German Shepherd Dog Club of Rochester, NY, Inc.

ACQUIRING A GSD

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Buy from a responsible and reputable breeder
Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed. For example, they work on breeding healthier dogs with the appropriate temperament for their breed. Your AKC breeder referral contact will direct you to a breeder who is concerned with the future of the puppy.  You can link to the breeder's code of ethics below.

Take the time to go to the National Parent Club
These organizations will have information regarding breeding practices for their individual breed and a code of ethics for breeders.  Many of these clubs also have some type of breeder referral program to help you find a responsible and reputable breeder.  You can link to the National Parent Club below.

Screen the breeder with questions
Owning a dog is a big responsibility! Talk to breeders. Ask them lots of questions; we all know there are no stupid questions. A responsible breeder will eagerly answer your questions and share his or her experience and knowledge with you.

Ask to see at least the sire or the dam
While there can be circumstances that prevent this (sometimes the breeding was done by AI and the sire is no longer alive or the dam died after whelping), for the most part, the breeder or litter owner should be able to let you see the dam for the litter.  Whenever possible, you want to meet the parents of the puppies to see how the dogs in your breeder's home interact with the breeder and you. Are they friendly and outgoing or do they shy away?  This is sometimes just as important as seeing the puppies in the litter and how they interact with each other, the breeder and you.

Expect to be screened by the breeder
Whatever your reasons for wanting a particular AKC breed, the breeder knows what type of home environment their breed needs.  Whether it is a written questionnaire or whether it it done verbally, the breeder wants to find out what type of environment and home their puppy will be going to and for the sake of their puppy, wants to make sure the home is a "forever" one.  It is important to be forthright and honest in answering their questions.

Ask for a written contract
A contract is a mutual agreement between two people written down in plain English.  If there are health guarantees, these should be spelled out in the contract.  If you are to provide spay/neuter proof, this should be spelled out in the contract.  There is no set standard for what is included in a breeder's contract.  Some are very simple and some can be quite complicated.  You should read it over carefully and ask for clarification of any part you do not understand.  You also have the right to request the wording of the contract to be changed to fit your expectations and if your request is within reason, the breeder should be willing to work with you to come up with an agreed upon contract.  The goal is to have a mutual agreement between you and the breeder/seller for the puppy or older dog.  A contract should be done regardless of the age of the dog and regardless of whether there is any cost for the dog.  You can link to a sample contract below.

Demand AKC papers
If the breeder is marketing their puppies as AKC registered, do not pick up and pay for a puppy without receiving or seeing the AKC registration for that particular pup.  Official AKC registration application papers are two sided and carry the AKC logo on the front page.  The front page litter information shows the breed, date of birth, sire (and sire's AKC registration number), dam (and dam's AKC registration number), breeder and owner of the litter (which does not have to be the same).  There will also be a unique number that is the registration number for a single puppy in the litter (each puppy will have their own unique number).  There is a payment information area, a place to put the requested registered name for the puppy, gender, information if the pup has a microchip or tattoo, the type of registration (limited or full) and the color and markings of the individual puppy.  On the back side there is an area where the litter owner signs the puppy over to the new owner and a place for the new owner(s) to fill in their information and sign the form.  Litter owners can get the litter registered online or by mail.  Either way, the registration applications will come in the mail within 7 to 10 days and the litter owner should be registering the litter well before the puppies are ready to go to new homes. 

If the litter owner does not have the papers by the time the puppies are ready to move to new homes, you should assume that they are running into a problem getting the papers and you may be ending up with a puppy who cannot be registered with the AKC.  Some reasons for not having the AKC registration application for a puppy are:  One or both of the parents are not registered with the AKC, the stud owner is having a disagreement with the litter owner/breeder and will not sign the litter registration, the litter owner or the stud owner has been placed on suspension with the AKC, etc.  Not having the money to register the litter with the AKC is not an acceptable excuse.

Some breeders have a policy where they will hold onto the registration application of the pet puppies until they receive proof of spay/neuter.  But, when you pick up your puppy, you should be shown the AKC registration application for the puppy and you should be filling out the new owner portion of the application.   This way as soon as you provide proof of spay/neuter, the litter owner can either send the application into the AKC for processing or can mail it to you so you can send it in.

Breeder's Code of Ethics

Sample Sales Contract

German Shepherd Dog Club of America