I have two, a male and female. I don't get to hunt birds like I use to so they are more lile pets now. They are just as gentle and docile as can be and live in the house with us. My 21mo crawls all over the 80lb male, pulls on his tail, pinches his ears, sits on him and has even grabbed him by the stones (and they are large stones), he does nothing but wag his nub, well except with nut squeeze, that made him jump and he was a little nervous for about a week.
My 45lb female, plays with the kids, and gets into everything with them..
I can honestly say that I have seen both dogs immediately go stand between strangers to them and my kids in full protective mode. Delivery people call us prior to bringing something too, Chunk is large and quite formidable if he doesn't know you.
Mine retrieve, slide on slides, play in forts, and come inside and sleep beside my bed or recliner. Before long my baby boy is going to have the using silverware and napkins when they eat too.
GSP's are what you make them. If you include them as part of your family, then that is what they will be. If you treat them as tools or livestock, then you won't get a very good dog. They are very sociable and need that attention to thrive. They are not an ill tempered breed by any means, defensive and protective yes.
90% of the people that I have heard bad mouth the breed don't have a clue what they were doing with them in the first place. And 50% of those shouldn't even own a dog for that matter. About the worst thing my dogs do is dig and I haven't seen one working/sporting dog that didn't like to dig.