How To Choose A German Shepherd Puppy
One of the most exciting things in life is choosing a new puppy, especially if it is a German Shepherd puppy!
But, did you know that choosing one is not all that easy?
In order to choose the right pup, you should first inform yourself on all there is about the German Shepherd dog breed. This means that you have to be familiar with their personality, temperament, trainability, and breed-specific health issues.
Besides basic knowledge about the breed, you will have to decide where you want to get your puppy from. If you are looking for a show-material German Shepherd, then your best option is to purchase a pup from an ethical GSD breeder.
However, if you want a German Shepherd dog to keep as a family pet, while doing a good deed, then we recommend that you visit your local dog shelter and/or dog rescue center.
These are the first two steps you need to take prior to choosing a GSD puppy. If you are wondering how to choose one, keep reading to find out more!
Learn About The German Shepherd Dog Breed
Different dog breeds inherit different personalities and energy levels. If you have decided to get a German Shepherd puppy, do not expect this dog to be as laid-back as a Basset Hound, or as outgoing as a Golden Retriever.
Knowing all about the breed is extremely important for any future owner. There are many mistakes that can be made in socializing and raising a new pup.
German Shepherd dogs require:
- Lots of physical activity and mental stimulation
- Proper socialization and training
- Daily brushing because they are heavy shedders
- High-quality dog food
- Enough space to run around and play
If new owners fail to recognize what their puppy needs, then this leads to undesirable behavior during the dog’s adulthood. That said, the German Shepherd may not be the perfect breed for inexperienced or first-time dog owners.
As a working dog breed, the German Shepherd can do just about anything it puts its mind to. It is a very intelligent dog that needs a good owner who encourages it to unleash its full potential.
Choose Between Adopting And Purchasing A German Shepherd Puppy
Adopting a German Shepherd puppy means getting it from a local shelter or a rescue organization. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of the breed is what got so many GSD puppies in such places.
Irresponsible owners simply surrender or abandon their German Shepherd when they realize that they can’t handle this working dog. That said, shelters and rescues are places where you can find purebred GSDs of any age.
Adopting a puppy is undoubtedly the most humane way to get yourself a dog. More often than not, rescued GSDs have proved to be the most thankful and loyal family pets out there.
However, when it comes to choosing a German Shepherd puppy from the shelter, your choice is limited. This is because the majority of shelters offer grown dogs or older puppies. While these dogs are often socialized and accustomed to human interaction, some aspiring owners prefer to find an eight-week old pup that they can raise and socialize on their own.
Finding such a puppy is possible with reputable breeders.
Look For A Reputable German Shepherd Breeder
My advice to all German Shepherd lovers who are looking for a GSD puppy is to stop searching for the puppy first. Instead, the first thing you should do is search for a reputable breeder. Here’s why.
Nowadays, finding one is just a few clicks away. Most people are only looking for a “cute and adorable” German Shepherd puppy, which means that they probably don’t care about anything other than that. But, due to the fact that there are so many unethical and irresponsible breeders, you might just end up with an empty wallet and an unhealthy pup.
This is why your journey to finding the perfect GSD puppy should start with finding the perfect breeder.
Although searching for reputable German Shepherd breeders might come off as a challenge, doing proper research will pave the way to finding the right one. You will immediately recognize ethical GSD breeders by the quality of their breeding program that puts each dog’s health and well-being first.
Besides placing great value on the dog’s health, ethical GSD breeders focus on developing the signature German Shepherd appearance accompanied by an outstanding temperament.
Pedigree, genetic health tests, kennel club registration, temperament, and health guarantees are only a few amazing things that reputable breeders offer.
Observe German Shepherd Litter Mates
Once you establish good communication with a qualified German Shepherd breeder, the next thing on your list is to visit them and see the puppies! This is also one of the ways you can recognize good GSD breeders – they won’t hesitate to show you how and where they raise their pups.
It is finally happening, all of the puppies are right in front of you! Now, how do you choose the right German Shepherd puppy?
Normally, a German Shepherd litter counts eight pups on average. That’s quite a lot to choose from! How do I make up my mind which one to choose? What a tough decision!
Start by observing each GSD puppy’s physical appearance. The German Shepherd growth chart explains that, when they are ready for adoption, eight week old GSD pups should weigh about 15 pounds. Each one should walk evenly, wag its little tail, bark, whine, growl, and even howl as a form of communication! However, their vocalization should not be excessive.
Although the size difference between male and female German Shepherds is not as pronounced as it is in adult dogs, you will still be able to notice that males are a bit larger than females.
You can recognize a healthy puppy by observing its body posture, clear eyes, and healthy amount of vocalisation. Healthy pups appear energetic and show willingness to play through interaction with you and their littermates.
Interact With German Shepherd Puppies
When interacting with the puppies try not to be pushy or annoying to them. Most of them will come to you anyway!
The best way to choose a puppy is to let it choose you! This is the experience of many GSD owners. Once it chooses its human, the rest is history!
However, if you are still unsure which one to choose, you can ask the breeder to help you out. Breeders know their pups best and they will tell you about the temperament of each and every one. Make sure to tell the breeder what kind of German Shepherd dog you are searching for – a show dog, a working dog, or a family pet.
After you have seen all of them interacting with one another, you can also ask the breeder to bring each puppy so you can evaluate their individual personalities one on one.
Keep in mind that each puppy is unique in its own way, which means that not all of them are going to be outgoing and sociable. Just because some may appear shy, doesn’t mean that they are aggressive, sick, or unsocialized. Most of them are going to be very energetic at eight weeks of age, which doesn’t mean that they will be destructive and hyper in their new home.
Welcoming A New German Shepherd Puppy Into Your Home
So you have chosen your new best friend, signed the contract, received all the necessary certificates and breeding records from the breeder. Now you’re good to go!
Bringing your new puppy home is probably going to be more exciting than the time you spent searching for one. Prior to coming home, you should have already prepared a set up which includes:
- Clean food and water bowls
- Yummy food and treats
- Spacious crate
- Bed and blanket
- Comfort toys
- Chew toys
- Play pen
- Pee pads
- Grooming tools
Upon picking up your pup, the breeder will provide you with a full puppy pack to help the pup adjust to its new home. Normally, it contains puppy food and treat samples, a familiar toy, a blanket with mother’s scent, and a guide for taking care of them.
To make the transition period easier, new dog owners should spend as much time as possible with their new pup. Just put yourself in their paws – you have found yourself in an unfamiliar environment with an unfamiliar person that seems to take good care of you. The last thing you want is to be left completely alone in an unknown place.
GSD puppies are prone to developing separation anxiety and if left alone in a new home for the first few days, chances are that they will be afraid and stressed out. In fact, terrified puppies are more likely to turn into anxious, scared, and aggressive adult dogs. That said, the first few days in their new home are crucial for the new pup.
Besides playing with them, you should also begin with potty and crate training.
Before you choose a German Shepherd puppy, you should be aware that dogs are for life. The GSD can live up to 13 years which is quite a long time. So, getting a puppy means that you have decided on a long-term commitment.
Learning about this majestic dog breed will give you an understanding of what they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
As a responsible owner, your main task is to keep your GSD puppy in tip-top shape by focusing on its heath and encouraging it to play with other dogs and people. Spending quality time with them is going to make you the happiest person in the world!
How you choose one depends greatly on what you are looking for in a dog. But I guarantee that each German Shepherd puppy will be the best family dog you have owned!