German Shepherd Adoption Vs. Breeding: Which Is Better?

Ah, the great debate of German Shepherd adopting vs breeding! It’s like choosing between a ready-made gourmet meal or whipping up a recipe from scratch. 

Are you already thinking about adding a new dog to your family? That’s great! Whether you’re looking for a loyal companion, a protective guard dog, or a talented working dog, a GSD can be an excellent choice. 

But before you bring one home, you’ll need to make a big decision: should you adopt or purchase one?

There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to the whole German Shepherd adopting vs breeding dilemma, but, we’re here to help you figure out which one is more of your cup of tea!

German Shepherd Adoption Pros And Cons 

girl hugging her german shepherd pet

Why buy a German Shepherd when you can adopt one and give a furry friend a second chance at a loving home? 

Adopting a GSD can be a great way to give a loving home to a soul in need. Unfortunately, many pooches end up in shelters or rescue groups due to no fault of their own. 

They may have been surrendered by their previous owners due to a change in circumstances, or they may have been found as strays. 

Adopting a German Shepherd can be an amazing and rewarding experience, as you’ll be providing a warm and loving home to a dog who really needs one. It can also be more affordable than purchasing one from a breeder.

If you’re thinking about adopting your new furever friend, there are a few things you should look for to ensure that you two make a good match!

Size And Age

german shepherd running through a field

Why wait for a puppy to grow up when you can adopt a fully grown German Shepherd and have a new best friend right away?

German Shepherds grow into very large dogs, typically weighing between 60 and 90 pounds. Some may even describe them as the scariest dog breed out there. But we know that it’s far away from the truth! 

With great size comes great responsibility. They need plenty of space to run and play, so it’s important to make sure you have a suitable home and yard for a dog of this size. Additionally, GSDs can be very hyper! They are strong, jump very high, bark a lot, and run very fast. 

When it comes to age, adopting an older GSD is like getting a “doggy do-over“. Imagine a dog who has had a tough life and has missed out on all the fun, training and love a dog should have. 

With you, they will get a chance to experience all the good things in life, going for walks, playing, cuddling and being a part of a loving family.

Adopting a GSD puppy is like getting a blank canvas, you get to shape and mold them into the perfect companion for you and your family. 

You’ll be able to teach them new tricks, take them on new adventures and watch them grow big and strong, see their coat color change and observe their tiny personalities develop into big temperaments that only show love and affection! 

Adopted German Shepherd puppies also have a longer life expectancy than older dogs, so you’ll have more time to bond and create memories with your new companion.

Temperament And Behavior 

woman sitting next to her german shepherd

Even though German Shepherds are generally known for being loyal, intelligent, and family-oriented, they can also be strong-willed and independent. 

No matter the age, adopted pups may come with some baggage.

GSDs that are put for adoption can come from different backgrounds, such as being a stray, a former working dog or a surrendered pet. This can greatly affect their personality and temperament.

When adopting an older German Shepherd, it’s important to keep in mind that they may have experienced past traumas. 

These traumas can manifest in different ways, and can result in a fearful GSD or a very anxious one. In severe cases, a traumatized GSD can be aggressive. 

All that aside, with patience, understanding, and proper training, you can help your newly adopted pup overcome their past traumas and live a happy and fulfilling life. 

Think of it as adopting a rescue dog, but with a special touch – you are not just saving a life, you are saving a life that has been through some rough patches, but you’ll be the one to help them overcome it, and it will be a rewarding experience.

Purebred Vs. Mixed Breed German Shepherd

two german shepherds in a field

Adopting a purebred pooch can be a great option for those who are looking for one with specific characteristics and traits that are consistent with the breed. 

On the other hand, adopting a hybrid, such as the Husky GSD mix, can also be a great option. 

Mixed breed German Shepherds can have a wide range of appearances and personalities, and they may have a mix of traits from different breeds. 

These dogs can be healthier and have more diverse genetic makeup which can be less prone to certain breed-specific health issues. 

Health Problems

Adopted German Shepherds may have been mistreated or neglected in the past, which can lead to health problems such as malnutrition or untreated injuries. 

They may also have been exposed to diseases or parasitic infestations that they didn’t receive proper treatment for. 

Older dogs may have age-related health problems such as arthritis or dental issues.

It’s important to ask the shelter staff or the foster parent about the GSD’s medical history, vaccinations, and any health issues that the dog may have and have a veterinarian examine them once you’ve adopted them.

Purchasing German Shepherds From Breeders

Man holding german shepherd puppies in his arms

Purchasing this pup from reputable breeders can have its own set of pros and cons.

When you purchase a purebred German Shepherd dog from a reputable breeder, you have better insight of the parents based on its pedigree.  

This gives both you and the breeder more control over all characteristics of the dog, which can, as a result, help you to find a pup that is a good match for your lifestyle. 

Size And Age

It’s interesting that when you decide to buy a pup from a breeder, you have the opportunity to choose from a variety of sizes, from miniature to giant German Shepherd. 

This means that you can find the perfect size to fit your lifestyle and living space.

Do you want a young pup to raise and train, or an older dog that’s already housebroken and has some basic training?

With a breeder, you can choose the age of your new pup, but most of them usually sell them at 8 weeks old. Some breeders may have older GSDs to offer. 

Breeding Lines

german shepherd with puppies

Reputable German Shepherd breeders will often have different types and breeding lines that focus on specific traits such as size, color, and coat patterns. 

Some of them will focus on producing dogs that have a specific look for the show ring, with a sleek and elegant appearance. These dogs are often bred for their perfect conformation, meaning that they have the ideal proportions, movement and overall look that is consistent with the official GSD breed standard.

On the other hand, some breeders may focus on producing GSDs that are better suited for work, such as service dogs, therapy dogs, or even police dogs. 


cute german shepherd puppy

Just like with appearance, reputable GSD breeders often have different breeding lines that focus on specific traits such as temperament and behavior. 

Some focus more on producing pups that are super outgoing and sociable, while others focus on producing dogs that are more reserved and protective and often used as big guardians! 

Purebred German Shepherds are known for their loyalty, intelligence and protective nature, but only a reputable breeder will be able to provide you with information about the true temperament and behavior of the puppies and their parents. 

Health Problems 

Reputable German Shepherd breeders go to great lengths to ensure that their dogs are healthy and happy. 

Due to the fact that these pooches can be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, breeders must provide you with information about any health screenings or testing that their dogs have undergone. Psst, this may add to the overall cost of this pup. 

The fact that they only breed dogs that have passed certain health screenings and tests, means that their pups  have been cleared of common genetic health conditions. 

In addition, most ethical breeders will often socialize their puppies from an early age, exposing them to a variety of people, animals, and environments to help them grow up to be well-adjusted and confident adults. 

So, What’s It Going To Be?

four german shepherd puppies looking over the fence

Adopting a German Shepherd is like finding a hidden treasure at a garage sale, you never know what kind of gem you’ll stumble upon.

On the other hand, by purchasing a GSD from a reputable breeder you get to pick and choose from different breeding lines that have specific traits, whether it’s for show ring, service dog, working dog or just a loyal companion.

In the end, the decision of whether to adopt or breed a German Shepherd is a personal one, and there is no right or wrong answer. 

It’s all about finding the right fit for you and your lifestyle!