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Oversized Shepherds?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Delta

Play hard, sleep- well.
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 12:48pm PST 
Lasko...couldn't have said it better. I certainly wouldn't ask a 130 pound GSD to scale an eight foot jump! Kinda like asking a 700 pound person to run a marathon...they just aren't going to make it. laugh out loud

Tiller, good response!

For the puppies being eight weeks old, my mistake! I am terrible at math. Whoops!
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UCH Onyx TT,- CGC

Do you even- lift?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 2:17pm PST 
The purpose of breeding oversized Shepherds is to meet a demand, which is really what all breeders are doing. People who need a GSD that can scale an 8 foot wall aren't going to buy a 130 lb Shepherd, but most people don't need or want that. Reread Tiller's first paragraph on the first page- there is a market for oversized Shepherds, and it's good that there are breeders like Royalair who are meeting that need with responsible breeding. I don't think anyone looking for a serious working GSD buys from Royalair, that's not who they're marketing to or what they're breeding for.
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 3:35pm PST 
Ok, genuine question here. Is it ok to breed an oversized dog purely for public demand? Isn't that like saying it's fine to breed "teacup" sized dogs to fill that need in the market too? Sure, there might be people breeding responsibly. I remember posting a breeder here once of GSD's who was breeding "rare" colours, and they was big too. All dogs were health tested. All the puppies bred go on to be loving family pets and nothing more. But many didn't like what they was doing and it was agreed that they was nothing more than an upscale BYB, if I remember rightly. I guess what I'm trying to say, is what makes one breeder breeding for oversized dogs to go on to be loving pets, better than the heaps of other breeders doing exactly the same thing? Is it just reputation and the fact they've been doing it for years?

Edited by author Mon Sep 30, '13 3:36pm PST

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UCH Onyx TT,- CGC

Do you even- lift?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 5:02pm PST 
I'm sure people like Tiller will chime in with better, more thorough answers, but here's my take on it. Royalair is breeding for a type of dog, not just a size or a color. They're breeding for a specific temperament and health/longevity, and along with that the size/structure that people want. And yeah, I would say the fact that they've been doing it for so long and with such consistency plays in.

I feel like a difference with the teacups is that people are breeding for the smallest possible dog. Royalair is breeding for an oversized dog, but they aren't breeding to make their dogs as large as possible ("I also like a large dog-even a really big dog, but I will always go for soundness over size. Our breed should not be a giant either, as many breeders strive for."). Breeding dogs to be extremely small or extremely large is asking for health problems to follow. From what I'm seeing, Royalair's males are 110-135 lbs and females are 90-100. That's obviously large for a GSD, but not so huge for a dog that it would shorten lifespan (Royalair's GSDs live respectably long lives for the breed).

As far as color, I don't think it's impossible for a breeder with an emphasis on color to be a good breeder, but it is a big red flag to proceed with caution. If the thread you're referring to is the one I'm thinking of, a big part of the reason the breeder was condemned was because color was their only goal in breeding.

I do think it would be nice if Royalair did more with their dogs. They claim they breed for a temperament suitable for AKC obedience, SAR, tracking, herding, assistance, and therapy; so why not prove it? But the fact that they consistently produce healthy dogs with the desired temperament that people keep coming back for says a lot. I guess what it comes down to is whether you're okay with breeding almost exclusively for the pet market if it's done with good breeding practices. I don't necessarily agree with it, but given the huge demand for this kind of dog, I do think it's better some healthy, sound dogs are being produced to help fill that demand.
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 5:44pm PST 
Thanks for answering Onyx. I honestly don't know much about GSD breeders, and especially ones from over the pond, so might sound totally off track with what I'm saying.

How did breeding for an oversized Shepherd come about in the first place? Was it anything more than public demand? What was it that people wanted in a larger Shepherd that they couldn't get in a standard sized, well bred, one?

Not slamming Royalair at all BTW. I know nothing about them, and obviously breeding for health/longevity is admirable, especially as the GSD is so often plagued by numerous health issues. Just curious really.

Edited by author Mon Sep 30, '13 5:45pm PST

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UCH Onyx TT,- CGC

Do you even- lift?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 6:26pm PST 
No, I totally get what you're saying. I'll give my best answer again, but I am still quite novice in the breed, so hopefully others with more experience give their input as well.

In the context of Royalair, the term oversized is synonymous with "old fashioned", referring to the family pet GSD of the 40-50s, not the original GSD of von Stephanitz's day. As it gained popularity, the breed started branching out different directions (work or show), sometimes to unfortunate extremes, but some people still wanted the balanced, rock solid, family pet GSD. Like Tiller said, that's when the market for the old fashioned appeared.

Where exactly the size came in I'm not really sure, but I would guess it was just a size people liked, and now it's part of the type, the nostalgia, to steal Tiller's word. A lot of people do just like big dogs for the size. Personally, I don't think GSDs should be that large, but I also didn't grow up in a time where that kind of GSD was the family pet, so I can't relate on that level.

