GSDCA Board Meeting
January 25-26, 2019
Courtyard by Marriott-Orlando Lake Nona
6955 Lake Nona Rd.
Orlando, FL 32827

October 5th - 12th
The Ranch, Loveland CO

Future AKC Events
Future SV Events
Futurity Ad Form

2019 IGP National Championship / Universal Sieger Show / Breed Survey

April 26-28 2019
Roberts Centre, Wilmington, OH

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7 Things You Should Know About "Puppy Mills"

  1. There is no such thing as a "puppy mill". "Puppy mill" is not a legally defined term. It is derogatory slang used by the animal rights community to denigrate any and all breeders -- small or large, standard or substandard.  It's the "N-word" of breeders.

    The animal rights movement wants to end all animal use and ownership. These fanatics have promoted the phrase "puppy mill" in the media and they apply it indiscriminately to anyone who breeds dogs.

  2. There are three types of breeders:

    • Commercial
    • Pet
    • Hobby/Show/Performance

    Substandard care can be found with all types of breeders. The issue is the standard of care, NOT numbers.

  3. Many commercial breeders have state of the art kennels that meet USDA standards and the standards of their state laws. They are inspected at least annually and must meet or exceed benchmarks far higher than those expected of the average hobby breeder.

  4. Sick puppies do not sell. It is counterproductive for any industry to produce a defective product and expect to stay in business.

  5. Passing laws to outlaw puppy mills will not address or solve any problem. Substandard breeders are already in violation of existing laws. New, stricter laws will only affect those who are already working to follow the laws. The only way to have a positive effect is to enforce the laws already on the books.

  6. All the hobby and USDA breeders in this country cannot produce enough puppies to meet the demands of the American market.

  7. Breeders are not responsible for the presence of dogs in shelters. That responsibility rests with careless owners.
See our section on Dog Legislation for more information.

Beautiful and curious GSD puppy

Welcome! We hope this is an important step in your journey to pick out the right puppy for you and your family. It's important to understand the breed you're interested in. We have some resources here that will help you decide if the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is the right breed for you and, regardless of the breed you choose, give you some tips to help you get your puppy from a reputable breeder.

We also hope you will join the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) and participate in the many training and showing opportunities that exist as your puppy grows up.

Click here for additional links through the American Kennel Club website on choosing and raising puppies.

One of the best resources in finding a quality German Shepherd puppy is to contact the GSDCA Regional Club in your area.

Having decided to purchase a German Shepherd puppy, you should try to find the best representative available to you. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America hopes the following information and suggestions will result in a relationship that will be fulfilling to both you and the dog you choose. A Mother with her Puppies

The links in this section will help you interview prospective breeders, recognize unethical breeders, and find the puppy best suited to your home.

You will find information on where - and how - to begin. This site is chock-full of valuable information on the breed. Please bookmark it for future reference.

Many sources offer purebred German Shepherd puppies, but finding the best source takes time and study. Buying a puppy is a commitment that cannot be taken lightly. Hopefully by choosing the right puppy, you will be taking on a responsibility that will result in a healthy, well adjusted dog that will give you joy and happiness for many years.

Pet stores occasionally offer purebred German Shepherd puppies

Puppies in pet stores are mostly from puppy mills or the occasional backyard breeder who's main objective is producing puppies for profit. Please be careful here as health problems may be common as the "for-profit" breeder does not select the best possible bloodlines that will be compatible for good health, longevity and good temperament.

First, you should decide if you want a male or female. Males and females are similar in many respects but there are marked differences between the sexes that you should be aware of.

IMG_2225_copyMales are larger and heavier (24-26 inches at the highest point of the shoulders and 65 to 90 lbs). Females are somewhat smaller and lighter in weight (22-24 inches in height at the top of the shoulders and 50-70 lbs). Secondary sex characteristics should be pronounced for males and females, e.g. a male looks like a male with pronounced masculinity and a female should look feminine with more delicate features. Females will also have a season twice a year. If you choose a female and do not wish to have puppies, then it is recommended that she be spayed. The differences in the sexes in puppies is not as pronounced as in the adult dogs.

Have some idea what you expect from your new addition so you can inform the breeder. Let him/her know if you want a companion, show dog, or a competitive performance dog. No matter what the function you desire in your puppy, all puppies in the litter will have the same bloodlines. Most well-bred litters from ethical breeders are bred to emphasize the health, character, and trainability of every puppy in the litter.

In the search for your puppy, you want to observe the puppies together at first. A German Shepherd puppy should have, first and foremost, a good temperament. They should be inquisitive, outgoing, and unafraid in his advances towards everything and everybody. They will also demand and exhibit affection without inhibition.

Many times puppies will single out one of the litter to pick on. This does not mean this puppy is defective in any way. Take this puppy aside and he will usually assert himself when he is away from his littermates.

Shy Puppies

German Shepherd PuppiesDo not select a shy puppy. You do not want a puppy who is afraid of you, or runs and hides. This type of puppy is afraid of people, places and things. Do not be sympathetic; if you owned one, you would be embarrassed by its lack of true German Shepherd character. The definition of the ideal German Shepherd temperament can be found here - The German Shepherd Dog Standard.

What color should you choose? Color is not a major consideration in choosing a good German Shepherd, as long as the pigment is good. White is an undesirable color and is a disqualification in the AKC conformation ring.

Most companion puppies are sold at 8 to 16 weeks of age. Puppies generally are not ready to go to a new home under 8 weeks of age.


What guarantees you can expect with your new puppy are between you and the seller.  If there are hip and elbow guarantees implied in the verbal contract, make sure they are also included in the written contract.

Conscientious breeders want the best available home for their puppies. Expect them to ask you questions about fenced yards, and the type of work that you and/or your spouse do for a living. This determines the amount of time you will have available for your new addition. There are very important items that should be supplied by the breeder.

Breeders will typically give you the following items:

  1. A signed pedigree

  2. A current Health Record; including de-wormings and vaccinations.

  3. American Kennel Club registration papers or application

  4. Sales contract. The type of contract varies and must be mutually agreeable to the breeder and buyer. Much depends on what you expect from the puppy (show, pet, or performance).

  5. Feeding schedule including the type and amount of food.

  6. Copy of OFA certification of sire and dam, if available.