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How to determine if your GSD is purebred

We often see people post on forums around the internet asking if their German Shepherd Dog is a purebred.

If you want a purebred GSD, then be sure to purchase a well bred AKC registered puppy.
If you want a purebred GSD, then be sure to purchase a well bred AKC registered puppy.
Valerie Miller
If you do not have AKC registration papers on your dog, then there is simply no way to know if he or she is purebred.
Valerie Miller

If you are looking for a companion for your family and have no interest in serious training, competitions or breeding then being a pure bred may not matter to you. If you are not concerned with whether a dog is pure bred or not, the best option is to consider a rescue. German Shepherd rescues will often have young dogs and even puppies available for adoption. Usually these dogs are purebred German Shepherds and will look like it as adults.

However, the only real way to know without a doubt that your dog is purebred is if it is registered with the FCI registry for your country. In the US, the only registration that is recognized is the American Kennel Club (AKC). In Canada, the only registration that is recognized is the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC – not to be confused with the Continental Kennel Club which is a BYB registry in the US).

If you are buying a puppy from a breeder, the puppy should always have AKC (or CKC if you are in Canada) registration. There is no excuse to not have this in place. If someone is selling unregistered puppies, you simply have no idea whether they are pure bred or not. Again, while that may not matter to you, it is a much better option to support a rescue rather than an irresponsible breeder.

There are several reasons that someone may be breeding and selling unregistered puppies. Maybe their dog was sold to them on AKC limited registration (which means her offspring cannot be registered), or they bought the dog itself as a puppy without registration, or the dog is simply not purebred. There is no way to know if your dog is purebred without that registration.

If you are concerned about your puppy being a purebred, you need to make sure you go to a responsible breeder and purchase a registered pure bred puppy. If you purchase an unregistered puppy from an irresponsible breeder, you should not even worry about whether your puppy is purebred or not as there is no way to know and there is a good chance that it is not.