Buying a German Shepherd puppy – 7

We have left the factors involved in choosing an individual puppy out of a litter in preference to another in the litter to the last. The reason is because the factors listed on the right are much more important. You must first of all make sure that you are looking at a quality litter. It is sadly true that 90% of the German Shepherd puppies you see advertised for sale in the UK, and perhaps more, are from mediocre parents which have had no significant health or temperament checks. Puppies from such litters will also be mediocre and, very likely, may develop health and/or temperament issues in due course. Think of it this way. Would you buy a car without an MOT? It is the same with dogs. If you want to minimise your chances of health and temperament issues in the future then first take the trouble to only look at litters from parents which both meet all of the criteria on the right.

It is actually quite hard to find in the UK litters where both parents meet all of these criteria but they do exist. That is because they are not mandatory in the UK. More litters will exist where one parent meets these criteria and some or all are missing in the other. You may have to compromise with some of them but if you have read this far and know the significance and importance of these checks on the parents at least you know exactly what you are compromising on. All serious German Shepherd breeders know about these criteria. They are recognised throughout the world as the gold standard for breeding German Shepherd dogs. If the breeder does not breed to this standard then ask why not. The main reason, incidentally, is cost. These tests cost time and money. If, for example, you read the requirements to obtain a schutzhund title you will realise that at the very least it takes months of training. But that is the breeder’s problem, not yours. Has the breeder taken the trouble to ensure that the animals he/she is breeding from are fit to be bred from or not? That is what it boils down to.

This check list for the parents does much more than anything else to ensure that the German Shepherd puppy you buy will be healthy, well adjusted, fit for purpose and a good example of the breed. By all means distinguish between the puppies of parents which meet the criteria on the right. We all have preferences in terms of character, coat colour etc but choose your puppy from parents which meet the criteria listed. Such litters take time and trouble to find but why should you compromise? You are the buyer after all. If you follow this advice you will put the puppy farms out of business and you should get yourself a healthy dog which is a good example of the breed and which will give you both many years of pleasure.

Puppies do, of course, have different characters. A dominant dog will need a more experienced handler than a submissive one. A small mark such as white spot on the chest may be insignificant for a puppy going to a pet home but it will be more significant for a dog which is intended to be shown. They key to this is to tell the breeder what you hope to do with the dog, what you are looking for, whether you want the dog to show, for obedience, to live with children or animals etc. The breeder will have seen the litter grow up and will seen the character of each puppy develop. He will know which puppies are dominant and which are more submissive. A good breeder will ask you questions and will be able to guide you in your choices so as to choose the puppy which is most suitable for you.

Vice Universal Sieger Hutch von der kalten Hardt IPO 3, the sire of our bitch V Araxes Asta IPO 3.

In order to enable you to refer the requirements we are discussing on the left we summarise them here. These are what you should be looking for in both parents of any German Shepherd puppy you are thinking about buying or that you see for sale. We are, of course, assuming that they are both KC registered.

1. They must be tattooed and/or microchipped
2. They must be DNA tested
3. They must have satisfactory scores for hips and elbows
4. They must have passed an AD test
5. They must have a schutzhund title (now called IPO).
6. They must have a show result of at least ‘good’
7. They must have a breed survey which recommends them as being suitable for breeding.

If you have any questions, want any advice about buying a GSD or want to know about a litter please contact us.

© Araxes GSD