If you’re looking for a German Shepherd puppy, you should give some thought to how and where you’re going to get your pup. First, do you really need a purebred dog? There is nothing wrong with buying a purebred pup, and if you’re planning to show or breed, you’ll definitely need a registered purebred puppy.
However, if you are primarily looking for a companion dog, you might be surprised how many shelter dogs meet your requirements. A lot of the dogs that end up in shelters and rescues are actually full-blooded members of some breed, though they obviously aren’t registered or registerable. But they are good pets. And many mixed-breed dogs in shelters make excellent companion animals.
Assuming you do want a registered German Shepherd puppy, where do you start?
The first place to not start is a pet store. Many puppies in pet stores, even today, come from puppy mills at worst, or from unreputable breeders at best. The good, legitimate breeders will not sell to pet stores. In fact, if you want to buy a purebred German Shepherd pup, you’re going to have to convince a breeder that you can provide a good home. They’re very picky about who takes their pups, and they’re choosing you, as much as you choose the pup.
The best way to find a good breeder is to talk to someone you know who has a German Shepherd. If you don’t know anyone you can get a referral from, find out if there is a breed club in your area. You can also call vets and dog trainers in your area and ask them who they would recommend. You can always find breeders on the Internet, but you can’t always know ahead of time if you want to work with them.
When you visit a breeder, you should be impressed with the cleanliness of the facility. Whether they have a fancy building or breed in their own yard/home, you should find the environment very clean and neat and the dogs well cared for. You should be able to meet, or at least see, the parents, and the breeder should ask you a lot of questions about your home and lifestyle. The breeder should ask you for references, and you should get references from the breeder.
If you both agree that one of the breeder’s pups would be a good addition to your home, the breeder will have you fill out a contract, and you’ll become the owner of a German Shepherd pup, who will think you’re the marvelous person in the world.