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German Shepherd Breeders
German shepherd breeders are everywhere and, as a result, finding a litter of puppies is easy but finding a quality litter of puppies that will grow into good canine companions is much more of a challenge.
Many people pose as reputable breeders but aren’t. Disreputable breeders far outnumber quality breeders and are generally easier to find. Reputable breeders are also quite choosy about perspective owners, and with good reason. The German shepherd needs a special kind of owner, and it’s the breeder’s job to make sure you fill the bill.
If you are interested in showing your dog or participating in competitive events, your best chance of success is to buy a puppy from a responsible breeder.
German shepherd breeders specialize so be sure you decide what kind of German shepherd you are looking for and match your needs with a breeder who can supply them. Breeders may concentrate on breeding companion animals, therapy dogs, or breeding for conformation or performance sports. The best method to find a quality breeder is to attend dog shows and performance events where you will find breeders, handlers, trainers, and many owner/handlers, as well as other interested spectators. The people who participate in competitive events work regularly with their dogs, allowing them to know their dogs’ best qualities as well as their shortcomings.
Quality breeders rarely place ads in the newspaper. Less-than-reputable breeders and backyards breeders will usually advertise in the newspaper under an advertisement worded as “AKC-registered puppies.” AKC registration means nothing except that the parents of the puppies are registered as purebreds and this does not even assure you that the parents are good purebreds.
Puppy mills, puppy brokers, and some large for-profit-only kennel operations frequently purchase large, expensive advertisements in popular, full-color, glossy all-breed dog magazines.
Ads may show photos of good-looking German shepherds, testimonial blurbs from satisfied customers, and brags, such as “Championship blood lines”; “massive”, “immense”, or “heavy”; or “German dogs.” Big flashy ads of puppy mills and brokers will not print the names of their titled dogs or the names and registration numbers of the German (SV-registered) dogs used in their breeding program because these dogs don’t exist! Quality German Shepherd breeders want a buyer to know his/her dogs’ actual achievements and will list all of the parents’ titles, full registered names, and accomplishments.
Almost everyone in the business uses the internet to advertise products and this includes those with German shepherd puppies to sell. The good news is that many quality breeders do have web sites where they freely share a wealth of information about the breed and their own dogs, as well as insights into a variety of sports and competitions. To be sure you’re getting a quality dog, you must ask a lot of questions, inspect the dogs and the kennels carefully, and get in touch with other people who have bought puppies and dogs from the breeder in the past.
The bad news is that the internet is also the perfect marketplace for disreputable breeders. You can usually weed out the most obvious ones if you know the warning signs to look for, such as photos of dogs with call names only, vague references to champion dogs without any specifics, claims of German dogs without any specifics, no pedigrees posted, no contracts or health guarantees posted, buyers not invited to visit the kennel, and all puppies are only shipped to buyers with no buyer requirements other than a credit card or a check that clears.
If you have owned a dog before and have a veterinarian you like and trust, ask him/her for a recommendation. She may be able to refer you to German shepherd breeders that she sees on a regular basis and knows are reputable.
Your veterinarian should also be able to refer you to some of her/his clients who have purchased puppies from quality German shepherd breeders.
Another option is to call a local or regional German shepherd club and ask one of the officers for recommendations as to where to begin your search. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) or the American Kennel Club (AKC) will be able to put you in contact with a local club, if you have troubles locating one. Additionally, the national organizations have referral services that provide the caller with names and contact information for several breeders in a specific area.
One source that many puppy buyers frequently neglect is the rescue community. Breed rescue people are good at what they do and they have the experience to refer a quality breeder. Additionally, breed rescuers generally care sincerely about the dogs they work with, and they will likely have the best interest of the animals at heart.