Choosing the Right German Shepherd Puppy

It is very difficult to separate emotions from logic and common sense when first presented with a litter of adorable German Shepherd puppies.  Often owners feel that the puppy picks them, by a specific act or look that the German Shepherd puppy gives or does. While this is a very nice thought; in reality, there are some very simple techniques that a  prospective owner can use to pick a puppy based on temperament and overall physical condition. There are also some behaviors, temperaments, and conditions that should be avoided when buying a German  Shepherd puppy. No matter how cute and nice the little German Shepherd puppy is; if it is unhealthy or has a poor temperament, you are unlikely to be happy once you get him or her home.

When picking out a puppy, there are German Shepherds of varying shades, ranging from white to color combinations that include, yellow,  black, and gray, among others. It is important to know that there are breeders that offer German Shepherds in the form of companion animals and there are those that strictly breed and train working German  Shepherds. One type will be great for walks and family outings; the other will be expecting to be put to work. Neither type will be able to or should be expected, to do the opposite. Those wanting a working German Shepherd should opt for a breeder that specializes in such; as the dog will be able to meet all the physical and mental requirements.


One of the most important considerations when choosing a German Shepherd puppy is to be comfortable and confident within the talents and overall care of the German Shepherds by the stock breeder or current owner. This is one of the most critical aspects of choosing a puppy that will be healthy and will have the temperament that you desire. Spending time in getting to know the breeder or owner is very important and should not be minimized in your rush to choose a pup.

When you first get to the owner or breeder’s kennel or home, spend some time looking around.
The owner or breeder should be comfortable with the German Shepherds, as well and should have a good relationship with the female German Shepherd. The German Shepherd itself should trust the owner with the puppies, without being aggressive or timid in the owner’s presence.  Remember that some females are very protective of their puppies and they may be anxious in your presence, however, the owner should inform you of this in advance.

The puppy area should be relatively clean. Remember that the puppies are not yet house trained so there may be some mess and soiling, but nothing that appears old. The puppies should be on some kind of substrate to absorb body waste. Many puppy areas are outside in portable pens or maybe inside with puppy pads or newspaper as an absorbent layer. Older puppies may be house trained or may be started in crate training, depending on the age of the puppy and the breeder or owner’s kennel area.

Some owners will have their German Shepherd puppies in the house and these puppies are often very socialized. Backyard breeders, or someone with only one female, usually will have the puppies and the mother right in the house; whereas a large scale breeder may have the female and puppies outside in a kennel area. 

German Shepherd puppies should respond to the breeder or owner by sight and sound of the voice. They should not appear nervous or scared around the current handler, but they may be initially timid around new people. The breeder or owner should be willing to answer all of your questions regarding the German Shepherd breed, care of the puppies,  and should be willing to introduce you to the mother and father if they are both on the premises.

Avoid purchasing a German Shepherd puppy from an owner or breeder that has an off-putting rapport with the female or male German Shepherd, or someone that the puppies appear afraid of or disinterested in.  If the kennel area is soiled and appears to be frequently unkempt, or if the male or female German Shepherd appears unhealthy, hostile, aggressive, or excessively timid, it is wise to consider trying another breeder or owner. Often these characteristics indicate someone that is simply in it for the money. This means that the puppies may have a  higher risk of poor temperaments, health issues, and potentially deadly or debilitating genetic conditions through improper breeding.

Any reputable German Shepherd breeders will have his or her pups tested for eye, ear and hip problems before adopting them out. Buyers are often given an official document, such as a CERF or BAER certificate,  confirming the pup has been tested and satisfactorily passed the prescribed medical examination.

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