10 Best German Shepherd Breeders (2024 Updated)

German Shepherd breeders top picks

Choosing a reputable German Shepherd breeder can either be easy or tough, as the breed’s popularity makes breeders accessible but also gives rise to scammers. This is why patience and proper research are required.

The high demand for German Shepherd Dogs or GSDs is not surprising, as they have all the makings of a great pup. Be it devotion, bravery, and agility or being smart and gentle around family and kids — there is a type of GSD that will cater to different preferences of their potential fur parents.

If you have been eyeing to have a GSD as a canine companion, you’ll find this article useful, as this contains helpful tips on how to find trustworthy German Shepherd breeders near you.

10 Best Places to Buy German Shepherd Puppies

Places to buy German Shepherd puppies

Originally bred to be working dogs, German Shepherds aren’t only great guardians but also excellent workers. Many aim to breed GSDs that can also compete in dog sports like agility, tracking, and more.

But whether you’re looking for a German Shepherd puppy that will be a showstopper at conformation events, excel at canine sports, or become a lovely house pet, buying from a reputable breeder is a must.

Browse through these reputable German Shepherd breeders in the United States to get started:

1. Cross Timbers Kennels – Texas

Cross Timbers Kennels is an experienced German Shepherd breeder that started in 1976. It is owned by a mother and daughter pair who both received the American Kennel Club (AKC) Breeder of Merit.

They have been affiliated with the breed’s parent club German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA), since 1980, where they have also acted as national show chairman and served on its board of directors.

Occasionally, Cross Timbers Kennels have available young GSD adults from champion bloodlines or female GSDs that can be used for breeding.

They pride themselves in producing GSD puppies that are confident, brave, driven, spirited, and very smart. These dogs will be excellent in dog show events but can also compete in agility, herding trials, and obedience.

However, you’re also rest assured that the GSD puppies being offered at Cross Timber Kennels can make amazing companion dogs.

The kennel has 16 large fenced areas attached to a building, complete with a kitchen, bathing, and grooming areas. Spacious grassy areas are also accessible for dogs to play on.

Cross Timber Kennels Breeder Information and Details:

2. Golden Breed German Shepherds – Texas

Another reputable breeder located in Texas is Golden Breed German Shepherds, which has been breeding top-quality GSDs since 1980 and is owned by an AKC Bronze Breeder of Merit.

Its owner also has a long affiliation history with the GSDCA, having been a member for almost 40 years. Currently, she is also the president of the AKC Specialty Club GSDC of Houston.

Due to Golden Breed German Shepherds’ commitment to producing dogs of sound mind and structure, they might breed one litter in a year only, oftentimes not even. This is why their waiting list is usually long.

Once a litter is planned, though, they are bred carefully using education, research, experience, and love.

If you’re worried about possible health-related problems, you’ll be glad to know that the hips and elbows of their parent dogs have certification from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

Their GSD puppies for sale are also dewormed at two, four, and six weeks, vaccinated with the DHPP vaccine, and cleared by a licensed veterinarian.

Both parents and puppies are also tested for degenerative myelopathy (DM), a common disease in the breed that affects the spinal cord and results in the progressive weakening of muscles and loss of coordination.

Golden Breed German Shepherds Information and Details:

3. Blackthorn Working German Shepherds – Virginia

If you’re specifically looking for a working line German Shepherd, you might want to consider Blackthorn Working German Shepherds, located in Barboursville, Virginia.

The owner of Blackthorn Working German Shepherds has been breeding quality working line GSDs since 1996 but has been involved with the breed since 1992. She is also active in canine sports and Schutzhund.

Because working line GSDs are very energetic, daring, extremely driven, and very smart, Blackthorn Working German Shepherds carefully plan their breeding, which happens occasionally.

As such, they produce GSD puppies that are strong candidates to engage in search and rescue (SAR) training, Schutzhund, agility, herding, obedience, police work, detection, or any other working activities.

Generally, their GSD puppies are priced between $1,800 and $2,000. Dams and sires are also hip and elbow tested and free of the gene responsible for degenerative myelopathy.

Likewise, before a GSD puppy is sent home, it is microchipped, dewormed, vaccinated, checked by a vet, and ready to be AKC-registered.

Due to the intense requirements associated with owning a working line GSD, Blackthorn prioritizes potential buyers who are experienced handlers with histories in competitive dog sports, herding, police work, and SAR.

