German shepherds make good pets. They are athletic, energetic and bond well with their owners. They are highly trainable as search and rescue dogs and are used in police services. When choosing a German shepherd puppy there are some health considerations and breed standards to consider. Read on to learn how to buy a German shepherd puppy.
Set up an initial meeting to view your perspective puppy before you buy. Watch his reaction to your voice and your touch. Notice if he is affectionate and eager to make friends. German shepherds have a tendency toward aggression later in life. If untrained, it's important to choose a puppy with a good temperament to start.2
Inquire about the puppy's socialization training. Since early socializing is very important to this breed, the methods employed by the former owners are crucial. Puppies must be held early and often and interact with other dogs and humans every day.3
Request to see both parents of the puppy. Pay attention to the way they interact with you, a stranger. Look for signs of unwarranted aggression. The temperament of the parents passes on to the litter. Also watch to see if they move easily, unencumbered.4
Ask to see the puppy's parents' Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certification. The OFA maintains medical records on registered canines. They issue a rating based on x-rays of the dog's bone structure. German shepherds, being large working class dogs are prone to hip dysplasia. This genetic predisposition passes on to subsequent litters and dogs that present with dysplasia should not be bred.5
Look your prospective puppy over carefully before you buy him. Make sure his eyes are clear and alert, his gums pink and healthy looking and his ears free from matter. He should be playful but not overly energetic.6
Determine the puppy's lineage. American Kennel Club puppies will have family charts that show who their parents and ancestors were for several generations. A qualified breeder will have a copy of this family tree for you to view.