Looking for a $200 German Shepherd Puppy? Think Twice.
While a $200 price tag may seem appealing, extremely cheap German Shepherd puppies often end up costing buyers much more in the long run. These bargain pups usually come from irresponsible backyard breeders or puppy mills with no health testing or consideration for breed standards. Lack of proper socialization and medical care leads to behavior issues and illness down the road – expenses that dwarf any upfront savings. Though initial sticker shock may be high, purchasers are better off avoiding the gamble of cut-rate German Shepherd pups if they want good temperament and health. Investing in a well-bred Shepherd from a reputable breeder is worth the $1,000+ price for a puppy that will mature into a lovely, faithful companion.
Finding a Quality German Shepherd Puppy from a Reputable Breeder
The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds due to their intelligence, trainability, and loyalty. However, finding a quality German Shepherd puppy from a responsible breeder can take some time and research. Here are some tips on how to locate and identify a reputable German Shepherd breeder and what to expect in terms of costs.
Do Your Research
A great place to start your search is by contacting the German Shepherd Dog Club of America or a local German Shepherd breed club. Reputable clubs maintain lists of members who are actively breeding. You can also search online for breeders in your state or region and read reviews from past puppy buyers. Be wary of breeders who seem to have an endless supply of puppies or litters available. Quality breeders typically only produce 1-2 litters per year.
Verify Health Testing
Reputable German Shepherd breeders will perform health testing on their breeding dogs to screen for genetic diseases common in the breed. At a minimum, the parents should have OFA hip and elbow certifications and be tested for degenerative myelopathy (DM). Some breeders also conduct thyroid, heart, and eye exams. Ask to see proof of the health testing and verify that the reports are public in the OFA database. Avoid breeders who claim their dogs are “vet checked” but cannot provide OFA numbers.
Assess the Breeder’s Facility
Responsible breeders welcome visits to their facility so potential buyers can meet the puppies’ parents and see the conditions they are raised in. The area where the puppies are kept should be clean, spacious, and stimulating. Look for play toys, ramps, tunnels, and other objects for the puppies to interact with. The mother dog should appear healthy, relaxed, and attentive to her puppies. Be wary of operations that will not permit you to see the breeding facility or meet the puppy’s mother.
Expect to Pay $1,000 or More
Quality German Shepherd puppies generally cost $1,000-3,000 each. This pricing factors in health testing expenses, breeding costs, and care of the puppies until they are ready for their new homes. While you may find cheaper puppies advertised online or in classifieds, they are likely from backyard breeders or puppy mills with no health testing. Such bargain puppies often end up costing buyers much more in vet bills and training down the road. Stick to breeders who appropriately price their pups.
Sign a Contract
Reputable breeders will have buyers sign a purchase contract or health guarantee. This contract protects both the breeder and buyer by outlining conditions like spay/neuter requirements, health guarantees, and more. Read the contract thoroughly before signing and get copies of all documentation. Be wary of “too good to be true” verbal agreements.
Meet the Puppy
Once you’ve identified some quality breeders, it’s time to meet the puppies! Reputable breeders will want to meet you in person too to ensure their puppies are going to good homes. Spend time interacting with the puppy you intend to take home and ask the breeder questions about temperament, socialization, training, etc. Pick an energetic and social puppy, unless you specifically want a mellower personality.
Ask any potential breeder for references from previous puppy buyers. A quality breeder will be happy to provide contact info for satisfied customers. Call or email a few references to ask if they’d recommend the breeder and if they are pleased with their dog’s health and temperament. Hearing firsthand reviews can provide useful insight.
Consider Long-term Support
The best breeders don’t just hand you a pup and disappear. They will offer continued advice and support for the life of your dog, even taking back dogs they’ve bred if an owner can no longer care for them. Establish what kind of ongoing involvement the breeder will have before committing to one.
Finding the right German Shepherd puppy may take weeks or even months of searching, but it’s well worth the effort. Avoid the temptation of puppy mill pups and backyard breeder advertisements offering dogs for just a few hundred dollars. These pups often have serious health and temperament issues that end up costing new owners far more in the long run, both financially and emotionally. Do your homework to locate quality, health-tested German Shepherd puppies from breeders dedicated to improving the breed. Expect to invest around $1,000 or more for such a pup, but you’ll likely find it’s worth every penny once you welcome your wonderful new German Shepherd into your home and family!