Blackthorn Working German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

4. RiverRock German Shepherds – Minnesota

RiverRock German Shepherds is another AKC Breeder of Merit recipient that you should check out. It is owned by a retired professor emeritus who taught canine cognition and has been breeding since 1998.

The dogs bred at RiverRock German Shepherds are for show, performance, and companionship. American and German/European show lines are used in their breeding program for genetic diversity.

Typically, RiverRock thoroughly plans one to three litters yearly through careful study and pedigree analysis. The breeding dogs undergo hip and elbow x-ray and are tested clear for the DM gene.

Upon birth, the GSD puppies are cared for excellently, subjected to extensive socialization early on, given early neurological stimulation, and temperament-tested.

To be considered, interested applicants should answer a “Prospective Puppy Buyers” questionnaire through email.

Their companion puppies are priced at $5,000, while show-potential puppies cost $6,000. The reservation fee is $1,500. Once approved, a kennel visit will ensue so a buyer can interact with the dogs.

New owners should pick up their German Shepherd puppies from the kennel.

RiverRock German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

5. RoseHaven Kennel – Ohio

Another breeder specializing in working German Shepherds is RoseHaven Kennel, a small family-owned and operated business in Columbus, Ohio.

This kennel is part of the AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. program, which enjoins breeders to a commitment to elevating the health and welfare of all dogs. It is owned by a pair of husband-and-wife who are both U.S. Army veterans.

Aside from breeding for temperament, workability, and conformation, RoseHaven Kennel aims to produce GSD puppies that are healthy, exceptionally smart, will have long lives, and will be funny companions.

Their breeding program is in line with the SV or the GSD Kennel Club standards in Germany. Their pups are trialed, temperament-tested, and breed surveyed through Schutzhund USA.

The GSD puppies are microchipped, AKC-registered, have vet health certs, and a series of puppy and parasite control shots. Before learning obedience, tracking, and protection skills, they’re first housetrained and socialized.

As such, their GSDs not only make wonderful family dogs but are also equipped to work in personal protection, Schutzhund, SAR, law enforcement, and more.

RoseHaven Kennel Breeder Information and Details:

6. SentinelHarts German Shepherds – California

SentinelHarts German Shepherds is another family-run kennel. They strive to preserve the working GSD by producing dogs with solid genetics, high-caliber shape, balanced disposition, and excellent work drive.

Since 2007, SentinelHarts has been putting a high value on the selection process in their breeding program. This means taking into account the compatibility of a sire to a dam, their lineage, temperament, and biddability.

In addition, each dog in the kennel is housed in a secure dog run so that those who do not get along are separated. Inside these enclosures, there is also a dog building so they can be sheltered during rain or scorching heat.

SentinelHarts dogs are regularly released to play in the open area inside the property. During summer, they also get to swim in a canal near their home.

They get access to constant human interactions and socialization with cats and farm animals like goats, chickens, and ducks.

Like others in this list, the breeding stock of SentinelHarts is also tested and certified by the OFA concerning their hips, elbows, thyroids, hearts, and DNA. This breeder also ensures no GSD puppy is at risk of degenerative myelopathy.

SentinelHarts German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

7. Vogelhaus German Shepherds – New Jersey

What sets Vogelhaus German Shepherds apart from other reputable breeders is that they have over 14 years of veterinary experience and have worked with police and sports dogs.

Vogelhaus aims to produce dogs of sound mind and can be dynamic family members, teammates, and best fur buddies to their would-be owners.

Browsing through their site gives a comprehensive peek into their breeding program. All their stud dogs and females have individual profiles with basic information, titles, genetics, photos, and more.

There is also a separate tab on their website where visitors can download and see the health clearances of these dogs, which can attest to the superior health of their breeding stock.

In case these aren’t enough to convince a potential buyer of GSD puppies, Vogelhaus also has a testimonials section where past clients extensively talk about their incredible experiences with them.

Their puppy program is also detailed in another section of the website, where they discuss the steps to ensure the GSD puppies they produce are correctly raised and trained.

All females in Vogelhaus are not bred more than four times. Their waitlist is 12 to 18 months.

Vogelhaus German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

8. Givenhaus German Shepherds – North Carolina

Located in a rural area in Franklinton, North Carolina, Givenhaus German Shepherds breeds dogs that are purely from West German show lines. They have been breeding since 2014.

The dogs at Givenhaus are selectively bred to produce puppies that will excel in SAR, police work, Schutzhund, agility, and conformation shows and will become amazing family protectors and companions.

Givenhaus also actively participates in various country-wide dog exhibitions under German judges as they breed to the German standard.

