How to Pick a German Shepherd Puppy for Your Dog

4 German Shepherd Belgian Malinois puppies by steps
Searching for a Shepinois puppy for sale? Click here for this German Shepherd x Belgian Malinois cross.

A Big Investment

When deciding how to pick a German Shepherd puppy, it is important to realize this is a big investment. A dog is a long term commitment and decision that should be made with a solid foundation. You want a puppy that is going to grow into a faithful companion at their new home. When looking for a German shepherd dog you will need to search out a reputable breeder that can answer your questions in addition to raising the puppy for the first 8 weeks of its life.


The first 8 weeks of the puppies life has impacts on the health of your future dog. It is important that the puppies are being cared for and nourished by their mother. Proper nutrition is passed to the puppies a couple different ways. A good breeder will ensure that the breeding program is designed around a healthy dam and a healthy sire that can pass on good genetics to the new German Shepherd puppy.

After the good genetics are passed on, the health can be affected by providing good nutrition to the nursing mother. The next step is transitioning the puppies into their own good nutrition by proving them with balanced nutritional food to help their young bodies grow properly. Puppies have higher energy levels than full grown dogs and also need the proper food to support this. 

Cutest Shepinois Puppy Ever


Behavioral problems will ensue if these high energy levels are not managed well from the start. It is a good idea to have well socialized puppies that have the opportunity to burn off the excess energy that they have. The best breeders provide the opportunity for the young puppies to be exposed to a variety of different situations.

Puppy mills, where the only thing they are only concerned about is the number of puppies they turn out in a year do not have the time or the set up for these situations. Therefore, when they puppies get to their new home and experience new things they do not know how to approach them. Scared, timid puppies are more susceptible to behavioral issues. They then act out of fear.

In determining how to pick a German Shepherd puppy, buy a puppy that has a good temperament this will make the bonding process easier for you. By doing so, you will also relieve a great deal of pressure on the puppy. 

Shepinois Puppy Sitting so Cute


There are a variety of personalities and drives that are possible with young German Shepherd puppies. You can have a high drive, low drive, or a medium drive puppy. You should determine which type you want based what you want out of your new puppy. Also consider what kind of an environment it will find itself in most often.

A high drive dog is good for a dog involved in police work or herding dogs. During the training and use in this area, a dog will have the chance to fulfill his drive.

A medium drive pup may be more suitable to an active lifestyle, where it can burn off energy. It works well doing life with lots of other animals to interact with and keep busy. However, in the same breath, if it can’t control it’s drive, you don’t want your dog to chase the horses.

A low drive dog may be a good choice for a more sedentary life style, or a service dog. Such dogs will focus on the task at hand and not need as much exercise and stimulation.

when wondering how to pick a German shepherd puppy, their temperament will come into play

Size, Color, & Features

German Shepherds are a large breed dog. They will vary in size from 50-90 lbs. Male German Shepherds will be larger than a female German Shepherd. They will also have a more muscular build to them.

The gorgeous animals generally have a black and tan coat color, although they can have different variations to this. They are long haired and have a double coat.

One very important aspect in how to pick a German Shepherd puppy is knowing that they are susceptible to hip dysplasia. However, this can be reduced by purchasing your new dog from a reputable German Shepherd breeder. If you are ok with not having a pure bred German Shepherd, you can also cross them with a Belgian Malinois to reduce the risk of joint problems.

Belgian Malinois male and Shepinois female


Temperament is sometimes mistaken for drive, as well as behavioral issues. The nature, or temperament of a dog is built-in, just like humans. A puppy has a demeanor, whether that is sweet, quiet, aggressive, passive. These are just types, and just like us, there is an endless combination.

Again, determining how you want to use your dog must be taken into consideration. Their temperament will impact the success of your dog being used as you wish.

You may want a quiet but aggressive dog if you are going to be training it for a protection dog. If it is going to be a guard dog and you want a verbal, alert, aggressive dog. You’ll want your dog vocal in it’s expression.

Temperament will also partially be passed on from parents. If you have two aggressive parents, the chances of an aggressive new pup are greatly increased, and vice versa. How the parents act in the puppies first few weeks of life will also influence their temperament. These characteristics and behaviors will continue at their new homes as well.


It is important to get headed in the right direction for obedience training early on. Mental stimulation for puppies and adolescent dogs is of utmost importance. Determining whether your dog is high drive or low drive, along with what they are driven by, will make your training easier.

German Shepherds are one of the smartest and most trainable breeds out there, especially when started in a positive correct setting. Proper training is an absolute must with working dogs. These dogs have an extremely strong bite. They are fast, strong, and can cause great destruction if not trained properly. This is of course true with dogs of any breed, but it or so much more importance with a high drive pup that is left to it’s own desires. 

how to pick a German Shepherd puppy when they have so many differences

Working Dogs

As I discussed in previous sections, German Shepherds were made for a purpose. They are a popular breed for a police dog, search and rescue, protection, work, and guard dogs.  

Potential German Shepherd owners should consider the amount of exercise, both physical and mental, that this breed needs. If you are going to have a hard time fulfilling that need, perhaps another breed would be better to chose. A German Shepherd needs to have a job, even if it is not in a professional manner. The good health of your new gsd puppy will depend on it.

Final Decision

The final decision for knowing how to pick a German Shepherd puppy is ultimately your responsibility. You know what your intentions for your dog are better than anyone. No situation is the same.

The most important thing is to make sure that you are a responsible dog owner from the beginning to the end of your dog’s life. A new pet in your home is one of the greatest joys, but it can also be a disaster if you are not prepared. The perfect German Shepherd puppy is different for everyone. Make the right choice for your next one.

when deciding how to pick a german shepherd puppy remember that males will be larger than females