Choosing the Correct German Shepherd Dog Breeder

by | Breeders, Puppies, quality | 0 comments

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Choosing the correct German Shepherd Breeder is not an easy task with so many disreputable, incompetent, and misguided breeders. Since the presence of new German Shepherd Dog puppy is a twelve year investment and commitment, choosing the best place to purchase your next German Shepherd Dog puppy for you and your family involves careful consideration including life style and economics.  Today, my discussion will focus on tell-tale signs of breeders to avoid.

First and most importantly, do not purchase your next German Shepherd Dogs puppy from a puppy mill.  Dogs used for breeding in puppy mills have miserable lives and in many cases never live outside a crate, cage, or adequate kennel.  Besides the obvious problems with the likely poor quality of puppies from puppy mills, the cruelty to the breeding animals is reason enough for a caring person to avoid puppy mills.  In addition, avoid purchasing puppies from pet stores.  Pet stores in general purchase all their puppies from puppy mills.  While these types of puppy mills are somewhat better because they are overseen by the United States Department Of Agriculture and certain minimum living conditions are met; nevertheless, the breeding animals often have miserable lives with little to no love or socialization.  Whereas, puppy mills that hide from the authorities and sell their puppies through the local newspaper, internet, parking lots, or even alongside the road are the worse culprits and largely are cruel places with harsh and often mentally ill owners.  Do not support this cruelty.

Our Heidelberg German Shepherds Playing

Our Heidelberg German Shepherds Playing

How to recognize a puppy mill:  First and most glaring indication of puppy mills is that puppy mills will breed several different types or breeds of dogs from Chihuahuas to German Shepherd Dogs.  In addition, puppy mills will not readily let you see the parents or if they do so they will bring them to you so that you cannot see their living conditions.  Often, they will place you in a room or fenced yard away from all their kennel operations and bring you the puppy one at a time or they may bring the entire litter out for you to choose from.  The point being they will hide their dog raising activities from you.  If they will not provide you with a tour of their entire facility, you probably should leave as quickly as possible.

Another blatant indication of a bad breeder and/or puppy mills are dog registrations with a parent club other than The American Kennel Club (AKC).  AKC inspects all their breeders, and if standards are not met then that breeder’s registration rights are suspended.   Puppy mills usually cannot stand the scrutiny of an AKC inspection.  However, some Puppy mills do pass AKC inspections by moving sick animals off property and cleaning up their facility before the inspection.  I wished that AKC would perform surprise inspections, but unfortunately at this time they schedule all inspections.  For those breeders that are banned from AKC, they will often register their dogs with a club that is not familiar to most of us.  We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels have been told, over the years, by three different AKC inspectors that we have the cleanest kennels and best cared for dogs that they have ever seen.

 Keystone Kennels in Winter

Keystone Kennels in Winter

We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels have devoted our lives to breeding and promoting the German Shepherd Dog.  It has taken years to learn how to correctly breed our shepherds to produce the best possible puppy possible for our customers.  Our breeding focuses on temperament, health, and appearances.  For a powerful dog such as a German Shepherd Dog, temperament is absolutely the most important attribute.  Perfect German Shepherd Dog temperament does not happen in a vacuum.  By definition, backyard breeders randomly purchase German Shepherd Dogs from different breeders and then breed two different lines and types of German Shepherd Dogs.  These breedings that put two random dogs together, mostly produce poor quality shepherds.  Because the backyard breeder lacks basic breeding principles and knowledge, they have have no way of predicting the end product. These German shepherd Dogs are usually sold exclusively through advertisement in the local newspaper and almost always are the lower end of the price scale with puppies priced as low as $100.00 to $500.00.  Avoid purchasing puppies from backyard breeders, that is if you can afford to go to a reputable breeder to ensure the highest possibility to acquire a healthy and good looking German Shepherd Dog puppy with the correct shepherd temperament.  Although, on rare exception, you may find a good quality shepherd from a backyard breeder.  However, more than likely, unless you are an expert in judging German Shepherd Dog puppies, you will end up with a puppy with serious temperament or health problems including an extremely structurally incorrect German Shepherd Dog that is just plain ugly.

To purchase a top-of-the-line German Shepherd Dog from a reputable breeder, you will likely have to spend approximately $1,500.00 or for a world class dog that turns heads, you may need to spend significantly more.

