How to Find a Reputable German Shepherd Breeder

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So you’re toying with the idea of getting a German Shepherd puppy!  Or you’ve already started your quest to find the perfect pup for you and your family. 

If you’re reading this, the question on your lips is “how to find a reputable German shepherd Breeder”.

So you’re in good company here.  Because getting a puppy is not a matter to be taken lightly.

I mean if you consider the fact that a German shepherd can live to the ripe old age of 13 or 14, getting the best pup is super important.

In this article, I’ll share with you how to find a reputable breeder.  By the end, you’ll know how to locate them and how to vett them.  

You’ll know exactly what a legit kennel looks like.

And you’ll know how to spot disreputable breeders, puppy mills, and backyard breeders. Which is equally important to know.

How to Find a Reputable German Shepherd Breeder

What’s the Definition of a Reputable Breeder?

A reputable GSD breeder is mainly focused on the improvement and preservation of the breed.

Their breeding programs are carefully planned and they are meticulous about paring the best sires and dams.  

This breeds pups with the desired traits that make the German Shepherd such a fantastic breed.

The Good and the Ugly

how to find a reputable german shepherd breederWhen it comes to breeders there are no meaningful shades of grey.  They are either reputable or they are bad.

No in-between!!

Unfortunately, reputable breeders are few and far between.

So to find a reputable breeder it’s important to know the differences…

Reputable Breeders

Reputable breeders are also known as ethical breeders.  Like I mentioned before, their focus is on the health, preservation, and betterment of the breed.

Reputable breeders spend top dollar on medical care, premium food, and the overall maintenance of their pups and breeding pairs.

So usually they make less than what it costs them to breed a litter of superior puppies. And it’s not uncommon for them to only breed two litters in a year.

The price tag for pups from reputable breeders is often high.  But keep in mind that disreputable breeders can also sell pups at high prices.  So the price is not the only thing to go by.

Although, it’s worth noting that if you come across a breeder whose selling point is “we sell our pups for cheaper than other breeders”, you should be hearing alarm bells.

A reputable breeder will always screen potential buyers to make sure they can afford to care for one of their pups.  

So be prepared to answer questions.  And even share your vet’s contact details with this type of breeder.

They will also require that you sign a purchase contract.  This contract will deal with things like:

  • A spay or neuter clause.
  • A health guarantee.
  • And an agreement that the owner will return the pup if they are no longer able to care for it.

A reputable breeder will NEVER sell their puppies through a pet shop.

Puppy Mill Breeders

The puppy mill breeder has only two things in mind…

The mass production of puppies and profit.  For them, puppies are a commodity that are only there to line their pockets.

They make a lot of money by breeding pups with poor health and selling them at high prices.  And they are happy to haggle on prices just to make a sale.

It’s for this reason that price is nothing to go buy when screening breeders.

They spend the minimum on medical care and their breeding pairs are kept in terrible conditions.  All in the name of profit.

And it’s not uncommon for them to breed bitches that are too young or way past retirement age.  And yes, some of them literally breed their dogs to death.

They don’t screen potential buyers.  And rarely require a purchase contract to be signed.  

If they do, there’s no health guarantee and they don’t require for the puppy to be returned if the owner can no longer care for it.

They’ll even go as far as dropping the price tag of a pup to avoid any spay or neuter clauses.

These breeders are the lowest of the low.  They are unscrupulous and in my opinion, should not be allowed near any animals.

So watch out for them!

Back Yard Breeders

These breeders breed pups for the sake of money.  And their breeding pairs are usually family pets.

I’m sure there are a few that treat their dogs well.  But, I have seen first hand how some keep medical care and nutrition costs to a minimum to ensure higher profit margins.

And many of them will breed a litter of pups that will be ready for sale just before a big holiday period like Summer break or the festive season.

Of course, this is to make sure they have funds available for their holiday and gifts.

Besides all of that…

The problem with a BYB is they have little to no education on breeding healthy pups and maintaining a meticulous breeding program.

Also, they sell their pups cheaply and have no problem dropping prices to make room for a new litter.  And there are always multiple litters lined up.

It’s unlikely that a BYB offers health or buyer screening.  Sometimes there might be a purchase contract but usually not.  

And in most cases, they don’t require that pups are returned if the owner’s situation changes.

Different Breeders at a Glance

Here I’ve put together a comparison table of the different types of breeders. I hope this will make things easier when you’re vetting potential breeders.

