Recently I received an emailed question an individual that visited my website. I realized this was a great question and that many people face similar circumstances, so I decided to write an entire blog post dedicated to the subject.
The situation was as follows. A woman’s father’s German Shepherd of 14 years had recently passed away. Her father was very upset and lonely due to the loss. As a birthday gift to her father, the daughter wanted to get her dad a new German Shepherd puppy.
The question I was asked was basically where to find a good GSD puppy for her dad.
I thought about my response to this individual for a long time, and below was my response to the question. Please be aware that this is my opinion only. I hope that by reading this that if or when you should find yourself in a similar situation you would consider the many points touched on in my repy.
“I am so sorry for your father’s loss. I have been there many times and it is very difficult to lose a German Shepherd family member.
I have thought about your question significantly regarding getting your dad a new GSD puppy. I know this probably isn’t the answer you want to hear, but I would not recommend getting any pet for your father. The reason I say this is because everyone grieves differently when they lose a family pet. Some people need to get to get another pet right away to help fill the void of the lost pet, and to help with the grieving. Others need to go through the full grieving process before they are ready to get another pet. This could be weeks, months, or even years. Since a pet is going to be a permanent “child” or family member I would not personally make that choice for someone else. Instead I would recommend talking to your dad at length to see if he is ready for another German Shepherd. If he is then you could offer to pay the adoption fee for him to get one.
You also mentioned getting your dad a German Shepherd puppy. This I something I would think about a little more as well. I have no idea your father’s age, but you definitely want to consider; will your father based on his age likely outlive a new puppy. Again, I don’t know anyone’s ages involved so this may not apply but I did want to bring it up in case it is something that should be considered. If the answer is “no” or “unlikely” then I wouldn’t recommend getting a puppy. If that is not the case then I would do some serious research online to look for an excellent breeder.
However, when searching for a breeder watch out for “back yard breeders” and “puppy mills.” When looking for a great breeder things to look for are; price, health guarantee, OFA Certified parents, AKC registered parents which are DNA certified, temperament tested, do not release puppies to new owners any sooner than 8 weeks of age, the breeder has a very long contract to sign, and the breeder is very picky about who can buy their dogs. Again price is very important, good breeders breed for health, and temperament, and that is expensive for breeders to regularly bring in new good breeding dogs. A German Shepherd Puppy from an excellent breeder should start in price anywhere around $1,200 minimum and go up from there.
I wanted to mention something that you may not have considered; and that is a rescue German Shepherd. There are so many amazing GSD’s out there that need a good forever home. They can be found many ways such as your local shelter or a local breed specific German Shepherd Rescue group. The great thing about the breed specific groups are that they are mostly volunteer based and most of the GSD’s are fostered in people’s homes. This way the rescue gets to know the dog’s personality, quirks, shortcomings, etc. so it can be matched to the perfect new owner or family. The other advantage is with a rescue is the cost. They are inexpensive compared to a puppy from a breeder, plus they have all their vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered before they are adopted out. If you are interested in pursuing this option here is a link to my website where I list all the German Shepherd Rescues by state with a link to each rescue’s website.
I hope my answer helps you and I wish you and your father good luck.
Again, this is just my personal opinion. I am a very strong advocate for adoption of rescued animals. I have been involved in fostering for many different rescue organizations for many years now. Having said that, I have also purchased a German Shepherd Dog from a very reputable breeder as well. It was my GSD “Vegas” that is now 10 ½ years old and has her picture plastered all over this website.
However, I have 6 animal children currently. Two dogs (both GSD’s), and four cats, and all of them except for “Vegas” were rescues.
I am curious to know your opinion to her question? Please leave a comment below.
For more great information regarding GSD’s, check out the rest of my German Shepherd Blog.
Also if you love German Shepherds check out my Facebook Page dedicated to them called German Shepherd Dog Fans.