Our thoughts and prayers go out to Aaron & Ivey during this time of grief. "Rocco", their 5 month old German Shepherd was hit and killed by a car while on a camping trip May 12th 2018.
Companion, friend, protection dog, activity partner, psychiatrist, working dog, couch potato, farm hand, or simply tending the children as they play outdoors. Whatever task you may have - a canine from West German Shepherds.com will outperform your expectations.
Welcome to West German Shepherds.com. Our mission: to improve the breed standard, to produce stable, clear headed puppies and prepare them for bonding with their new humans. As our name implies we breed only 100% purebred West German type German Shepherd Dogs. The West German Shepherds we have are European meaning - imported from Germany. Committed to producing exceptional canines with 14 years of hard-earned expertise and insight; here, you will glean insider information on selecting a German Shepherd pup and why West German Shepherds.com is the pack leader. We will help you find a great German Shepherd canine companion even if you don’t purchase from us.
BLOODLINES, GENETICS and REGISTRATION
If you have searched for a German Shepherd then you have you seen ads like this. “AKC registered puppies from champion bloodlines. Great with families, working bloodlines, very protective. Only $1000. Call 555-1234” What does all of this mean?
When the AKC (American Kennel Club) or CKC either of the 2 following entities (Canadian Kennel Club) or the (Continental Kennel Club) registers a new puppy, it does so sight unseen - without ever having evaluated the appearance, health or quality of the parents of the litter. In fact only a minuscule fraction of the tens of thousands of breeding dogs all across America have ever been evaluated. While registration is a great place to start, there is more to consider than whether the dog is registered. Sadly, the marketplace is chock full of puppies with bad genetics and these are from officially registered canine parents. A puppy born with a slight genetic abnormality might come from purebred parents, and can still be registered. An inexperienced or unscrupulous breeder may not recognize the uneven hips on a puppy and sell it to someone who will later breed the puppy. The final outcome will be a new line of registered dogs that are genetically inferior. None of these statements are made to be derogatory of the AKC or CKC, these registration organizations do many wonderful things to improve the health, welfare, training and advocacy of ALL canines.
Yes, AKC registration is an important factor that should not be overlooked, but there is much more to contemplate. The pedigree of both parents should be considered as part of your quest for a puppy, the pedigree will list all of the ancestors historically for 3 or 4 generations back up the family tree. All of the canines listed in the pedigree impact the genetics and thereby the health of the offspring. The pedigree itself does nothing to convey the health of a puppy, but it tells the dogs lineage, their titles and country of origin. By searching, you can find a breeder offering puppies from parents with exceptional pedigrees, that have correct body structure, a superior visual appearance, plus the temperament to match your expectations. What is an exceptional pedigree? The more champions in a pedigree, the better. Here is a quick run down of German Shepherd championship titles.
- Sieger. The Sieger is the male canine winner of the German National Championship Conformation show. The German Sieger beats hundreds of other Champions to be selected this coveted title. The only higher title accomplishment attainable is the World Sieger.
- Siegerin this championship level title is awarded to the top female German Shepherd. It is the same as the Sieger - but is for the female winner of the German National Championship Conformation show. Not many people are familiar with the word Sieger but even less are familiar with the word Siegerin outside of German Shepherd professionals.
- World Sieger. The World Sieger is the penultimate top rated German Shepherd Dog in the world. The Sieger show is held annually in Germany. It’s very impressive to be invited to compete in a Sieger show but to win is an extraordinary, lifetime honor!
- VA. title awarded to the top couple of Champion dogs at the Sieger show each year. VA-2 is the Vice- Sieger, etc. VA titled dogs are worth well over $100,000, so breeding with a VA dog is a huge factor.
All of the titles mentioned above apply ONLY to German Shepherds, no other breeds are allowed to compete.
The best genetics possible are found in Sieger show winning adult German Shepherds. The puppies born from these bloodlines will be the absolute best in quality and appearance when compared to the average German Shepherd you see on the street. An analogy would be like comparing a shiny 2018 Ferrari 488 against a rusted out 1972 Ford Pinto. The top bloodlines are found in the VA titled dogs and filtered down into their offspring, but be prepared to pay a significantly premium price for that level of parenthood and prestige.
