We prefer the German Shepherd Dog for their size, loyalty, intelligence, watchfulness and companionship. We do not exclude other breeds but we mostly lean toward the German Shepherd, based on our remote lifestyle. Some people favor the mutt, some prefer specific breeds or mixed breeds. It is a matter of personal taste and homestead need. We actually love all dogs but living at 9,800’ elevation and remotely we could not have a small dog. Eagles and birds of prey have been known to swoop down even with the dog parent present and carry off small dogs. 

Choose a dog suited for your environment. We also have coyotes and other predators. I recall one time I was walking our Border Collie/Australian Cattle dog mix (Gypsy) and German Shepherd (Ben) and a coyote darted out and went after Gypsy while on an expansion leash. Our German Shepherd showed the coyote some vicious teeth, gave a low growl - sounding like it came from the very pit of hell - and the coyote ran off. With a 100% German Shepherd and human advancing on it, the coyote lost all its courage. We therefore choose dogs that are suited to our lifestyle and environment. 

Both dog and family must be compatible. It is also important to adopt dogs that like you as much as you are attracted to them. This sounds  simple, but our adopted Echo was very particular. I picked him up at the shelter to transport to the rescue and during our two-hour drive he bonded with me. Since I qualified potential adopters, I sent a few potential adopters to see if he was a fit for them. He would sniff them and then turn his back on them, remaining aloof toward them. When I learned this, we went immediately to adopt him ourselves and I have never seen a more happy dog. He had been waiting for us to come back and clearly didn’t want anyone else and spent the next eight years always by my side.

Dogs reveal their inclination. It is best to make absolutely sure the dog is attracted to you before adopting. Through no fault of your own, you may remind them of a similar person in their past that they had a bad experience with. Recently when Carol went into town for groceries she saw Lucy (see photo) in the shelter as she drove by. She went back to inquire about her and Lucy was immediately attracted to Carol and calmly laid at her feet. She is now one very happy family member, having chosen us as much as we chose her.

3/12/2020 1:49:21 PM

When I got my first apartment, I was torn between GSD or a Doberman for the reasons mentioned both are beautiful, intelligent etc. I went with the Dobe, I couldn't see brushing all the time. I've had Dobes for over 40 yrs. In those years I've had Labs with the Dobes what a pair! I still think the GSD a beautiful dog!

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