Hubby and I have had three German shepherds, all from breeders. Our first one (all neutered males) was extremely protective of me. Second one was, too and hated every vet we ever took him to! We had to muzzle him every visit. Our last one, and the most expensive, has some kind of auto-immune disease and has lost most of his hair. He has the most pleasant personality of the three and is very mellow and easy-going. Yes, we visited the breeder several times, saw the parents, but you really never know what you are getting. Would I get another shepherd? In a heartbeat, but I have a little black lab that I rescued and she's a doll. She's not protective at all, but would be a great therapy dog.
All I have to add [as I'm not a GS person!] is not to be afraid of backyard breeders if you're looking for a family dog/pet. I've gotten all my dogs from backyard breeders because I don't like spending more then $300ish on a pet and couldn't ask for better dogs. I have a Weimaraner, Chocolate Lab [both of which are pure and could be registered] and Dalmatian/Lab. You just have to be smart about how you go about finding the "perfect" family dog. Make sure both parents are on site, watch how the puppy acts with the other puppies, does he come up to you or is he stand offish, ect. :) Hope this helps some!
Welp. Long story short I didnt end up getting her...had some intense family drama yesterday which resulted in us leaving in a hurry and at 1 am in the morning :roll:and coming back to NY. (we were in MD for xmas and so was the puppy.....)
Needless to say I am going to look at some other pups about 3 1/2 hours away from me. A bit cheaper in price as they arent pure german shepherds and they arent registered, which doesnt really matter anyway. The mother is a pure german shep and the father is a german/dutch shepherd. So they are going to be biggggg.