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When you visit your final list of the best German Shepherd breeders, try to get spoken answers and visual cues to the following:
- Are the dogs living in a clean and friendly environment?
- Are the dogs staying in an outdoor kennel, or in a crate indoors with the breeder's family?
- How many dogs and puppies share one kennel or crate, and how are they interacting while you watch them?
- Is the breeder willing to let you health-screen the dog at the local vet before you finalize the contract?
You should ask this question and watch the breeder's reaction - even if you don't actually plan a vet appointment before buying a puppy because you decide to rely on the documents the breeder is producing. A dog breeder that declines prior health-screening through your chosen vet obviously is not convinced that the puppy is healthy - regardless what excuse the breeder comes up with (and they will come up with good excuses)!
- Will the breeder give you a contract, including a clause to return the dog when you desire that?
- Is the breeder as much interested in your environment and intentions for raising the dog as you are interested in the dog?
- Is the breeder both knowledgeable and helpful? Are they telling you what to feed and how to socialize the dog? Both of this is far more important than how to train the dog!
- Is the breeder willing to let you contact their prior customers?
Again, it doesn't matter whether you actually plan to do this, but watch the breeder's reaction when you ask this question! Reputable dog breeders will want that you contact up to three prior customers, not least because they want that you hear from them what it is like to raise their dogs!
In addition, there is a full set of further questions and considerations that are more specific to How to choose a Dog. The MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL will at times discuss this topic too and will provide you more depth on Questions to ask a breeder. So make sure you subscribe.
If a breeder does not allow you to visit their premises or they make questionable excuses as to the convenience, of course you should avoid that breeder! It is imperative that you may observe all puppies and how they interact, both with you and amongst each other. Plus, make sure you also observe the pups' mum (while the pups' father may not even belong to the breeder, but was 'borrowed').
Other important considerations
Before you actually buy a puppy, make sure that you finish reading our article Best German Shepherd breeders and that you also read Where to get a Dog in order to understand the different types of dog breeders and sources for buying a dog: Purebred Breeders, Backyard Breeders, Puppy Mill Breeders, Pet Store Dogs, and Dog Rescue Centre.