BASIC TYPES OF GERMAN SHEPHERDS
There are many types of German Shepherds and not all consumers understand the difference. You will hear of dogs described as being from show lines, herding lines or working lines. Show lines refers to canines that are used to compete in conformation shows, herding lines means canines used to herd sheep, working lines denotes canines used to work in protection, Schutzhund or other disciplines. Primarily there are 3 main types of German Shepherd Dogs.
- Czechoslovakian Shepherds or DDR dogs. Czech Shepherds (Czechoslovakian Shepherds) and DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) dogs are still German Shepherds, they are attributed to the former East German communist state. Czech Shepherds are longer and leaner in body frame, more narrow across the chest and have taller rear hindquarters. Typical coat colors are black and tan, black and creme, black and silver, brown sable, silver sable and brindled. The coat patterns of a Czech Shepherd run from blanket-back to saddleback and brindled but most are blanket backed. We do not produce Czech Shepherd pups.
- Dutch Shepherds. Yes, Dutch Shepherds still fall under the umbrella of German Shepherds. Dutch Shepherds originated in the Netherlands and are very similar to Czech Shepherds in body form however they are typically more solid, weighty and sturdy than Czech Shepherds. Dutch Shepherds are not very commonly found outside of police or military use. They also present as a harder dog meaning they require an experienced trainer, handler or owner. They are generally not considered as compatible for a first time owner / family dog scenarios because of very high drives. Obviously there are exceptions to these generalized statements. Dutch Shepherds are brindled in coat color, brindled simply means a mottled and multi-colored un-patterned coat appearance. We do not produce Dutch Shepherd pups.
- West German Shepherds. West German Shepherds come from the democratic capitalist state of West Germany. West German Shepherds have shorter more compact torsos, thicker across the chest and have the squatted or lowered hindquarters. It is not that the dogs are stacked or posed for pictures, their rear bone structure is genetically encoded to be positioned more angular than that of a Czech Shepherd. The coat colors of a West German Shepherd are black and red set in a saddleback pattern. We focus exclusively on producing 100% purebred West German Shepherd pups.
- There are other fringe types such as Czech & West German mixes or cross breeds, American German Shepherds, Giant or Large Bone German Shepherds, Wolf Hybrids, even genetic anomalies such as White Germans Shepherds, Panda German Shepherds or Liver / Blue German Shepherds. While interesting, we do not own or breed for these types, nor am I going to invest any time delving into them further.
Over the past 25 years I have owned and bred different types of German Shepherd dogs. I keep track of the litters being sold in our geographic region. The West German type German Shepherd dog is the most sought after type. This is the number one variety of German Shepherd dog that previous GSD owners, consumers, enthusiast and new first time owners are actively seeking.
COSTS OF PURCHASING A GERMAN SHEPHERD
When you look at on-line advertisements, there is a broad price range for puppies. You will notice ads having seemingly similar dogs with price variations of anywhere from $50 to $1000 for a German Shepherd puppy depending on the breeder and the bloodline offered.
You might assume that the cheap dogs are not as healthy or desirable, and the more expensive ones are a better, safer choice. Breeders know this. Many breeders will put a higher price on their low quality dog to look professional and make their dogs appear more valuable. Some breeders import very expensive dogs so they can breed them to sell puppies at a higher price bracket. They are not breeding the dogs to improve the breed standard, it’s all to generate income. Novice level breeders put a higher price on their puppies because they value their dogs based on love & loyalty and the price is not indicative of their true quality or value. An experienced breeder can evaluate a dog by comparing the conformation or show quality, health, physical performance and the ability to work; but can only do so after having studied the breed and being immersed in these canines for many years.
