How Soon Can a Puppy Become a Runner?

A Guide To Selecting a Breeder and a Puppy

Selecting the Breeder:

The selection process in picking a puppy begins with choosing a breeder that you trust and have confidence in. I can not stress this enough. Some people breed because they have a sincere interest in producing top quality dogs, some people breed because they want to make a few extra dollars and finally some people breed because it would be nice for the kids and they think their house pet will somehow become a better dog if it has a litter of pups before they neuter it.

The last place on earth to look for a puppy is in a pet store. Any breeder that is forced to sell his puppies to a pet store has no credibility. This only indicates he has no reputation as a breeder and nowhere else to sell his dogs. The majority of the dogs that end up in pet stores come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are a legitimate (despicable) business in many states.  Everyone that breeds has to start somewhere and just because this is the first or second litter a person has bred does not mean that this is a bad breeder. It is important that a person that is new to breeding should have been involved in dogs for a few years. There is no such thing as a 6-month wonder in the dog breeding business. Expertise in this area comes from experience and the only way to gain experience in this business is a lot of hard work.

Working vs. Show Lines

My advice is that if you talk to a breeder and they brag about all of the shows their dogs have been in or all the champions in the dog’s pedigrees, walk away from them. If you look at a German pedigree and see the letters “VA” before the names of dogs in the pedigree – walk away from them. These are show ratings. Don’t be fooled by “VA” dog with a “sch III” (Schutzhund) tiles behind its names. Many Germans are excellent trainers. They can title dogs (i.e.”VA dogs”) when in fact the dogs would no sooner protect the owner than their toy poodle would. So its important that novice handlers understand that a Schutzhund title does not in and of itself mean that this is a good dog.

I would like to say that its very easy for new people to become confused at this stage of puppy selection. They are swayed by how good looking some of these show dogs are. I am the first to say that these German show dogs are very good looking (American show dogs have been hit by a big ugly stick.) People see the beautiful black and red dogs (few working dogs are black and red) and want them. Only to find out 3 years later that the dog runs and hides when someone comes to the door or when they are approached by a stranger when taking a walk at

Pedigrees and Hips

The scope of this article is not intended to get into pedigrees, but a good idea is to ask to see the pedigree and discuss it with the breeder. See if he is familiar with the dogs in the pedigree. A breeder should be familiar with the genetics of his own dogs.

If a dog is not OFAed and it is being bred then the breeder should have a preliminary x-ray at the kennel or available at his vet to look at. The breeder should be prepared to show you the OFA certificate if you ask to see it.

A point that needs to be mentioned here (especially for new GSD owners) is that “just because both parents have had their hips x-rayed does not guarantee that the pups will not have hip dysplasia.

The fact is hip dysplasia is in the GSD breed. I have heard people bad mouth breeders because one of their dogs got hip dysplasia. If that breeder had x-rayed stock then this is an unfair criticism. Bad hips can just as easily be a result of what was done with the dog after it left the kennel. Over-exercise (jogging) with a puppy will cause problems, overfeeding a young pup and allowing it to get fat can cause hip problems.

More information coming soon.🐶