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Old 12 February 2014, 07:28 PM
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amorrison50 amorrison50 is offline
 
Join Date: 28 December 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 459
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Honestly, at the shows (and particularly specialties, where I see a cross section of performance and conformation dogs), there are VERY few american show line dogs I'd trust in my home. I sometimes take my 5yo old son to the shows and while I keep a close eye on him around any dogs there, I tend to be more wary of the breed dogs than the performance dogs. Some of this is likely due to the amount of training that the performance dogs receive in comparison to the conformation dogs, but the basic, inborn temperament of a pretty high percentage of the breed ring dogs I see is just plain flighty and nervous. Not something I want in my family. Of course there ARE stable conformation dogs out there, it just seems that an awfully high percentage of them are just plain unstable, IME. Honestly, for a family dog, I would strongly consider either (a) a less structurally extreme American show line dog whose parents and other family members I was able to meet and gauge the temperament of; (b) a performance line dog - by this I mean dogs who do tracking, herding, agility, obedience, and the like, NOT a working line dog who does Schutzhund work, they're great at what they do but not appropriate for the average family; or (c) a carefully screened rescue dog, this means screening the rescue as well as the dog as there are some out there that just want to place dogs and don't really do the matching and evaluations that they should. My personal preference is (b), these dogs tend to be the most structurally sound and have even temperaments (a broad generalization, you would still want to meet the parents, make sure health clearances are done, etc.) but they are hard to find. Most rescue GSDs, from what I have seen, tend to have a more moderate build than the breed ring dogs and more moderate temperaments to match. Obviously much research is needed before choosing a rescue dog and you do potentially run a higher risk of hip dysplasia, DM, etc., but it is all a matter of weighing risks and benefits of any of the choices. I love the GSD breed but honestly hate what has been done to it, though it seems like things are beginning to go in the right direction, at least better than they were 10-20 years ago, though we still have a long way to go.
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