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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi! I am interested mainly in getting into
shepherds, but I'm not sure which breed to choose.
I've fallen in love with groenendaelers, to some extend malinois, and, alltough not shepherds, czechoslovakian wolfdogs. I ask for opinions here and there and the dutch shepherd, border collie and weimaraner (i don't know why) have been also recommended.
I do have some dog experience, but not much and mostly with small dogs (my ~30cm, 7kg terrier mutt + my aunts golden retrievers). I am currently living in an apartment and this will propably not change in the near future. I'm open minded and willing to learn and invest lots of time in training my future dog, but I also want to make sure that the foundation for a great partnership fits.

Excuse please my bad english, it is not my first language. This question has gotten quite long...
 

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The dogs you mention are not considered ”easy” dogs.

What sort of training are you planning to do? That might be a better way of choosing the right breed. Some dogs do better in certain training fields.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The dogs you mention are not considered ”easy” dogs.

What sort of training are you planning to do? That might be a better way of choosing the right breed. Some dogs do better in certain training fields.
It depends - I don't have many opportunities around, but I will definitely pursue obedience, maybe tracking/nosework for mental stymulation, some agility to better the partnership between the dog and me and maybe some sort of protection sport, for example IPO. Daily walks and obedience training of course. I definetly consider getting the dog from a show/mixed line with a bit less drive, than those from pure working lines and asking a good breeder for choosing a puppy for me after some character tests
 

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Remember dogs have been bred for certain traits over millennia so even getting a dog from show rather than working lines isn't going to erase all of that.

If you are thinking scentwork, a hound might be a good choice, but they might not give you the same agility edge that a collie would. A german shepherd might be a decent all-rounder.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am aware of that, that's why am very carefull right now.
I am afraid that I simply don't like GDSs, they are just to overbred, blocky and heavy for me and this is why I'm quite reluctant to consider them, even if they would suit my situation more at this moment. I'm not a fan of getting a breed (and caring for the dog for the next ~12 or more years [I would still love it of course] ) I don't like just to get "into" a particular group...
As of hounds... I love to go hiking and would love to let my dog run free without the fear of loosing him. My family also has smaller dogs/cats and rodents and I'd like to visit them with a dog that isn't willing to kill/chase them right away. Shepherds also have prey drive, but as far as I'm aware of, it isn't strictly hunting to kill instinct but more of a, well herding instinct. Also the bawling of hounds is to loud for me. I can get along with some whining/barking but sadly not much more

I am very thankful for your help, have you maybe some other ideas? I'm very sorry
 

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Well, other dogs do scentwork, just not so easily as hounds and you make a good point about being off leash.

The groenendael is probably the easiest of the breeds you mention but I don't know what they are like for scenting - how high is that on your wish list?
 

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I can tell you that many of the Dutch shepherds are kept here as pets but be aware they are often quite vocal just a thought if you have a lot of neighbours..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Scenting was just an idea I had for a "mental workout" for the dog, to provide some mental stimulation. It doesn't need to be good at it - as long as we both have fun it's enough and I can still look for other methods. I heard that "leader walks" are a good method
 

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Discussion Starter #13
”leader walks”?
I don't know who's idea it was to give it a name, but I've seen it appear on some websites. Those are apparently short (10 to 15 min. ) walks with lots of intense obedience training, like command after command. Depending on the dog's age and our capabilities as a team I would alter the lenght and intensity, but they seem quite interesting.

Beardogjesse, are white swiss shepherds as blocky and heavy as GDS?
 

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I don't know who's idea it was to give it a name, but I've seen it appear on some websites. Those are apparently short (10 to 15 min. ) walks with lots of intense obedience training, like command after command. Depending on the dog's age and our capabilities as a team I would alter the lenght and intensity, but they seem quite interesting.

Beardogjesse, are white swiss shepherds as blocky and heavy as GDS?
There look like a long haired white german shepherd. Pretty much the same size. Theyve got the healthy backs not the sloping show dog backs.
 

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Hello!
I think this is very wise of you that you are asking for advice on this topic. I would say a German Shepherd is a really friendly breed. Haha, and shepherds remind me of a very funny joke: The Cutest Lamb
 

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How much of these activities are you planning on doing? Like what would a normal week look like? There’s also a lot of different activities, which is perfectly fine, but which are you more interested in? It differs quite much to get a dog that is good for agility or protection sport for instance.

Where I live you’re only allowed to practice protection sport, ipo (igp), if you have a dog that belongs in a special working group. How is it in your country? Because if it’s the same the options are more limited.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm
How much of these activities are you planning on doing? Like what would a normal week look like? There’s also a lot of different activities, which is perfectly fine, but which are you more interested in? It differs quite much to get a dog that is good for agility or protection sport for instance.

