While I love German Shepherds (see my profile), it may not be the best choice for you if you have never owned a dog.
They can (and should) be absolutely wonderful dogs, but they do require a firm hand and will very likely challenge you at some point for dominance. It is an absolute must to make sure any GSD is well-trained. Being a very intelligent breed, they also need some sort of mental stimulation. Leaving them alone outside all day will invite them to pick up poor habits. (Chewing, chasing, barking)
Beagles are smarter than they are given credit for, but they are very stubborn and very instinctual hound dogs. They must be fenced or on a lead at all times, or they will find a scent and track it for miles.
I like boxers too. They only thing I will add about them is that they can be very high-strung.
If you have the time and patience to work with a German Shepherd, you will be hard pressed finding a better dog. If you are not willing to work with them, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous position.
As popular as they are, you will also have to exercise more scrutiny when finding a pup. There’s a lot of bad breeders out there looking for a quick buck, and also alot of eliticist breeders out there that may have good lines, but they don’t give their dogs the attention they deserve. I’d stay away from both.
Some food for thought…there’s a good reason why golden retrievers and labs are so popular with families.
Good points. That brought to mind some of the ailments, like cancer and other diseases, that are associated with purebreds. Many mixed breeds are much healthier than purebreeds because the bad genes are not passed to the mixed breed - only the strong healthy genes are passed on.[/quote]
This is true. My chocolate lab had a pretty impressive pedigree (apparently) and he died of cancer last month at seven. Hell, I tossed the papers when I got him because I didn’t give a shit.
Any thoughts on puppy selection? What to look for? I went for the goofy runt that kept walking into things and couldn’t have gotten a better dog.