Dog Training

Distinguishing Good Breeders from Bad Ones

The renowned traits that make the German Shepherd a great dog are what draw people to the breed. Traits like stable temperament, striking appearance, intelligence, loyalty, and courage. Regardless of your plans or personal goals for your new family member, you want to make sure your German Shepherd acts and looks like a German Shepherd and has the best odds to live a long and healthy life.

All German Shepherds have the potential to be great dogs. Well-breed German Shepherds have the potential to be even greater than others. Finding a good breeder can be a challenge, and if you are new to the German Shepherd breed it may be hard to distinguish the good breeders from the bad.

BE Prepared With this List

12 Questions To Ask The Breeder

  1. Parents AKC registered?
  • The answer to this question should never be no if you are in the United States. If their dogs are not AKC registered, keep looking.
  1. Parent’s hip and elbow certified?

  • Both parents need to be hip and elbow certified and the breeder should be willing to provide proof of this. If proof cannot be provided, keep looking.
  1. What working titles do the parents have? Do the bloodline have?
  • Titles help ensure dogs have been tested and are breed worthy. This may or may not be a deal-breaker for some people.
  1. Do you own one or both of the parents?
  • Breeders usually own the female and sometimes own the male. Ask to see and/or interact with the parents.
  1. What is the puppy’s environment?
  • Where are the puppies kept and raised? Good breeders whelp and keep puppies in a well-thought out and designated area. Some breeders even keep the puppies inside the house until they get older and are harder to manage. If a breeder keeps the puppies unrestricted in their backyard, keep looking.
  1. At what age do your puppies go to their new homes?

  • 8 weeks is standard for a puppy to go to its new home. Some breeders may let a puppy go to an experienced home at 7 weeks. If a breeder routinely sends puppies’ home at 6 weeks, keep looking.
  1. What type of socialization and interaction has taken place with the puppies?
  • You want to look for a breeder who has lots of interaction with their puppies and socializes their litter with as many things and people as possible. The more a breeder does with their puppies during the first eight weeks, the better start your puppy will have.
  1. What do the puppies come with? (Vaccinations, microchipped, tattooed, etc.)

  • Reputable breeders send their puppies to their new homes as healthy as possible. Some breeder’s microchip or tattoo their puppies for identification purposes.
  1. Purchase price?
  • You won’t know if you don’t ask. A good pet quality puppy will run from $800 to $2,000. A good working quality puppy will start at off around $1,500 and go up from there. The more titles the parents and the bloodline have, the more expensive the puppy will be.
  1. Do you have a buyer screening process?
  • Good breeders will screen the buyers of their puppies to ensure that the right puppy goes to the right home. Some breeders have a formal application process and others verbally screen potential buyers.
  1. Do you have a contract and a health guarantee?

  • Contracts and guarantees can vary a great deal. Be sure that you read the contract, understand the health guarantee and are comfortable with all aspects of the details. A contract protects you the buyer. If you run across a breeder who does not offer a contract or a health guarantee, keep looking.
  1. What is your role after the puppies leave your care?
  • Good breeders care about their puppies and will want to be updated on achievements or major health issues. A good breeder is a valuable resource who will offer advice and any necessary help throughout your dog’s life.

Tips to Spotting A Backyard Breeder

A backyard breeder is someone who is breeding irresponsibly for the wrong reasons. Backyard breeders are not trying to improve the German Shepherd Dog as a breed. They are usually breeding just to make money. Backyard breeders usually have untitled dogs from undesirable pedigrees and do no health or temperament testing.

Backyard breeders do not care what happens to their puppies once they have left their yards. They simply want your money and to never hear from you again. Many of these backyard breeders have a good sales pitch and advertise that their dogs are family members raised in the house.

A puppy from a backyard breeder will cost considerably less ($300 to $600) than a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder. You will save money on the purchase price from a backyard breeder but will end up paying more in the long run for vet bills due to genetic problems, not to mention the heartache felt from your friend’s suffering. The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds true. Pay the higher price for a well-bred puppy. You are not only buying health but peace of mind and lifetime breeder support.

A backyard breeder may seem credible at first glance, but once you ask the 12 questions, the truth will be quickly revealed.

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