As a responsible breeder, you want to be very upfront with your customer, and hope that they will be upfront as well. A great breeder has the best interests of their puppies in mind, not whoever has the money. To work out who is the perfect fit for your new litter, it is important to ask the potential buyer a number of questions – either face to face, over the phone or by email.
You want somewhere for your puppies to go and feel loved and be safe, so if the potential customer is getting annoyed or dismissive when you’re asking them questions, maybe they aren’t the right fit for your pups or kittens. Petplan have compiled the 10 questions you should be asking…
Why do you want a dog?
You will begin to understand their intentions and hopefully find a right companion for one of your litter. Use your common sense to assess their intentions and make sure that this pet is suitable for them.
Why have you chosen this breed?
Once you have clarified their intentions and reasoning for a pet, you can begin to narrow down why they have chosen this specific breed. As you will know your breed thoroughly, you will be able to evaluate whether or not this breed will be suitable to the owners needs and lifestyle.
Do you have the time to meet the demanding needs of the puppy/dog for feeding, training and exercise?
Some breeds will require more exercise than others. The potential customer should be told of what is expected of them when it comes to feeding, training and exercise. They also need to understand that it is not the bare minimum that is expected, they need to be socialising their new friend, making sure they enjoy feeding times, and mixing up their exercise so they continue to play and have fun.
Are there any children? If so, how old are they? How would they be instructed in the care of the dog?
Children and dogs can be a fantastic combination, however the customer needs to know that young children need to be aware of how gentle to be around the new puppy and what is expected of them. You should also assess how they would handle a possible situation of the pet becoming aggressive towards young children and how they would handle that situation.
Does anyone in the household have allergies?
The potential customer should know by now if they or anyone in the house is allergic to dogs or cats, although it is always good to mention it. If there are some allergies, always suggest other breeds that are hypoallergenic that may suit their needs.
Are you committed to the grooming and health maintenance?
Grooming is an essential part of any pets life as it allows the owner to not only tidy up their friend, it gives them a chance to check their pet for any new lumps or bumps or anything that may need treatment.
What is your attitude toward training and obedience?
Whether you are selling a small apartment pet or a cattle dog, you need to assess the potential owners training plan. If you have any tips, share them; if you have warnings, warn them.
How often is someone at home?
Be sure that these new owners will give your litter a loving home and the attention that they need. Most people will work through the day and that’s ok, however they will need to get their pup used to this from day 1. If they are with their owner every second of the day for the first 2 weeks and then the owner returns to normal work hours, it will leave the pup distressed and anxious. Give them tips on how to deal with this and how to make up for time they miss when they are around.
Will you have time to walk and play with the dog?
Being with your pet is completely different than playing with your pet. Walking your dog may not seem exciting to do every day, however it is a necessity. They need to be continuously stimulated regardless of the weather and your motivation levels.
Are you aware of the costs involved in veterinary care, buying quality dog food, boarding the dog when away, etc?
Make sure your potential buyers are aware of the vet costs, dog insurance, food, and general start up items including toys, bedding and collars.
Information for new owners
German Shepherd Dogs originated in Germany where they were bred by farmers to tend the sheep and protect the Shepherd. The father of the breed Max von Stephanitz founded the German Shepherd Dog Association in 1890 and today the breed is recognised worldwide as one of the most valued dog breeds. The dog is a working breed and as such his temperament and soundness are most important and must come before his ‘good looks’.
Temperament As a working breed they do best with something to do. If you are at work all day and need a dog to guard your house a German Shepherd isn’t for you. He could become noisy and destructive and cause you and your neighbours a problem. They are an active breed and need regular exercise and something to stimulate their minds. German Shepherds are a companion breed and love being with you and your immediate family. The breed is good with children but like all breeds of dogs MUST be supervised while in the company of children.
General Care The breed is relatively low maintenance i.e. their coats don’t matt and a good brushing once or twice a week is usually enough to keep the coat in good condition. They do however have a moult at least twice a year and lose a considerable amount of undercoat which does need stripping out with a good comb. Hydrobathing every two or three weeks keeps the coat smelling sweet. Flea and tick control is a must and your dog will suffer if your flea control is inadequate. Ears must be cleaned regularly and toenails should be cut as needed.
Hips & Elbows i.e. joint problems in the breed A lot of people will say ‘so you want a German Shepherd, better watch out for their hips’. The real story is that today worldwide the breed has the best hips it has ever had. In Australia serious ethical breeders routinely x-ray all their breeding dogs to obtain their ‘A’ Stamp for hips and ‘Z’ Stamp for elbows which means they have scored sufficiently low to be bred with. The Hip and Elbow schemes are administered by the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia. Puppies are not x-rayed before they leave the breeder.
Exercise: It is important you set aside time every day if possible to exercise your German Shepherd. A good walk on lead finishing off playing with a ball or Kong is excellent to burn off excess energy.
Do not over exercise youngsters under 18 months of age on enforced long distance walks or bike rides. Once they reach 18 months, exercise should be GRADUALLY increased always remembering that the breed is a ‘slow trotting dog’ and not a marathon runner.
Breed Standard :
The German Shepherd Breed Standard, which is published by the American Kennel Club, lay out the ideal qualities of a dog of a given breed, including the German Shepherd, for purposes of the United States. While certainly not all dogs comply with all or indeed many of the characteristics described in the breed standards, the guidelines nevertheless provide a useful set of expectations regarding the appearance, personality, and other characteristics of an animal belonging to a particular breed. Potential pet owners of a German Shepherd are encouraged to read up on the breed’s standards in order to know what to expect – both in terms of their animal’s appearance and personality, and in order to be prepared for any particular medical conditions common to a given breed. The AKC breed standard for the German Shepherd includes a detailed discussion of the following: General Appearance, Temperament, Size, Proportion, Substance, Head, Neck Topline, body, Forequarters, Hindquarters, Coat, Color, Gait, and Disqualifications.
Similarly, In Germany, the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), the official club for the German Shepherd dog, also has in place a listing of standards, which include a detailed discussion of the following: Genera Appearance, Head, Ears, Neck, Body, Limbs Forehand, Hindquarters, Movement, Skin, Coat, Color, Size | Weight, and Dentition Faults
Breed Standards are used most commonly, however, not by the average pet owner but by judges in dog shows and competitions, who assess any given animal according to the standards and expectations laid out for its breed as a whole, rather than on its merits as a pet. Regardless of how the Breed Standards are used, however, they provide a wealth of useful information for the German Shepherd breed, or for any other breed for that matter.
In summary, breed standards are just that, merely standard by which to judge and assess the physical and emotional traits of your German Shepherd, but characteristics that should not be cause for concern if your dog falls outside the breed standard. Dogs are like humans and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. It’s more important to have a healthy, happy, and sound dog than it is to have one that fits the exact German Shepherd breed standard.