One of the most important things to do before purchasing a German Shepherd is to have a good list of questions to ask the dog breeder. You want to be certain that you are buying your new pup from someone that is reputable and experienced. There are hundreds of GSD breeders in the United States alone. While some are extremely established others that are inexperienced may not have the dog’s best interest at heart.
To help potential owners, we reached out to one of the most accomplished dog breeders on the planet. Her name is Lois Schwarz and she has been producing quality pups for over half a decade. She gives you her top 10 questions to ask the dog breeder before purchasing a puppy. This should give you a huge advantage before you take that next step in buying a German Shepherd.
1. How many generations of German Shepherds have you produced?
This is the best question to ask a breeder, you see Todd, if a person has not bred any generations, then they just have the mom and dad and a litter of pups… this means that the folks that had the mom and dad bred them, not the owner of the new pup.
What this tells me is this person is a ‘back yard breeder’. They have no clue what is happening when they breed those 2 dogs together. I have bred over 30 generations of my line of dogs and over 50 different lines. That is someone that understands breeding animals.
2. How many years have you been a breeder of animals?
I have been breeding dogs for over 50 years. Most everyday folks will answer like this: This is her 3rd litter. This tells me that they are idiots and can not answer a question. I asked for years. It also tells me that she might have had other dogs and have bred them? As she might be avoiding telling me about the other 2 females in the garage?
3. How many dogs do you own?
At the time I own 20……… The average backyard breeder has about 2 females and a male. The second younger female is usually the pup out of the mom that they could not sell. A family that likes an increase in income might have more, that tells me that they are just breeding for an income and may not be caring about the genetics or health of the dogs.
4. How many dogs have you had in your lifetime?
I have had over 2 thousand dogs in my lifetime. I am a professional breeder. Most everyday average family folks have only had 1 or 2 dogs in their lifetime and those may have been as a child. 80% of my customers are first time puppy buyers.
I do not sell to anyone that is not a home owner. It does not surprise me when they say, ‘this is my first dog’. Will I buy a pup from them? Since i know what i am looking for, yes… these folks do not understand the market (selling and demand and pricing) on dogs. I can get some really good pups from folks that know nothing. I have been a puppy broker buying and selling for individuals (not organizations).
I love to find a great pup in a home where they do not know what they have. Sometimes this happens. Most of the time, the pups are not very good. it takes me a long time to find a pup that I would buy to outcross my dogs with.
My lines are super healthy and I have worked hard to get them this way, so I like to get pups from ‘outcrossed’ lines or mutts that have really good pedigrees.. If the people actually know where the dogs have come from.
5. Are your dogs registered with any dog registry?
What this tells me is that they are more knowledgeable than a mutt breeder and they put forth some kind of effort in doing the paperwork. It also tells me that they are beginners and are just buying their dogs with papers but may not know how to read a pedigree, nor the dogs in the background, so then I have to ask, where did you get the mom and dad..
6. Do you belong to a breed club?
What this tells me is that these breeders have put more effort and are more into’ dogs than those that are not in a club. It also tells me that they may be stuck up and know it alls.. lol
7. Have you ever shown your dogs?
This tells me that they know the standards of the breed, but I can tell that by the look of the pups. It also tells me that they are show asshol*s. Most doggy people that are really into dogs are stuck up and think the average person is an idiot. lol…
8. Do you groom and train your own dogs?
This lets me know more about their education and knowledge on dogs, but mostly I already can tell and do not need to ask, but a newbie might.
9. Have you ever bred any other breeds of dogs?
This lets me know if they are ‘more’ educated outside of the GSD breed.
10. Do you belong to a schutzhund club?
If they have, I would be surprised, lol… I also do NOT like these folks selling pups because most of them sell to homeowners that can not handle a hard working dog and that tells me that they are *ssholes just breeding to add hard core working dogs to the world that end up in the pound.
Lois from The Schwarz Kennels.
Bonus Questions To Ask The Dog Breeder:
Ask about Experience, accomplishments as a breeder, Reviews, credentials, contracts, guarantees, health clearances on their dogs, pedigree expertise.
M Cecilia Martinez from Southernwind German Shepherds.
These are definitely some of the best questions to ask the dog breeder before buying your next puppy. Write this list down or print them out before making that trip to buy your new pup. You can call and talk to them ahead of time or bring this list with you. Knowing the answer to these questions can mean the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy dog. Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment so you want to make sure that your furry friend is able bodied and genetically sound.
Are you thinking about buying a GSD? Check out our list of German Shepherd breeders! We have done some of the homework for you! All of them have great reviews and a good track record when it comes to high caliber programs .
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Have you had any good or bad experiences buying a new dog? Let us know if you have an important question to ask the dog breeder that we can add to the list! We would love to hear your ideas!