Different Types of Breeders

Reputable BreederPuppy Mill BreederBack Yard Breeder
Purchase ContractYesNoNo
ReferencesYes (Excellent)NoNo
Works with a VetYesNoSometimes
Breeding ReasonsBreed preservation and developmentMoneyMoney
Breed KnowledgeExtensiveLimitedLimited
Adhere to Breed StandardsYesnoNo
Health ScreeningYesNoNo
Return to Breeder ClauseYesNoNo
Waiting List for PupsYesNoNo
Breed TypesOne (or 2 related breeds)Multiple and designer dogsOne or Multiple
Recorded LineageExtensiveNoNo
Genetic Screening for HD and EDYesNoNo
Clean Breeding FacilitiesYesNoNo
Breed Club MemberYesNoSometimes
Involved in Sports or Show ActivitiesYesNoSometimes
Questions Buyer to Determine SuitabilityYesNoNo
Insists on Multiple Visits Before Selling PupsYesNoNo

Tips to Find a Reputable GSD Breeder

best places to find a reputable GSD breeder

Ask your Vet

This was my first port of call when I was looking to invite another GSD into my life.

Vets work with reputable breeders all the time.  If a breeder is regularly taking their dogs and pups for vet visits and health checks they’ll know.

Of course, that means you should already know your vet well.  Sadly, not all vets are trustworthy, so I don’t advise asking a vet you don’t know from Adam for a recommendation.

If you don’t already know your vet well, this might not be the place to start.

Dog Shows

Reputable breeders breed high-quality dogs.  And they like to feature their dogs in shows.

So visiting dog shows is a great place to meet breeders, see their dogs in action, and get a feel for them by watching how they work with and treat their dogs.

You’ll also get a good idea of their dog’s temperaments.  And a good temperament is essential in a German Shepherd puppy.

Official German Shepherd Clubs

This is a great way to locate reputable GSD breeders.  If you don’t know a vet to point you in the right direction, this is your best bet.  

I prefer breed-specific clubs to national kennel clubs.

Here’s a handy map on the WUSV website where you can locate official German Shepherd clubs across the globe.

Official Kennel Clubs

Almost every country across the globe has an official kennel club.  For example; in the United States it’s the American Kennel Club.  

In the UK it’s The Kennel Club and in Australia, it’s the Australian National Kennel Council.

So you can get in touch with the one relevant in your country.  Although, in my personal opinion, I attach little value to their recommendations.

The reason for this is because anyone can register as a ‘breeder’ – even puppy mill breeders. And the checks done on breeding facilities are spot checks and not compulsory.

Meaning it’s virtually impossible for them to determine who’s reputable and who’s not.  So proceed with caution here.

References from Friends or Family

Friends and family are great at pointing you in the right direction of a reputable breeder.  

If they already own a GSD from a specific breeder they’ll know first hand whether the breeder is worth contacting.

Google It

Google can be your friend when it comes to finding out just about anything.  And there are A LOT of breeders to be found through Google.

But, just because a breeder is on the first page of a Google search doesn’t mean they are reputable.

So if you decide to go this route to find a breeder, make sure you do thorough research before you make any decisions.

Spot the Difference

A while back I shared the most obvious differences between a reputable and disreputable breeder in an answer to a reader’s question.

To make things easier, I’ve consolidated the info here and added more points.

How to Spot a Reputable Breeder

  1. They require that you meet them and their puppies before you make a decision.
  2. They will question you about your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a puppy.
  3. They might ask you for the contact details of your vet to get a reference.
  4. They will have good references from other customers and should be happy to share those with you.
  5. Usually, you can meet both parents.  Although sometimes a stud from a different kennel is used.  But if both parents are not available for you to meet you should hear alarm bells.
  6. The parents have good temperaments.
  7. They refuse to ship their dogs.  And won’t sell them without the necessary meetings first.
  8. They breed only one type of dog.  If they breed more than one it’s usually a similar type of dog.  For example, German Shepherds and Swiss Shepherds.
  9. Their puppies are bright, lively, and keen to interact with humans.
  10. They require a purchase contract.  This will include a spay and neuter clause.  And a ‘return to breeder’ clause if you’re ever in a position where you are no longer able to care for your dog.
  11. A health guarantee comes with all their puppies.
  12. They usually only breed one or two litters per year.
  13. A bitch is only bred once a year and then rested until the following year.
  14. They don’t breed bitches or dogs under the age of 24 months.
  15. A bitch is usually only bred 4 times in her lifetime and then retired.
  16. They have a waiting list of potential buyers.
  17. They have a meticulous breeding program and can provide the full lineage of the puppies going back to the great grandparents.
  18. Both parents are officially registered and they have proof of registration on hand.
  19. The parents and the pups have their number tattooed inside their right ear.
  20. The parents are health screened for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.  And certified by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).  Or the SV (the German Shepherd Association).
  21. The kennels are clean and don’t smell.
  22. The pups and dogs are groomed and clean.  Their fur is not matted and they don’t smell of urine or poop.
  23. They have extensive knowledge of the GSD breed and can answer any breed-specific question you have.
  24. Often they are active in organizations centered around the GSD breed.
  25. Their strive is to breed according to the accepted breed standard.

