Updated: Oct 25
You’ve decided to add a dog into your life, great! Owning a dog and raising that dog from a sweet little puppy can be such a rewarding experience. Dog ownership has many benefits, and of course, who doesn’t love a puppy? Now that you’ve decided to buy a dog, the next question is where will you get it from?
When you’re choosing a responsible breeder, you need to know what, exactly, a responsible
breeder is. You know how Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get," well, the same thing applies when it comes to mixed-breed dogs. A truly responsible dog breeder does not breed various breeds of dogs. A responsible dog breeder is one who focuses on the breed that they love. They breed the healthiest, purebred dogs in order to pass down, positive attributes, and healthy genetics through the preservation of premium bloodlines. Each breed has well-known kennel names that are traceable for generations. The bloodline of a dog should be traceable through what is known as a pedigree, a printed document.
Many times you will see websites promoting German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Golden
Retrievers for sale at a relatively inexpensive cost. Not always, but quite often these breeders are types of puppy mills and backyard breeders. How do you know that you’re buying from a legitimate breeder? Well, one thing that gives it away is the spelling of Shepherd. We’ve actually seen this, improper spelling of a breed name! A professional-looking puppies-for-sale website doesn’t necessarily mean that the breeder is professional. A cute puppy does not equal a healthy puppy, unfortunately.
Larger breed dogs including Shepherds can have issues with hips and elbows. Some dog
breeds have issues with their eyes. A responsible dog breeder will have official OFA
(Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) X-rays performed on their breeding dogs at 2 years of age. The OFA publishes these results on its website for the public to verify. Many fraudulent dog breeders will simply submit preliminary X-rays to the OFA for a type of rating… simply a checkmark in a box - which can be altered. Those X-rays are not published and are not available for public view. So, just because a breeder has an OFA rating, does not necessarily mean that it’s all good. Without credible, verifiable X-rays at the appropriate age, breeders could be using dogs with hip dysplasia, and you, the buyer, would not know until it was potentially too late. Here’s another hint, if the “breeder” doesn’t know what OFA or Penn Hip Evaluations are, move on, they are not legitimate breeders!
Bottom line, you have to do your homework on the breeder because it all boils down to genetics. Why do genetics matter? Dog genetics matter because each breed comes with its own set of potential health issues to watch out for, and a responsible, legitimate dog breeder will be educated on these. They will know what sort of testing should be performed, and will not breed dogs that may pass down negative genetic anomalies. You get what you pay for. Imposter dog breeders often don’t want to incur the cost associated with testing - or even worse, they won’t tell you the results if they are negative. If a puppy seems cheap, there is absolutely a reason! Sure, you can buy a purebred dog for $500.00, but you are likely to incur veterinarian bills for $5,000.00 down the line based on genetic anomalies.
This pedigree document shows you the multi-generational lineage of a specific dog which details Registry numbers of its ancestry, often HD ratings which are hip dysplasia ratings. You can trace back and see where the bloodlines originated. The breeders of each dog were responsible, and the bloodlines were traceable.
Pedigreedatabase.com is an excellent database for researching pedigrees of all breeds. One of the most impressive pedigrees of a German Shepherd Dog is of Acadia Von Acadia Haus which goes back through more than 7 generations with World Championship proven, titled dogs.