German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. With their distinctive coloring and classic shape, they’re easy to spot. But with so many German Shepherd puppies for sale these days, there’s more than just looks to consider when choosing a pup. The next time you go shopping for a puppy, be sure you know these 7 things first!
1. Consider if German Shepherd Dog is The Right Dog For You
First of all, before buying a German Shepherd puppy, you need to make sure you’re ready for German Shepherd Dog ownership. These dogs are active and intelligent; they require a lot of time, attention, training, and exercise!
Just to illustrate how high maintenance the German Shepherd dogs are, the AKC dog breed standard for German Shepherds requires that they have “vigorous and long exercise” at least twice a day. Since their ancestors were bred to herd sheep, it’s pretty clear that getting a GSD means you’re in for quite a workout! This can be difficult if your works keep you very busy or if your family has a lot of kids who require attention.
If you don’t believe that you can give this breed the care they need or have a busy lifestyle that will limit your ability to give a German Shepherd puppy the attention it deserves, then another breed may be a better choice.
2. Consider What Kind of German Shepherd You Want (Companion, Show or Working, Purebred or Mixed German Shepherds)
After deciding you’re ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a dog, you need to figure out what kind of German Shepherd is right for you. Each type of German Shepherd breed has different characteristics and will require different levels of care and attention.
A purebred German Shepherd (like a show-quality GSD) will be very expensive, but they’ll also be very beautiful and well-bred. These dogs are bred for the show, so their physical characteristics and personality traits will be exactly what is expected. They’ll also likely come with a long history of health records since they have been bred by professional breeders who run into dog shows.
A working German Shepherd (like a military or police dog) will be ready for immediate service, so they’ll be trained and obedient. They are more affordable than show dogs, but you probably won’t find them in the same size as purebreds.
A companion German Shepherd will be best for families that are looking for a loyal dog to live in the house.
Regardless of the type, a purebred German Shepherd dog with impeccable bloodlines is also likely to be more expensive. The price of a purebred new German Shepherd puppy starts at around $2500 but can go up from there depending on the breeder and whether or not a pedigree is involved!
But if a purebred dog isn’t in your budget, you can always consider mixed breeds. Sometimes these dogs are more affordable because they don’t have any papers proving their purity. These dogs may not be as outwardly attractive as German Shepherds with pedigrees, but they will still have the signature coloring and overall shape of a GSD.
Although purebreds and mixed breeds have their own unique personalities (and may or may not end up with the same coloring as a show dog), they will probably require about the same amount of care. They’ll both need to be fed high-quality diets that meet their nutritional needs, groomed regularly to keep their fur clean and fresh-smelling, trained to reinforce good behavior in the house, and taken out for walks or exercise every day.
3. Choose a Male or Female German Shepherd Puppy
If you’re looking at purebred German Shepherds, your next step is to consider whether you want a male or female puppy. Both will likely require the same amount of care, but each has different characteristics that make them better for certain families.
If you’re looking for a guard dog or a protector for your family, then you might want to consider a male German Shepherd. They have a tendency to be more territorial and protective of their homes or areas that they’re expected to protect. They’ll also be a little bit more fearless than female German Shepherds, which is good if you want your dog to keep bad guys away from your home.
If you’re just looking to add a family dog to your home, though, there are advantages to picking a female puppy over a male puppy. Female German Shepherds are known to be more affectionate and loyal companions and better for families with children. Both may require the same amount of care, grooming, and exercise, but their personalities will be different enough that one is likely a better fit for your family than the other.
4. Choose Your New Puppy’s Color and Coat Type
German Shepherds come in a variety of colors and coat types, which you’ll want to think about as you’re shopping for your new GSD puppy. Their fur may be black or tan, gray, white, brown (ranging from light to dark), or red. Their coats will also vary in length; some GSDs have short hair that doesn’t require much grooming, while others have long hair that needs to be brushed regularly.
This decision will determine how much time you’ll ultimately put into caring for your new GSD puppy. Whether you pick a medium or long-haired German Shepherd, be prepared to have them professionally groomed on a regular basis—once every four to six weeks or so is beneficial. Getting this done will cost anywhere from $75 to $100 per session, depending on the breeder and local prices.
5. Determine Where You’ll Get Your New Puppy
Generally, there are two places where you can get a new pet puppy — either as adoption from shelters or rescue groups or as a purchase from breeders.
If you want to get a purebred German Shepherd, you’ll have to go through a breeder, which is the route recommended by the German Shepherd dog club. If you’re following that route (and it’s not out of your budget), you’ll want to make sure that the breeder is reputable since that will be your main source of help if something goes wrong.
One advantage to going through a reputable breeder for a purebred dog is that they should have all of the necessary information about their dogs, including medical records and family history. They’ll also probably be able to tell you how big the puppy will get, how much grooming it’s going to need, and what kind of food it should be eating.
If you don’t want a purebred GSD breed but still want a German Shepherd, then you’re probably looking at getting your puppy from an animal shelter or rescue group somewhere in your area. These dogs should have been given some basic training before they’re adopted out to new homes, but you’ll still have to do a little bit of work to make sure that the socialization around other dogs and people is continued.
What to Look for in Good Reputable German Shepherd Breeders?
Now, finding a reputable German Shepherd breeder will not be easy. Their puppies are in high demand, and most breeders don’t have all the pups they could sell.
How can you choose then?
The following points should help you decide on a good breeder:
- An ethical German Shepherd breeder is knowledgeable about the breed – If the GSD breeder claims he is knowledgeable about the breed, he should be able to answer your questions about German Shepherds and provide you with his knowledge of the pup’s parents.
