Things You Need To Know
Before You Adopt a German Shepherd Puppy

The German Shepherd Dog is a wonderful breed of dog. However, this is not the breed for everyone. As with all breeds, before you consider bringing any dog into your life, there are many things you should know. Once you bring a dog into your home, he becomes a family member and deserves to be treated as such. This is a lifetime commitment and you must be prepared to care for him for his entire life. If you are not familiar with the German Shepherd Dog breed, research is a must — with the Internet today, there is an abundance of information available at your fingertips. The more popular the breed, the more information there is out there — and for the German Shepherd Dog there is an endless amount of information. However, it must be noted that not everyting can be believed. While there are many very informative sites on the German Shepherd breed, there are others who do nothing but praise the breed as the best breed of dog in the world. The fact is, every breed has its negative aspects. Whether it is health problems, temperament or behavioural issues, too big, too small, too loud, too quiet. They are all different and you need to be sure that your choice of a German Shepherd Dog is the right one, before you make the purchase.

Once you've made your decision that this is indeed the breed for you, the next step is to find a responsible and reputable Breeder. This is not a task that should be taken lightly and again, research is necessary. With a popular breed like the German Shepherd, there are a great number of Breeders available. Visit several and don't be afraid to ask questions. A Breeder should always be more than willing to provide you with all the answers to your questions and then some. The Breeder should be open and honest about health and temperament testing, and provide you with certificates as requested. In return, you should expect to be questioned (or rather, grilled) as well — A responsible Breeder is always very particular about who he/she sells his/her dogs to. If you visit a Breeder and you feel that you have revealed very little about yourself and yet the Breeder is ready and willing to sell you a pup with virtually no questions asked — Walk away! This is not a responsible Breeder. Whether you are looking for a companion; a show dog; a dog who competes in obedience, agility, tracking, Schutzhund, or any other sport; or you want a dog you can work with in Search and Rescue, Police work, Therapy, or other, the most important aspects are the dog's physical and mental health.

A responsible and ethical Breeder's main goal is to produce only the highest quality German Shepherd Dogs that will better the gene pool. The responsible Breeder studies the pedigrees for quality, health, longevity, temperament and working ability, sometimes travelling great distances to find the best male to match the female. The responsible Breeder views health testing of their breeding stock as the norm in their breeding program and will provide you with copies of certifications. Most responsible Breeders are involved in some aspect of competition, whether it is the show ring for Conformation titles or competitive sports such as Schutzhund or Obedience. While this may not be something you are interested in pursuing with your new dog, it is still an important point in that it helps prove the Breeders real interest in the betterment of the breed itself. Ask for references from previous puppy buyers as well as information on any clubs that the Breeder may be a member of. Verify these references and check that the Breeder is in good standing with the club(s).

The importance of finding a reputable breeder cannot be stressed enough. It doesn't matter if you simply want a great companion dog and have no intentions of showing, competing or otherwise working with your dog — you still need to find a healthy and mentally sound puppy. The only place to find this is through a responsible breeder.

For more information on finding a responsible breeder, see:

Keeping in mind that you should never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store, and that many responsible breeders do not advertise their puppies in newspapers, the best places to go to find a Breeder include the following:

  • The German Shepherd Dog Breeders section of this website — Several Breeders are listed here with links to their websites where you can learn more about them, if and when puppies are available, the pedigrees of the parents are usually available, and some sites have indepth breed information available as well. Please note, in order to be listed on the Canada's Guide to Dogs website, certain criteria must be met; however, we do not recommend, endorse or support any one of these Breeder listings.
  • German Shepherd Dog Breed Clubs — Several clubs are listed here with links to websites. The clubs are a good place to go to get member Breeder listings. Please note, a Breeder's membership in any club does not guarantee responsible and ethical breeding.


In Canada, in order for any of the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized breeds to be legally sold as "purebred" dogs, they must either already be registered with the CKC or they must be eligible to be registered with the CKC within six months of the date of sale. This is the law. In addition, Breeders in Canada are fully responsible for registering the puppy at their expense. Avoid any Breeder who offers you a puppy at a cheaper price without papers.

Further Information:


Health Issues:

Like all breeds, the German Shepherd Dog is susceptible to certain inherited/genetic health conditions. See German Shepherd Dog Health Issues for further details.


The Standards:

The German Shepherd Dog Standards are listed on the main breed page. These are the ideals for the breed and describe the German Shepherd Dog's appearance and temperament.

Also see the Illustrated AKC Standard from the German Shepherd Dog Club of America.


Consider an Adult Dog

Have you considered an adult German Shepherd Dog? In many cases, the responsible Breeder has a waiting list for puppies and, if you can't wait for the next litter, consider adopting a homeless German Shepherd Dog from a rescue organization or shelter. Many of these dogs end up homeless through no fault of their own and all legitimate rescue organizations ensure that the dogs are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and they will work with you to ensure that the dog meets with your requirements — the last thing they want is to see the dog come back to them.

Another consideration is that occasionally Breeders may have young adults available. There are several reasons why a Breeder may have a dog available: (1) A buyer may have returned a dog for some reason — In most cases, responsible Breeders will take their dogs back rather than have them go to a shelter. (2) The Breeder may have decided to keep and show the dog for a while. (3) The Breeder may have initially kept the puppy for breeding purposes but has since changed their mind. There could be a number of reasons why a Breeder could have on hand an adult or young adult dog available.

There are many advantages to adopting a dog that is beyond the puppy stage — housetrained, crate trained, obedience trained, health testing may already have been done, to name a few.


Please note, the information provided here is intended as a guideline to help you in your search for a physically and mentally sound German Shepherd Dog. Before you buy — Do your research, learn about the breed, and be certain that this is the dog for you. Once you are absolutely positive about it, take the time and effort to find a good Breeder. Remember that this dog will become a member of your family and he should never be treated as anything less.