One factor that has impacted price structure is the difference between Czech Shepherds and West Germans Shepherds based on an over-inflated value. Many Czech Shepherd breeders have observed the on-line advertisements then compared their Czech puppy against a West German puppy and reasoned with themselves - Hmm if they are getting $2500 for a West German puppy then my $600 Czech Shepherd pups should fetch $1000, $1200 or $1500 or whatever price they can get. Many first time German Shepherd buyers are ignorant of this fact. The new buyer will look at a few breeder websites, see the price tag, then sticker shock sets in; so they search again based on a lower initial purchase price and soon find a breeder that sells at lower price tiers. Soon they visit a low tier / novice breeder / money driven breeder / back yard breeder and see a dog with a black & tan coat, a long tail, 2 pointy ears and a general wolf like appearance, they say - that is a German Shepherd. Sure, yes it is a German Shepherd, but more specifically it is a Czech Shepherd of much lower value that should be priced around $600 to $900. However since the buyer didn’t do enough homework to recognize the difference - they will probably overpay to a $1200 or $1500 price point for a substandard dog, while thinking all along - this is a bargain. It never was a bargain.
Czechoslovakian Shepherds sell for less money for a number of reasons. The market is diluted with them, it seems they are on every street corner. The majority of Czech Shepherd bloodlines are less pure as they have been crossed with Dutch Shepherds, West German Shepherds and/or Belgian Malinois breed-stock over the years.
When looking for a puppy:
Expect to pay between $600 to $1200 for Czech/ DDR working line litters.
Dutch Shepherds start about $1200 & go upwards from there.
A West German Shepherd starts at $1200 and goes up to the $4000 or $5000 range.
If you want the best German Shepherd for your money you will need to hit the perfect trifecta: choose breeder, bloodline and puppy very wisely.
THE RIGHT LOOK: PARENTS, THE SIRE AND DAM
Lineage is important but the sire and dam are the a visual representation of what your puppy will look like when it grows up. Breed level dogs or dogs used for breeding purposes should be exceptionally beautiful, it should be like a day versus night comparison. Its time for a really bad analogy, but it should be like comparing the cute girl you saw at BurgerDoodle against the hot supermodel on TV. Or for the lady readers, it would be like comparing an overweight plumber to a ripped fitness instructor. (unless an overweight plumber is your thing!) There should be an impressive difference between the quality of a German Shepherd breed dog when compared to the German Shepherd you just saw on the street corner.
Both parents should have correct body type, not be excessively underweight or overweight, they should have dark eye colors, the coat should be exceedingly beautiful with vivid color pigmentation. The body should be proportional to the animals overall size, the body should not be too short nor should it be too long. The dog should not be a giant massive 110 pound beast, nor should it be a petite 55 pounds worth of dog. The withers should be the high point and the back line or top line should gracefully slope to the hind quarters from there. The torso should appear rugged with powerful legs, the angulation should be correct and the stance when viewed from the side should look as if the German Shepherd were ready or capable of striking in a nanosecond. The West German Shepherd is a herding type breed and should weigh between 70 to 90 lbs and be 22 to 26 inches tall. (That is 22 to 24 inches for a female and 24 to 26 inches for a male) Toss a ball and observe the adults as they run, their movement should be easy, graceful as if to announce - yep, I can do this all day long! Look to see if the movement is fluid or constrained. Check the eyes, ear and teeth. Eyes should have dark pupil colors, teeth properly aligned, ears should be set close and stand erect, they should be reasonably clean and not coated with goo inside. Do the adult dogs track you as you move around? Are they agitated or nervous at your presence there? Pet them, handle them and look for their response. Nearly every German Shepherd breeder in America will tell you that they have champion bloodlines. Immerse yourself by studying, looking at pictures, making comparisons, asking questions via phone, text or email and then going to visit several of the top contenders. Don’t make the mistake of asking for pictures online and then sending a deposit based on those photos. Go visit, meet them in person, ask questions, make notes etc.
BREEDER & KENNEL
You should evaluate several breeders and begin your search for a new puppy several months ahead of the actual time that you want to take a puppy home. Choosing a breeder does not sound like a complicated task, however you should visit with several individuals and keep a skeptical eye open. Just because this “person” sells puppies does not make them a quality breeder. Just because this breeder has nice looking German Shepherds - does not make them an ethical or honest person.
