Learn about hip ratings and other health issues BEFORE you buy a pup.  
Researching the health concerns and issues within your chosen breed should be the first thing anyone does.
Read the breed standard and know what a GSD is and should be. (Take special note of what SIZE and
COLOR a GSD should be!)
Learn about the breed and talk to owners of GSD's, not just people who are wanting to sell you one.
Know the difference between bloodlines  "Show line", "Working line," "American line." "East German Line," &
"West German line"

Know what you want. Know what to expect.

Once you have done your homework, now is the time to start looking for a breeder
.
Check out the German Shepherd Dog parent breed club (gsdca.org), and then do further serious research with local
GSD breed clubs in your area. This is a great way to get several names of breeders. Another good way is to get
referrals from local vets, any dog groomers in your area, or other German Shepherd Dog owners that you know of.
If you are looking for a Show line, go to a conformation show. If you are looking for a working line, go to a working dog
event. Look at the dogs, talk to everyone you can, if you see a dog you like, ask where they got him.

Beware of "Red Flags", here are my top 10....
1. Beware: Advertisements for "RARE" especially with respect to color.  What it really means is that the
dog/puppy's color come from recessive genes and is
a fault within the breed standard. Blue and liver are
the result of dilute genes. Whites are not within the breed standard either, so any breeder who breeds them
intentionally could not care less about preserving this beautiful breed for what they are intended to be!!! Reputable
breeders try to avoid producing such colors. Beware of ANY breeder who specifically breeds for these "off" colors.
Also,
stay away from breeders that advertise "giant" or "oversized" German Shepherds. The GSD was
intended to be medium in size, with athleticism and agility. Neither their frame nor their joints were designed to handle
120 pounds or more.
Pick a breeder who breeds within the breed standard!!!!

2. Beware: Breeders who "guarantee" or "warranty" hips only for 'crippling' dysplasia. Who decides how much is
"crippled"? The guarantee should state dog will go OFA 'Fair' or better.

3. Beware: Breeders whose hip guarantees run out BEFORE the dog is 2 years old. OFA does NOT certify prior to 24
months. So, a hip "guarantee" until 12, 16, 18 or 20 months is worthless. It is NO guarantee.

4. Beware: Breeders who get no health clearances on their breeding dogs. ALL of the breeders dogs should have
OFA certification at a minimum. If not....RUN. Dont just take someones word either, Check your breeder out at
http://www.offa.org/search.html type in the kennel name and check any part of name, select breed , skip everything
else and hit (begin search at the bottom) If you want to check a particular dog just type in his name or his registration
number.

5. Beware:  Breeders whose "hip guarantee" includes mandatory return of the dysplastic dog, or euthanizing the dog.
Most breeders know darn well a family who loves their dog is not bringing it back. They aren't going to euthanize it,
either. Some breeders are counting on that emotional attachment, so they never have to make good on their
guarantee. The breeder should be willing to take back said dog, but not demand it. Having to return your beloved pet
in order to receive any kind of replacement, discount, or compensation is pretty shady in my book.

6. Beware: Breeders who want to meet you at parks, etc. And will bring the puppies to you for you to see. You gotta
ask what they are hiding "back at the ranch." What don't they want you to see about how the dogs at their place are
kept?

7. Beware: Breeders who claim all their studs are "certified police dogs."  or "certified Personal Protection Dogs"
Certified does NOT mean that it is a K9 officer on the street with some police department. If so, ask when and where
this dog was in service and call that department to verify. Those "certifications" are often from fly-by-night outfits that
will sell you a certification that your dog is an accredited pastry-chef, if you pay the fee.  

8. Beware:  Breeders who claim to be breeding dogs suitable for Schutzhund, Ring, SAR, etc. But have never been on
the field themselves or cannot refer you to a single place where you can see any of these dogs work.

9. Beware: Breeders who ask more than $1500 for (almost) any baby puppy.   Puppies are a crap shoot, at best. NOT
a one of them is worth $2500, particularly if it is working line. The going rate for a working line puppy is $900-1500.  
Personally, I cannot imagine a world in which I'd ever pay more than $1500 for a puppy, and that puppy would have to
be a repeat breeding, so I know what the parents produced last time, the pedigree (which is only an indication of
potential) had better be dynamite, AND the breeder would have to be someone I trust explicitly based on a
relationship for years.  Now show line puppies do cost more. They aren't worth $2500 either, but that is the going rate
for them.

10. Don't forget breeders who claim their dogs are the "BEST!!" Best for what, exactly? What is best for an
experienced schutzhund home may not be what is best for a pet home. What is best for a soft, newbie handler is
maybe not what is best for a strong, experienced handler.  Quality speaks for itself, outlandish statements reflect
ignorance, dishonesty, or both.

