5 Common Misunderstandings About Adopting A German Shepherd

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1. I Don’t Know What Kind Of German Shepherd I’ll Get

There may in fact be more information available about a German Shepherd who is able for adoption, than one from a breeder or pet store.

Many of the pets posted on Petfinder are in foster care. Foster parents live with their German Shepherds 24-7 and are often able to tell you, in great detail, about the German Shepherd’ personality, temperament and habits. If the dog is at a shelter, the staff or volunteers may be able to tell you what he or she is like.

At the very least, you can ask the staff where the German Shepherd came from and, if so, what the former owner said about him or her. Quite often German Shepherds are given up because the owner faced financial or housing issues. You can also ask about the health and events the German Shepherd has undergone since arriving at the rescue/shelter. In contrast, pet store owners rarely have an idea of what a German Shepherd will be like in a home.

2. I Can’t Find My Type Of German Shepherd At A Rescue/Shelter

If you can’t find the German Shepherd you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for German Shepherds (or other specific breeds), so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.) You can also go check out my list of German Shepherd rescues by state.

3. I Can Just My German Shepherd For Free – Why Should I Pay An Adoption Fee?

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (via the ASPCA), approximately 65% of pet parents in the U.S. get their pets for free or at low cost, and most pets are obtained from acquaintances or family members. The NCPPSP also concludes that pets acquired from friends make up more than 30% of pets surrendered to shelters

While getting a “free” German Shepherd may seem like a bargain at first, you’re then responsible for veterinary costs that shelters and rescue groups usually cover, including:

  • Microchip: 50$
  • Neutering / Spaying: 150 – 300$
  • Rabies Vaccination: 15 – 25$
  • Heartworm Test: 15 – 35$
  • Tick/Flea Treatment: 50 – 200$
  • Distemper vaccination: 40 – 60$

4. German Shepherds In Rescues Are BAD Pets

In fact, the main reasons dogs are given up include:

  • Owner having personal problems – 4%
  • Owners are moving to housing that doesn’t allow pets – 7%
  • Owner can’t afford the dog – 5%
  • Too many or no room for a whole litter – 7%
  • Owner no longer have the time for the dog – 4%

As you can see, many of the reasons have nothing to do with the dogs themselves. Working with the staff and volunteers from the shelters/rescues can be a great way to figure out the best match for you and your home.

5. German Shepherds From Shelter Are Emotionally Damages

Rescued German Shepherds have full histories … something that can actually be GREAT for adopters. Remember, all dogs – even eight-week old puppies – have distinct personalities. Those personalities will either jive with your home and lifestyle or not. Work with rescue group or shelter staff to find the right fit for you.

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