How to Spot a Disreputable Breeder

  1. They will not allow you to visit the puppies before buying.
  2. They prefer to drop the puppy off in a public place like a shopping mall.  Or they sell their pups through a pet shop.
  3. They will not allow you to meet the parents of the litter.
  4. If you are able to visit, the parents will not be available for meeting.
  5. The living conditions of the puppies are dirty and smelly.
  6. The puppies are dirty with matted coats and muck in their eyes and noses.
  7. The pups are not keen to interact with humans and come across as shy or frightened.
  8. They breed several unrelated breeds.  For example, German Shepherds and Yorkies.
  9. They breed designer dogs.
  10. They have no breeding program and can’t provide you with the lineage of their puppies.
  11. They breed bitches and dogs under the age of 24 months.
  12. They breed a bitch more than once a year.
  13. They don’t retire bitches and breed them more than 4 times in their lifetime.
  14. The parents have not been health screened for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.
  15. Only one or neither of the parents are registered.
  16. If they claim the puppy/dog is registered, the registration papers are not printed on official documents.
  17. The dogs/puppies are not tattooed inside their right ear.
  18. There’s no waiting list for puppies.
  19. They have puppies available all-year-round.
  20. They have no real knowledge of the breed, temperament or known breed-specific health issues.
  21. They don’t require a purchase contract.  If they do, they are happy to drop their price to avoid a spay or neuter clause.
  22. If they do have a contract, it doesn’t have a ‘return to breeder’ clause.
  23. They don’t provide any health guarantees for their puppies.
  24. They are happy to let you take a puppy home before the age of 12 weeks.
  25. They breed for size or specific traits, instead of the accepted breed standard.

So now you have a road map to follow when looking for a reputable breeder.  And you have a clear sense of what to look for to weed out bad breeders.

But there’s more you need to do to make sure you’re working with an ethical breeder…

11 Questions to Ask German Shepherd Breeders

what to ask a breeder before buying a puppyAsking the right questions is part and parcel of the research you need to do before settling on a breeder and a pup.

The more questions you ask, the better.  And the more easily you’ll be able to spot a breeder you don’t want to buy a puppy from.

So, don’t be shy!

Here are the top 10 questions to ask a GSD breeder.

What Socializing have the Pups had?

This is an important question because pups go through some vital stages before they are 8 weeks old.

So you want a puppy that’s raised to experience lots of different situations.  Things like walking on different surfaces.  

Being picked up and handled.  Playing with different people. And a variety of different smells, sounds, and sights.

All of this plays a big role in developing their self-confidence and their future training.

So tread lightly if you come across a breeder who keeps their pups in stark kennels until they are ready to go to a new home.

Can I meet the Parents?

This is an essential part of you making the right decision.  It might be possible to only meet the dam (mother) if the breeder used a sire (dad) from another kennel.

But, as I mentioned before, if both parents are unavailable for meeting, you should be hearing alarm bells ring.

Are the Parents Registred?

The lineage of a puppy is crucial.  But it’s worth noting that registered parents don’t equal a well-bred puppy.

But a breeder worth their salt will be able to discuss the genealogy of their puppies.  And they’ll be proud to explain exactly why they paired the dam/sire combination to breed their pups.

What Vaccinations and Deworming have the Pups had?

A puppy should have had a least their first round of vaccinations and deworming treatments before going to their new home.

What Food are the Puppies Fed?

The type of food a breeder feeds will give you a good indication of how well their dogs are cared for.  

Puppy mill breeders will feed the cheapest food on the market to save on their profit margins.

What Health Testing Have the Parents Had?

All German Shepherds should be health screened for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia.  Especially if they are going to be part of a breeding pair.

And the results should be registered either with OFA or the SV.

There are two types of tests.  The first one is the OFA Radiograph Evaluation which is done at 24 months.  And the PennHIP evaluation can be done as early as 16 weeks.

Personally, I attach more value to the OFA Evaluation because it’s done at 24 months which is the acceptable age to begin breeding.