Nearly everyone has heard the term puppy-mill. This refers to a large breeding operation that mass produces puppies to sell in a variety of retail outlets. Some of the puppies go to pet stores and boutiques, others are sold on-line and shipped in crates via carrier or air-freight, still others are to be sold at events like dog shows, local flea markets, farmers markets, outdoor festivals or from the back of a pick-up truck. Please beware of purchasing from the aforementioned venues, a large portion of these animals also come with very serious life threatening diseases. The puppy mills are known for over-crowding, unsanitary conditions and harsh treatment of animals since they often operate in secrecy in a warehouse or very remote type location.
Another type of breeder is the novice, money driven or back yard breeder. These types are largely copy cats. They read websites of professional breeders and the on-line ads, familiarize themselves with the terminology, soon enough they begin executing their forgery. They position themselves as professional breeders but on a smaller scale, offering puppies that are hand raised etc. They don’t offer a guarantee, they only have one or two dogs - but they will tell you “they are very experienced”… what? If you were to look around their property - they place looks like a normal home, there is no footprint or significant investment to indicate that they have created a top-notch, professional environment for their canines.
See the selecting a breeder section for more information on how to identify unsavory breeder types and more specifically what to look out for.
The canine breeder should be a walking encyclopedia about the overall health, housing, care, nutrition, exercise and training necessary for the type of canines they are breeding. They should have built up a considerable amount of knowledge, expertise and experience around their breed, they should also be proficient at mating and whelping too. Their kennels and property should reflect careful consideration about every decision that impacts the housing, health and environment for their canines.
I highly recommend you visit with a few breeders, there is no substitute for this step. This is an opportunity for you to evaluate the breeder, to observe the adult canine animals and also the time to examine the relationship between the breeder and their animals. It also give insight into the mindset, lifestyle and ultimately the potential character or lack of character of the breeder individual - is their home, kennels and all of their property on the up and up, or would a hurricane do $50,000 worth of property improvements by leveling all the hodgepodge of outbuildings, sheds and makeshift rusted out kennels with tarps stretched over them?
If the breeder is a professional - then there should be compelling evidence that they have made a significant investment in providing great facilities for the animals. What is the condition of the fencing, the shelter, the dog house, the whelping area etc? How does the breeder talk, do you feel extremely comfortable with their knowledge, character, speech and demeanor? This is the precise moment in time where you need to follow your gut. If there is any hesitation on your part, my advice would be to thank them for their time & showing their animals and tell them that you will be in touch.
I have visited other breeders and seen unbelievable things, such as: When the puppies eat, play, then take a nap; mice scurried out from under the shed and begin scarfing crumbs of food dropped by the puppies. Another breeder had a koi pond with long strands of green slime pond scum, the puppies were using this as a water source; the issue was every time that it rained, the runoff rainwater drained back into the koi pond carrying with it the germs and bacteria from the waste products generated by the puppies.
I have met a few great breeders and many really bad ones. In the final analysis - you are not just buying a puppy, but you are buying into the combined genetics of both parents, you are buying into the kennel, the breeder person, their level of knowledge and expertise, lastly whether or not that person is honest and ethical. Believe me - there are some real unsavory characters out there breeding dogs, selling puppies and offering stud service. For more info please read - Selecting a Breeder.
HEALTH AND HEALTH GUARANTEE
For the breeding adults, health is a major factor. The health of the animal is determined by genetics as passed down from both parents. Each pup has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents 16 great great grandparents all of these ancestor impact the offspring. Inquire of the breeder if there are any known genetic problems. Inquire about the frequency of those genetic problems occurring. If a breeder proudly says there have never had a problem with any of their animals then you should consider 1 of 2 possibilities. 1) They are a liar or 2) They are a complete novice and they have not bred their bloodlines long enough to figure out what the problems are. The very best kennels in the country have encountered genetic problems, but because of strict quality control protocols they move to a different pairing of adults to eliminate the genetic problem or they stop breeding that line altogether.
A sincere breeder should offer a health guarantee to protect the customers investment. Most offer a 1-2 year guarantee for hip/ elbow dysplasia or life threatening defects. Always read the contract and ask questions long before making a deposit. A genuine breeder should want to stand behind their puppies, they should want to protect their reputation and provide detailed records. Furthermore a breeder should encourage open communication and build a relationship with their customers, how else will the breeder stay abreast of the health, wellness and genetic factors that are happening within their bloodline?