What to ask the breeder: Top 10
1. Why did you choose to breed this litter?
2. What are the qualities & faults of the sire and dam?
3. May i visit your place and can I see the mother & father?
4. What temperament testing and socialization has been done?
5. Is their a written contract with the sale of said puppy?
6. What guarantees or warranties come with this pup and are they in writing?
7. Where were the pups whelped and or raised?
8. What vaccinations will said puppy have before going home?
9. Are you active in any breed clubs or training groups?
10. May I have references? Past puppy buyers, ones with older dogs as well, vet, club, and personal. (AND CALL
THEM!)

What to expect to be asked by the breeder: Top 10
1. Where do you live?
2. Why do you want a GSD? What are your plans with him or her?
3. Are you looking for breeding, show or working qualities?
4. Do you have children?
5. Do you have other pets?
6. Is this your first GSD, If not, please tell me about your others.
7. Do you have a fenced yard?
8. Do you own your own home?
9. Are you financially stable enough to care for this dog?
10. May I have references? Vet, Personal, Land lord? (AND I WILL CALL THEM)

A letter to all who are seeking a new German Shepherd puppy:

We do not have a vision towards changing or "improving " upon the original vision of the German Shepherd as an
ideal working dog and guardian. With every litter, we strive to both preserve the traditional working character of our
dogs and  also produce dogs with both the proper structure, drives and temperament for both work and the
requirements needed to be a balanced companion dog.

We breed dogs with an eye to maintaining a balance of traditional (correct ) working structure, solid nerves,
sociability/good temperament, and high working drives tempered with excellent nerves and stability. A quality German
Shepherd should be able to be both pet, working dog and family protector/companion. Puppies from our litters are
currently involved in Schutzhund, Search and Rescue, FEMA, Police K9 work, Therapy K9 work, Narcotics Detection,
Bomb Detection, Agility, Dock diving, Obedience and Tracking. However, the vast majority of our dogs are also living
as faithful companions and protectors in homes, and we believe that is the way it should be.

A German Shepherd dog is not a dog for everyone and those considering adding one to their family should research
the breed carefully before the final decision is made. German Shepherd dogs require the same level of devotion and
loyalty that they offer to those fortunate enough to own one. Their protective nature requires that they are properly
raised and handled and that they receive direction and training from their owners. We strive to place our dogs in
select homes where there is understanding of the responsibility of owning our magnificent animals. A well-bred
German Shepherd Dog does not have the temperament of a Golden Retriever, nor should it. The temperament of a
properly-bred German Shepherd is like no other dog. Intelligence, willingness to obey, vigilance and a strong
protective nature are all traits that we have attempt to preserve in our dogs. Dogs with these characteristics require a
proper upbringing with a great deal of attention and socialization in order to make well-balanced and adjusted adult
dogs. Proper training is required if they are to develop to their fullest potential. If you have the time and energy to
devote to such a dog, once you experience a real German Shepherd, you will never wish to own another breed. A well
bred German Shepherd is like no other breed of dog. The original temperament of the breed is something that almost
anyone can appreciate and admire.

Unfortunately, not everyone can handle these dogs, which has prompted some breeders to breed away from the
original temperament that made the German Shepherd the most versatile working dog in the world. Any person
interested in owning a German Shepherd dog owes it to himself to research the breed and the breeder before they
purchase. Currently there are people literally coming out of the woodwork calling themselves "breeders" of German
Shepherd Dogs. Since these people know so little about the breed, they are breeding for nothing more than money
and for what their ideal German Shepherd Dog is supposed to be like. They don't have the experience or skill to
breed for the betterment of the breed, and they don't, for the most part, know or even care what the standard says a
German Shepherd Dog should be in form or function. Thus, it is now, more than ever, vitally important to locate
breeders who are attempting to maintain the original temperament of the breed. It can be a very confusing task, but
when you do find a quality German Shepherd Dog bred with the original breed traits in mind, it becomes worth every
bit of the effort. While many people dream of owning a German Shepherd dog, few understand the responsibility
involved. Deciding to purchase a German Shepherd should be a process that involves evaluating your own limitations
and your ability to raise and handle a dog with the drives and abilities this breed possesses. Your breeder, besides
being extremely well-versed in all aspects of the breed, should also be very experienced in placing the right pup in the
right home. This is not always easy to do, but years of experience in learning to match people with pups certainly
helps.

Please take the time to research this magnificent breed, Select your breeder with care, follow up on references, never
support puppy mills, pet stores, or back yard breeders who care nothing for the dogs. Choose the puppy thats right
for you and your family. Never settle for less than you and your family deserve.

It is not enough to tell people our dogs are amazing. Of course they are, but they are not for everyone and it is
important that admirers and potential owners understand the commitment of owning a German Shepherd Dog
requires.
HOME
HOME
Please take the time to research this magnificent breed, Select your breeder with care,
follow up on references, never support puppy mills, pet stores, or back yard breeders
who care nothing for the dogs. Choose the puppy thats right for you and your family.
Never settle for less than you and your family deserve!