A reputable breeder will give you hard proof that the parents have been screened.

It’s worth noting here that even the healthiest parents with all the necessary screening will not guarantee a 100% healthy pup.

But it will minimize the chances of health issues in the future.

What’s in your Purchase Contract?

If there’s no purchase contract then move on to another breeder.  Most reputable breeders will have a spay or neuter clause.  They will also have a guarantee clause.

A guarantee clause means the breeder will replace a puppy that has disqualifying faults according to the breed standard.

So yes, it means you’ll have to give your pup back to get a replacement. This is why it’s so important to take your time when picking a pup. 

I mean, who wants to part with a pup they have already bonded with?

Do you Issue Health Certificates and Certificates of Sale?

Some breeders will happily issue you with a health certificate from their vet. Although this is not a make or break in deciding whether a breeder is reputable or not.

As for certificates of sale, there are some states in the US that require that one is issued by the breeder.

What Experience Do you Have with the Breed?

Some smaller breeders who’ve just started out will be working under the umbrella of a club, or under a more experienced breeder.

So if it’s their first litter, that’s okay.  If that’s the case, find out which club they work under and who the breeder is that’s mentoring them. 

Then get in touch with them to find out more about the breeder.

Do they show their dogs?  What kind of breed-specific work do they do? You’ll be much better off with someone who’s been actively involved in shows and sport for many years even if this is their first litter.

Are the Parents Working or Show Dogs?

The GSD is a working dog first and foremost. Whether it’s showing or Shutzhund, they thrive when they have a job.

Ask the breeder about any sport or showing they do with their dogs.

Whatever it is, a reputable breeder will be proud to share this with you and show off their dog’s abilities.

And proceed cautiously if they only keep their dogs for breeding purposes.

Do You Have References?

Ask for references of other folks who’ve bought dogs from the breeder. And if they are being mentored by a more experienced breeder then ask for their details too.

Getting feedback from other puppy owners is a great way to gauge whether this is the kind of breeder you want to work with.

Of course, if they are not willing to give any references, it’s time to find another breeder.

There’s one last thing I think is important for you to know…

Pink Pedigree or White Pedigree Papers

Some breeders like to advertise their puppies as having pink pedigree papers.  And charge a higher price tag for these pups.

A pink pedigree means that the dam (mother) and sire (father) have both been breed surveyed.  

They have passed strict tests that involve temperament and protection work.

The thing here is, a pup with pink papers is not necessarily of a higher quality than a pup with white papers.

Here’s why…

Parents with a show grading of G (Good) can be breed surveyed and therefore have pups with a pink pedigree.  

Even although the parents meet only the minimum breed standard.

On the flip side, you could find parents who grade V (Excellent) or SG (Very Good).   But because they have not been breed surveyed, their pup has white papers.

So if you come across a breeder advertising pink papers, ask to see the show grading and breed survey results of the parents before forking out the extra cash.

What you can Expect When Meeting a Reputable Breeder

When meeting a reputable breeder there are a few things you should expect.

The first thing is that they may require you to visit more than once. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, they will want to get a ‘feel’ for you and watch you interact with the pups.

Secondly, if you pick a puppy, they will want the pup to interact with you more than once before joining you in their new home.

And lastly, they will want to make sure that you are the right fit for their pups.  So they’ll have their own set of questions for you.

Here’s a list of some of the questions you can expect to be asked…

  • Have you owned a German Shepherd before?
  • Are you able to afford the best veterinary care for your puppy?
  • Are you willing to provide the best nutrition you can afford?
  • What experience do you have with the breed?
  • What are you looking for in a puppy?
  • What is your experience with introducing a new puppy into your home?
  • Do you have experience in training a puppy or dog?
  • Will you be taking your puppy for obedience classes?
  • What kind of daily exercise can you offer this active breed?
  • Have you ever surrendered a pet?  If so, what was the reason?
  • Do you rent your home?  If so, could you provide the contact details of your landlord to confirm that pets are allowed?
  • Do you have other pets?  If so, what kind?
  • Do you have young children at home?  If so, what are their ages?
  • Can you provide the contact details of your vet for a character reference?
  • Can you provide other contact details for character references?
  • Will your dog be allowed to sleep, live, and play inside?  Or will they be an outdoor dog?
  • Do you have a fenced yard?
  • Will your puppy be trained for a specific purpose like herding, service, therapy or SAR?

A breeder that asks questions is a very good sign, so share as much information with them as you can.

Before You Head Out…

Support Reputable BreedersA lot of folks get flack from the ‘adopt don’t shop’ group.  And even more so from the ‘ban all breeders’ faction.

