We're just about ready to buy a dog -- my youngest boy is about potty trained so we'll only have to deal with one critter making a mess when we bring a puppy home. All my life I owned and/or worked with German Shepherds. To my mind they are, bar none, the finest, smartest, most loyal, bravest -- etc forever -- dogs in the world. Only other breed I have daily first hand experience with was Irish setters, which my sister owned. Sweet dogs but OMG are they stupid. Despite my love for GSDs, I'm not inclined to own one here in South Florida -- just seems a cruel fate given the heat. I never had one that was water loving, so the pool wouldn't help. Any dog we have will be in the house plenty, but needs to be able to tolerate our weather, too. I feel a bit of traitor considering -- hope Elsa the Wonder Dog will forgive me from Dog Heaven -- SO. . . . I'm thinking Labrador (wife and sons favor chocolate, but I can't imagine the flavor makes a huge difference). Any thoughts on Labs for a family with two boys (12 and 3)? Compatibility with kids? Temperament? (I realize I probably wont be getting the natural drive/protection level I'd expect out of a GSD (which would have been nice since I travel some) but I'm hoping for a decent natural watchdog.) Etc? Your thoughts/experience would be welcome, especially if you ever gone from GSD to Lab or vice versa.