As far as I'm aware, the answer to your question of what people wanted in a large Shepherd that they couldn't get in a smaller one is: a large Shepherd laugh out loud
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 1, '13 9:34am PST 
When I was a kid, my first GSD friend was HUGE! That was in the early 1970's, and everything looks bigger when you are little, but if I am to fairly guess he was maybe 29." And just a classically awesome, old school fantastic GSD. That was in Manhattan, and he crashed through the window when he heard "his kids" screaming down the street (they were friends of ours), but that same dog was the first big dog who let me walk him in the park. Just a dutiful, wise and devoted soul. And.....HUGE.

Not as huge as what Royalair can sometimes do nowadays. But they definitely were big dogs. It is that "nostalgia" dog, as Onyx said, that lures people, and while they are not "correct," I would far prefer people do that (provided they do it right) than some designer mix, for the dogs are at least a potential contribution to the GSD gene pool. I personally see some hypocrisy or irony where purists on one hand don't like dogs not bred to the standard, but on the other hand complain about the gene pool. Separate populations doing their own thing, as long as they do it right (healthy, good tempered dogs responsibly bred), are not valueless in a gene pool sense.

Secondly, I don't care who, what, where, when you talk to - the GSD of old is not the dog you see today. The dogs were very level and did not have a lot of prey drive (Onyx, that breeder you emailed me about, the Czech guy - even he has a rant on this issue). They were dead sure and very level and even. So Royalair's stressing of the calmness of their dogs also has an important root.

Royalair is extreme on the logic. Their dog's are REALLY big (as in can be HUGE!) and their dogs are really, really, really calm. But if you wanted nostalgia, or if you liked big and wanted a truly ideal PET, there is nothing wrong with them. They are healthy, very easy to train, love the kids and the kitties. If a buyer is very concerned about the energy level of a GSD (which can be higher than it used to be) or the prey drive (which can be higher than it used to be), I'd far prefer they get that than a "working line" dog because "American show dogs stink." If you look at how many GSDs wind up in shelters, it strikes home. You never see the huge ones. Even were there not a return clause, I can't think of a reason a Royalair ends up in a shelter. They are so easy to get along with, and everyone in your town admires your dog.

I do not think they are an "anything" prospect other than pet. Should be ok for service, would do fine in OB although wouldn't be prime for anything too advanced (not exactly spilling with motivation), and for SAR, etc., I wouldn't think so. They are great PETS. I will say, responding to something a little earlier.....back in the old days, they did put some OB titles on their dogs. It isn't too uncommon for breeders to start off doing that, but once they get busier and have that client base, they taper off. And that is what happened with them.

I would briefly like to address the subject of size. This is VALIANTDALE'S ICON You will see him in Royalair pedigrees. He was a moose of a dog. He also had his UD and Sch III and topped the leading performance sire of the GSDCA for several years. He's one of the most significant dogs from this style of breeding, although from a kennel more devoted to a work focus. His size got in the way of nothing wink
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Mulder

Spooky Mulder
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 1, '13 11:19am PST 
Comment from the peanut gallery also, I'll tell you one thing that just about burns my buns more than anything... these people that come in having no kind words to say of a program like Royalair, but are quick to explain why "working" breeder are better with no basis other than "because".

Its no secret I don't care for the Royalair type... even if size wasn't an issue, there are several things about Royalair that rub me wrong enough that I wouldn't care to patron them anyway (have you read some of their advise on training? a page right out of the dark ages) BUT... for what they want and what they are going for, you cannot argue their results. They ARE producing very large, yet very sound and healthy dogs with lifespans that are great for dogs their size PERIOD, not even mentioning GSDs.

So, I don't care for the excessive size and lack of drive. You know what else I don't care for? "Working" breeders and their groupies putting themselves on a pedestal for doing whats "best for the breed"... when exactly how many are testing for DM these days? How many are doing CHICs? Hell, on that subject, how many have even put their hands on more than ONE generation of their breeding stock?

My only regret is I didn't figure this all out sooner. Much of the fancy disgusts me, GSDs in particular are such a frustrating breed to be on because everyone thinks they're right, and the people who are "wrong" aren't just wrong, they're crazy and should be completely shut out. They are a breed shooting themselves in the foot, and its heartbreaking.
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Sabi

When the night- closes in I will- be there
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 1, '13 11:37am PST 
Tiller you just hit on one of my favorite DOGS ever, of any breed.

Again Delta, if you are looking for a GSD breeder to throw stones at there are many worse then Royalair. They are doing everything RIGHT. Size not withstanding they are breeding healthy dogs, with amazing temperaments that have comparatively long lifespans. The ONLY reason I have not plunked down a deposit is because I want a working dog, or at least one who could be.

As far as the other kennel you mentioned the website does not impress, and some of the practices seem off. That said, an inspection of the pedigrees reveals some pretty solid older lines. Off hand they are not a breeder I would deal with but I am not involved in the breeding world and know nothing of them first hand.
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Delta

Play hard, sleep- well.
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 2, '13 5:14pm PST 
I've seen much worse kennels than Royalair, that's for sure.

On Rosehall's Facebook Page, I noticed that they were saying that one of their puppies was going to be a police dog. It wasn't a recent post, though.

Onyx, I was hoping that you'd post a comment! The dogs do seem to live quite long, and they look like they do care for their dogs.

For "doing stuff" with their dogs, I wpuld like evidence, too. We all know that jumping an eight foot wall is not for an oversized GSD, but noticed that one of their breeding females (Juno, I think) won some sort of an obedience competition (nothing fancy).
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