Both of these cases annoy me so I’d like to touch on them here…

I’m all for adopting and rescuing pooches in need.  But in many cases, health and temperament issues are part and parcel of it.

Both of my females have temperament issues and health issues.  They are awesome dogs and I love them to bits. 

But they come with baggage from their past.  Some things have improved, but other issues take daily management and will likely never change.

If you don’t feel up to these challenges, there’s nothing wrong if you prefer to buy a puppy from a breeder.  Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you for your decision.

As far as the ‘ban all breeders’ faction goes…

I think it’s the most ridiculous notion.  Lumping reputable breeders in there with the BYB’s and puppy mill breeders is unfair.

Reputable breeders strive for the betterment and health of the breed.  And that’s what we want. 

If all breeders were banned, it wouldn’t be long before the entire canine race would be eradicated.

What a terrible world that would be!

I mean it’s taken just over 100 years to have the established GSD breed.  If the race were eradicated,  how long it would take to re-establish the breed?! 

That’s if it would even be possible.

I detest puppy mills and back yard breeders, they should be shut down!  But banning reputable breeders is short-sighted, to say the least.

What should happen is that organizations, dog owners, the public at large, and clubs should be working with and promoting reputable breeders.

This is the only way to ensure healthy breeding and the preservation of the German Shepherd breed.  And the canine race at large, for that matter.

I hope these guidelines answered your questions on how to find a reputable German Shepherd breeder.

It’s by no means an exhaustive guide, so feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments section below.  I’m happy to help where I can.

All the best on your quest to find your new best friend!

Are you ready for a German Shepherd?  Find Out Everything you Need to Know Before Taking the Plunge.

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About the author: Gabriella is a certified professional dog trainer with the Victoria Stilwell Academy. She has a special passion for teaching GSD guardians to train their dogs with kindness and clarity using positive reinforcement methods without force, pain, or fear. Join “Dog Speak” for free dog training tips and advice from a professional dog trainer.

  • Lillian

    Gabriella, thank you for this extremely informative article. There is so much to learn and we begin our journey for a healthy and happy addition to our family. Can you recommend some GSD breeders we might consider? Although we live in Virginia, are willing to travel to find the right pup.

    • Hi Lillian!

      Thanks for reaching out to me. And I’m so happy to hear you’re looking for a reputable breeder!

      I’m going to link to an article written by a GSD breeder who has decades of experience. I’ve heard from other readers of my blog that she’s super responsive to messages and questions too. Check out this article she wrote about working line Shepherds. If you’re looking for a show line instead, she might be able to refer you.

      I hope this helps! <3

  • Chance Cook

    Thanks for the tip to find a reputable German Shepherd breeder. I thought I could buy one from just anyone. But I want whatever puppy I get to be healthy.

  • Nikhilesh


    Thank you for penning this lovely article.
    We are planning to get a GSD puppy. Any recommendations and pointers to reputable breeders in the Bay Area, CA? I am also trying to understand the terms in Pedigree database. Any article you can point to that can help us understand how to read it and what to look for?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Nikhilesh!

      Thank you for your kind words and for your questions.

      I’ll start with your last one first…

      A pedigree database is simply a database where the pedigree of registered dogs is kept. Depending on which organization a breeder is registered with, each organization will have its own database.

      I don’t know of any breeders in the Bay area specifically. But I can direct you to breeders in the U.S. who may be able to point you in the direction of someone they know in your area who is ethical and reputable.

      Lane is a working line breeder and she’s penned a beautiful piece on working line German Shepherds for my blog. You’ll find a link to her website and contact details in that article.

      Cindy is a show line breeder and she has also written an excellent piece on show line German Shepherds for my blog. You’ll also find a link to her website and contact details on that page.

      I hope this helps to set you on the path of finding your perfect puppy!

  • Norm

    I’ll looking for a reputable GSD breeder in the Greater Detroit area, Michigan USA. Do you happen to know any?

    • Hi Norm,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t know of any reputable breeders in that area in particular, although I’m sure there will be someone. I can send you over to these posts where you’ll find links to two reputable breeders Lane and Cindy in the U.S that may be able to point you to someone in your local area.

      I hope this helps set you on the path to meeting your new puppy soon! πŸ™‚

  • Loc Pham

    Hi Gabriella,

    Thank you very much for such a great article. I currently have a 7 yo German Shepherd/Husky mix with more shepherd like and personalities. I am looking for a reputable breeder in south central Texas so I can get a friend to my little β€œpuppy”. If you know a great website for a few reputable breeders in Texas, please let me know.

