Most people get German Shepherds from their respective breeders, wanting them for their great work ethic, protective nature and use as guard dogs, which is why people often ask should you buy German shepherds from pet shops then?
Well, to answer the question of whether you should buy German Shepherds from pet shops or not, you’ll most likely want to stick to breeders unless you’re an experienced pet owner.
German Shepherds are notoriously stubborn during training and need someone who can put their foot down when they need to, which makes first time pet owners unlikely to be able to handle such a breed.
If you want to find out whether you should be buying yourself a GSD in the first place, let alone thinking about breeder or pet shop options, then continue reading to discover the various pros and cons of a German Shepherd’s temperament.
Should You Buy German Shepherds From Pet Shops: Before We Begin
As I’ve mentioned above, before we even get into the full detail, it’s important for you to understand what kind of dog the GSD is and whether or not he’s a breed that you’ll be able to tackle or if you’re looking for something a bit more co-operative.
SEE ALSO: Is A German Shepherd Right For Me: Benefits And Liabilities
The German Shepherd’s Temperament
A German Shepherd is the ideal type of dog in case you need one to guard property, watch out for intruders or be used as a general working dog due to their exceptional desire to do things and motivation to learn new things.
After all, their main intent was to be a herding dog, and they tend to not only be really active dogs, but also extremely intelligent ones.
They make for exceptional search dogs too once trained properly due to that same high level of curiosity toward discovery.
Aside from that, they’re highly favored as service dogs, whether it be in the position of being a military dog or handling police work.
That said, they certainly do have temper problems and aren’t recommended for people who can’t reign that in, especially first time dog owners.
They’re only really loyal to their family, but they tend to get a bit overprotective, wary of any strangers that may arrive at your doorstep.
On top of that, their high prey drive and ingrained shepherding nature will have them nipping away at your kids to try to get them to fall in line or similar which isn’t pleasant for them.
In terms of attacks on humans, they’re up there with Pit Bulls, albeit not nearly as common, but they are dangerous, mostly because people haven’t successfully trained them.
That’s why early socialization as part of their dog training is a must or else you’re going to end up with a problem on your hands.
Though, if you manage to complete their training properly they’ll be one of the most loyal and disciplined pets you could ever own.
So, What Exactly Is The Problem Here Then?
Well, the problem lies in the fact that you will need that early socialization in German Shepherd pups, and most pet shops tend to not really ask too many questions regarding their breeders.
This means that the quality you get from them tends to be varied.
It’s the same issue as going to a shelter to get what’s considered a problematic dog breed.
Then, there are other factors to consider too, like whether or not your dog was at the standard age when you normally get him (8 weeks at the very least).
Sometimes, the pups don’t come chipped or with health guarantees if bought from shops either, or even with proper feeding instructions.
I’m not faulting every shop here, but the abundance of puppy mills as of late due to people wanting to turn a quick buck without consideration for the pups certainly makes one question the source of the pups often found out there.
And this is only considering puppies in general, there are even more issues to consider if you’re not getting a dog from a certified breeder, specific risks.
One of these that touches the GSD the most is trainability, and that includes the early socialization from earlier, but also a certain level of obedience toward the owner.
RELATED: Are German Shepherds Good For First Time Owners Or Not?
How Can I Be Sure That I Have A Properly Trained Pup?
If you’re unsure whether the German Shepherd pup that you’re buying has received it, you’re going to have an even harder time getting him to obey you.
You see, the initial part of the training is often done by the breeder, carrying that responsibility over to you once the pup is rehomed which often happens when he’s around 8 weeks of age.
If you don’t have that guarantee, you’re likely going to see some difficulty in your doggo following orders in the first place.
For first-time dog owners, that’ll be difficult to notice and it may just seem like behavioral training is hard in general, but experienced pet parents will note the difference.
And, once the pup grows up and the training isn’t complete by then, your dog is likely to get into a lot of trouble and will be more than a handful.
Are There Any Benefits To Getting A Pup From A Pet Shop?
There are, though not many.
The two main ones are going to be a more affordable price and potential deals on dog food and gear in the specific pet shop.
The one other benefit would be the availability of the specific dog breed without incurring high transportation costs that may happen due to there not being any German Shepherd breeders in your vicinity.
But again, I’d only advise doing so if you know that they get their puppies from a reputable source and that they provide all the necessary paperwork and screen the breeders working with them so you can ensure they’re of reliable quality.
And What Are The Benefits Of Getting A German Shepherd From A Certified Breeder?
Certified breeders allow for a broader range of options and have an assured level of quality.
Their pups will usually come with health insurance for the first year at the very least alongside proper shots and deworming procedures done.
They’ll be properly weaned off mother’s milk and should be on a particular brand of dry food.
The dogs would also have undergone a little bit of early behavioral training and would have started off with some early socialization.
Pups would be chipped to ensure trackability should they get lost.
On top of that, the breeder would be able to inform you of the specific training methods used and the particular brand of food which will allow the pup to more easily adapt to his new family and to accept you as his new owner.
But, other than training, you’ll also be able to potentially choose the dog’s coat color if you’re looking for something other than the most common one.
Sure, the option exists in pet shops too, but it’s more limiting in most cases.
Finally, for those of you looking to enter your dog into conformation shows and the like, various breeders may offer champion bloodlines with various accolades stapled to them.
So, Are All Pet Shop Puppies Bad?
Oh no, far from it. My statement may be an exaggeration here, but that’s because it involves this particular breed of dog.
Getting any dog that’s more compliant to training and buying from certified pet shops that you can trust can be a better deal at times, especially if they can provide most, if not all of the additional paperwork and assurances that the breeder would in their stead.
However, for the German Shepherd in particular, as I’ve reiterated a number of times before, proper training is needed and it’s needed early, something that’s rarely done if the dog sits in a pet shop waiting to be bought up.
And, while GSDs are some of the most loyal and protective dogs out there, that’s only if you can surmount their stubbornness and earn their respect, a goal made harder if the dog received no prior training.
Additionally, I wouldn’t recommend buying from a pet shop if you’re looking for a show dog due to the ease of which one can gain the status of a pet store, especially if they won’t provide you with the necessary paperwork to prove it.
With all that in mind, should you buy German Shepherds from pet shops? I personally believe that the answer is no unless there is no better option available that wouldn’t cost you too much extra money.
Pet shops have a lot going against them, especially considering how easy it is to become one and the dubious quality that that implies.
If you have the option, it’s always better to get a purebred dog from a breeder as you’ll be getting all of the necessary papers and guarantees that normally come with said purchase.
Until next time, pet parents.