SELECTING THE RIGHT PUPPY
When you find a breeder you can identify with and one you feel confident you can trust, then its time to consider placing a deposit & selecting a puppy. An experienced breeder should have insight as to the traits of each puppy in the litter. The breeder should be able to help show you which puppy best suits your needs based on the criteria you have stated. What is the singular most important trait to you? Do you travel frequently and want a protective dog for your family? Are you seeking a dog for companionship? Is your situation that you have a big family, a lot of friends, neighbors and relatives who visit often and want a family dog? Were you planning on working the dog? (Herding, Schutzhund, Search & Rescue, Training, Personal Protection, etc) If you want to get really specific then pick the single most important trait to you and let that be your search criteria. Share this information with your breeder and ask them to help steer you towards a puppy that exhibits traits that are well suited for your primary intended purpose.
Many clients want to actively choose a puppy, while others are more comfortable with a passive approach, spend time with the litter and allow the choice to be more organic and mutually made by the puppy that is attracted to them. There is nothing wrong with either method but I will offer this - If you want to ensure that you get the puppy with the traits that most closely match your needs, then for optimum results take an active role in making the selection.
In each litter there will be certain trait variations the pups have inherited from their parents. Any German Shepherd puppy born in the litter can be trained to serve or work in any type of role that you desire, however some pups are more naturally suited to be self starters and do the task with minimal input from you. A German Shepherd is not naturally a mean or vicious dog, however they are alert, aware and protective. These traits have been locked into them from the start by the nature of the breed, these animals were coded to be discerning from the start.
A Golden Retriever is a great congenial dog, it loves everyone it encounters right down to the burglar who is prying open the back window of your home with a crowbar. The Golden Retriever will hold the door open and wag its tail as the contents of the home are being ransacked and loaded into a truck. Now flip the script and try that with the German Shepherd dog. The German Shepherd dog has already been eyeballing everyone long before they set foot on the property. Even if the dog was inside and did not see someone coming - it is always listening for sounds that are non typical for its environment. Go ahead and pry the window open with the crowbar - lets see how that works out for you. Someone may actually get inside but I am pretty confident they will be encouraged to leave hastily by the canine with intense actions of fierce barking, deep growling, hackles up, ears on high alert and eyes laser focused on the intruder. The uninvited guest will drop everything - run out the door with empty arms, a chewed up backside, a renewed fear of God Almighty and total respect for the German Shepherd Dog…
Again, the German Shepherd is not a mean dog, it is not a vicious dog, but it is a vigilant dog. It is a watch dog - it is a dog that closely looks after the people that it is bonded to and the place where they live together. In today’s society - the world is gone mad; it’s common place now for people to do horrible things even in small town USA, one glance at the newspaper or nightly news confirms this. All things considered - a German Shepherd is a very practical investment for peace of mind regardless whether you are young or old, single or have a large family.
On pickup day I will spend a minimum of an hour and a half with each new owner going over paperwork and the best practices for feeding, health, training, tips on care, etc.
With West German Shepherds.com you are not just buying a puppy. You are buying into the tremendous wealth of bloodlines we have selectively cultivated and created, you are buying the expertise we have accumulated in 14 years of running a top notch breeding program.
I am passionate about this breed and ensuring that everyone who wants a German Shepherd - has an amazing experience. Please contact me if I can be of service to you.
Thank you for visiting West German Shepherds.com
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What's it called?
ever adaptable canines - lacking opposable thumbs necessary to hold a towel and dry themselves, yet still manage to get the job done. progeny rock star - nico exhibits the fundamentals. first ya gotta have H20, next its imperative to get wet in said water, the amount of wet fur required is directly proportional to how clean the house is. last, with extremely rapid, side to side contortions and tremors - the shimmy-shake!
note to self: doing the shimmy-shake inside the house leads to a zero dog treat policy :(
An age old colloquialism states mans best friend is dog. While factual, we believe it’s better stated with inclusion; the best friend of humankind is dog. The original quote was intended for every breed of dog; as German Shepherd owners already know - these canines are far superior to any other breed on the planet! I often repeat - some days you are the dog, some days you are the fire hydrant. More quotes can be found at the bottom of each page.