On its website, Givenhaus lists its current breeding dogs, rising stars, and their retired females. Aside from basic information, titles, photos, and health certifications, their winning shows are also indicated in their profiles.

Usually, a GSD puppy from this kennel is priced at $2,500. A $500 non-refundable deposit is needed to reserve a puppy, but the actual sale will depend on the order of deposits placed by potential buyers.

If you’re interested in buying from Givenhaus, they have uploaded a copy of their contract form on their website, so you can read their terms thoroughly and assess whether they are acceptable to you.

Meanwhile, besides having GSD puppies for sale, Givenhaus also puts up their retired females for adoption.

Givenhaus German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

9. Reddington Shepherds – Maryland

Reddington Shepherds is a relatively new GSD breeder situated in Harwood, Maryland. Unlike the others on this list, their dogs are whelped and raised in the owners’ homes.

Since 2018, Reddington Shepherds have been breeding GSDs imported from East German (DDR) and Czech working lines. However, their typical GSD puppy can be a working dog or an active home buddy.

Since their GSD puppies are raised on a family farm, expect them to be significantly exposed to children, cats, and farm animals. They should also be generally used to the sounds and activities in a household.

They’re also trained and enriched through leash walking, crate training, housebreaking, and even the routine of settling down during nighttime.

Like other reputable breeders, the GSD puppies for sale at Reddington are also given age-appropriate vaccinations, dewormed, microchipped, and health-certified.

A 26-month health hip and elbow dysplasia guarantee for all the puppies they sell and a limited or full AKC registration are also provided.

You’ll also bring home a puppy collar, a blanket with the scents of the puppy’s mom and littermates, and, more importantly, a folder with most of the details you’ll need to raise your dog.

Reddington Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

10. Feuergarten German Shepherds – Virginia

Another reputable breeder in Virginia is Feuergarten German Shepherds. Their goal is to produce sound and driven dogs with the strength to excel in many sports or working endeavors.

The breeding stock of Feuergarten live in the owners’ home as family companions but are also trained to engage in competitive sports. They are all health- and temperament-tested accordingly.

The GSD puppies they produce are also raised in a home environment and are subjected to various experiences to make them amazing companions. At five weeks, they start clicker training and rag play.

The GSD puppies for sale at Feuergarten are priced between $2,500 and $3,000, with a $500 deposit. Discounts are afforded to law enforcement officers and military officers.

By eight weeks, all Feuergarten puppies are microchipped and placed on a limited AKC registration, which can be lifted to full registration once placement conditions are met.

If you’re interested in buying or reserving a puppy from Feuergarten, prepare to answer an application questionnaire and be on their waitlist, as they only plan one to two litters in a year.

Feuergarten German Shepherds Breeder Information and Details:

  • Address: King William, VA 23086
  • Email: feuergarten@gmail.com
  • Socials: You may also check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
  • Special Note: The website link may be found on the Facebook page, but it is not currently working.

Finding the right breeder for you can be quite laborious, but this will pay off once you get your dream GSD puppy. If you don’t have any luck with these breeders, though, you can also explore other options below.

Other Sources to Find German Shepherd Puppies for Sale

Four German Shepherd puppies for sale

The above-listed breeders are great options to get your GSD puppy from, but the reality is that they will not always have a litter, and their waitlist could be quite long. This is why it’s important to be open to alternatives.

Here are other places where you can find GSD puppies for sale:

  • AKC Marketplace – One of the best alternatives to finding a trustworthy GSD breeder is the AKC Marketplace, as all the breeders here are AKC-registered. The sellers also introduce their programs so you can get a glimpse of their breeding processes. All their relevant contact details are readily available on their marketplace pages too.
  • German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) – The GSDCA brings together GSD enthusiasts all over the United States. Many members and even officers are also active dog exhibitors and breeders, so you can try contacting them. The officers’ contact information is also posted on the site.
  • PuppySpot – PuppySpot has a network of breeders for many breeds, including GSD puppies. One can easily choose among those listed on the platform as there are puppy pictures, information on its parents, registrations, and more. You can also browse by age, color, video, travel readiness, and OFA certification.

Of course, though numerous safeguards have been put in place by these platforms to ensure future pet owners will not be scammed or fall prey to puppy mills, one can never be too careful, so always look out for red flags.

If you need more tips on how to choose a reputable GSD breeder, here is a video you’ll find helpful:

How to Find a Good German Shepherd Breeder - 12 Questions to Ask a Breeder.