Where I live you’re only allowed to practice protection sport, ipo (igp), if you have a dog that belongs in a special working group. How is it in your country? Because if it’s the same the options are more limited.
I'm capable of doing about +/- 2h a day. A short, quick walk in the morning (ca. 20 min, for relieving), if I can get it sorted, then a ~will 30min walk/training session in lunch hours and a longer walk/training in the evening. Maybe something in between, it depends how I or the dog can manage. I'll try to mix different activities (maybe jorring, some self made nosework) in the week, but for sports at a club I'll only have time in the weekend. I'd like to participate in IPO or another protection sport, and as far as I know there are no regulations for breeds here (Poland, Germany). Agility would be fine, but it is not a priority. I am quite active in the water (kayaking, sailing) so I can also organize something there in spring, summer and early autumn.
 

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I'm

I'm capable of doing about +/- 2h a day. A short, quick walk in the morning (ca. 20 min, for relieving), if I can get it sorted, then a ~will 30min walk/training session in lunch hours and a longer walk/training in the evening. Maybe something in between, it depends how I or the dog can manage. I'll try to mix different activities (maybe jorring, some self made nosework) in the week, but for sports at a club I'll only have time in the weekend. I'd like to participate in IPO or another protection sport, and as far as I know there are no regulations for breeds here (Poland, Germany). Agility would be fine, but it is not a priority. I am quite active in the water (kayaking, sailing) so I can also organize something there in spring, summer and early autumn.
Sounds like a lucky dog. Whatever breed of shepherd you get just make sure that parents have been hip elbow scored
 

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I'm capable of doing about +/- 2h a day. A short, quick walk in the morning (ca. 20 min, for relieving), if I can get it sorted, then a ~will 30min walk/training session in lunch hours and a longer walk/training in the evening. Maybe something in between, it depends how I or the dog can manage. I'll try to mix different activities (maybe jorring, some self made nosework) in the week, but for sports at a club I'll only have time in the weekend. I'd like to participate in IPO or another protection sport, and as far as I know there are no regulations for breeds here (Poland, Germany). Agility would be fine, but it is not a priority. I am quite active in the water (kayaking, sailing) so I can also organize something there in spring, summer and early autumn.
I would scratch the idea of the czechoslovakian Wolfdog. It’s not an easy breed and I would not reccomend it to a beginner. I think a more easy motivated and more trainable breed would fit your wishes the best. They can also be difficult to have off lead because of their prey drive. As for the Border collie and Weimaraner I would say the same. These breeds doesn’t fit your lifestyle. The bc needs to herd and all in all need more “high” ambition training. The Weimaraner is a hunting dog and should be used for hunting or if you would focus alot on tracking etc. Since they’re hunting dogs they can also be rather difficult to have off lead. It’s just in general a breed that doesn’t suit the activities you want to do.

The malinois, groendael and dutch Shepherds are definitely more suitable breeds. As for the differences between them people tend to state different things. Some claim that the dutch Shepherds are more stable than the malinois while others will redirect you from the dutch because they can have a rather weak mentality. But in general I would say that the malinois is the most extreme, hyper and over the top, while the two other breeds tend to be more collected. But since all of these breeds can have some issues with being weak and nervous it’s important to find a good breeder that breeds stable dogs with good mentality. I suggest that you look into how the different breeds are doing mentality wise in your country, because it can differ quite much from country to country. Make sure that they’ve desirable performances on MH-tests and speak to different breeders of the different breeds to figure out which would suit you the best.

Have you looked into the Australian Kelpie (not the working kelpie)? A smaller and lighter breed than all the others. Great working dogs that need a lot of exercise and training. The kelpie will be good for both IPO (igp) and agility. My general picture is that it’s easier to find a stable kelpie with good mentality than a dutch/Belgium shepherds. But again, the breeds and the breeding differ from country to country.

I would still recommend the German Shepard since I believe it’s the safest card. Working lines aren’t as heavy and blocky (or overbred) as the dogs that are show-bred, but maybe you find them too large either way.

Regarding the Nosework/scentwork and tracking there’s absolutely no problem to train this with any of the breeds mentioned. It’s a great activity that they’ll love and do very good at.

I would not recommend you to only focus on the show bred-lines. Often the health and mentality can be forgotten in this kind of breeding and the weak and nervous individuals are often due from this breeding. It’s extra important to be carful with the mentality since these are sensitive, high energy, working breeds, if they don’t have the right mentality it can end in a disaster. You don’t have to get a dog from the highest elite working lines, but make sure they breed on stable dogs with a good mentality.

All of these breeds are bred for working and aren’t typically good for beginners. So keep that in mind. But if you can offer the right life it could be great. What potentially could be an issue is the activity during the week. It depends on what ambition and level you will train the dog on. If it’s “more for fun” they would need more. I would say that 2 hours is definitely the absolute minimum of what they need. Of course it depends on what you do during these hours, it’s a difference if you dedicate at least one hour to strict training rather than some “hobby” training, if that makes sense? With these breeds you need to have high ambitions and a lot of dedication. They need serious training and exercise every day.

But regarding this I would also recommend you to speak to different breeders, tell them about what you want and what you can offer for them to decide if it’s a good match. To go and visit the different breeds is also great for deciding which breed would suit you the best.

I’m sorry if this text is a disaster. My brain is way to tired to construct good sentences in English.
 
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