German Shepherd or a Labrador?

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GSDs are smart, active dogs that will do best with smart, active owners able to give them focused attention, exercise, training, & lots of one-on-one time. There are few dog breeds whose fans don't call them "intelligent," but in the case of the GSD Dog, that's probably an understatement. They are extremely intelligent & famously trainable. Their intelligence means they don’t suffer fools – or wimpy owners – gladly, which means consistent training from an early age is not optional. Those brains, if not put to work in constructive ways, will find plenty of destructive alternatives, which will be destroying everything in sight, aggressive tendencies and/or yard escape & roaming into the street (Yikes!). If your German Shepherd is a family pet, he needs to live indoors with your family. Otherwise, he'll be lonely, bored & destructive. If you're not experienced with GSD, don't get a trained protection dog, which you probably won't be able to handle. They are natural deterrents because of their size, bark & reputation. A socialized, well-mannered GSD that lives with his family will protect them as part of his nature.

 

Labrador come in Black, Chocolate brown & Yellow, but these colours range from the richest reds to the most silvery livers to the palest of creams. GSD come in Black & tan/red/cream or silver, black (almost entirely black with only a small white spot on chest or a very small amount of tan on their feet), red/silver/brown or black sable (resembles a wolf's coat), Bi-Colour (black with a much smaller amount of tan/red, etc…) or white, blue, champagne & liver (These colours do NOT come with health problems, which is sometimes rumoured, but aren't acceptable for showing).

 

Labrador are much more easy-going, by don't let those sweet faces fool you! They are a highly intelligent breed that will do anything you ask, with proper training, buy will learn to take advantage or every weakness (begging for food, running out the door in hot pursuit of a squirrel, while pretending they've gone deaf when you call for them, insisting that you be their chew toy or jumping up on clean clothes or furniture with muddy paws) & they learn fast! They're also famous for roaming long distances, so if you don't have a fenced yard, you may want to wait until you do, unless you can always supervise your Lab when outside.

 

Labrador need very little grooming & shed minimally, generally only needing a quick brush once a week to stimulate oils & promote closeness with you. They can be bathed often, but no more than once a month as doing it more can strip the oils from their coat causing them to become severely itchy from dryness. GSD are know as "German Shedders" & shed profusely all year long & blow their coat twice per year (they can look like sheep needing a trim when this happens!) & need brushing twice a week at a minimum & baths with soap no more than four times per year or it may harm their skin & strip the protective oils from their waterproof undercoat. Two times per year is preferable.

 

Labrador have less skin allergies & stomach issues, but both can develop hip dysplasia & elbow problems. The other most common health concerns Labrador suffer are shoulder dysplasia, exercise induced collapse, patellar luxation, eyelash problems, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, tricuspid valve dysplasia, folded under eyelids & hypothyroidism. & they very easily become obese if not given enough exercise, which is the number one health concern of the breed.

 

Many GSD have very sensitive stomachs & all sorts of allergies so finding a food that suits can sometimes be a challenge. They suffer hip & elbow dysplasia, Degenerative myelopathy (a horrible disease that slowly takes away their ability to use their hind quarters & has no treatment), a variety of heart diseases, epilepsy, vision problems, chronic diarrhoea, & other digestive issues (they're very prone to bloat), & bleeding disorders. Finding a reputable breeder (by word of mouth is best) is extremely important for purchasing a GSD! The cost of treatment for all the above disorders can easily run into the thousands.