How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

On average, the price of a German Shepherd puppy can range between $1,600 and $6,000. However, this can go higher depending on various factors, like the breeder’s reputation and the dog’s pedigree.

For GSD puppies, specifically, there will be a difference in the price of show-quality puppies compared to companion pups. Depending on the breeder, this difference can be around $1,000 minimum.

As expected, the expenses of owning a dog do not end during the buying process. Throughout your GSD’s life, it will have needs you should be able to provide for.

For starters, here are the initial expenses to consider in owning a German Shepherd puppy:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $150
Bowls$15 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$50 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$60 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$30 – $80
Total Initial Cost$620 – $3,150

Since this is just an approximation, this range will vary depending on your dog’s needs. However, it’s still a useful guide that you can refer to when planning out your budget for your pet.

How Do You Find the Best German Shepherd Breeders in Your Area?

If you still haven’t found luck in bringing home your GSD puppy even after browsing through the reputable breeders above and scanning trusted online puppy-selling sites, you can instead try these methods:

  • Attend dog shows or canine sporting events. A commonality among reputable breeders is the goal to better the breed. This can be exhibited by participating in dog conformation or sporting events. Try asking around in these events where you can best find a GSD puppy for sale.
  • Ask a local vet for recommendations. Any credible breeder would ensure their puppies are health-checked before placing them with a new owner. A vet can surely aid in giving out names of GSD breeders who regularly partner with them to practice responsible breeding.
  • Join virtual communities or forums. You can find reliable tips and information online if you’re discerning enough. Some members of online communities dedicated to the breed share their firsthand experiences with a breeder, so you can start looking into the suggestions that fit your needs.

Whether you’re on a waitlist or are just scanning through possible choices for breeders, the key to acquiring a healthy GSD puppy is patience. Remember that all the waiting will be worth it once your fur buddy is home.

Frequently Asked Questions

German Shepherd sitting in the grass

How Do I Find the Best German Shepherd Breeder?

Finding the best dog breeder requires a mix of thorough research and patience. Narrow your search by listing reputable breeders and exhaust all available resources to learn their backgrounds and ensure their credibility.

Once you’ve settled on a breeder, contact and ask them questions about their breeding program.

Make sure you establish a connection with them founded on honesty and trust. If possible, you can also study their breeder contract to know what you’re getting into.

Having experienced searching for a reputable breeder myself to source one for a working dog for an uncle of mine, I limited my search to the AKC Marketplace and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America breeder members.

In this way, I became confident that I was only coordinating with breeders who are guaranteed to implement ethical breeding practices and who prioritize the health and quality of their pups.

How Do You Tell If a Breeder Is a Good Breeder?

A good breeder’s work speaks for itself, but there are common telltale signs that a breeder can be trusted.

Normally, ethical breeders are affiliated with the AKC and the parent breed club. They also breed for quality, not quantity — meaning only a few litters per year are produced.

Another mark of a good breeder is that their breeding stock undergoes tests to ensure no disease or defect can be passed down to the litters and that their pups are well-nourished and are within their ideal weight for their age.

Their puppies for sale will also be checked by a vet before they’re sold. Good breeders also provide a health guarantee and a contract.

What Questions Should You Ask a Breeder When Buying a Puppy?

Some questions to ask about a breeder should be whether their parent dogs’ are health-tested and have updated vaccinations.

It’s also crucial to look into the breeder’s background by inquiring about their experience, knowledge, and passion for the breed.

You can also ask about their socialization methods, especially if you’re searching for a house pet. Ask about the requirements of securing a puppy from them and whether they grant a health guarantee and a contract.

How Do You Know If a Dog Breeder Is Scamming You?

A typical scamming technique by a crooked breeder is offering extremely low or extremely high prices compared to a dog’s quality.

Puppy mills practice quick breeding in awful conditions, so a price that does not correspond to a dog’s condition should immediately raise red flags.

Other signs of a scam breeder are having connections to suspicious organizations and making outrageous claims that a credible source cannot back.

Final Thoughts

The German Shepherd is one of the most beloved breeds, so it’s reasonable that many aspire to have this dog as a companion, protector, teammate, or worker.

Because of the breed’s popularity, many breeders are available to aspiring owners. However, intensive research and utmost patience are needed to guarantee you’ll bring home a healthy GSD puppy.

Just be wary of glaring red flags for bad breeders like too-good-to-be-true offers, questionable claims, and more.

Are you looking to bring a GSD puppy home too? Share your journey in choosing the best German Shepherd breeder in the comments below!

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