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The German Shepherd is a very popular breed. There are a great demand and supply for puppies of this breed. Therefore, in any country, it is easy to find a suitable nursery that is professionally involved in breeding German Shepherds. But before buying a pet, you need to know some rules – how to pick a good German Shepherd puppy.
How to Pick a Good German Shepherd Puppy
Choosing a breeder
Before choosing a puppy, you need to decide where to get a puppy. Today there is a multitude of ads for selling puppies on the internet. They are offered by dog lovers who have received litter from their beloved dogs and professional breeders alike. Naturally, the prices are different.
In order to pick a good German Shepherd puppy, consider the following:
- Make sure the breeder you purchase from has a good reputation and knowledge of the breed.
- Familiarize yourself with the conditions in which the dogs are kept – whether they have the option of being kept free-range.
- Meet the breeder to see the puppy's parents in person and see their pedigree. Also, check the medical record of the “relatives”.
- A good breeder will honestly and competently answer all your questions and familiarize you with the necessary documents.
- Ask what criteria the breeder uses to choose a buyer. According to the breeder's answer, one can judge their serious attitude and professional competence.
- It wouldn't be wrong to ask about pets' achievements (prizes, medals, etc.).
- It is necessary to look at the rest of the dogs. If there are dogs in the kennel with external anomalies and deviations in qualities, this will indicate that they are unprofessional in breeding and there is no guarantee that the puppy you have chosen is a descendant of the pair shown.
Nowadays, large kennels specializing in a particular breed and individual breeders deal with the breeding of dogs. An experienced owner will ask about the health of the bitch:
- At what age did the first mating take place?
- How many times did she give birth?
- How many puppies are in the litter from which the puppy is chosen?
Based on the answers received, one can indirectly assess how strong the puppy is, and whether the bitch is exhausted. Only when you are convinced that a lot of money is being spent for a good reason and the breeder deserves your trust can you proceed with the selection of the puppy.
Define the purpose of puppy selection
The next mandatory point in choosing a German Shepherd puppy is setting a long term goal. Why do you choose a puppy? There are various criteria and goals when choosing. For example, a pet is bought as:
- future champion;
- future breeding dog;
- the guard;
- nannies for children;
- service dog.
Much depends on education and training. However, the dog's work characteristics are inherited and it is necessary to familiarize yourself with them when choosing a puppy. When deciding on a representative of the elite, you should ask about the pedigree, purity of breed, and the achievements of the offspring of this particular couple.
But even such careful selection doesn't 100% guarantee that a champion will grow out of a puppy. A show class puppy is three times more expensive than an ordinary dog and must meet the breed characteristics described in the standard.
Puppies or breeding animals of the breed class should not have any deviations from the standard, be in good health, and be suitable for breeding. Puppies for companions or service dogs may have minor variances in appearance that do not allow their use in breeding but do not affect their character, health, and devotion.
It is also important to determine a puppy's sex. Because males and females of the German Shepherd dog differ not only in size and weight, but also in work quality:
|More stable nervous system||More difficult to obtain submission||Easier to train, easier to learn||Lose performance during heat|
|Physically much stronger||Have a tendency to dominate||Less aggressive and less prone to social dominance||Not suitable for service while carrying puppies and caring for babies|
|Practical all year round||Difficult to control in the presence of bitches during the heat||Easier to control||Less strong and robust|
When choosing a German Shepherd puppy, you should take into account your own experience in rearing representatives of this breed. If you are less experienced, taking home a female puppy is recommended as it will be easier to find a common language. Females are less aggressive, get along better with children, and are smarter.
In males, you may be attracted by their natural autonomy, capacity for service, intelligence, loyalty, tirelessness, and devotion. But the dog needs more exercise, and it takes even longer to walk with him because he wants to mark the territory.
The next criterion when choosing a German Shepherd puppy is their mental health, socialization and behavior in the litter.
Analyze puppy character and behavior
Many character traits are passed on from their parents to their offspring. It is worth seeing how the puppy's parents behave, whether they are overly aggressive, cowardly, or hysterical. German Shepherd puppies are characterized by curiosity, a thirst for research, and everything new. If these characteristics are missing, the dog does not adapt well, becomes passive, and without initiative.
