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Buying a GSD puppy

The first project is to research the breed thoroughly. Is this breed right for you and your way of life. Speak to owners, trainers and breeders. You need to understand the costs, vet fees, food, training and equipment such as indoor crates, collars, leads and bedding. Do you have the time to commit to a a German Shepherd. It`s not just the training and exercise involved but the German Shepherd is a very sociable dog and loves nothing more than time to spend time with their family. If he will be home alone for hours and hours every day this could cause the dog some anxiety and could become destructive. The German Shepherd is a double coated breed and this does need grooming and they shed hair.

Finding a breeder and litter is next. Ensure you have a list of questions ready when contacting breeders. Avoid text messages and try to actually speak to the breeder. Some may prefer an e-mail in the first instance as they may be holding waiting lists. Be prepared to answer questions from the breeder, a responsible breeder will what to know about you, your family, work life and so on, do not get offended, it is a big decision for both parties. Vital points to look when looking for a litter.

  • Learn to decipher adverts and buzz words. The price does not always reflect the experience of the breeder and the quality of the breeding. Straight backs are not linked to health and longevity. If the colour is "rare" it is probably not a recognised GSD colour and as such is not worth more money.

  • Both parents are Kennel Club registered or registered in their country of birth. Some dogs are imported and some make take their females abroad to use certain bloodlines. You also want to ensure that the litter will be Kennel Club registered. Pleases note to hear that Kennel Club registration does NOT mean the parents are health tested.

  • Only buy puppies from health tested parents. Ideally both hips and elbows. Ideally both hips and elbows. There are no excuses and if the breeder cannot supply the documentation the health tests can be verified on the kennel club health test finder website.  There is no limit set on health tests but the GSD League recommend the hips are below 20 (maximum of 12 on one side) and the elbows are a maximum of 1. There are other tests available such as PD (Pituitary Dwarfism), DM or CDRM (Degenerative Myelopathy, or Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy) The current test for DM applies only to the EXON 2 gene and is no guarantee your dog will not develop DM at a later date.  Haemophilia test is available and is currently required for a male to pass a UK breed survey. A UK version of DNA testing is also available for proof of parentage.

  • Many and increasingly so, with international recognition of the scheme required for breeding and competition, have their dogs health tested under the SV Scheme, Parents should be Normal, fast normal or noch zugelassen on both hips and elbows. DNA test is also requiredNB Although the SV scheme is used and recognised worldwide the Kennel Club does not acknowledge and record these requirements and do not appear on Kennel Club pedigrees. DNA is for proof of parentage.

  • Absolutely is a must is to see the mother with her puppies (not many breeders own the stud dogs so you wont always be able to meet the father). Some females are sometimes very protective when they have puppies but should never be aggressive. Watch her behaviour, is she shying away, avoiding the puppies, avoiding the breeder. Is she in good physical condition (even feeding a large litter , if she is cared for properly and healthy she will have good body and coat condition). Some breeders may not allow visitors to the home so use technology where you can. You need to be assured the person owns the mother and if they will not show you live videos of her and the puppies then walk away.

  • Next is viewing the litter. A responsible breeder will want to meet you and the whole family that will be caring for the puppy. If the breeder has other dogs meet them too. Look how confident the dogs are and their general condition. This will give you an insight as to the breeders care and experience but also as to the size your puppy will grow to.

  • Depending on the age of the litter when you first view them, will dictate how interactive you can be with them but you must always be guided by the breeder. Again make sure you see the mother with the puppies, there is no excuses not to. Does she interact wit them, are they healthy, playful (puppies do sleep a lot), there shouldn`t be any odours and there skin should be clean. The most common practice is to leave a deposit once you have viewed them and both you and the breeder are happy. Make sure you receive a receipt for this. GSD`s are advertised in various places and can differ much in price. An expensive puppy is no guarantee of quality, homework should be done, minimum criteria must be good hips and elbows as described above. 

  • Puppy identification via microchipping is now law and puppies must have this form of ID before they are sold. Tattooing is also a form of identification but this is now done together with microchipping.

  • If there is anything you are unsure about, then you must walk away. Do not accept any excuses for lack of health tests or not being able to see the mother with the puppies. 

  • No matter how much or how little experience you have with owning a German Shepherd, it is vital to chose a breeder that will give you ongoing support in the future.

  • Paperwork and puppy pack should be supplied with your puppy. Many breeders differ greatly in what is supplied but Kennel Club registration and microchipping details are a must, Worming details, the puppy should have been wormed as a matter of course and information given as to any possible future treatment. Dog food should be supplied with your puppy, again this will help you determine a good breeder, a high quality should have been fed to your puppy to give it the best start in life. Four weeks free insurance is often given by good breeders.

  • KENNEL CLUB REGISTRATION - the kennel club holds the history of all breeds of dogs registered with it. BEWARE of puppies advertised as simply REGISTERED. This may mean they are registered with another organisation and parentage may be dubious with little or no history of the ancestors and health tests.

  • Buying a puppy needs to be a positive and joyful experience so ensure you choose your breeder carefully. Now the fun begins!!!

GSD League of Great Britain breeders directory

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