German Shepherd Dog > What do I need to ask for? (59 replies)
What do I need to ask for?
by 50ish on 11 January 2012 - 02:48
|When searching out the right breeder, what kinds of questions should I be asking? What kind of proof should I be able to see, etc.?|
by Jenni78 on 11 January 2012 - 02:51
|Depends on what it is that you want. Determine the qualities that are really important to you, find breeders who are like-minded, talk to them a lot, get a "feel" for them and whether you get along, and then ask those questions that pertain to your wish list. And ask for proof if you feel you need to. Are you planning on visiting or just calling around? Very different sets of questions need to be asked depending on whether you're hitting the road or the keyboard.|
by Nadeem6 on 11 January 2012 - 03:16
|Ask for references and if you can, try to go check them out. If they are local they should have some dogs here and there that you can go see train.|
I got very lucky with my timing when looking for a pup. The breeder had two pups that hadn't gone home yet i got to look at, then a couple weeks later i was able to see the dam get worked at the club i was going to join at by a VERY good TD. Things just fell into place, so sometimes a little luck is involved too.
Ask what happens if things go wrong or you need to give up/replace the dog how they would handle it. Do you get to choose the pup or will the breeder try to match you up.
And it's better to wait a few months or longer to get the right dog, rather than just get what becomes available. Hopefully you will get the trifecta. Wonderful breeder, wonderful owner and wonderful pup.
by isachev on 11 January 2012 - 03:25
|Hello again 50ish, Jenni78 is who I IM you about. Nadeem own's one of her GSD's as well. Pete|
by Jenni78 on 11 January 2012 - 03:45
|Definitely personal references. Also, talk to them a great deal about their dogs. MOST things about dogs is relative. What someone calls a ___________ type dog may be what someone else calls something else entirely, etc. etc. and you need to be sure everyone is on the same page, or you could end up unhappy and it won't be anyone's fault; just a misunderstanding. For that reason, if you can ask where some previous pups are or where they train and you can see them and see if you like them, that's a HUGE bonus, imo.|
I'm not big on the "paypal" buttons on websites. I don't feel that's how puppies should be sold. That's not fair to anyone, imo. All parties should be clear on expectations and as Nadeem said, the big "what if?" It's not a pleasant topic, but definitely ask "what if" something goes wrong? What is included in the guarantee (if there is a guarantee)? What, if any "red tape" do you have to get through?
by Jenni78 on 11 January 2012 - 03:46
|I didn't see isachev's post when I posted mine. Thank you, isachev. Nice of you.|
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 04:50
|For me, the basics are - proof of normal hips and elbows for both parents, proof that they both have been DNA tested for DM so you know that the breeding will not produce any offspring that could be at risk for developing DM in the future. I would want to see proof the parents were both tested clear of heart and thyroid problems and that they passed some sort of temperament test and/or had earned a title or two or three. Titles are an indication that the breeder is interested in training their dogs or having them trained before breeding them to determine if they are breed worthy. I don't know that eyes are an issue with this breed, but it would be a bonus if both parents were certified normal by CERF. |
For me, those would be the minimum I would ask for when buying a dog. There are other things to ask for based on the reason/s you are buying a dog. I personally don't place a lot of weight on personal references since breeders will normally only share positive ones with prospective buyers. I have never read a negative reference on any dog breeder's website. When you find a breeder who interests you, try a google search to see if the kennel name has been discussed on the internet. There are a few websites that report dog scams. Rip Off reports is one.
Good luck in finding the perfect dog for you. It's a lot of work to do it right and mistakes can be made, but it will pay off in the long run.
by Two Moons on 11 January 2012 - 05:34
|Know what you want first off.|
Trust no one, use your own eyes and keep your own council.
Don't expect miracles or magic.
Study, learn before you leap.
Make sure you understand what your getting into and be ready to take responsibility for your actions.
A dog is an animal not a thing, it has a soul.
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 13:37
|Trust no one, Moons? Really?|
by 50ish on 11 January 2012 - 14:38
|Absolutely fantastic suggestions. I am compiling a good list of questions based on your advice here. So grateful !!!|
Blitzen...what does DM and CERF mean please?
by GSD2727 on 11 January 2012 - 15:21
|You already got some good advice. Like others said a lot of it is personal preference. For me, the first thing I look for is a breeder who titles their dogs before breeding. For me that is a must. Obviously hip/elbow certification is a given (must) for me as well. |
I like a breeder who is a bit smaller, where their dogs live at least part of the time in the house, someone who works their dogs in SchH (or something similar), etc... I also like breeders who keep their own puppies and work/raise/train/title them. Sometimes with a new breeder that hasnt happened yet, but for someone who has had several litters it is nice to see them willing to keep something. I am not a fan of the big mass producing kennels or broker situations.
All of the other health testing is nice, but most breeders do not do it all yet. Hoping that more will start doing DM going forward! If you find a good breeder that you like who hasnt done DM test, maybe ask?! For $45-65 they may be willing to do it to sell a puppy :) Even if just one parent is tested and is clear, at least you know your puppy will not be affected or develop DM. I personally would rather see CERF than thyroid/cardiac, but again not a lot of breeders test for any of those.
