German Shepherd Breeder
There are many advantages of choosing a purebred dog over a mixed breed
(otherwise known as mutts!).  When you choose a purebred, you'll be able to predict the characteristics and temperament of the dog based on the particular breed that you select.  Do a little research before you select a breed of dog.  You should definitely know more about the breed you're interested in than how they look!  Consider the dog's size, relationships with other animals, what it eats, whether or not the breed is prone to certain diseases, and the amount of exercise the dog will need.

Just as important as selecting an appropriate breed of dog for the characteristics
you're looking for in a pet, is selecting the right breeder.  Good breeders turn out quality dogs; and there are many things that you can look for to determine whether or not a person or business is a good breeder.

As with anything in life, sometimes referrals are the best way to find a quality breeder.  As your pet owning friends where they got their dogs from and whether or not they'd recommend the breeder.  A friend won't refer you to a breeder that they found to be incompetent.  You can also ask your veterinarian, the local groomer or boarding kennels who they'd recommend for the breed of dog you are looking for.  Another good place to look is the local kennel club.

When you do find a breeder, be sure to visit the home or kennel.  You can tell a lot about the breeder's practices by examining the area that he or she keeps the puppies. The area should be clean, have a clean smell, and there should not be very large numbers of puppies on site.  If there are numerous kennels or dog runs with an abundance of puppies, chances are you are visiting a puppy mill and not a reputable breeder.

It's always good to see the parents of the puppies, or at least one of them.  It's also helpful to see the entire littler of puppies so that you can judge whether they look healthy, fed, unafraid of the breeder, and that they don't have runny eyes and noses. Watch the sociabelness of the animals as that can give you clues to how they have been treated, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

How to Judge a Good Breeder

Good breeders are knowledgeable about their breed.  They should be patient when you ask questions, because they should care about the homes that their puppies are sold to and not just be out to make a quick dollar.  Expect questions about your lifestyle and where the puppy will live, and who lives in your home.  If the breeder doesn't ask any questions about your home or family, their breeding habits may be questionable.

A quality breeder will also show concern over the puppies for the life of the animal.  Some require buyers to sign a contract about the future care of the dog, and may even follow up with a phone call to see how you and your new dog are doing.  They may even welcome questions from you as you raise your new puppy. Good breeders will not send a puppy to a new home until they're at least 6 weeks old, although many will wait until they are 8 or 12 weeks old.

Not only will a reputable breeder be able to provide you with numerous references, but they'll also help you with the information you need to register your dog with one of the purebred breed clubs, like the American Kennel Club.  They should give you details about the proper training, feeding, raising and veterinary care of your puppy.

What You Should Ask A Breeder

Always ask how long the breeder has been breeding this particular breed, and their experience.  Find out if the breeder is part of a breed club.  A good breeder should be able to inform you of all the temperament characteristics of the breed, which family types do best with the breed (if they're good with children or not), and basically be a wealth of information about the breed that they raise.

Knowing the health of the puppies parents can tell you a little about the health of the puppies in the future.  Ask about the health history of the parent dogs and whether they've been screened for the typical diseases that their breed are prone to getting.  (Each breed tends to be more prone to certain diseases than others). Ask about the different diseases that are prevalent in the breed, and the statistics of how many dogs typically get those diseases. Most breeders will give the new puppies their first shots and vaccinations.  Ask to verify this.  

Ask about the breeder's return or refund policies.  A quality breeder will usually offer a policy that they will replace a puppy that gets a genetically linked illness during their lifetime, or refund your money if the animal gets sick or dies soon after you bring it home.  

Keep in mind that just because a breeder offers you purebred papers, the papers will not guarantee the health of the dog.  Look for the "USDA Inspected" certification, as that should indicate a quality breeder as they have to meet minimum standards set by the Animal Welfare Act to have the certification.

Finally, don't rule out your local animal shelter.  The Humane Society indicates that about 25% of dogs in animal shelters are purebred.  Why not help give these animals a second chance?
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