpha" way of thinking has long been debunked. Dogs are trained through conditioning and reinforcement. You can take a gander at this article, for a start: De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal Article

Kikopup on youtube is a very qualified positive trainer who has videos for almost all common issues that some people blame on "dogs trying to be alpha": https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup/videos

Secondly, I think going through a GSD rescue group would be ideal for you- not just because I like to advocate rescue, but because you're looking for pretty basic requirements. A jogging partner, playing partner, athletic, and reserved with strangers- pretty typical general description of many average GSD's in rescue, though you'll find what you like and don't like temperament-wise more in-depth once you meet more dogs. You can easily find a stable, young adult dog with a known temperament that fits what you're looking for, and there are many GSD rescues out there to look through. The same applies to rottie rescues, but since they're less common, I mentioned GSD's...

Most of your requirements are regarding physicality and appearance, which is really the least of your worries. Athleticism/speed is something physically trained, whether through just your regular workout or training for competitive dog sports. Both breeds can be just as fast, strong, and athletic as you want them to be.
 

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You'll hate me for saying this but at your age, I would avoid a dog if at all possible. It's likely that you will be changing jobs, going to school and moving around a lot-- many, many apartment complexes, if they even take dogs, have a height or size restriction, or even breed restrictions. Typically you can only take a small (under 25 pounds) dog with you.

I'm in the same boat as you. What I do is walk dogs. It started out as a hobby but now I make more doing it than I will with my real job. No vet bills, no scrambling to find a place for the dog if I travel somewhere for the weekend, no cutting my nights out short because I have a dog needing to pee at home. Just lakes, trails, parks and beaches. :D
 

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one thing to remember: when you get a puppy if either of the breeds, it will probably not able to join you on a jog until they're around 2 years to protect the growing bones and ligaments.
I think you home could fit a nice older Schäfimix (perhaps with something smaller) if you're willing to rethink and learn your knowledge about dog training.

Another thing you should remember, is that both breeds are prone to being dog-selective after growing up. so perhaps when you want to go with them tro the dog park and such, these breeds are perhaps not the perfect choice for you.
You can manage this with most dogs, and they're often okay with dogs they know, with strangers they can be wary.


Both breeds are very handler sensitive, but it is much more appearing with the more energetic Schäfi.
they do bad with owners not meaning what they say, because the most of them have a strong will to do what the owner wants, it frustrates them.
an unjust "stern","alpha" handler can make the dog unstable, and frustrated... things you don't want with a big dog of any breed.
Your goal should be to be fair with your dog, be sure what you want for them, send them signals that they can understand, teach commands thoroughly before expecting them, reward positive behaviour and (if an abort command is something you want to have in your repertoire) mark and redirect unwanted behaviour (train alternative behaviour).
It is more about being strict and honest with yourself, than with the dog.
You don't have to act like an american army instructor to be understood by the dog. In the end...it's still the same species as the lovely bichon Frisé you had at home.
I've seen Schäfi owners chirp commands like a bird and their dog still listened.

Schäfis are not dominant per se, like all dogs, but they're bred for work. It is part of their original job description to make fast decisions that can safe a persons or an animals life.
It's not dominance "because of some weird hierarchical reason", it is them trying doing what they're bred to do, when the owner doesn't communicate clearly enough (well trained verbal cues or hand signs, easy to read body language), that they want it solved in another way.
what you call a "dominant dog" is in most cases a overchallenged, nervous dog, that desperately tries to get their surroundings controlled to feel saver.


You didn't really write why you'd like a Rottie and i actually think this is one of the breeds you should only get when your 100% behind this.
they're different.
they're awesome, but people should only get one if they really want this type of dog.
a big, protective, fierce (everything is fierce, even cuddles are given with passion...sometimes with the passion of a bulldozer. :I) dog that needs a gentle but consequent owner, that knows what s/he wants from the dog and how to communicate it.

it is also important, since both breeds are not always the healthiest, to have a financial emergency plan, so you're able to pay for possible vet costs.
 
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