I also like a breeder who is honest (of course it is hard to tell if they really are or not), but it is nice to hear some negatives/bad things about their dogs or what they have produced! If they are willing to tell you something bad, then I am guessing they are being more honest than someone who only tells you what you want to hear. Along the same lines, dont assume because they are honest about something bad that they have "bad dogs". Chances are that they are just being honest where as other breeders probably have had the same types of problems or worse but either do not keep track so do not know or are not willing to openly share. When I hear someone who has bred several litters say they have never had ANY problems it kind of makes me wonder. A new breeder with a couple litters, sure, he may not have had any problems yet... but when you breed enough you will come across some type of problem no matter how much you try to avoid it!
I also like a breeder who is honest about what they see in the puppies. Someone who isnt afraid to say that their puppy is not what you are looking for and send you to someone else... rather then just making a sale knowing it isnt what you want.
Just a couple things I look at and consider when looking at breeders....
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 15:45
50ish, this is a link to all the health information you will probably need to know when looking for a German Shepherd. You can surf around and get a lot of information including which GSD's have passed the available appropriate tests.
DM = degenerative myelopathy, probably the most dreaded disease in this breed as there is not yet a cure and the end results are devastating. You can google degenerative myelopathy and find a lot of information on the internet. There is also information on DM on the webite I linked above.
CERF concerns the results of eye exams that look for diseases that are specific to each individual breed. I'm not familar with eye diseases that are common to this breed, so someone else might be able to tell you more about that. Information on that is on the above site too under the topic of eye disease. Just be aware that any clearances on eye diseases are only valid for one year and need to be repeated annually.
You will also see reference to CHIC. GSD's with a CHIC certification have been tested for various disease and conditions. I think that the only GSDCA designated requirements for a CHIC are clear hips and elbows and passing a temperament test. If that's not right, somone will correct me. Many dogs with a CHIC have also been tested for extra things like thyroid and heart function.
If you have anymore questions, just ask. I know it seems overwhelming to consider so many issues when looking for a new dog, but the reasons you want the dog is moot when considering health tests. Good health is very bit as important in a companion dog as it is in a top show dog.
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 15:46
|No DNA for DM would be a deal breaker for me. No valid or ethical excuse for not doing it.|
by beetree on 11 January 2012 - 15:57
Bravo, Blitzen for the above statement. Also, I would agree to the devastation of DM. Since it can now be avoided with testing, it is a must-have, a no brainer.
by GSD2727 on 11 January 2012 - 15:57
|Blitzen, my issue with CHIC is (and correct me if I am wrong?) that the dog will get a "CHIC" even if it FAILED the cert. It just has to be DONE (pass or fail) and people can list CHIC behind the dogs name. At least that is the way it was explained to me. So for me, it is pointless. Actually my older dog got a CHIC number LOL I didnt even know it until I seen it on the OFA database years later. I guess you have to do OFA H&E and a GSDCA TC to get a CHIC. |
Eyes diseases that are common for GSDs - Pannus! I have been hearing more and more about GSDs with pannus :(
Also, as far as people not doing DM tests... IMO it is unfair to say anyone not doing it is unethical. Many people are not aware of it. Not everyone comes to this website/message board. Many people are not even familiar with DM, while others may be they have no idea there are tests available for it. Obviously some people just do not care, but I believe that many do care but just dont know about it. Also, some may know about the test but not understand it or how it works, so do not understand the importance or reasons to test.
To be honest I just tested my first dog last year. I had heard of the test before, but did not understand anything about it. I will do all of my dogs from now on... but I dont think I was unethical last year before I tested my female. That is where education comes in. Which is why I said maybe ask a breeder about it if you find a good breeder who hasnt done it.
JMO of course
by beetree on 11 January 2012 - 16:01
|Valerie, I guess I'm super sensitive about having gone through something similar, if not DM, with a pup that was only 14.5 months old. Awful does not begin to describe that period and the end when we PTS.|
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 16:33
|The test has been available since 2008 and it has been discussed many, many times on all breed boards, in breed magazines, and on the net. Why would a GSD breeder not know about it by now? I'll give the benefit of the doubt and accept that maybe last year at this time the news was not common knowledge and maybe some are just hearing about it today If a breeder knows about DM and the DNA test, then IMO there is no ethical excuse to not test before breeding one more litter. Look at all the litters, stud services, dogs for sale advertised right here that do not even mention DM testing. Many of these same breeders post here and on other breed boards regularly, so I have to think they are aware of what DM is and the DNA test. I suppose they have never had a dog with DM or shared the pain of a friend who did.|
That's correct, a CHIC only means the dog has been tested, not that it's free of the disease or condition. I don't have a problem with that since it gives the buyer the information that a particular dog was tested so they know to ask for the results. If there is no CHIC then either the dog wasn't tested or the owner didn't report it. Some CHICs depend on the results of CERF exams which are only good for a year, so a CHIC can't be considered a health clearance per se. It is just a heads up indicating that a dog has been tested for the diseases as required by the parent club. Seasoned dog people don't need to see a CHIC behind a dog's name since they know what to ask for. It's a good heads up for a novice buyer. I mentioned it to 50ish in passing since she will probably notice that if she looks at the OFA website.
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 16:37
|Beetree, I can't imagine anything more heartbreaking than losing a young dog that way.|
by Blitzen on 11 January 2012 - 16:39
Click on this site and you can do a search for any dog with a CHIC cert. Click on the dog's name and it will tell you the tests that were done, by whom, and the results.
by workingdogz on 11 January 2012 - 19:17
| to what Blitzen, GSD2727, beetree and blitzen and GSD2727 and beetree said |
All the "happy customers" in the world cannot replicate testing and certifications.