Some dog owners advise against choosing a puppy if they look depressed and shy in their litter. But German Shepherds often form groups among their peers who are mutually hostile and take the lead. Such a puppy is worth picking up from his brothers, and he will become cheerful and active, and with good upbringing, he will be brave, faithful and loyal, as a German Shepherd is supposed to be.
Cowardly puppies are afraid of people, noise, new surroundings. You shouldn't cherish the hope that such a puppy will get brave. Weak psyche is difficult to adjust to education.
The puppy should be sociable, which will make them easier to adapt to a new house, its residents, and children. It pays to avoid overly aggressive, gloomy, or shy puppies. This testifies not only to poor inheritance and improper upbringing, but also to the puppy's isolation.
Dog experts advise taking a puppy from a mother at the age of 50-65 days, which has a positive effect on their character, psyche and socialization.
To find a companion, you should immediately pay attention to a balanced, non-aggressive, learnable and intelligent dog. The German Shepherd is one of the few “multi-functional” dogs that can be raised for almost any purpose. However, in order to do this correctly and easily, it is necessary to take into account the nature of the animal.
The German Shepherd is the most curious and lively puppy, which indicates its mental development. It is difficult for a layman, and especially for a person who has decided to have a puppy for the first time, to properly assess a puppy's psycho-emotional characteristics.
Use the Volhard’s Puppy Aptitude Testing to determine a puppy's nature and mental abilities. It consists of 10 parts and helps to determine:
- Social attraction;
- Ability to follow the person;
- Desire for social domination;
- Desire for elevation domination;
- Ability to retrieve;
- Touch sensitivity;
- Sound sensitivity;
- Sight sensitivity;
It is recommended that these tests be performed on puppies 6-8 weeks of age. The duration of each stage or test does not exceed 30 seconds due to the psychology of the dog. Before choosing a puppy that you like, it is worth spending a few minutes determining the type of future student, their ability to learn, and the need for professional and rigorous training.
After this phase, the puppy's appearance, breed characteristics, and health status should be carefully examined.
Judge the appearance of the puppy
Particular care should be taken in evaluating the appearance of show dogs. For the appearance of a future pet, one cannot argue so severely. But often anomalies of the exterior indicate pathologies. A German Shepherd puppy should look like this:
- Clear, neat, almond-shaped eyes of dark color. Eye leakage and bulging are not acceptable. If the puppy is less than 30-40 days old, their eyes may have a bluish tinge that will go away over time.
- Head with a narrow forehead. The muzzle is not sharp. Clearly visible transition from the forehead to the nose.
- Drooping ears set high, clean. Standing spikes in puppies younger than 3 months can indicate a calcium imbalance in the body. The ears should not smell unpleasant – this is a sign of inflammation.
- The jaws have a scissor bite – the upper jaw extends beyond the lower jaw. Incomplete dentures, tooth growth, and bite abnormalities not only prevent the breed from continuing but also affect digestive health.
- The puppy's backbone should be strong, with straight legs. Twisted paws – a sign of rickets. Large joints are a distinctive feature of a German Shepherd puppy. It is aligned with age.
- The puppy should be fed well enough, which indicates good nutrition. Ribs should not be visible. A big belly can indicate worm infection.
- It is important to pay attention to the slope of the croup. In a puppy, it should slope down to the tail. A croup that does not slope down sufficiently with age causes the German Shepherd to throw up their legs when moving.
- The tail should not have cracks, knots, or defects. When a puppy is moving, they shouldn't fall back too much or curl into a ring.
- Fur should be smooth, shiny and pleasant to smell. As they age, the coat becomes even longer, which affects the dog's appearance.
- The skin on the abdomen should not be damaged and rash.
- The mucous membranes should be pink and clean.
It is important to evaluate a puppy's gait. You should see them move freely without a leash. If the puppy tosses its hind legs to the side, the straightness of the gait is broken, which is a defect.
After selecting the puppy, you should consult with the breeder about their diet. Some well-known breeders give a puppy to a new owner if the dog willingly goes to him and chooses their friend for life.
Buying a German Shepherd Pup
Choosing a puppy is a responsible and important act that will require your knowledge, time, and some effort. Don't rush into taking a puppy and then heartlessly return or give them away. After all, the great R. Kipling did not say in vain:
Buy a pup and your money will buyThe Power Of The Dog by Rudyard Kipling
Love unflinching that cannot lie..