You now know who to avoid when purchasing a German shepherd puppy, but how can you find a reputable breeder? Fortunately, there are many different strategies you can use. The best method is to go where the breeders are—but not to their homes or kennels initially. If you really want to see how a breeder’s dogs behave and perform around crowds of people, you can attend dog shows and performance events.
In attendance at shows and performance events you will find breeders, handlers, trainers, and many owner/handlers, as well as other interested spectators. The people who participate in competitive events work regularly with their dogs, allowing them to know their dogs’ best qualities as well as their shortcomings. If you attend one of these events, you’ll be among a highly knowledgeable crowd. These people will be able to offer intelligent answers to your questions.
If you’ve owned dogs before and have a veterinarian you like and trust, ask her for a recommendation. She may be able to refer you to German shepherd breeders that she sees on a regular basis and knows are reputable. Your veterinarian may also be able to refer you to some of her clients who have purchased puppies from quality shepherd breeders. Another option is to call a local or regional German shepherd club and ask one of the officers for recommendations as to where to begin your search. The national German shepherd clubs will be able to put you in contact with a local club, if you have troubles locating one. Additionally, the national organizations have referral services that provide the caller with names and contact information for several breeders in a specific area. When talking with a referral officer from a national German shepherd club, be sure to ask what qualifications the breeder must have to be listed on the referral list. If the only criteria are a club membership and the payment of a listing fee, proceed with caution. One source that potential puppy buyers frequently neglect is the rescue commu- nity. Breed rescue people are good at what they do, and they have the experience to refer a quality breeder. Additionally, breed rescuers generally care sincerely about the dogs they work with, and they will likely have the best interests of the animals at heart.