    Thank you,
    Loc Pham

    • Hi Loc,

      Thanks for your question. And for advocating for the breed by seeking out a reputable breeder.

      I do know of an excellent GSD breeder of working lines in Texas! If you’re not looking for a working line particularly, she may be able to point you in the direction of a show line GSD breeder. Reputable and ethical breeders usually know other breeders with the same values and ethics. So I do recommend starting with her.

      She wrote a fantastic article for this site on working line German Shepherds – and it’s an excellent example of the kind of knowledge that dedicated GSD breeders have. At the bottom of the article, you’ll find a link to her site where you can find contact details to reach out to her.

      I hope this helps get you started on the journey of finding a pup to join you and your Shepsky! Feel free to reach out with any other questions, I’m always around and happy to help. πŸ™‚

  • Mo Williams

    Hi Gabriella,

    Even after extensive research, it’s still crazy hard to find the right reputable breeder for my GSD needs. Do you per chance have and reputable GSD breeder you can recommend in Illinois?

    • Hi Mo,

      Thank you for your question. I agree 100%! Finding a reputable breeder is really difficult.

      However, you’re in luck since I have been in communication with a breeder in Illinois with over 30 years of experience. I’m going to direct you to an article she wrote for German Shepherd Corner on GSD Bloodlines and Breeding. Check it out to get a feel for her experience and advice.

      You’ll find a link to her contact details in the article if you’d like to go ahead and reach out to her.

      Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  • Parent

    If you are thinking about bringing a German shepherd into your home, the first thing you should consider is adoption. There are countless German shepherds out there in need of a good home who deserve a chance at your heart, and you have nothing to lose by contacting a shelter or adoption agency. If you re having trouble finding a German shepherd in your local shelter, try searching for a GSD-specific adoption center. You may have to drive a little further out, but there are plenty of rescue shelters that cater to just German shepherds.

    • Gabriella

      Hello Parent,

      I agree that adoption is an option to consider for some. Two of my three Sheps are rescues. Rescue dogs more often than not come from broken backgrounds and suffered immensely before ending up in a rescue. This brings with them a range of problems that are often unidentified when they are still in the shelters and only show up once they are adopted out.

      Many folks are inexperienced in handling these problems (and shelters are of little help) or folks are not in a financial position to spend the amounts of money it takes to work with experts in resolving these problems. This then leads to the dogs being relinquished back to shelters only to be adopted out again, causing more stress in these poor dogs.

      So no, adoption is not as easy as you make it sound. And it’s not the ideal option for everyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone wanting a puppy without the attached problems that arise from adopting. If they prefer to purchase a puppy from an ethical breeder, that is absolutely fine and they should not be made to feel inadequate or guilty for that.

  • Diana Bartolomeo

    Hi, Gabriella!

    Thank you very much for your informative article, it includes a wealth of knowledge, and I truly appreciate it. I am from New Jersey, and am looking to bring home another German Shepherd. My first one passed in April, and I can’t stress enough how intensely he is missed. I have been painstakingly researching, and reaching out (to a select few), to breeders for months. While I have had a few leads, I was wondering if you had any breeder recommendations for me in the surrounding states?

    I appreciate it, and thank you for what you do!
    Diana Bartolomeo

    • Gabriella

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for your question and kind words.

      I’m sorry to hear about your boy passing in April. The only sad part about loving a dog is when we have to say goodbye.

      I don’t know of any breeders out your way that I can recommend, but I can direct you to an article written by Cindy from Regis Regal German Shepherds. It may provide you with more in-depth information on how to find a reputable breeder in your area.

      Cindy and I have had several interactions and her knowledge and commitment to the breed are not easy to come by. Perhaps you could reach out to her (a link to her website and contact details are in the author bio) and ask whether she can refer you to a breeder close to you.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help with a breeder closer to you, but I’m always keeping an eye out for ethical and reputable breeders.

  • Doreit S Bialer

    Can you make a referral for a reputable and well meaning breeder in New York?
    I am tired of looking at ridiculous ads from so called breeders who run puppy mills and do not care about the integrity or well being of their pups.

    • Gabriella

      Hi Doriet,

      Thank you for your question.

      I don’t personally know a breeder in the NY area but I can direct you to an article written by a reputable breeder with 30 years of experience. She shares some valuable information and you can reach out to her via the link to her site. She may be able to point you in the direction of a reputable breeder in your local area.

    • Maurice A. Simmons

      Hi Gabrielle,

      Thank you for writing this insightful article.
      I live in Florida and was wondering if you could recommend any reputable breeders in my state.