- If a breeder is not knowledgeable, stay away! The ideal GSD breeder is also a member of local clubs or associations. He keeps up with training methods and hip certifications too.
- Ethical breeders are committed to health – Health is the most important aspect of buying a puppy. A supplier who does not care about health will most likely sell pups with health problems. So it is essential that you choose a breeder committed to breeding healthy GSDs, which can be easily verified by his vaccination records, and health certification.
- Reputable dog breeders match the puppies to new owners – Try to find a breeder who cares about what life will be like for their puppies later. He should match the pup’s character and energy level with yours, so both you and the dog are happy.
- Sometimes a breeder can recommend adult dogs too if they believe they are the right choice for you – Reputable breeders should be able to offer insight into the GSD’s personality and health, based on how he grew up.
- Reputable breeders will let you meet the puppy’s parents – A good breeder will let you meet his dog(s) and see their living conditions if possible. The parents are the best evaluations of a GSD’s character and health since both get passed down to puppies.
- Reputable German Shepherd breeders give clear information about their dogs – A good breeder won’t hide anything from you, since he is committed to finding the right home for his dog(s). He will give you all the necessary information about the GSD’s parents and puppies, such as where they live, their health history, and breeding experience. He should also provide a guarantee for the pup you choose (and of course he will take them back if you can’t keep them).
Avoid Backyard Breeders
The quickest way to end up with a sick puppy is by buying from a backyard breeder. These individuals have no clue what they’re doing but try breeding as a side-hustle for extra money. Of course, not all puppies produced by backyard breeders are sick, but it’s common enough that it’s worth avoiding.
Another place to avoid is pet stores. Puppies sold there are mostly from puppy mills and backyard breeders.
Where to Find German Shepherd Breeders?
The following places offer a good chance of finding quality breeders:
- Local dog training classes or other pet events like a dog show or breed expo. Dog breeders like to show off their dogs, so it’s common that they’ll be there.
- American Kennel Club Marketplace. This is a good place if you don’t want to start looking locally, as it allows filtering by dog breed.
- Recommendation from dog professionals like vets or dog trainers. They often know good breeders or can at least point you in the right direction.
6. Stock Up on Puppy Supplies
If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations!
Now that the hunt for a GSD breeder is over, it’s time to prepare for your new puppy. Stock up on everything she might need before she moves in with you. A checklist should include:
- Food and water bowls
- Blankets or beds
- Puppy food
- A dog crate or pet carrier
- Interactive toys
- Nail clippers, brush, comb, clipper, and shampoo
- Collar with ID tag (or microchip implant)
- Leash and harness
7. Don’t Forget to Puppy Proof Your Home for the New Arrival
Puppy proofing your home is an essential step towards making your new arrival feel safe and comfortable.
Here is a checklist for puppy-proofing your home:
- Cover anything that might harm the dog (i.e., spillable items, plants, and trash).
- Clear any obstacles from high traffic areas in your house (i.e., electrical cords, throw rugs, and small tables).
- Close cabinet doors that contain dangerous objects like pots and pans.
- Decide where to keep your dog when you’re not home (i.e., kennel or exercise pen in the backyard).
- Put all medications away and label them clearly, so they do not get into your dog’s mouth.
- Identify poisonous plants in your house, yard, or neighborhood. Consider removing them before you bring the puppy home.
- Keep toilet lids closed.
- Keep toxic cleaning products out of reach in a cabinet.
- Remove electrical cords and outlet covers once you’ve decided where the puppy will sleep. You don’t want your puppy chewing on them while they’re teething.
- Keep all sharp, pointy objects out of reach.
In conclusion, I hope that this guide has been helpful to you in your search for the perfect puppy companion. I have included as much information about German Shepherd puppies and their care as possible so that you can make a fully informed decision before bringing home one of these pups into your life! Now go out there and find the pup of your dreams!
Here are some of my favorite German Shepherd supplies
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.
Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.
- Dog Food for German Shepherds: All of the different dog food brands out there can be confusing, and it’s hard to know which one is best for your GSD. Here is my recommendation for the best dog food for German Shepherds.
- Collar: A lot of people think that all dog collars are created equal, but this just isn’t true. If you have a German Shepherd, you need a special collar that is designed for their breed’s fur and neck size. Here I’ve reviewed some of the best collars for German Shepherds out there.
- Leash: A leash is a must-have for any German Shepherd owner. With a good leash, you can give your dog the freedom they need while keeping them safe and under control. Here are my top picks for the best leashes for German Shepherds.
- Harness: If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, or you’ve just brought home your new pup, it’s important to know how to harness them correctly. A harness that is improperly fitted or used can cause serious injury to your dog. Read my review of the best harnesses for German Shepherds here.
- Dog Bowl: A lot of people think that all dog bowls are pretty much the same, but this simply isn’t true. Different bowls serve different purposes, and the bowl that you need will depend on a number of factors. See my recommendation for the best dog bowl for German Shepherds here.
- Dog Crate: You want to buy a dog crate for your German Shepherd, but you’re not sure which one is the best. There are a ton of different factors to consider when choosing a crate. Here’s my review of the best dog crates for German Shepherds and what you should know before buying one.
- Dog House: It can be tough to find the best dog house for German Shepherds. Agitate: Not only do you have to worry about finding a good-sized dog house, but you also need to make sure it’s well-insulated and weatherproof. Here’s the house I recommend for German Shepherds.