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The German Shepherd Dog: Breeding for one trait

Look for a breeder that is active within the breed and breeding to the standard.  Stay away from breeders that are purposely producing DQ faults.
Look for a breeder that is active within the breed and breeding to the standard. Stay away from breeders that are purposely producing DQ faults.
Valerie Miller

There are many German Shepherd Dog breeders in the US that are breeding for the wrong reasons. Some of these reasons may be for pets, for incorrect traits such as huge size or disqualifying colors or for money. One big issue you may find with some breeders is they are breeding for one or two less important traits while overlooking or forgetting the more important traits. They may be breeding for color (such as whites or liver/blues or pandas), size (huge oversized dogs), long coats, etc… Unfortunately when someone purposely breeds for some of these traits, they usually overlook more important things such as health, temperament, working ability and structure.

When looking for a puppy, be sure to find a breeder that is breeding responsibly.
Valerie Miller

If you really want a German Shepherd that possesses one of these traits (such as long coat), it is often best to stay away from these breeders that “specialize” in these traits. You may be better off to go with a breeder that concentrates on the whole dog and breeds responsibly, but may have a long coated puppy pop up in a litter. By doing this you will end up with the dog you want without supporting the BYB that is breeding irresponsibly. You will also end up with a better dog in the long run. If you do go to a breeder that is breeding for long coats, make sure they are breeding responsibly by titling and health testing their dogs. Since long coated dogs are acceptable under the WUSV standard now, you may come across some good breeders that breed long coated dogs. However, you will not find any good breeders that breed blues, livers or panda colors on purpose.

Another thing to consider is that you really should not pick a puppy or dog based on cosmetic features such as color. Some colors like liver, blues and pandas are disqualifying faults and should never be bred for. Blues and livers do very occasionally pop up in well bred litters. If you are dead set on purchasing a puppy of one of these faulty colors, get the word out among good breeders and wait for one to be born from one of them. You can also get the word out among GSD rescues and wait for one to end up in a rescue. It may take longer, but you will be able to eventually get the dog that you want without paying and supporting an irresponsible breeding practice. It may also be a better idea to reassess your options and consider choosing an acceptable color instead, for example.

Remember, if you come across a breeder that is purposely breeding for one or two traits over all others, you should quickly go elsewhere. A good breeder should always put health and temperament first, followed by overall working ability and good structure. They will never breed for faulty traits such as oversized dogs or disqualifying colors. If someone is breeding for those traits, they are what most call a backyard breeder.