When looking for a German Shepherd Dog puppy, one of the first places to start is networking with other German Shepherd Dog owners, trainers, local clubs, and joining a social community and groups on Facebook.
German Shepherd Dog lovers are a wealth of information, advice, and passionate about the integrity of the breed. They know who the good breeders are, the great rescue groups, they know who runs disreputable puppy mills, and they can help you identify what type of puppy is a fit for your lifestyle. If you know a German Shepherd Dog owner whose dog you admire and who has the health and temperament you’re looking for, find out where and how they acquired their dog and pay a visit to the breeder or rescue, if possible.
German Shepherd Dog Breeders
Upon initial contact with a breeder, ask them about their dogs. True breeders care about the breed more than their bottom line and are happy to talk about their dogs. They should be willing to share and provide independent documentation that the breeder's dogs have been tested and cleared for genetic health problems that German Shepherds are prone too, such as:
- Hip dysplasia (clearances are issued by Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or the University of Pennsylvania (PennHip).
- Elbows, heart and thyroid tests evaluated by OFA.
- Degenerative myelopathy DNA testing by OFA)
If you speak to a breeder who tells you this testing is unnecessary, it is time to find another breeder unless the outcomes of those tests are not of concern to you. In addition, good breeders will also have each puppy examined by a veterinarian, including vaccinations and de-worming. Good breeders make an effort to match their buyer prospects with their puppies and will never sell a puppy prior to weaning.
In addition, they care about the temperament of their dogs and endeavor to gain personal knowledge of the temperament and health of every dog they breed, or to which they breed, in order to gather information on which to base future breeding decisions. They share this information fully and honestly with other breeders and with prospective buyers.
Local dog trainers experienced with German Shepherd Dogs can be a wealth of information and will appreciate your interest in the integrity of the dogs. They can help point you toward breeders that have the right dog for you, such as if you plan to keep the dog as a family pet, trained for sports or another job, or for personal protecting training. They can tell you which dogs that have worked with that were great as well as unbalanced dogs. If you are interested in locating a puppy or adult dog, they may even know of one in need of a home.
Rescue groups and shelters
While rescue groups and shelters don’t usually have much information on the background of the dog, the good ones will have evaluated the dog’s temperament and possibly provided the dog some training in a foster home environment.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is a resource that can connect you with Regional Clubs in your area and can be found at: http://gsdca.org/german-shepherd-dogs/choosing-a-puppy