    • Hey Moe!

      I’m happy you found this useful! I’m going to update this post because I’ve just gone through finding a reputable breeder for my new puppy since the breeder of my 9-year-old Shepherd has retired. I learned so much in this process!

      I don’t know of any breeders I’d recommend in Fl, but I know an excellent breeder in Tx. She wrote this fantastic post on working line shepherds.

      I’ve had several blog readers reach out to me to let me know she’s super responsive and helpful.

      I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  • Tony soares

    I am looking for a private German Shepard breaded NY. NJ or Pa

    • Gabriella

      Hi Tony,

      I don’t know reputable breeders specifically in NY, NJ, or PA. But Check out this article from Cindy, who is a breeder with 30 + years of experience. It will shed more light on how to find a reputable breeder.

      Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  • Jess

    Hi Gabriella,

    Thank you for this wonderful article! We have a 6 year old GSD and are currently looking to adopt a GSD puppy from a reputable breeder near SF Bay Area, CA. We have been doing a ton of research online but appreciate any recommendations you may have!


    • Gabriella

      Hi Jess!

      Thanks for reaching out! Sorry for the delay in my reply.

      Hope the adoption was successful! Please let me know how it’s going with the new pupper!

  • Joe

    Hi I am looking for a working line, east german / czech line GSD. I am a young active adult who has plenty of time to exercise and train everyday. Located in Colorado, if you know any breeders of this type of GSD in or near Colorado I would be super appreciative! There are so many breeders out there I am a bit overwhelmed.


    • Gabriella

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your question. I realize my reply is late and I apologize for the delay. πŸ™‚

      I don’t have connections with any DDR/Czech breeders. But I think if you could get in touch with GSD working line clubs, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Once you find a few breeders, feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like some input from me.

    • Loc Pham

      Hi Gabriella,

      Thank you very much for such a great article. I currently have a 7 yo German Shepherd/Husky mix with more shepherd like and personalities. I am looking for a reputable breeder in south central Texas so I can get a friend to my little β€œpuppy”. If you know a great website for a few reputable breeders in Texas, please let me know.

      Thank you,
      Loc Pham

  • Darian


    I really enjoyed your article it helped me understand a bit better what I need to be on the look out for, thank you for all the great information.

    I wanted a few pointers as well, I am looking for a German Shepherd breeder myself, I just want them to be well mannered, intelligent, and have the right health and betterment that the breed is meant to have. I’ve already researched quite a few in Washington and Texas area, I am in Utah. I rescued a german shepherd from the shelter at 1 year old, and I love her. But you are not wrong about abused rescues, they are tough. I have never started with a dog from the time its a pup, and I really want to be able to experience that so I can shape the dog into what its supposed to be. I need an amazing dog that can be there for me emotionally but can also go on plenty of hikes and adventures, while also being protective when necessary. Do you have a couple different options you could send me?

    • Gabriella

      Hi Darian,

      Thank you for your questions. I realize my reply is rather late, and I apologize for the delay.

      If you are meticulous in breeder selection, you’re likely to get a puppy with healthy qualities. There are only a few breeders that really care about betterment, temperament, health, and intelligence. I’d like to direct you to an article written by a well-known GSD breeder which I think will give more insight into how to find an ethical breeder.

      Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  • Patty

    Hi Gabriella,

    I would like to know if you know of any reputable breeders around Tucson, Az. I am looking for a German shepherd puppy for a companion/ service dog for my son who had epilepsy.

    • Hi Patty,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t know of a breeder to refer you to in Az, but check out this article written by Cindy from Regal Regis. I recommend getting in touch with Cindy, she’s got over 30 years of experience with this breed as well as extensive experience with service dogs. She may be able to help you in your search for the perfect companion and service dog for your son.

      Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  • Patt

    Hi Gabriella,

    Thank you for this article, was very informative and helpful as I start my search for our newest family member. I have reached out to my vet for references but would love to know if you have any as well for the Chicago-land area (will travel to IN, WI & MI if necessary).

    Many thanks, looking forward to your tips on training – it’s been a while since I trained a GSD.

    • Hi Patt!

      Thanks for reaching out with your question. I’m pleased to hear you’re finding value in reading the articles on my site. πŸ™‚

      Check out this opinion piece just published by Cindy Kelly a GSD breeder with 30 years of experience. Cindy and I have very similar ideas about the preservation of the breed, and breeding for health and temperament and not for looks.

      I believe they are in the same state as you are, so definitely get in touch with Cindy and chat to her about your specific needs.

      Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  • Raga

    Hi Gabriella,

    Your blog is very informative and it helps first time pet owners like me to do my homework in finding right puppy and breeder.
    I really like German shepherd dog breeds from my childhood, now I have 2 kids and I want to get this puppy and my kids are eagerly waiting for it.

    I don’t need a show line or work line, all I need is a healthy, active, socialized family companion GSD.

    Can you recommend some of the reputable breeders in Texas USA or any of the surrounding states is also fine.


    • Hi Raga,

      Sure thing, I’ll refer you to a breeder who is highly committed to the preservation and betterment of the breed. I’ll send you her details via email.


  • Maayan Arbili

    Hi Gabriella,

    Thank you for the great tips!
    We have a 7 years old GSD, and we are looking to bring another one πŸ˜‰
    Do you have recommendation for a breeder around Boston, MA? We’re willing to drive anywhere wthin 8 hours drive for a recommended one.


    • Hi Maayan,

      I’ll happily refer you to a GSD breeder who has a passion for the betterment and preservation of the breed. I’ll send you her details via email.


  • Steven Winter

    I am looking and have been looking for a new member for our family for many years

    What I am looking for is, a very large male that can handle the weather in Hawaii.
    We live on Oahu and the new family member will have a ton of exercise
    Can your dogs deal with 70* weather year round?
    The pup will be swimming in salt water daily and fresh water showers fallowing β€œbeach time”

    • Hi Steven,

      Thank you for reaching out with your request.

      I’m going to refer you to a breeder that I highly respect. Sadly, it’s pretty difficult to find a breeder whose main focus is the preservation and betterment of the breed. These folks have over 3 decades of experience in breeding, rearing, training, and working with the GSD breed so you’ll be in good hands with them.

      I’m going to send their details to you via email so keep an eye out for an email from me.

  • Cindy Kelly

    Hi Gabriella,

    As a breeder of German Shepherds with over 30 years experience doing this, raising some world-class dogs and helping to train them too, I just wanted to say thank you very much for writing such an in-depth and informed piece. There are a lot of people in the industry just looking to take advantage of their dog, not really caring for their welfare and only looking to make some easy money.
    Ultimately I think if you’re seeing breeders that are selling their puppies at a rate that seems at all low versus the norm then my advice would be to stay well clear!

    • Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for dropping by here and leaving a comment. πŸ™‚

      I don’t claim to be an expert on breeding but it irks me to my core when I see puppy mills and even back yard breeders advertising puppies for sale.

      A few weeks back I was contacted by someone who has GSD pups for sale. When I visited their website they had no fewer than 11 other dog breeds they were advertising. And to top it all off they were advertising that their puppies come at the cheapest prices. I thought my head was going to explode!

      Thank you for the dedication you have to the preservation and betterment of this majestic breed!

  • zoraya cardenas

    I am interest in have one German shepherd female

    • Hi Zoraya,

      The best thing is to start researching reputable breeders in your area. German Shepherds as a breed are represented in most countries. So your best bet is to connect with well-known clubs or federations and begin sourcing a breeder from there. Speaking to your vet to ask for a referral to a breeder is also a great way to meet ethical breeders who breed for the preservation of the GSD.

      Check out these articles to help you on your way to picking the best breeder and pup for you…

      How to Find a Reputable German Shepherd Breeder.
      What to Know Before Getting a German Shepherd.
      German Shepherd Breed Types: Which One is Right for You?

      Hope this helps!

    • Amber Orr

      I too have been looking for a reputable German shepherd breed and even more specific, the silver shepherd.
      If you have any suggestions my family would be so grateful.:)

    • Hi Amber,

      Thanks for your question.

      I don’t personally know of breeders who breed for a silver coat. As far as I know, these are pretty rare, although I believe they do fall within the breed standard (in the US at least). Since it’s a rare coloring, I would recommend you reach out to the official German Shepherd Federation or club in your area to find out if they have reputable breeders that may be able to assist you.

      As a side-note, my aunt rescued a silver GSD many years ago and we named him Sabu. He was a phenomenal dog and had none of the know health issues the GSD tends to present with. Since he was an adult rescue we don’t know how old he was, but the vet was of the opinion that he was around 14 years old when he crossed the rainbow bridge.

      Since silver coats are rare, I would definitely work through the official federation or club for German Shepherds in your country because the last thing you want is to work with someone who breeds for looks only. If you want to learn more about what all this means when looking for a puppy, check out this article on bloodlines and breeding.

      I hope this helps, and all the best in your search! πŸ™‚

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