For years, we at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels have tried to keep our prices down around or below $1,500.00, but with the rise in cost of almost everything related to the operation of our kennel, we had to go up in our prices to where our average shepherd puppy is sold for $1,500.00.   As the consumer of new German Shepherd Dog puppy, you should be aware of how expensive it is for a reputable breeder to consistently produce top quality German Shepherd Dog puppies.  Doing things the right way and not cutting corners always cost more in time and money.

There are many bad breeders that are posing as reputable breeders and some clues to those that are legitimate and those that are not are provided below.  The first thing you should ask is how long have they been breeding German Shepherd Dogs.  While we all had to start at some point, longevity is a partial indication of legitimacy.  More importantly, are they doing anything with their breeding dogs, such as AKC Championships, Herding Titles, Obedience Titles, proven Service Dogs, etc.  If a breeder is not doing anything with the dogs he is breeding, this is an extremely strong indication that this is not a breeder that you would want to get your puppy from because they are likely only interested in selling puppies with little consideration for the dogs they breed.  Not placing titles on the German Shepherd Dogs that you breed, in my opinion, is an inexcusable cutting of corner and indicates a lack professionalism.  As the consumer, the only indication that these puppies are worthy of you and your family is the word of the breeder that has done nothing to prove their German Shepherd Dog lines.

A young Ch. Stefanie Being Shown

A young Ch. Stefanie Being Shown

In addition, do they have a web page, and does it give the impression of professionalism.  Do they readily state their guarantees and breeding philosophies?  Be aware that breeding philosophies and guarantees are often rote and copied from reputable breeders by incompetent breeders. Also, If they are breeding and selling other breeds of dogs or other animals such as horses, this is indicative of a breeder that lacks dedication and focus on the German Shepherd Dog.  Are they nut cases asking you to fill out applications and sign ridiculous restrictive contracts that threaten you with legal actions and fines?  These are all indications of breeders that you may want to avoid.  The only exception to signing a contract is possibly a non egregious show contract that clearly lays out the responsibility of the new owner and the breeder.

Legitimate breeders health screen and will be forthright about any health problem that they have observed in the dogs they breed.  As the buyer, you need to be realistic and realize that all breeders of German Shepherd Dogs, overtime, have had certain health issues.  If the breeder has been breeding for a number of years and has produced several hundred puppies over many years it is very likely they have most assuredly seen certain health concerns.  This is just biology and the realities of the world that we live.  What is important to you as the consumer is the rate of occurrence of these health concerns and the breeder’s willingness to discuss these issues with you.   As a potential puppy buyer, you should realize that health concern discussions are going to be a touchy conversational subject for even the best and most reputable breeders.  To be fair, save this discussion for an actual visit to their kennel so the breeder will know that you are a legitimate puppy buyer and not someone looking for information to disparage them or their dogs.  Phone or email questions about Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) elbow and hip certification should be fine and readily addressed by the breeder.

Ask these questions when considering a breeder:  Is the breeder knowledgeable about training, feeding correctly, and routine maintenance such as pest control, worming, and heart worm prevention?  Do they take the time to share their knowledge with you?  Do they explain how to correctly feed your new puppy so that the puppy grows correctly and fulfills its genetic potential?  Do they convey a basic knowledge about proper nutrition for German Shepherd Dog puppies and adults or do just suggest a certain brand of dry-food without a detailed explanation for their recommendation?  Are they available for questions and support after you have purchased your German Shepherd Dog puppy?  Do they offer training?  We at Keystone German Shepherd & Kennels offer several types of training including basic obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen training and testing, conformation training, Service Dog Training, etc.  Our basic and obedience training and AKC Canine Good Citizen Training are free and included in the purchase of your new puppy.  These are just some of the questions, you should ask when looking for a reputable German Shepherd Dog breeder.

 AKC Canine Good Citizen Class at Keystone German Shepherds &

AKC Canine Good Citizen Class at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels

Now that you have decided on a reputable breeder it gets down to purchasing the correct puppy.  There are myriads of different types of shepherds with different looks and different functions, personalities, and temperaments.  Tomorrow I will discuss how to find the reputable breeder that is producing the right type of shepherd for you and your family.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion. Also, please see our web page: KeystoneGermanShepherds





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